Is it too late in the year to create a new year resolution? If so, tough. I’m making my own rules tonight. After watching the documentary, One Page, I felt a little inspired because I could see the innards of a news organization that focuses around writing instead of video. I was like, “Hey! That’s what I do! I write! And write! And write!”
The next thing I know, I’m tweeting:
That’s it! That’s my resolution. I want to write better stories. Next step – find a better story.
This means sitting at my desk for a while and digging around in my head for the greatest idea ever. I was not very successful on my very first day in that super motivated attempt.
Well – kind of. I wrote a story about a moose. It was not your average moose on the loose in the Inland Northwest. It’s not like there was a twist ending either.
It was what came up out of conversation in the middle of the woods with a bunch of fish and wildlife officers talking about what happens to moose after they’re tranquilized and re-located.
Sometimes they die.
Tranquilizing a moose for relocation is only a last resort for fish and wildlife. Rahn says sometimes the moose don’t deal with it very well – and it’s even worse during the harsh winter months of January and February.
“When you tranquilize, the moose is released and a lot of times, they get stressed out or they aspirate, vomit and it gets stuck in their lungs. They die of infection a few days later,” Rahn explained.
Television loves moose stories. Sometimes – if they’re lucky – they produce great video. With that said, I never saw the moose, but I still wrote about the experience.
The story went from moose patrol to the procedural behind the scenes methods to keep wildlife and people safe.
Mike read the story and immediately commented with the following: “LOL PAINTBALLS REALLY”. That’s literally what he wrote.
Even my executive producer was all sad about the fate of some moose because media always portrays the re-locations as happy endings, but now we’ve learned that’s not always case.
I realized that I made a hum drum story into something awesome. Or at least I thought it was awesome. After work, all I could talk about was this moose story. This is the first step.
Next step: Fill an entire wall with story ideas written on post-it notes. That way if I ever whine that I have nothing to write about, I can see that I’m full of crap.
When I was in junior high, we created a list of milestones that we wanted to accomplish in our lifetime. I was just sharing this memory with Mike and he asked me what I wrote down. I said, “Things that don’t matter.” He replied, “They mattered. It’s all about context.” To a 13-year-old girl, prom mattered. To a 24-year-old woman [saying woman makes me feel old and weird], having a career matters.
Today is one step closer to even more milestones. I am now a full-time employee at KXLY-TV. This means a lot to me after years of being promised a potential full-time career and watching that promise drift farther and farther away from me every day.
Now I feel like I’m getting somewhere.
My current position is web producer. I focus primarily on our hyper-local community websites that dig up news from every nook and cranny in some of the more urban parts of Eastern Washington and North Idaho, to the rural. Every day, I write and write and write. I’ve thrown together some interesting news material including: interviewing primary election candidates on the eve of a general election, tracing the footsteps of a web design crime-fighting team, watching a cat be shaved, etc.
I’ll be doing that still, but somewhere in between it all, there will be more. I’m not sure what that entails, but I know there will be more.
Question: What more would you like to see that receives little to no coverage?
Apparently I’m a hyper-local honey. That’s what happens when you wave your hyper-local goods around like a social media hussy. In the recent issue of Spokane Metro Magazine, contributor Tricia Jo Webster paints me to be a social media super hero. Perhaps I am. If anything, that just gives me an excuse to wear my Jolly Roger flag as a cape.
The entire interview was conducted in the cosmetic section at Target. Meanwhile, Mike kept trying to distract me with shenanigans, but I was all like, “None of that now!” Actually it was nothing like that. It was more like, “Nicole, get off the phone so we can buy a corkscrew.” Nothing could stop me from spewing my experiences with police ride-alongs, shuttle launches, being a cat owner and my love for social media.
Minor Notes: The featured photograph was from the blog post, “May Recap of Your Community.” That’s when I was provided with my very own KXLY fleece. Just in time for summer.
Also: For my next featured Twitter user set, I’d like to add one more to my annual to-do in addition to “Creative Spaces”. I was thinking either Twitter users with their pets or Twitter users with their kitchens. Your thoughts?
