Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Staking My Claim

When I'm asked what I want to do for work, I can't give a short answer - usually it's something to the effect of "I'd like to work in traditional, social, and broadcast media, and how the three interact". Not exactly a simple thought. And yet, recently, I was nearly afforded the opportunity to do just that. I interviewed for a position with the Your Town hyperlocal project run by Boston.com.

The towns I was being considered for are just down the road from me, and I regarded the prospect with unreserved excitement. I would have been working in a groundbreaking experiment in aggressive news coverage, and I would have been doing it in my own backyard. I hoped I was among the top-choice candidates based on my devotion to the paper in finding new places to work, based on my proximity and familiarity with the area, and based on my previous work for Globe West and the Boston in 60 Project.

But last week I got the call that I was not the finalist chosen for the position. It was a blow, I'll readily admit, and one that took me a day or two to rebound from. But immediately following that tough news, I was afforded the chance to go back to basics and work in local coverage for the print section, Globe West. In fact, I was going to be picking up four towns out there, most of which are high-activity and all of which are high-profile. Not a bad deal, I suppose. It doesn't pay as well as the Your Town job would have, but I'll have more traditional clips this way. And I've seen writers take opportunities like the one I now have and turn them into bigger and better jobs.

In the interest of maintaining an online mindset from time to time, though, I'm hoping to add another function to my blog here (one that I hope will drive me to add content far more frequently than I've done): outtakes. The Globe has, in a couple of places, features that highlight the "best of" something that didn't run. A long-time photographer posts the best picture that didn't make it into the paper. Sportswriters add little tidbits to the Notes columns when they don't grow into full stories.

What I'd like to do is, once a week, post the best quote/picture/anecdote that I came across but didn't use in working on these four towns, just because it was interesting. Maybe it'll help me keep the writing-for-new-media skills in practice, too.