The Confederate monument debate hits my hometown, Richmond.

The Confederate monument debate hits my hometown, Richmond.

I've posted a few new stories on my Projects page, including profiles of Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam and journalist/author Roben Farzad, a look at "pro-family" groups that don't actually support pro-women and pro-children legislation. Also, a report from Richmond's Monument Avenue protest in September, which turned out to be a much more peaceful event than August's riot in Charlottesville. A lot of us Richmonders were holding our breath, though. 

Getting Used to the Format

I'm learning how to do things in Squarespace. Like post pictures. Here's one from the other night:

Matthew E. White and Flo Morrissey, performing in Richmond, Va.

Matthew E. White and Flo Morrissey, performing in Richmond, Va.

If you're coming here from LinkedIn or another professional place, hello! Aside from being a writer and editor, I am a professional curious person. That's why I became a reporter after graduating from college. I'm curious why people do things and what makes them change their minds and how they figure out their new paths. Here's my story, in brief.

Like so many journalists today, I've had to adjust my expectations. I started in the 1990s, and my first job was as an editorial assistant at a group of weekly newspapers. We were connected to the internet -- on two computers with dialup modems. I remember they both crashed the day the Starr report came out. I learned how to measure photos by pica, cut out stories with an X-Acto knife and paste them up. These were the final days of that sort of hands-on craft, but that's how we did things. At my next job, as a copy editor at a daily newspaper, we started printing pages directly to a film printer. 

By 2006, when I joined a monthly magazine as an editor, we progressed to uploading batches of proofed pages to our printer. I've always checked pages by printing them out (even now), but for almost everyone involved in journalism today, the process has become less physical and more digital. 

Today, as a freelancer, I'm trying to hang on to the tangible parts of storytelling: meeting in person, listening to what people are trying to communicate, helping them see their own story reflected in the written word. New technology can be overwhelming and off-putting, and goodness knows that I've wanted to throw things at my computer from time to time, but these are our current tools. Just like the X-Acto knife and blue wax pen were a few decades ago.

In short: Journalism and storytelling still matter and will continue to matter, as long as people have experiences they need to share.