I had an opportunity at the end of January to explore a position in the fine arts field, using my words to promote their art. That gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with my scanner. I reconnected with several pieces from Lafayette College magazine.
I wrote this piece on senior art projects and even had a photo featured. (Bottom photo on the second page.)
Then there was this feature on Gregory Gillespie working with Lafayette College students.
When we launched the Lehigh Valley News Group, the Lehigh Valley branch of Berks-Mont newspapers (a Journal Register entity), I served as managing editor for the five new newspapers and the one previous-existing, The Saucon News. In addition to managing editor duties, I served as editor of the largest of the new papers, The Bethlehem News. We headed into a territory that had been abandoned by my previous employer (Chronicle Newspapers, a division of The Morning Call, a Tribune Company newspaper). In addition to those Chronicle weeklies that had just closed, most of our proposed territories were also served by The Press weeklies, an entity that still continues today.
I attended the school board meetings of the Bethlehem Area School District. After more than five years of covering the Phillipsburg School District, the differences between the two boards fascinated me. Bethlehem was a larger school district, had more schools and more students. But let’s just say the people who sat on the two boards were also different. I’m sure everyone had their good intentions, but the interactions on the Bethlehem board were often tense.
I wrote this editorial after one board meeting where the disagreements between board members, and their unwillingness to move forward after a vote, scared not only me but also drained the color from the superintendent.
BASD board behavior
My first appearance in a daily, 1994
In 1994, I hadn’t even declared a major yet. After three years of high school journalism, I had taken a college-level journalism class and had some experience writing features for a local weekly. I accepted a job as a freelance “stringer” for the Newark Star-Ledger. I traveled across Warren County, New Jersey attending municipal and school board meetings. Then I called the editor on the desk and read him my notes.
This was before cell phones and filing by internet. (I’m a dinosaur!)
It was brutal. They always asked questions to which I never knew the answers. They paid well, but the editors often reduced me to tears. One nice editor offered me advice. Call before you leave the site. Make relationships with the people at the meeting and ask for a number where you can reach them. (I also was polite enough to ask how late could call.)
I hated it. I vowed I never wanted to be a journalist.
Funny, how life changes…
The article in the photograph is the result of my reporting. While it’s not an official byline, it’s my first appearance in a daily newspaper.
Part one of a long front page feature
At the Chronicle, I occasionally wrote long features. I loved what these high school students were doing, so my editor gave me free reign to profile them. I took the photos, and the front page photo of Randy remains one of my favorites. June 2003. Ten years ago. I should find out what happened to these youth.