All posts tagged: Journalism

TueNight 10: Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder is the founder of ClearHealthCosts, a journalism startup in New York City bringing transparency to health care by telling people what things cost. “After almost 25 years at The New York Times, I volunteered for a buyout in 2009. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but was lucky enough to land in a class in “entrepreneurial journalism,” at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, with Jeff Jarvis and Jeremy Caplan, where I grew the idea for this startup.” Almost exactly a year later, she won a shark-tank-type pitch contest in front of a jury of New York City venture capitalists and internet bigwigs to found the company. Jeanne hails from Iowa, where she started her career as a journalist at her family’s paper, The Grinnbell Herald-Register, as a cub reporter at the tender age of 13. This means she has been a journalist for more than 50 years! Here is her TueNight 10: 1. On the nightstand:  The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. No One Tells You This, Glynnis MacNicol. Women and Power, Mary Beard. Rereading: Eloquent …

You Better Work: My First Boss and Ru-Paul

On RuPaul’s book tour (Photos courtesy of the author) My first job out of college was as an assistant to a publicist at Hyperion, a “boutique” publishing house owned by a quaint corporation called The Walt Disney Company. We had ID cards with a Mickey Mouse hologram on them. Seriously. My boss, Jennifer, was a tall, brassy, 27-year-old woman who somehow seemed as old to me as one of the Golden Girls. She was fierce, whip smart, and a little bit scary. Jen liked a large iced coffee and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter, which I ordered for her every morning. This was back when people ate bagels. She taught me to take a thorough phone message. To grill the “freelance book reviewers” trying to get free review copies. To massage the egos of the needier authors and only get her out of “a meeting” if it was someone specific. She taught me to pitch reporters, the most awkward and agonizing part of publicity work. While at Hyperion, Disney was bought by ABC, …

6 Things I Learned Tracking the First Jobs of Famous Folk

Photo (Stocksy.com) Everyone gets a start in the working world somewhere. So, as the Money editor at Reuters, I thought it would be interesting to use the monthly jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor as a springboard talk to notable people about their very first gigs. (For non-financial types, the jobs report is by far the most closely watched economic gauge of the U.S. economy’s health.) After all, no matter how famous or powerful they have become, all of us remember the first moment of bringing home the bacon. Here is what I’ve learned from editing three years’ worth of first job stories: 1. Many people got their start delivering newspapers It sounds so old-timey, but the list includes MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, baseball legend Ron Darling and financial wizard Warren Buffett. However, so far no one has mentioned being chased by a dog. 2. Many more of them worked in restaurants Fredrik Eklund of Million Dollar Listing New York, Olympic gold medalist Carmelita Jeter, football star Damien Woody, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna …

And Still I Rise: Answering the Midnight Muse

3:27 a.m. That’s what time she woke me up this morning. Two days ago, she woke me up at 3:49 a.m. Today? Tomorrow? Who knows. I’m talking about the writing muse — that seductive voice that whispers in my ear when an idea strikes me, and I’m compelled to jot it down, explore it. My Muse comes in many forms: a memory, a feeling, a longing, a joke  As a non-fiction writer working on a memoir, I welcome my muse. I need her.  I love her. Just not at 3 a.m. in the morning. At first I would fight her. Wait it out. Lie in bed, unable to go back to sleep but refusing to move. Or I’d turn on the television; its bluish glare illuminating my darkened bedroom. Now I know better. Now I give in. Now I know that nothing will satisfy the early morning mystery except my writing. So I’m prepared. Before I go to bed I make sure I know where my laptop is. Or my legal pad and pen. Or my journal. …

The Magic of the Bitch and Swap

Long ago in the 1990s, when I was a freelance magazine writer, I never had enough of anything — money, love, other people, and of course, clothing. I worked alone in my West Village apartment and most of my reporting was done by telephone. I rigorously scheduled social engagements at night, from dates to drinks with a friend, or a book party or reading or a real party or a fake PR party at a handbag store. If I didn’t speak to a real person face to face at least once a day, I felt myself fading from the human race. It was a time of living between no money, some money and family-begged money. I was actually fairly successful as a writer, but felt like an abject, obvious failure. I was consumed with fear that I would never meet a man whom I could marry and who would marry me. The latter was the bigger fear. It was a terribly lonely and scary stretch of years, despite the many, many parties. It was good, …

The Woman Who Taught Me to Chase After My “Big Life”

The room was quiet. Ann Shoket, Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen, had just finished giving a keynote address to a room full of hundreds of young women at a HerCampus conference in midtown Manhattan. When she asked for questions, you could feel the room hesitate. What do you say to someone who you’ve looked up to for over five years? I was an upcoming senior in college, and something in me knew this was my chance to start planting seeds for my dream job — becoming Ann’s assistant. I raised my hand, not really even knowing what I was going to say, and managed to ask, “Ann, considering what everyone is saying about the magazine industry right now, what would you say to parents like mine who worry about me chasing my dreams of becoming a magazine editor?” She started to answer and then paused. “Do you want to record this to send to your parents?” she asked. I pulled out my phone and, with a shaky hand, recorded an answer I will always remember: “Your job …

