Journalists Resources

I was scanning the web this afternoon looking for education resources ie multimedia classes either online or other and ran across this resource on crime and the justice system. 
It includes just about all the basics on covering the crime and justice beat. Love running across information like this to put aside in case it may be needed someday.

While I was on the website I also looked up their resources on education and was sorely disappointed. They have one class listed that ran in 2010. Obviously they’re not putting too much time and effort into updating things on the site except jobs. Which is not to say that portion of the site is anything but excellent. Although I haven’t found a job there yet. Still I wish they would update their classes and media training sections. It’s better to have it blank than to have courses listed over a year ago.

The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism is an excellent site where they have business news, job listings (from  upcoming training for business journalists and Beat Basics among others It’s a great site! I’m taking another FREE online class on Dec. 6 on “Quick-Hit Business Investigations–Concept to Execution.

They not only list their own classes but also those of several other journalism organization’s trainings such as those from SABEW and others.  And business journalism is so broad … it lends itself to stories that run the gamut from the obvious: economics & financials to the not-so-obvious … holiday hiring and shopping stories which are right up my shopping alley! BTW here’s a link to their Retail Beat Basics.

That’s it for my quick update of my Sunday afternoon.

Write on….


Reynolds Center Business Journalism Free Webinar Terrific

I just attended an online freelance webinar on business journalism sponsored by the Reynolds Center that was incredible and it was FREE! The webinar was billed as Sales Strategies for Freelance Business Journalists but it applied to just about any kind of freelance writing.

Maya Payne Smart, freelance business journalist and founder was the instructor of the 4-day event. “Salesmanship is the key weakness that keeps many capable journalists from thriving outside of the newsroom,” according to Smart, who was a very organized and highly knowledgable instructor. Continue reading “Reynolds Center Business Journalism Free Webinar Terrific”


Officer-involved domestic violence

Even though officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV) happens on a daily basis around the country, I don’t think people see the totality of it when it comes up once in awhile when there’s an officer-involved murder suicide. Studies show that typically allegations of domestic violence are not cause for taking an officer’s gun away while there is an investigation – rather “most departments across the country typically handle cases of police family violence informally, often without an official report, investigation, or even check of the victim’s safety.

“This “informal” method is often in direct contradiction to legislative mandates and departmental policies regarding the appropriate response to domestic violence crimes. Moreover, a 1994 nationwide survey of 123 police departments documented that almost half (45%) had no specific policy for dealing with officer-involved domestic violence,” according to the National Center for Women & Policing.

It’s mind boggling that these (mostly) men get away with these kinds of crimes. I didn’t address the case from Gresham, Ore. in this piece but in the Jeffrey Grahn murders/suicide this sheriff from Clackamas County shot his wife, two of her friends and then himself outside of a bar in February, 2009. It shook up the community for awhile but it’s essentially forgotten once other news stories come up to take its place.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office had NO INTERNAL POLICY at the time to address officer-involved domestic violence. It’s currently tasked a committee with researching best practices around hiring for the Sheriffs’ Office and has tagged on the domestic violence issue for committee members to come up with a solution for officer-involved domestic violence.

Washington State is the only state in the nation that requires law enforcement agencies to have a policy regarding internal domestic violence. That came after the 2003 murder/suicide of Crystal Judson and her husband — David Brame  — the then Police Chief of Tacoma.

In 2003 the International Association of Chief’s of Police created a model policy specifically to address OIDV. Since then some agencies have adopted this policy or created their own — however, those who have are in a very, very small minority.

In the story published on Friday by Women’s eNews talks about the issues around this topic. I interviewed Dave Thomas, a former police officer who is currently with Johns Hopkins University in the Public Safety Leadership Program. I think he summed up why OIDV is so different from a typical case of domestic violence. “If an abuser is in law enforcement he is a batterer with a Ph. D. in power and control . . . that victim is in double jeopardy,” he said.

Check out the story on Women’s eNews this week and support the cause on Facebook and Twitter.


Mea Culpa

Don’t you hate it when you read a blog and the blogger goes on and on about how long it’s been since he/she blogged and how guilty he/she feels. Yeah … so I won’t do that. I’m just going to blog on like it was just yesterday that I last blogged and ignore the fact that it’s been months. Heavy sigh.



I’ve moved now. I’m living and working (writing…always writing) in Spokane, Wash.

Yes, that’s right. I left my perfectly good house in Portland and moved everything I own to Spokane. My children are here. Need I say more? Ah … you’re maybe thinking yes, you do need to say more. Portland to Spokane? Giving up the diversity, the weather, organic food stores on every other corner, the naked people riding bicycles, Irvington, the beach, and oh so much more.

To go to Spokane where there is the WEATHER, the macho men, the uptight community, only one organic store, only one Nordstrom’s, only one Tuesday Morning, no naked people at all let alone riding bicycles and no beach in sight.

There is however, a 14-year-old grandson, a 4-month-old grandson and two grown children whom I love so dearly.

So … here’s the photo that says it all. Or some of it anyway.

