Dept. of Union Stuff

Saturday, 27 May 2017 02:52 pm
kaffyr: The newsies contemplate striking (Stop the presses)
Day Two of Vacation: A Request

After my brief, but heartfelt, snarl about one of the awful people with whom I'm forced to negotiate, I realized I haven't told anyone about the miserable news we folks at my immediate company heard concerning Chicago news. Michael Ferro, who bought the Chicago Sun-Times several years ago, drove it even further into the ground than Conrad Black had left it; who gave the Sun-Times holding company the ridiculous name Wrapports;who sold all the Sun-Times suburban publications to the Chicago Tribune Publishing Company, thereby freeing the suburban properties - we thought - from his bizarre, self-aggrandizing, and supremely anti-journalistic ass;  who then jumped ship so that he could become majority shareholder at Chicago Tribune Publishing, ensuring that we couldn't be free of the bastard; who proceeded to rename the Tribune after the sound a flatulent goose makes when trod upon (and even the Trib didn't deserve "tronc") - has now turned around and plans to buy the Chicago Sun-Times, which he ensured would be barely breathing by the time he did so. 

We believe he plans to kill the Sun-Times, somewhere between 18 and 24 months from the time he gets his claws on it. He's a mean, vicious creature, and we believe that -  not content with having used the Sun-Times as the platform from which he could reach his real goal, the Trib and it's network (the L.A. Times, Hartford Courant and others) not content with having sucked the lifeblood out of the Sun-Times in his quest - he actually wants to kill it, so that Chicago become a one-paper town, like too many major markets in the United States. As I said; mean and vicious.

Thus far the Department of Justice's antitrust division appears to be paving the way for Ferro to do this; here are a couple of stories about the proposed sale. You be the judge when it comes to how carefully the antitrust boys are looking at this. 

The NewsGuild is trying to stop this, or at least slow it down so that other potential buyers could be found to save the Sun-Times. Part of our strategy is this petition.
 Consider signing it; no matter where you live, the continuing health of news outlets should be a concern. If you decide to sign, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 

Dept. of Music and Joy

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 08:46 pm
kaffyr: (Sen Waits)
 July in May

The last couple of days in Chicago have been in the mid-80sF, although tomorrow is supposed to be only in the 70s.  I didn't mind it; I was able to drive to an assignment, and to a doctor's appointment, with the windows down today. (Yesterday was warm enough that I had to put the car's AC on - and I have to get the AC refrigerant topped off, probably when I'm on vacation week after next, because it wasn't very cool.)

I spent four hours yesterday being trained on the new editorial program the Trib is using. Our trainer said we'll have to get trained on yet another system later this summer; apparently they had to go to this interim system first, but it's a lot of training for very little return. 

The newspaper company I used to work for, the Chicago Sun-Times, is about to be swallowed up by the newspaper company it sold my chain to back in 2014. I have very conflicted feelings about that, none of them good, but they're complex enough that I'm not going to go into them now. Maybe later. 

Another thing I may want to go into at another time: how impressed I've been with the second season of Attack on Titan. 

But for now, have this Bob Mould song. It's gorgeous. 




kaffyr: (See the Sky)
Sunday After the Deluge

It took me far too long after my last post to get back online. In part, that's because I last posted the night before the local elections that I had to cover on April 4.

Local election verbiage under the cut ) 

If you've gotten to this point in the post, you'll deserve a pat on the back. Also, you'll have figured out that I was completely wrung out by Wednesday night. I was. I barely managed to drag myself through Thursday and the first half of Friday. By 2 p.m. Friday, I was done. 

The weekend has been a time of getting things done that have nothing to do with my weekday work. I even cleaned the bathroom floor, getting down on hands and knees with a brush and getting into the (eurgh) corners. Yes, it made me happy. Yes, I took a shower after cleaning the bathroom floor. 

Now, my beloved husband is making a late dinner for us, and that is a more than reasonable way to end the weekend. 

