The Joy of Local Reporting

Last fall, while researching news for my Creatives at Work blog, I discovered a news release for a job site called Ebyline. The site intrigued me because its business model recognizes that trained, experienced journalists have certain skills that newcomers to freelance writing might not yet have developed.

When a publishing company hires a freelance journalist through Ebyline, they can be confident that the writer understands interviewing, research, deadlines, stylesheets, ethics, fact checking, copyright law, and attribution. Journalists know how to put the reader’s interests first and understand the need to earn trust and credibility.

The Eblyine platform offers a win-win situation for publishers and writers. Publishing companies can find, hire, and pay multiple freelancers through a single site. As a writer, I can choose to apply for assignments posted by many different publishers. Or, I can easily pitch my own story ideas to selected publishers.

The pay rates for jobs posted on  Eblyline are more realistic than the ridiculously low rates offered to “article writers” on other freelance job sites. And, instead of submitting and tracking invoices to multiple publishers, my work is automatically invoiced as soon as the client purchases the articles I submit through Ebyline. All payments come through PayPal. MobileMy first assignments were for a North Carolina company that was creating online education programs for clients in San Francisco. Then, I got my an assignment for WCPO Digital — the mobile/online news division of a local TV station. My first assignment was to write about a small, community theater that was using crowdfunding to make improvements to their seating. I had written about crowdfunding on my Creatives at Work blog, so I understood how the concept was being used nationally. It was delightful to talk face-to-face with the theatre leaders and ask why they had decided to give crowdfunding a try. By watching a performance, I learned for myself why new seating is needed.

FalconTheaterSetWhen I submitted my story, it was edited and published within three hours. Wow! Having spent most of my career working on print magazines, the speed from draft-submission to publication was breathtaking.  And, it was cool to see the story in the news feed on my iPhone!

Since that first story, I have written other articles for WCPO Digital that fit with my interest in the arts, technology, and the future. For example, I wrote about how the ArtWorks organization in Cincinnati is using the Power2Give crowdfunding platform for community arts projects. And, I have covered a speech given at a Creative Mornings event at Cincinnati’s new 21C Museum Hotel. Last week, I interviewed the enthusiastic organizer of TEDxCincinnati. She has attended a couple of TED events in Long Beach and was excited to introduce the spirit of TED to Cincinnati. I have also written about  journalism education programs and social-service projects in Cincinnati.

One of my first jobs out of college was in the public-affairs department for United Way Cincinnati.  That job was fun because our team worked with so many media organizations, community leaders, and non-profit agencies throughout the city. I lost touch with these local contacts after I accepted a very demanding job doing marketing communications and magazine editing for a national engineering association. Now, at this stage in my career, I am happy to work on a blend of local and national projects that are related to my interests in the arts, technology, and the future.

It has been particularly fun to discover how Cincinnati organizations are keeping up with trends in bigger cities. Cincinnatians often cringe at this quote that Mark Twain allegedly made: “If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati .Everything comes there 10 years later.”

That’s not the case any more, and I am proud to help spread the word!


WCPO Digital: Falcoln Theatre Uses Crowdfunding

WCPO Digital: Findlay Market CEO at Creative Mornings/Cincinnati