But there’s also thisJustin Sprecher

and this and

this. Oh and




Korbin at 4 months. Cutest baby in the world.




Murder suicide story generates numerous reruns

The story I did last month (on Women’s eNews) on domestic violence murder suicides and the whole numbers game surrounding violent deaths was a long time in coming . But I did receive several reactions to the story.

Right after the article published I got responses from a number of different organizations who took the article and republished it on their website including the Maryland-based Casey Merrill Journalism Center on Children & Families. They republished the story on their web site and sent it out to about 5,000 other journalists.

A number of others reran the article as well. I hope others not involved in media read it as well. When you’re talking numbers in a story like that it’s hard for Jane Doe public to follow sometimes, unless they’re really involved in the topic because of relatives or friends. However you do what you can.

BTW – an aside: The Journalism Center on Chilren & Families is extending their deadline for entries to the 2010 Casey Medals:

2010 Casey Medals Expand to Include

Digital Journalists, Citizen Media

This year’s Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism mark a new era as the Journalism Center on Children & Families enters the 16th year of the national awards competition. The Casey Medals honor exemplary reporting on children, youth and families and are funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. In recognition of significant changes in online news delivery, JCCF revamped several categories and expanded eligibility.

For the first time, citizen journalists and reporters from online-only news sites are eligible to apply in all categories. The “Television” and “Radio” categories are restructured as “Video” and “Audio,” expanded to include both broadcast media and the advent of Web-only audio and video entries.

“It’s clear that 2009 brought innovative reporting on child and family issues across the board in all forms of media,” said executive director Gena Fitzgerald. “We’re thrilled to see this fresh surge in reporting on these critical issues, so we wanted to create innovative categories and fresh change for the digital age.”

First-place winners receive $1,000 and will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in October. Casey Medal Winners are automatically considered for two additional $5,000 awards presented by JCCF’s partner, America’s Promise Alliance. Created to honor the legacy of Tim Russert, the America’s Promise Journalism Awards honor work in two categories: Awareness and Action.

The deadline for 2010 Casey Medal applications has been extended one week. Entries must now be received by 5 p.m. ET on Friday, March 12, 2010. This was reprinted from their website at

I’m currently working on another story involved police-perpetrated domestic violence. There’s plenty of examples to choose from in Oregon in the past month.


Murder/suicides not tracked by FBI or ???

Women’s eNews published the story I wrote today on domestic violence murders and suicides and the fact that those numbers are not tracked. It seems unbelievable that there is no organization in the country that tracks total dv numbers of homicides, suicides and children and/or coworkers who may be killed in dv situations.

“FBI statistics show violent crime retreating, but it’s impossible to say exactly what’s going on with domestic violence deaths because total numbers are not tracked. Calls to state anti-violence coalitions, however, suggest this crime is bucking the trend and getting worse.”

I interviewed people in Wisconsin, Utah, Kansas and Pennsylvania and they were even surprised that the numbers were so significant and had happened in just one year. Pennsylvania had 198 deaths related to domestic violence in 2009 according to Judy Yupcavage, the organizations public policy and information manager.

I interviewed directors or communication personnel at the state coalitions against domestic violence to get the numbers in the case of Pennsylvania. I think I’ll create a table with the numbers that show numbers of murder/suicides vs. homicide numbers that the FBI or the Department of Justice provides. There is also the Violence Policy Center that tracks murder/suicides but they don’t track (specifically) domestic violence numbers.

On to the next story…


A silly question about domestic violence

I just finished up a story on domestic violence numbers of deaths in 2008, 2009.  I’ve been following domestic violence in the US and abroad for about 20 years — since I was in a violent relationship myself in the early 1980s.  After I got out of that relationship, underwent a lot of therapy and help from a battered women’s shelter support services in Aurora, Colo., I started writing about domestic violence.

It was only a couple years before (in 1979) that Lenore Walker’s book The Battered Woman had been published.

Lenore Walker considered the 'mother' of the battered woman syndrome.

I picked up the book and found my story in there. I was so ashamed of myself in the beginning. How had I, a feminist, strong intelligent woman succumbed to a relationship where I was beaten and finally, broken. I was stunned when I started reading about the cycle of violence and how horrifying it was, and yes, familiar.

Fast forward 20 years and I’ve written many, many stories about domestic violence at a number of different publications. I’ve also gotten sober and just recently celebrated 21 years of being clean and sober. But that’s another story. Although substance abuse certainly helped to keep me in the violent relationship.

The story I just finished for Women’s eNews is a story not only about the increase in the domestic violence murders, suicides and deaths of those caught in the crossfire, it is also a story about numbers.

When I began writing about domestic violence nobody was tracking numbers about deaths, injuries or anything related. Since then we’ve increasingly seen the Dept. of Justice, the FBI, the CDC and many, many other antiviolence groups tracking the numbers of domestic violence homicides, injuries and so on. Huge changes in how it’s perceived etc. etc.

So when I heard the stories about murder/suicides increasing in a number of states, I went first to the statistics to check out homicides, suicides and those deaths related to domestic violence.