Dept. of Saturday

Saturday, 18 March 2017 11:13 am
kaffyr: (Bruce doubts that)
Wish Me Luck

In an effort to make Monday less apt to be the first through ninth circles of Hell, I'm doing some workday work on Saturday. I'm giving myself two hours to get some reasonable things done, (checking backgrounds on candidates, uploading a police blotter, sending emails with questions to the candidates I haven't reached yet, which probably means having to hunt up emails, and telling people they can call me on Sunday), and then I"m going to tell myself to relax again.

And, hey, I may even have something to say beyond this, later today. We'll see.  

Dept. of Mondays

Monday, 9 January 2017 09:19 pm
kaffyr: Snark about fanfic (Adulthood? It's fanfic)
Adulting Is Haaaaaard

And I'm 61. 

Also, writing is getting less hard. 

But I'm still 61. 

Faced with further contemplation of all those facts, I am going to bed. 

Bonus comment. I have new slippers, about which I am overwhelmingly excited. 

See previous comments about being 61. 

ETA: Augh. I should have made it clear that yesterday was not my birthday, which was back last September. I was just whining about being old. Thanks to all for the birthday wishes, they will make my 62nd birthday, eight months or so from now, extra nice. 




kaffyr: (Badly Written)
I Am Running Around in All Directions

I am not quite acting like a chicken with its head cut off (and yes, children, that was a thing in the days when one might dispatch a chicken for dinner), but whatever I'm doing is very close to that. I shall search for a simile when I have time. 

So it seems as if I definitely must complete three days' work before the end of Thursday, because the medical procedure I'm undergoing on Friday has been moved up from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m. And I just realized that I'm supposed to attend a meeting Thursday night, in the midst of preparing for my procedure. The combination of meeting and procedure prep is, for a variety of reasons undoubtedly known to those of you over 50, unrealistic. I am praying that the meeting will actually be viewable online; then I can cover it from home, which will a much more suitable locale, given the prep necessities.

(What? No, I'm not going to spell it out for you, although the hint I gave you ought to be enough. I will say that, in addition to that for which I'm prepping, I'll be undergoing an endoscopy at roughly the same time. God, I love growing old.)

Yesterday I realized that, by covering one story last Thursday, in The Place That I Have Come to Loathe, I missed another meeting in my regular and much-preferred beat. Luckily, I was able to cover that meeting by archived video. Hurrah for 21st century tech. 

And therefore I'm off! Perhaps I'll have enough energy to check back in later today. I'd like that.  

Dept. of Birthdays

Thursday, 29 September 2016 09:04 am
kaffyr: (newsies sell papes)
Happy Birthday [personal profile] strannik01 !

It's a delayed birthday wish, but I definitely want to send it, to a fellow Chicago area journalist and astute observer of the area's political and social milieu, and someone whose gently acerbic ruminations on both are always a pleasure to read. Knowing someone who is part of two of my worlds - fandom and reporting - is a wonderful privilege. Glad I "know" you!


kaffyr: Calvin face palms (Calvin face palm)
OH, CRAP 

Crap, crappity crap.
kaffyr: (Darwin!)
Gee, D'ya Think?

I pay occasional attention to a LinkedIn discussion group for online reporters and editors. It doesn't often have much to commend it, and today's post was ... well, here's the title: "As Newsrooms Have Layoffs, Content Could Suffer."

No shit, Sherlock. 

*goes to bang head rhythmically against wall*

kaffyr: A typical day in the BSG!verse (Frakkin' Watchtower)
Why Postpone, When You Can Just. Not. Do. It....

It's a simple feature story. Why in heaven's name (or hell's, or purgatory's or limbo's) can't I just do it? 

AAAAAAaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuugh.


