December 6, 2011

The good news is that I just landed a full-time journalism job! As for the bad news: I have given up all of my teaching gigs. At least, for now…

I guess you want to hear about the job first. Early next year, Newsday, one of the country’s leading newspapers, is starting up a hyperlocal news website for Westchester County, N.Y. As with all things hyperlocal, there will no printed page for readers. Welcome to the world of digital journalism, where your daily fix will originate online rather than on paper.

A team is being assembled for this new website and I’m one of the lucky new reporters. Since I live in Westchester County, I look forward to covering the home turf while working mostly from home. I’m also thrilled and grateful to find a cutting-edge, full-time journalism job, especially in this economy. By the way, did I mention that my daughter’s getting ready for college — and that I’m getting ready to pay tuition bills? Haha.

Speaking of college, I am so, so sad about saying goodbye to my teaching gigs. From the time I was a teenager, my dream was to teach. During the past seven years, I’ve had the privilege of being in classrooms at five different universities in various departments and programs. They were all part-time jobs; there were crazy moments when I was running between as many as four campuses in a single semester.

But what intoxicating variety. I loved the challenge of adapting to each school’s culture and meeting such a wide range of students. They varied in age from 14 to 70. They came to me from all over the world. My adult students worked in more professionals than I can name. Everyone opened me up to new ideas that I otherwise never would’ve considered.

That’s the real thrill of teaching — I was always learning. So if you’re a former student and you’re reading this now, I want to thank you for trusting me with your life and your stories. I count you among the best teachers I’ve ever had. Once I figure out my work schedule, I’d love to get back in the classroom for the occasional night class.

Until then, I’m looking ahead to a 2012 filled with insane changes…

Imagine, I’m 55 and haven’t had a full-time journalism job in 16 years. Then again, I’ve been blogging, tweeting and endlessly foraging online. Who knew that these explorations would help get me back in the game?

So now I’m ready to find my “mo jo” — mobile journalism. That’s the buzzword for today’s on-the-go, 21st century approach to reporting. Forget about the olden days of racing back to the newsroom to file a story. Instead, try an image of reporters out there on the scene, tapping their articles into their iPads while uploading video and photos shot on their iPhones.

Even though I’m kinda nervous, I feel prepared to work my ancient butt off. I hope you’ll stick around for the adventure. No doubt, these new experiences will lead to some interesting blog posts. I will share whatever I learn to keep a virtual classroom going. And if you have story ideas for me, please get in touch! Together, we can find a collective mojo.   xo.

P.S. — If you want more details on the hyperlocal, here’s a copy of the memo that was sent to Newsday staffers yesterday.