Growing up in the small, western North Dakota town of Hettinger, Todd Melby didn’t know his upbringing would prepare him for one of the biggest professional projects of his life. Granted, it took him a few decades to realize that, but with age comes wisdom.
At 30 years old, Erin Polgreen is among many noteworthy entrepreneurs in the journalism landscape who are striking out on their own. She also really enjoys a good bourbon and will talk in depth about the merits of top-shelf brands, and the drawbacks of mid-level brands that really aren’t that good but get consumers to think they are.
Shane Snow might not be a typical New Yorker — in that he’s from Idaho and spent time after college at BYU-Idaho “finding himself” in Hawaii. Though he had a knack for technology and Web design, his deeper interest was in writing.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson has seen the organization through its most turbulent times: the site crash after being hacked in a Distributed Denial of Service attack, the banking blockade joined by many financial companies, and the negative fallout after WikiLeaks’ admission of playing a role in a fake New York Times-Bill Keller editorial, a move criticized as having delegitimized the authenticity of future leaks.
Some journalists write. Some journalists report. Some journalists are columnists. All three describe Sally Jenkins, but just in the most basic way. Jenkins, currently with The Washington Post, is more than a sports reporter and columnist. She’s a vivid and gifted storyteller, one whose work has rightly won industry accolades, including a 2011 Sigma Delta Chi Award for sports columns.
More than four decades into a journalism career that has spanned both U.S. coasts, Jim Asendio isn’t going to the newsroom on a daily basis for the first time in a long time. But it’s not because he’s retired – though he did leave his last job over a conscious choice of his own.
In another world, you may have heard of Eric Deggans the rock star. But life presents choices, and we chose certain paths that lead to different ends. Deggans’ path to becoming a TV and media critic for the St. Petersburg Times (which officially becomes the Tampa Bay Times in 2012) was full of choices.
Jesse Eisinger isn’t afraid to ask stupid questions. He isn’t afraid of the suits on Wall Street, either. As a former Wall Street Journal writer and now a senior reporter at ProPublica, he has written about the underbelly of business. He and colleague Jake Bernstein won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their “Wall Street Money Machine” series, which delved into the practices that exacerbated financial industry problems of the past several years.
To call Stephanie McMillan a cartoonist is like calling Paul McCartney a musician. It’s accurate in all meanings of the word. But leaving it at just cartoonist (even adding “editorial” as a descriptor) comes up short. She might rightly be described as a social activist and agitator, one whose pointed commentary and analysis are conveyed most visibly through pictures and their associated dialogue bubbles.
Some kids obsess over a sports figure or the latest teen pop music sensation. Others spend their time outside or getting into mischief down by the creek on a lazy summer day. For Ken Rudin, NPR’s political editor and brain behind the popular Political Junkie column, his young days were spent at local (competing) campaign offices and collecting candidates’ buttons.
Before major media companies were investing in online local news ventures (such as AOL’s Patch), and even before many j-schools announced news-gathering partnerships to do the same, there were neighborhood blogs. Take, for example, Tracy Record and West Seattle Blog, which is known in the online journalism community as a particularly endearing success story.
Icelander Smári McCarthy is a man who doesn’t know what his title should be on his business cards. Not only is he a writer, software developer and hacker, but he is a dedicated freedom fighter. With his help, Iceland now has the potential to become a world leader in protecting freedom of information.
It’s said that “desperate times call for desperate measures.” There are few desperate times more urgent than the loss of one’s job and the immediacy of the grim financial and psychological outlook that carries. But when investigative reporter Dan Christensen was laid off in 2009, he didn’t act out of desperation.
Kelly McBride didn’t start her journalism career thinking she wanted to be an ethicist. But that’s exactly where she landed, as the ethics group leader for the Poynter Institute. She worked as a reporter after graduating from the University of Missouri in 1988, and earning a master’s in theology from Gonzaga University, and has covered police, religion, sexuality and clergy sex abuse issues as a reporter for The Spokesman-Review in eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle.
Disillusioned with U.S. newspapers and the daily grind of reporting to a “heartless” editor, Heather Brooke quit her job covering state government and criminal justice and moved to Britain, her parents’ home country. There, she upset British journalism and influenced a full-scale reform of the Parliamentary expense system.
As a philosophy and rhetoric major at the University of California, Berkeley, David Cohn certainly experienced a traditional liberal arts education. He solidified an interest in journalism while writing for Wired magazine and attending the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
So, what’s a day as president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and Diversity Institute like? That’s a really good question. You know, I’ve been on the job for a grand total of 60 days. It’s not that different from my life as editor of USA Today.
Bob Steele advises journalists around the country on ethics issues. He’s a catalyst for good ethical decisions, working behind and beside journalists to help them make the best ethical choices. He teaches several ethics and values programs each year as the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values, and he’s a full-time faculty member at his undergraduate alma mater, DePauw University.
Chris Matthews is a master of multiple streams of income. Host of “Hardball With Chris Matthews” and “The Chris Matthews Show;” author of several best sellers; former newspaper columnist and bureau chief; former political operative; past (and possibly future) candidate for Congress, the multitasking Matthews managed to squeeze in a conversation with Quill after rescheduling several times since 2007.
Ten went on the road this month to Anniston, Ala., where former New York Times national correspondent, Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer and bestselling author Rick Bragg shared his advice about storytelling to a group of reporters from newspapers across the southeast.
What’s wrong with this paragraph? I was enthused about my community award until I learned I was to speak at the awards banquet. Then my hopes were decimated, to say the least. I’d received plenty of satisfying notoriety and was so reticent about appearing onstage that I was actually nauseous by the time I stood behind the podium.
Jim Amoss and his staff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune faced one of the greatest hardships in the history of journalism after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city in 2005. But along the way, they also discovered the important role of their paper in a community that struggles to rebuild.
Chris Nolan of Spot-On.com has worked in her share of newsrooms on both coasts. While many in the news business are left scratching their heads and wringing their hands over loss of readers and revenue, this self-described “stand-alone journalist” is excited about the future of news.
Lester Holt has reported from the world’s hot spots, covering war, politics and even the Olympics. As co-anchor of NBC Today, he uses all his anchor muscles to switch from the day’s breaking news to the best way to roast a chicken.
Q: How did you get into journalism? I studied communication, English and mathematics at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I would’ve been a math major, but I was working hard to get As and Bs, and math majors didn’t have to work hard for those grades.
Q: How did you get into journalism? What inspired you to enter the profession? (I’ve) just always written for fun, ever since I was a little girl. Growing up in the Middle East, I did not feel lot of press freedom.
Q: What’s the origin of your name? It seems unusual for a broadcast name? Did anyone ever suggest you change it? A: It’s Norwegian. My dad was born there, and no one suggested I change it probably because I was in my mid-30s before I began broadcasting.
One year ago this month, Vatican analyst John Allen Jr. was a staple on CNN, covering the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. He combines intelligence and skepticism and a bit of faith while covering one of the least understood institutions in the world.
In the journalism world, Jim Romenesko is an icon. His Poynter Institute Web site is a must-read for trends, news and insider info that feeds our need to know — and sometimes tell — all. Though he keeps a low physical profile, posting from his neighborhood Starbucks, Romenesko’s work has the power to propel a news-making journalist into the industry spotlight with the click of the “publish” button.