Dept. of Haste

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 10:23 pm
kaffyr: Animation of a Ghibli film scene, water rolling into shore. (Anoesis)
I aten't dead, I'm just busy

Things I've done: been irritated by editors; had stories I didn't think were worth it be highlighted approvingly by said editors; managed to get my exercises done at least once a day; seen a faun on the side of a lake bluff, where I never would have expected it; written almost 900 words on H&M; and ... well, let's go with that for now. 

More, later?
kaffyr: (NaruOMG)
 O. M. G. 

I am at a zoning meeting. 

I am at a zoning meeting. 

And she won't stop talking. 

AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Dept. of Saturday

Saturday, 22 November 2014 05:36 pm
kaffyr: Keep Calm and Carry on At Length poster (Carry On)
Parades are good ...
And work glitches shouldn't interfere with enjoying them

Thank ghu for good days. Even though I had to work today, and even though I hadn't realized until Thursday that I was working a weekend shift, it's still a good day today.

First, because my work day is over, and I actually managed to write two stories. Second, because one of those stories was a fluffy feature about my town's holiday parade, which necessitated me going to see the parade this morning

We-e-e-ll, I say "necessitated" ... I should say I had the great good luck to have a parade to go to.

I love parades. I have ever since I was a wee little thing. I don't believe I'll ever get too old for them, and I don't really care if they're huge, long processions or little dinky community affairs, as this one was. There's just something about the positive vibes - yes, that's pretty woo-woo, I acknowledge - about seeing floats and marching bands, hearing bagpipes, all the bright colors, waving at the participants and having them wave back - even the clowns and the Shriner mini-cars, they all press my childhood buttons of wonder and special occasion and festival. And with the tiny parades, there's an added sense of shared community; everyone's smiling, kids are generally having at least a bit of fun, even the older ones, and people are willing to let their barriers down and talk to you. 

So I got to wander around and ask people if they were having fun, and see loads of people I knew - even had someone come out of the parade and give me a hug. I've definitely been on my beat long enough to say "I know this town," at least a little bit. 

Once I got home, and a little thawed out - it was 42 degrees Fahrenheit, which was better than it has been over the past week, but my fingers still got numb - I wrote up the story and sent it to the duty editor. And then it was on to an actual news story that I'd done the interviews for a couple of days ago. And then I was able to end my day.

Why does this fairly pedestrian activity relax me and even make me a tad joyful? Because for the first three days of the week, I was in an unpleasantly high state of tension, for a reason that hasn't happened to me in a while.

Non-parade, slightly crappy, you've been warned )
Ahem; this seems to have turned into a long angsty post.

But I'm happy! I've been able to do a post, and I went to a parade! And I have a glass of wine next to me, and BB and I are about to watch a movie! And I made cookies, too many of which I've ingested! And tomorrow is a day off! And Thanksgiving is coming, which I love! So there are a lot of positives! And many, many exclamation points!!

Dept. of Monday

Monday, 29 September 2014 09:33 pm
kaffyr: Rory and Amy having a rabbit hole day (Rabbit hole day)
Monday was Monday All Day

Offspring, cars, long meetings, negotiations done over the phone, stories on deadline and past it. Yes, it's been that kind of a day. I am going to go to bed now. What I'd love to do tomorrow is post something long, and thoughtful, on something in life that is, well, long. And thoughtful. 

What I would not like to do tomorrow is post anything that is grumpy, kvetchy, or anything of the sort. 

So, Happy Tuesday to all, even before I finish Monday. Perhaps that will give me a running start on the second day of the working week. 

Sigh. 
Yup. That kind of day. )
kaffyr: (Stahma)
Sunday Shifts

It's great in one way, because I know it's leading to a long weekend. But it's not great unless you can get a lot of work done. And while I certainly managed to do one thing that's needed doing for some time - organizing my desk and finally bringing myself to throw away about three years of interview and meeting notes that I really don't need as much as I thought I did - I only got one story done today.

