Our (The Frederick News-Post) website just got a new feature, and I'm really excited about it.
I've been writing about vacant and run-down properties in the city of Frederick since starting with the paper about two years ago. Last year, the city made a list of the most troublesome properties, and they are updating the public every quarter about the city's progress in making property owners bring the properties up to city code. Because I have the exact address of the properties, I thought the best way to visualize where these properties are, as well as share the update with the community, would be to create an interactive map. Last week, our excellent web editor spent some time creating a page for that map to live on. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
Check it out.
Where I'm from, buildings generally aren't 167 years old.
Frederick is about 120 years older than Phoenix, so I'm always fascinated with the rich modern history of the area. Sometimes (most of the times), when I'm assigned to write stories about something historical, I get caught up in it all and ask tons of questions. It's one of my weaknesses, as I often spend much more time on the story than originally planned, but also one of my strengths, as my interest leads me to great details to use in my stories.
And that's how 12 inches turned to 20 inches today, friends.
Church expansion opens doors for more community use
It’s where Civil War soldiers healed, where Hood College got its start, where hundreds of community group meetings take place each month and where churchgoers have gathered for decades after Sunday service.
The annual ranking that tells you how much you should love or hate your job is out, and it says that I should hate my job the most out of anyone. I have the worst job out of 200 different jobs, this ranking says.
Not true. Why? I liked what Chris Cillizza, a politics reporter with The Washington Post, had to say about it. (His job is even better than my job.) Best line:
The honest truth is that journalism is really damn fun most of the time.
The only thing I'll add is this: If the job is so bad then why do a child's eyes light up when I tell him or her that I'm a reporter? Yes, mostly because kids love to see their names in the newspaper. But also because their innocence does not allow them to consider the emotional and physical demands of the job, the pay, and the stress, which are the main factors the ranking considers. These are all adult worries - factors that come into play when other factors do, too, such as mortgages, families, insurance and declining health. Children think only of how rewarding a career would be - that's why so many want to be something like a firefighter, a vet, a nurse or a teacher. Or, for children like me, a writer.
So the question is, do you turn your back on your naive childhood dreams and become something like an actuary, which is the greatest job according to the ranking? (Have you ever met a child who wanted to be an actuary?) Do you stick with your dreams despite the consequences? Or do you try to find a compromise? Eventually, maybe the weight of adult worries will force me to find a compromise. For now, I'll let my inner child play.
I could not tell you the number of times I have written about vacant and blighted properties, Wal-Mart developments, or city staff benefits while in my current beat. There are just some topics that always come back around.
So how do you give people who are reading about the issue for the first time the information they need, but not bore readers who have been reading from the beginning? Enter fun, free interactives such asGoogle Fusion Tables for interactive Google maps, and clickable timelines throughKnightLab. I'm sure there are many more but these are the two I've found to be quick and easy.
An example: I wrote a story yesterday about a property that has been vacant for 20 years and made a timeline to go with. Check it out: