Time To Survive And Advance

It was opening day of the Major League baseball season three years ago when I got the call from my future boss.

I was less than a month removed from getting swept out the door as part of the local newspaper layoffs. After nearly 30 years in the business, it was hard to take not showing up for work and smelling the pungent aroma of newspaper ink permeating the building.

Even with the new press located down the street, the Kansas City Star building still had that special mix of ink and newsprint.

Little did I know on that bright, sunshiny day that my odyssey as a journalist was about to take another turn in its evolution.

The jump from newspapers to television news websites was a short one but it spanned a very deep chasm. While the principles of style and accuracy are very similar, the delivery of the content and the pacing are much different.

I’ve always tried to be flexible in my career expectations. When I was in college the instructors told me I’d have to learn how to write if I wanted to land a job, so I went from being solely a photographer to being a writer.

Over the years I’ve been called a good writer for a photographer and a good photographer for a writer. After graduate school, I spent the next several years as a photography department manager. I thought it was a good way to blend the skills of both disciplines while championing the cause of photojournalists within the newsroom.

It was also a job few people wanted to take on because of the push-me-pull-you responsibilities you have keeping both the photographers, writers and editors all happy.

So I evolved from photographer to writer to editor and soon I would become a website editor. While there were many skills to be learned, my editing partner and I were able to garner three of the top four click months in the history of KCTV5.com.

But my days as the poster child for media layoffs continued when Meredith Broadcasting parted ways with our company and my editing partner and I were shown the door. Luckily Hearst Television stepped in and suddenly I found myself working as a hired gun for websites across the country — most of the time from the comfort of my own home.

During the past nine months, I’ve edited, written, produced and created Photoshop illustrations for stations from Winston-Salem to New Orleans to Kansas City to Monterey to Hawaii. I’ve also been able to spend some time as a blogger and honing my social media skills.

And while the basics of news coverage remain the same, the subtleties of each site can be greatly divergent. What works in some markets falls flat in others.

But now the contracts are running out, and I’m trying to make the jump again into the corporate realm. It’s been interesting getting to meet people and learn about businesses I had little or no knowledge of in the past. And the people seem genuinely passionate about the places where they work and the products or services they provide.

When people ask what my five-year goals are I have to say in all honesty it is to evolve and remain relevant because who knows what the future is going to be for any of us.

It’s almost opening day again, but as a worker it’s definitely the time of survive and advance.

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One Response to “Time To Survive And Advance”

  1. Irvin Peters Says:

    I am sure that your mother and I are both very proud of your accomplishments. Both in your work and also in your family. Keep up the good work. Love Dad

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