Friday, August 18, 2006

Oh my, look at all the dust.

I've been away so long I scarcely remember how to do this blog thing. I've got to brush away the cobwebs, and dust off the keyboard.

Here's a quick update on my life. In late May, the managing editor for a weekly news magazine/tabloid called me to ask if I'd be interested in coming to work for him.

This was mere days after I began putting together the Picolata Review. For the next several weeks, I was so busy negotiating, editing the Picolata, and doing my job at the newspaper that I barely had time to check my own email.

On July 5, I started my new job as a photojournalist for the weekly - a joint publication of two major daily papers. A week later, I landed on a story that became the cover and center spread that week. The story drew kudos from the entire editorial staff downtown (headquarters of the 600,000-reader daily that is the larger of our parent papers). It was about a woman whose family farm is surrounded by land owned by a real estate developer, and the developer's threat to charge her with tresspassing for using their road to access her farm. Her family has used the same road for the past 98 years.

Since then, I've been jumping from one hard news story to the next. Hard news stories - which is exactly what they sound like, hard hitting stories likely to hurt feelings and stir controversy - take an extraordinary amout of time to do well. You have to check your facts, and balance your coverage, and dig for quotes, and then check it all again so you know your story is up to date at deadline. I've been starting to work on Monday mornings at 8 a.m., and putting in 12 to 14 hours a day every day. I've also racked up an extraordinary number of miles and hours staring through the windshield.

I'm not complaining. This is work I consider important - shining a light on injustice, and helping people understand the forces at work in the world around them. I'm writing for a living (which makes me the luckiest man on earth), and I'm writing about things that matter. I'm not editing (uggghh - I don't miss it), but I am getting to use some damned nice photographic equipment (men and boys, price of toys...)

I've also had some interesting opportunities. This past Monday, I was a moderator for a televised debate/forum hosted by a civic association. Two other journalists and I got to grill candidates for two hours, and now even more people than usual are stopping me in the grocery store to say how much they liked my work - or hated it. It's an odd feeling to walk into a building and have everyone there know your name, even though you've never met any of them before.

I've also been invited to join the panel on our local talking-head show on Sunday mornings. All that's left for me to achieve the upper reaches of the liberal media elite is for someone to cancel their subscription to my blog because they think I'm biased - no, wait, that happened last week when I published Charles Baxter's comments about President Bush in the Picolata Review.

Oh, well. If you want to fight with the big dogs, it helps if you look good in a spiked collar. Or something like that. I think I've done pretty well for a small town boy who broke into this business not all that long ago... I think I'll tell that story to you folks soon. If I have time.

p.s. Last Friday I wrote an update to my story about the lady and her struggles with the real estate developer. On Saturday, someone burned her house down. The fire department tells me the fire was intentionally set.

Sometimes there are consequences to what we write. Remember that, even if what you write is poetry or science fiction. Writing moves people, not always in the direction the writer wants them to move.

Mark Pettus,
Friday, August 18, 2006


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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sorry - just spam tonight.

The second issue of the Picolata Review is out.

www.PicolataReview.org

I'll try to update soon - new job, new responsibilities.

Take Care, Mark

Mark Pettus,
Tuesday, August 01, 2006


8 comments so far. Thank you, Blogger Adam Hurtubise, Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin, Blogger Adam Hurtubise, Blogger M. G. Tarquini, Blogger Jeff, Blogger Shesawriter, Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin, Blogger Ray Wong,


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