PGN: Philadelphia Gay News

Moving on past PGN, focusing on full-time

This is it!

How many of you I’m in contact with regularly have heard me say I want more “me time” to put together my latest work (that’s this) and then concentrate on finding a full-time position?

I enjoy researching and writing, preferably online, and using social media to promote the final product. Furthermore, I have years of successful experience doing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, that time has come!

I’m no longer with PGN. I think there’s something spiritual about this happening during Passover, a spring holiday, with renewal one of the season’s main themes.

I’ll keep away from issues of freedom from slavery, at least for now!

The timing is also right, since the paper is in transition. They’re training a new editor and art director. (I think you can tell by the latest issue.) Plus, a new reporter will be starting next month, giving the paper a second full-time writer. Hopefully, they’ll all get support from the top. Same with the website and social media. (Writing teases for Facebook and Twitter gave me a hand in other stories, including those I never would’ve read.)

I knew it would come down to this more than a month ago. I’ve never been one to splurge, but could never survive on what they offered, and was never interested in only going out to report full-time. I said that from the start. I prefer to make stories interesting by being completely involved, teasing a nugget of important information on social media, and I’d like to start adding video to that.

As for running to catch a bus for a story that wasn’t timely, and falling and getting bloodied up while not being offered any sort of insurance: I’m too smart to do that again.

Now, I’ll finally get to spend my time looking for something permanent. There was no way to move forward personally while keeping up-to-date on news, constantly suggesting story ideas the paper had nobody to write, in addition to working seven days a week on social media — and keeping up my quality.

A journalist should be on call, 24/7. Having an agent and paid vacation days helps those still in the big time.

Looking back, I’m grateful for a lot. I’ve learned to do a lot of things I couldn’t in the past, from leaving the office to approach complete strangers in public (thanks, Street Talk, mostly!), to writing stories with just the right amount of words, knowing too much information would be nothing but a waste during both interviews and writing.

I’m thrilled to have received so many public thanks for the work I’ve done over the past three-and-a-half months, and for the contacts I’ve made in so many fields around town.

I hope to stay in Philadelphia, a city I love and know so much about, having first moved here more than 20 years ago, and being fortunate to have been able to contribute to news-gathering. I don’t feel up to moving to a new place that I don’t know and trying to find my way around, much less report to locals. (Click here to see where I’ve lived. I’d also be open to places near them.)

I’ve been a PGN reader for 20 years and now my personal touch and exclusive stories are forever in its history and on my resume.

I’ve also been the only person doing social media for PGN. I’m thrilled that brought huge new numbers, at least to the paper’s established Facebook page in terms of Likes. (Reach and Engagements were bound to go up.) Hopefully the momentum carried over to clicks on the paper’s website.

This is the last Facebook had to say:

(Click here for Fox 29 analytics and major contrast, before and after I left.)

I’ve been in journalism a quarter-century, and seen TV ratings and online stats, but I’ve never actually been able to have complete influence, from coming up with an idea, reporting and writing the story, and posting it online and teasing it on social media. (That’s opposed to taking it from other sources as TV and radio stations owned by corporations tend to do). And even after posting, I could see who commented, shared or posted links to the articles!

I’ll leave you with my last Street Talk — my least favorite assignment and one I thought anybody could do, until editor Denise told me that wasn’t true! In this case, it was pretty easy. So was the graphic design.

Unfortunately, the great work just below won’t be appearing in the newspaper, but as always, thank you to the participants. They talked to me about spring!

If you’re interested in finding a story from above, then click here for the main PGN, 2019: Reporter, Copy Editor, Social Media Specialist page.
Also at that link, I finished posting my series of behind-the-scenes articles on stories. I started doing it weekly, but skipped a few because — like preparing to move on — they became too much of a burden. (But there was no need to worry. I kept all the art and memories.)

And now, between this post and the one before, you know what I really think!

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