Oops: Tricia spelled blushresponse wrong in the URL, but I fixed it. Kind of.
It all started with a lunch date under the totem poll. I looked into the river and just saw this red soccer ball bouncing back and forth. Over and under. It was pretty much the most amazing thing ever. Remember the plastic bag scene in American Beauty? This wasn’t as cool, but it was getting there. One tweet led to more tweets from not just me. There’s practically a fan club now and official statements from Avista regarding the soccer ball and other river debris. I wonder what the Spokane Riverkeeper has to say about these soccer balls.
Talk about the Twitter lolz. This story got the attention of a notorious North Idaho Twitter user known for the snark and the rage. He says bikes are for liberals, I say exercise is for Idaho! They’re stressed out anyways. According to Huckleberries Online, being 30th on any sort of list, is doing pretty good for Idaho.
I was busy tweeting about neighborhood council cookies when this almost snuck by me. Exploring the topic more made me realize what was going on. They were trying to change the format of city council meetings as we know it. Instead of waiting until the dead of night to say your three minutes of bicycle propaganda, you could do it at the beginning!
I love cute. I love baby animals. You can then imagine what this story entails just by the two words: baby + chipmunk. Get ready to tilt your head and say, “Awwwww…”.
I overheard our assignment editor lamenting the loss of her farm’s brand new steer. He had gone running off and they spent most of the morning looking for him. How hard is it to lose a steer? They’re kind of big beasties. They’d be easy to spot, right? Apparently days later, they spotted the steer in the woods, but lost him they searched for a second time. This story made Huckleberries Online when it was featured in the AM Scanner Reports. Next thing I know, I’m trying to think like a steer, new, but lost in the world. I could see through his eyes. We bonded.
I’m a big fan of ride-alongs. You learn a lot about your community through them. You learn the personality of neighborhoods and the process of police/deputy work. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s nerve-wracking. Even as a citizen rider, you feel the nerves of the officers as they approach situations not knowing what’s around the corner. I had a dream recently where I became a police officer. On my first day, I pulled over a speeder and they began to open fire at me. I was a terrible shot and ran out of ammunition. but magically back up came and shot the shooter dead. I survived. I counted the bullets in the shooters gun and counted three. If my backup hadn’t arrived, it would have been a different outcome. I explained my dream to a deputy and they told me, “I have that dream every single week.”
I got an email from a Moses Lake man who asked me, “Have you seen this?” He sent me to a Facebook page that displayed a man… wearing wedding dresses in the woods. I had a fun time trying to pitch this interview to my boss. The story got picked up by a radio talk show host in St. Louis. Ron Ulrich is actually from the area and happened to be in town when the host, Charlie Brennan, called him for an interview. Do you have a wedding dress he could use? Email him: email@example.com.
Simple. Sweet. This story inspired a midnight adventure with two of my most favorite people in the world, Paulayna. We drove off to Williams Lake to check out the haps of this lake on the start of fishing season. We saw two raccoons fighting in the road. We had a stare down with one of them. The raccoon stared me straight in the headlights. We sat there for a few moments studying each other. I honked my horn and he ran off. Then we got french fries at Zips. Om nom nom.
Just because I was curious, I counted up how many stories I’ve written for KXLY’s Your Community. It came out to 69. I figured that was a notable number to do a quick recap and repost some of my favorites from the past two weeks that maybe you’ve missed and would love to read. We’ll start from most recent and go back about two weeks.
For two weeks, I focused on this mind-boggling series of events. Even the council members said it, it’s complicated! Todd Stecher said this, “After sitting through tonight’s meeting, I know I never, ever want to be a member of the City Council,” on Neighbors 4 Neighborhoods’ blog. I attended two council meetings and I can now say I’m addicted to it. After four hours my attention span does start going off the deep end and I try to keep myself entertained by wondering how George McGrath prepares for city council meetings. Barb Chamberlain suggested a breakfast of champions. I’m going to find out.