I am a grumpy [personal profile] kaffyr  right now. Monday is going to be fairly long and Tuesday is going to be an absolute bear for reasons that I'm not going to talk about right now, and I should have used Sunday to prepare for it all. Even focusing on all the great clearing up I did (and I did clear through enough that my paper recycling garbage can, which was completely empty, is now half full; that's two feet thick of packed down paper, people) doesn't quite make up for it. Because I'm never satisfied, obviously.

Still - long weekend coming up, and I had a pretty darned good week to look back at in the rear view mirror.

Also, BB made corned beef hash for supper, and I made gingerbread and whipped cream for dessert. And that's not bad, either.

*signs off, trying to whistle "you've got to ac-CEN-tu-ate the positive, e-LIM-in-ate the negative, latch ON to the affirmative, don't mess with Mr. inbetween" before brushing her teeth and bedding down for the night*

Dept. of Not Bad

Monday, 8 September 2014 09:49 pm
kaffyr: Still from Arakawa Under the Bridge (Arakawa afternoon)
 Mondays Aren't Always Bad

That may be damning the first working day of the week with faint praise but, given the Monday's I've had over the past little while, I'll go on record and say one in which I got a fair amount done, and in which I can end the day feeling like I didn't squander my time, is, to put it Canadianly, not bad, eh?

So that's a positive thing. 

And what else is positive? Oh, the weather was absolutely lovely today; not too hot, but still summer-warm, and lacking any of the godawful humidity that I really dislike. Among the many reasons I could not live in Florida, the land that god forgot to terraform, according to my Best Beloved, is humidity. Oh, and the Jurassic size flying insects that, itoo many Southerners I've talked to  try to pretend aren't giant frakkin' cockroaches with wings aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa— But I
 digress. 

So that's a second positive thing. 

And the third .... hmmm, do doughnuts count? No, no, they don't. Not today. But seeing my first born tonight counts. And coming home from a news-filled meeting to my home in lovely Rogers No Park, expecting to have to circle at least four blocks repeatedly, before finding a parking space six blocks away, and finding a spot across the street from my own home - across the street, people, this is unheard-of after 7 p.m., and it was 9 p.m. - that definitely counts. 

So, Monday? A good one, I think. Let's hear it for a good Tuesday, shall we?

Dept. of Wonk

Friday, 25 July 2014 02:01 pm
kaffyr: Keep Calm and Carry on At Length poster (Carry On)
I Live for Zoning Journalism



Long ago I said I would know when to leave my job; it would be when municipal zoning became interesting to me. 

Zoning has been interesting to me for many years now; if not always the painful minutia, then the equally arcane thought processes that go into creating those bits of pilpul and the resulting community evolution that proceed therefrom. Did I, however, take my own advice, and get the hell out of reportorial Dodge once I realized how fascinating this all had become to me? 

Of course not. 

And so I have spent much of this week doing zoning stories.  And I am disheartened to discover that the thrill is gone. 

What???!!??

Long paragraph that you still might want to read )



Huh. Guess it's still thrilling for me. 

I. Am. Pathetic.

But at least I got the thrill back. 


kaffyr: (newsies sell papes)
 Freedom of Information. Big Data. 

These are things. These are important things. I've always known the FOI thing. Reporters do.

But Big Data? Whoah.

Yes, I'm actually at a day long workshop on Freedom of Information Act-related things, for both reporters and citizens, put on by the Chicago Headline Club. The biggest piece of interest for me, though, is the information I'm learning about a) the existence of Big Data and b) how it can be used, interpreted, contextualized and used to enlighten the public I'm serving.

Cool.

But a little weird for a woman whose reporting career began in 1975, back with carbons between sheets of paper that you put into a manual typewriter ....I'm such a mix of things; I love the Internet, I love and understand a bunch of things about communicating on the net, and yet I am so un-tech savvy most of the time ... 

Also, I'm going to be giving a workshop on this back at work. To a lot of other reporters. On April 8. I have until then to figure out Power Point, I suppose. And figure out what needs to be said, how it needs to be said and why. 

Ah, well. Back to breakout sessions.  

