In January, I started freelancing for the weekly newspaper Philadelphia Gay News, or PGN as it’s known around here.
Yes, regular readers know I earned my IT Support Specialist certificate just a month before, but I’d been reading PGN for 20 years. Publisher Mark Segal and I had been acquaintances, and the opportunity suddenly presented itself. Besides, it’s not easy leaving the excitement of covering the news!
Mark introduced me to Denise Fuhs, who’d recently taken a buyout from The New York Times. She became an instant mentor, and served as our local weekly’s editor for the time I was there. (The Times’ loss was my gain!)
I was excited about the possibilities and to be part of a small group of journalists and technical folks, whose members may have changed, but have been putting out the publication for 43 years.
In fact, PGN has won so many awards over the years, I realized there wasn’t enough space on the newsroom walls for them all. We should all have problems like that!
I started by copy-editing and writing articles — then reporting out in the field.
Eventually, I took over social media on the paper’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and grew analytics tremendously. (Also, see what I’d done for Fox 29.) Plus, I started getting articles ready to be published on the paper’s website, epgn.com, but a graphics person had to gather photos to post using Joomla.
After a few months, I was still freelancing 40+ hours a week and turning down lowball offers to work full-time. Then, Denise announced her resignation, and so did the paper’s art director-photographer. Also, I wanted more “me time” to see what else was out there. And, I’ve been neglecting the main part of this blog! We all left in late April.
Anyway, I knew how to write and use AP style, but learned a lot about newspapers and editing for layout purposes. Not a bad way to spend a few months!
Below, you can click weekly diaries on what I accomplished — told from behind the scenes — see how they evolved, and also read my stories from the PGN days, 2019.
- Moving on past PGN, focusing on full-time
- Ending on breaking news and a broken system
- Big story finally appears during my short week
- Lots of articles but the end of Lenny’s front page streak
- Investigating candidate challenges and working on personal recovery
- The unique lowdown on Philadelphia elections, part 2
- The unique lowdown on Philadelphia elections, part 1
- 3! Big! Stories!
- It’s nice working fast, having a lot seen
- Meeting long-ago activist-neighbor from South Beach on the job
- Busy week: 2nd open City Council seat, my 1st Street Talk
- Harris Wofford, hard work, a vacation and a memory
- End of an era: Ally-Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown won’t run for reelection
- Law on protecting schoolchildren may go to Pa. Supreme Court
- With Metcalfe out, does nondiscrimination have a chance?