I made calls to the county commissioners, but they made no attempt to return my calls with a comment. None the less, I think this was an interesting debate. Is that paragraph about global warming controversial? It’s been a term tossed around since 1975. 36-years later, people are still upset over its use or non-use. I’ll be touring the water reclamation facility that is discussed in the last paragraph next week. Expect the same deal I did with Avista’s Post Street Substation.
Zombies are the one conversation topic that can guarantee comments. Some people have their thoughts on what defines human life. Some people have binders full of contingency documents detailing their Plan B if the dead walk the Earth. I may or may not be one of those people. If you’re not, you may need to practice running from zombies in your neighborhood.
This story almost didn’t happen. After a quick phone call to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to confirm the artist information on the photograph, I was immediately told, “That photo is copyrighted. You may not use it.” Uh oh. If I can’t use the photo to talk about the tree, I might as well go home. Imagine a story that read like this: “Theres this photo in a museum. Picture this: It’s a tree from Spokane and it’s in black and white.” Not cool. After a few “Pleeeease” and a couple more phone calls, they got a hold of the artist, Lee Friedlander and he gave me permission. Thank you, Lee!
I just want to start off by saying, I hate worms. Even if it’s for composting. They’re gross and all wiggly. This story is one of my favorites because somebody told me they’re going to this event because they read about it when it was posted by Spokane Public Market on their Facebook wall. I got a little happy even if they will be playing with worms at the event. Honestly though, worms are gross.
I find this project idea exciting. I plan on following through with the planning process of this to see where it goes. NeighborWoods suggested it and it will go to the neighborhood council to be discussed. I’m attending that meeting hoping to find interested neighbors that will do something with this. There’s something I love about little gardens or “neighborwoods” in random places.
There’s nothing cuter than a baby cute. Don’t even try to argue with that. I followed around a volunteer group all morning and we met some many happy people who really wanted to hold a baby goat. I think the photos really make the story. That goat now has a lovely home in the Spokane Valley on a farm with other goats.
Dear Nicole, welcome to your second week at KXLY-TV. You’ve been tasked to bring readership to 17 different community blogs that focus on the major communities of our broadcast reach in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Can you do it?
When you put it that way it sounds like mission impossible, but this is right up my alley and I believe the Inland Northwest is ready to learn more about their community and participate with the conversations of their neighbors. I’ve got a lot of, “What do you do there?” I respond with, “I’m a web producer.” Which is just the job description official title. Here’s the statement I’ve gotten really good at telling people:
“KXLY is launching a set of 17 different community blogs that focus on each major community in our broadcast reach. Imagine a neighborhood newspaper online and updated daily. That’s what I’m doing.”
I’m making sure content is maintained and created every single day. I’m writing content for Moses Lake and Grant County to the Silver Valley (Wallace and Kellogg, Idaho). We’re still in our “soft launch” of the project. Before we officially present to the world what we’ve been up to, we’re working out the kinks and defining our writing style. Here’s a sample of what I’ve put together so far:
Moses Lake/Grant County:
I have a lot of goals as we progress through this. I’ve made contact with any many community organizations in each community. Everyone has been of great help and I hope to build a lasting relationship with each community. My list of community contacts is building and every where I go there’s inspiration for a story.
Already in these two weeks, I’ve had a snowmobile tour of Silver Mountain and gone on a ride along with Washington Fish & Wildlife through North Spokane County. I’ve traveled all across North Idaho from Sandpoint to Wallace. I’ve gone as far south as Lewiston and Clarkston and tried to drive over every single bridge there. Coming up, I’ve planned ride alongs with the Shoshone County Sheriff Department and City of Coeur d’Alene in hopes to learn more about these communities that I don’t see every day. Tomorrow I get to see Rusty the Cat go through the first grooming he’s had in who knows how long. Expect before and after photos.
I’ll need your help as I progress. Story ideas are always welcome. I’m open to anything, especially anything that lets me practice my blog’s title, “World Famous Adventurer.” If you’re interested in blogging for your community, let me know! Point me in the right direction. I have a KXLY email that you can contact me at. Check it out, yo! firstname.lastname@example.org