Guess what? Those numbers still aren’t tracked in any cohesive, national database that systematically tracks and documents the toll in death and injury by domestic violence incidents for lack of a better term (ie. homicides, suicides and others who die in such incidents) in the United States.

So, check out Women’s eNews next week on Friday for the story about how high the numbers are and that they are increasing in the U.S., despite the fact that we are being told that violent crime is way down in many parts of the country.

My second question? How can you attempt to find solutions to a problem if you can’t even define the problem by how often, where, when, by whom and what is happening?


My Life Is a Circus; I’m Stuck in the Freak Tent

I forgot my first rule of blogging in my last post: never complain about a problem without also presenting a solution to the problem. I started to write about the solution but I got caught up in the problem. So I though I’d tell you the solution to “My Life Is a Circus and I’m stuck in the Freak Tent.”

The good news is “Get Known Before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz. My apologies to said author. It’s not her fault my life is an island of chaos at the moment.

by Christina Katz

That is the good news – Katz’ book and the idea of building, growing and nurturing a platform while you’re still writing the book.

One of the best things about “Get Known Before the Book Deal” is that Katz presents authoring as a process rather than an event of writing the book and then looking for a publisher.

I liked Seth Godin’s definition of the process which she uses in the book. “The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build crediblity, and build the connections you’ll need later.” (Seth Godin)

That, in a nutshell, is what Katz’ book is about — the process of  developing your platform as a writer/author.

Another of the best things about “Get Known Before the Book Deal” is that the process she describes – knowing oneself, knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are and finally, knowing your readership is something everyone must do for themselves OR we are our own worst enemy.

Tantamount to the process of platform building is integrity – the idea that you know who you are and that you align yourself with your passion, speak to your own resistance (which means tucking it under your arm and moving on), and that you are confident about your expertise in the topic(s) you’re writing about.

Joining in community

Then the challenge becomes taking it out there. Take a deep breath and take who you are, what you believe and take it to the next level – community. Katz outlines a plethora of ways to reach out to, and become part of, community – in other words, joining in and making things happen out of your passion, with your integrity intact. Those ways include active membership in relevant organizations, performing volunteer work, teaching what you’re passionate about, making public appearances to share your expertise, writing and having articles published, and offering your talents up for service. Katz gives real world examples of how promoting oneself with integrity is possible advises how to do it and remain in service to community. It is truly inspiring.

In the Process

I am, despite this week’s blog to the contrary, in the midst of creating a platform. I am on part three in the book and I’ve made many strides in some of the areas she talks about. The book though, is a guide that is so useful in the nitty gritty world we live in where we are bombarded with visual and auditory messages constantly, where we have to hone in to focus on our goals, set aside those tasks better done by someone else and be there for ourselves and for others. I sometime get lost in the daily grind, churning out the work I need to do and living life in the present – choosing what to focus on and not letting the minutia take over.

Focus, focus, focus

My final point is in relation to focus. Writing is, by nature, an isolating task. Promoting ourselves, on the other hand, is about community and using our passion as the juice to rise above what doesn’t matter. Promoting yourself and growing an author platform is anything but a task we do alone. So there has to be a paradigm shift, in my experience, to transition from writing to promoting. I appreciate people like Katz who remind us where we’re going, what’s important, and guide us in having our dreams realized.

In addition to “Write Christina Katz has also written “Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.”

She is also a teacher and speaker who also hosts live workshops, e-mail classes and telephone coaching. Find out more on her website.


Get Known Before the Book Deal

I just started reading Christina Katz’ book “Get Known Before the Book Deal.”

There is no shortage of information out there on social media and how to get oneself marketed and known, how to do social media marketing. What is lacking is time. I am so busy (I’m sure I’m echoing others) doing school work, selling our house, looking for a job, family stuff and everything else that takes up time that I don’t have time to think about, that I don’t have any time left. Whew that was one run-on sentence. There’s always a new book out that I “have to read” bombarding my email or tweeting me that it’s the place to go, the blog to read, the talk radio to listen to.

I go crazy online looking at sites like SitePro News telling me about the “TOP 10 TWITTER TIPS” and the “10 Ways to Convey Passion in My Articles” and how to host my own show on Blog Talk Radio that it seems like I could be on there forever checking out all the ways to do things better, faster, funnier and sexier. Well, sexier no. That’s my signficant other telling me that. I was confused for a minute.

Then there are people sending me messages on my Facebook and Twitter urging me to become a fan, be a friend, watch their video … it’s very intrusive. And I’m not sure how, or why, I decided to have all that “lost art of conversation” sent to my email as well.

Add a pinch of people asking me to tell them how to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and it’s clear there’s no time left on the books, no time like the present, no time no time … I got no time.

I’m just saying…. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. I don’t got no time. I want my hour back. I want to go on a cruise and only go aboard with a few changes of clothing and nothing to read, no computer to sit in front of, no laptop sitting on my lap or anyone else’s and no freaking phone to hear, read, beep or vibrate. LEAVE ME ALONE. I’m busy. Doing nothing. I got no time.