How A Fox News Feminist Changed Things From the Inside Out

Fun fact: I never considered myself a “feminist.” I hated the word as well as the connotations it suggested. But my mother — my biggest fan and toughest critic — changed all of that. She, too, started out as a reluctant feminist.  Sure she believed in women’s rights. Yet, when she came to the United States, she strived to be the opposite: a quiet Indian immigrant, existing between the lines as a med school resident, striving to be the best doctor she could be, but never questioning authority or stirring the pot. That was until the director of Yale School of Medicine told her she could be chief resident if she was more assertive. “Assertive” meant she was committed. “Committed” was a direct shot to chief resident, and “chief resident” meant she would be the BEST.  She would be granted access to what was known as the “Vatican” of Yale medical school. At 27 years old, she would have instant street cred, clout and a possible bump in salary. It also meant she could cut …

11 Women Who Started Brand New Careers in Midlife— and Never Looked Back

Big changes in career, vocation and lifestyle in midlife or the years leading up to it are more often an evolution than a radical change. I went back to journalism school at 35 because the writing degree I’d started at 18 — and never finished —nagged at me for years. Going from full-time college counselor and teacher to graduate student was intimidating — financially, intellectually and emotionally. It was also one of the best, richest experiences of my life, and, no matter how many zeroes got added to my student loan balance, I have never regretted it. I traveled to Vietnam to cover business growth there. I was a reporter in the arena on the night Barack Obama accepted the nomination for President of the United States. I helped to run a student digital newsroom and emerged as the de facto den mother of several classmates a decade or more my junior. I now have a degree that means I can teach writing if I want to (because I loved teaching too much to leave …

tuenight retire more magazine

More (and More) Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Another one bites the dust. The recent announcement that More would cease publication was just the latest blow to loyal magazine fans who still enjoy flipping through their favorite glossies. The women’s lifestyle magazine, which aimed at older, affluent “women of style and substance with articles on style, health, work, spirituality and relationships,” garnered both publicity and favor by featuring celebs ages 40 and up, including cover stars Diane Lane, Rachel Weiz and Jennifer Connelly. In 2002, Jamie Lee Curtis made news by appearing on the cover in only a sports bra and underwear, minus makeup or photoshopping. The magazine aimed to go more upscale and a little younger in the past year – Katie Holmes, a mere 37, ditched her makeup for the February cover – but the move failed to nab advertisers. Publisher Meredith Corporation forced it into early retirement after nearly 19 years of publication, making it the first magazine casualty of 2016; the last issue will appear this April. And with up to 15 reported layoffs in November, some predict that …

Story Gone Cold: A Reporter Finds an Unexpected Angle in the Arctic

Village de Salluit, in Québec (Photo: Louis Carrier, Commons.wikimedia.org) I bet you can’t find Salluit on a map. Look for Quebec – six times the size of France – then move your finger north. Way, way north to a spot just past the Arctic Circle, which lies at 60 degrees. You can only reach the Inuit town of Salluit by air. There are no roads. And you can only fly into it via Air Inuit, coming to and from places like Aupaluk and Inukiak. I visited in late-December in the mid-1980s. We took a jet north from Montreal to Kuujjuaq, a two-hour flight, before switching to one of the tiny DASH-8s, small aircraft specially designed and built for use on the Arctic’s short frigid runways. The kind of runways where all you’ve got to work with is a lot of snow and ice and little room to maneuver before skidding off into seawater, the temperature of which will kill you within minutes. I was a reporter then for the Montreal Gazette, sent north on an …

Thanks Patricia, Ellen, Danyel and Sue

  The black and white photocopy is riddled with thumbtack holes, pinned to various bulletin boards over the years. A photo of four women music journalists: Patti, the punk poet, Ellen, the trailblazing New Yorker critic, Sue, the one who dared write about rave music and Danyel, who grabbed your arm and took you along to a hip-hop concert. The image illustrated the 1992 Village Voice article by Evelyn McDonnell, “Feminine Critique: The Secret History of Women in Rock Journalism.” When that article came out, I was a devoted music writer and “listings editor” for the City Paper, a Philly alt weekly. For me, the photo offered — and offers — hope, inspiration, a reminder to be myself. The variety of faces and scenes (from Bleecker Street to a bedroom) suggest that great writing can come from anyone, anyplace, anytime, with any approach. Which kind of had nothing to do with being a woman, and yet had everything to do with it. Your voice, your point of view, might be intertwined with gender but it …