Dept. of Labor

Tuesday, 3 December 2013 11:20 pm
kaffyr: Close-up of manual typewriter (Typewriter)
It's Over. Sort Of. For Now.

Union stuff 'cause I'm a Union Maid )

In other news, I took the plunge and hung a [community profile] fandom_stocking . I have no idea when it'll be vetted and hung, but it'll be there. And I will also take the plunge to try to fill a few.

Love you all, my friends. I'm exhausted, I have plumbers coming tomorrow stories to do, a condo association to chivvy. I'm going to bed; being unconscious tonight.beckons like a sultry lover.

kaffyr: A picture of the Eighth Doctor (Eight in time)
 For Your (Possible) Who Edification

Remember the pictures I posted that I took when I and my family went to see "Day of the Doctor"? Well, here's the story that I wrote for my company (yes, I managed to see the the episode and get paid for it - go me!) It was written for general consumption, but I tried to add some little bits for fans. If you read it, hope you enjoy it!

The accompanying video was done by one of our freelancers. It's not done the way I would have done it, most certainly. She focused on me and it was only through herculean efforts by my Best Beloved that we managed to get her attention on some of the other fans. She also wanted to work with "shaky cam" stylings. Again, not what I would have done - but it's also there for your amusement. 


Huh: apparently  the video alone won't embed, so here's the link: http://video.suntimes.com?vcid=25387912&freewheel=58285&sitesection=suntimes
kaffyr: Keep Calm and Carry on At Length poster (Carry On)
 Labor Negotiations

They're long, frustrating grinds, for small nuggets of justice, y'all. They're RAEG inducing. Just sayin'. 

I've killed no one, though; that's something, right? Right?

kaffyr: The First Doctor isn't amused (Bullshit!)
Since I'm On My Second Martini

... and somewhat lacking in observational and analytic eloquence I might otherwise bring to the task, I shall only describe the mandatory staff meeting to which I and my colleagues were forced this morning - and the "information" we received thereat - in the GIF form of interpretative dance:
Under here, because bandwidth )
kaffyr: The First Doctor isn't amused (Bullshit!)
 Pop Quiz

Say you're a professional journalist, one who makes her living by writing stories and taking notes. That's what you do, using your fingers to type all day, using your computer to do research, popping back and forth between screens full of interview notes, web research and the story that you have underway.

Say your company gives you an iPad that you didn't ask for. Say the iPad doesn't easily allow you to switch screens, not unless you can find and use a clunky app. Say it doesn't easily connect to the editorial copy system that your company uses. Say that the keyboard options you have for the iPad are a small rubberized one that your company issued to you, or the electronic one that appears on the screen, shrinking the available screen size even more.

Then say your company issues an edict that you have to return the Macbook laptop it issued you several years ago, which has a keyboard large enough to do regular typing, and a screen and operating system that provides for multiple screens, ease of connectivity to the editorial copy system, etc. etc., yada-yada.

Say company honchos tell you that from now on you have to do all your writing on the iPad. That's not "in an emergency while on the road." That's not "an occasional story." That's forever. No actual computer, like the big kids have. 



Poll #13334 A Measured Response to Journalistic iPad Mandates
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16


After a minute's thought

View Answers

No.
3 (18.8%)

No, really. No
6 (37.5%)

Are you kidding?
6 (37.5%)

Hell, no!
7 (43.8%)

Here's your iPad back.
11 (68.8%)

After further deliberations

View Answers

No.
5 (33.3%)

Still no.
8 (53.3%)

It's not happening.
7 (46.7%)

I've filed a grievance.
9 (60.0%)

You, sir, are an idiot.
11 (73.3%)

kaffyr: (newsies sell papes)
Looking Back, Looking Forward

In August of 1983, Bob Rockafield hired me to be a reporter for the Park Ridge Advocate, one of the weekly newspapers of Pioneer Press in suburban Chicago.

It's a long story. )

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kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
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