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October 26, 2011

26

Goodbye blogosphere, I’m going back to journalism

by Deena Winter

When I left my job at the Lincoln Journal Star more than a year ago, I figured I’d try my hand at something completely different from what I’ve done for two decades.

Maybe open a shabby chic store – Funky Junk, I’d call it – or do what most journalists do to make better money, go into public relations.

Maybe run for office – I certainly had learned the ropes after covering government and politicians for so long. How liberating would it be to be able to give my opinion for once?

This is a screen shot. Clicking on it will not take you to the website. Clicking on links in the story will.

For sure, I’d be a good mom who had warm brownies ready when the kids arrived home from school, and supper bubbling in the Crockpot every night.

Instead, I found that even when given a whole day to plan supper, I still usually started planning about 10 minutes before 6. I found myself spending most of the day reading and blogging and reporting and writing.

Just the other night I made tetrazzini, and nobody ate it.

I started a blog just for fun, mostly – I figured if I didn’t do it right away, in a year nobody would ever be able to find it. I quickly gravitated toward politics and government and one day my husband pointed out that I was basically doing my old job, except for free. In his mind, this did not make good economic sense, so I took freelance writing jobs to support my blogging habit.

I had to tear myself away from blogging to write a freelance story that paid two to three times per hour what I made at the paper. I found myself going to occasional budget meetings or public meetings on roundabouts — not because I was being paid to be there, but because I truly wanted to be there.

So after a year of contemplation and freedom and experimentation and rest, I am returning to what is clearly my passion: journalism. I have accepted a job writing for a nonprofit, online publication called Nebraska Watchdog. Nebraska Watchdog was the first of what has grown to be a national consortium of government watchdog websites funded by donations.

Its mission is to uncover and analyze the actions of state and local government and ensure good government with unbiased news reporting.

“We will investigate and inform the public about waste, fraud, abuse, ethical questions and safety concerns involving the use of taxpayer dollars,” the website says.

I will be stationed in Lincoln and write about about both local and statewide issues, and you can read my stories online.

As newspapers cut back statehouse bureaus and reporters in general, websites like this have stepped into the breach. They are the future.

Since I’ve long been a watchdog reporter who loves to dig, this is a perfect fit. I join longtime Omaha investigative reporter Joe Jordan, who has worked as a political and investigative reporter on TV and radio for 40 years in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska. He has been reporting for Nebraska Watchdog for two years now.

I appreciate all the support and encouragement you’ve given me during the past year, and I hope you will continue with me on this journey at Nebraskawatchdog.org.

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26 Comments Post a comment
  1. CS
    Oct 26 2011

    Good luck, Deena. You and I don’t always see eye to eye, but you do have a nose and an eye for a story.

    Reply
  2. Roger Yant
    Oct 26 2011

    Gee Deena I will miss you! Can we follow you on the internet at your new job? You did a good job here in Lincoln and I know you will do the same for your new employer, they are lucky to have you. God bless you and yur new venture.

    Reply
    • Oct 26 2011

      Yes, that’s the great thing about the Internet, Roger!

      Reply
  3. Jason Christenson
    Oct 26 2011

    Bring that tetrazzini over to Two Men And A Truck, we’ll take care if it.

    Reply
  4. You’ve done a wonderful job for the people of Lincoln and Nebraska and am so sorry to see you leave your blog.

    Bless you and all the best in your future endeavors!

    Another free blogger-
    Jim “Groucho” Meyer
    http://groucho-karl-marx.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  5. Flake
    Oct 26 2011

    Great news, Deena! Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  6. Jessica Kennedy
    Oct 26 2011

    Deena – this sounds like a great opportunity to get paid for doing your passion – Congrats! You will be missed. For nearly a year, you’ve been my news to go. Best of luck!

    Reply
  7. Oct 26 2011

    Congratulations, Deena! I’ve already subscribed to Watchdog to keep up with you & the issues you keep in front of us. Blessings in your new endeavor!

    Reply
  8. Oct 26 2011

    Thanks, Deana. You’ve provided a great “public service” and outstanding reporting. We’ll follow you at Watchdog.

    Reply
  9. Jessica Moenning
    Oct 26 2011

    Congratulations Deena – look forward to following you at Watchdog!

    Reply
  10. Debby
    Oct 26 2011

    I will miss reading your blog but look forward to checking out Watchdog.

    Reply
  11. deb
    Oct 26 2011

    will miss you Deena – but will follow you in your new ventue….Good luck!

    Reply
  12. Oct 26 2011

    Gratzi

    Reply
  13. Jane Kinsey
    Oct 26 2011

    Thanks, Deena, for your investigative reporting and support of Watchdogs of Lincoln Government. Maybe we will cross paths as we both cover local issues. Folks, follow us on
    our website and Facebook to keep up with local issues.
    I am curious how your new employer finances two reporters and and a website. Who is the benefactor?

    Reply
  14. Publius
    Oct 26 2011

    Thank you for your blogging service. I am glad that you have found a way to support your habit. Good luck in your new endeavor! I believe it’s a perfect fit for you.

    Reply
  15. Roberta
    Oct 26 2011

    Good Luck and hope it is all you want it to be.

    Reply
  16. Dave Fall
    Oct 26 2011

    Just subscribed! Keep yourself, I am looking forward to talking with you once you begin.

    Reply
  17. Safo
    Oct 26 2011

    Good luck Deena. I am happy for you!

    Reply
  18. porcupine
    Oct 26 2011

    GOOD LUCK, Deena! Thank you for the blogging. I will do my best to follow you at Nebraska Watch Dog.

    Reply
  19. BL
    Oct 26 2011

    You have done a great job of keeping all of us informed with Winterized. The Nebraska Watchdog is lucky to have a journalist of your caliber. We will all just have to follow you on a different website now. Good luck Deena!

    Reply
  20. Lilly C.
    Oct 26 2011

    Congratulations! It’s going to be hard to break the habit of logging on winterized everyday! I know myself and a lot of other people will be following you to your new job.

    Reply
  21. Rosemary
    Oct 26 2011

    Good luck Deena. You are certainly going to be missed. I looked for you everday and always enjoyed your blog so much. I will follow you wherever you go. You are the best.

    Reply
  22. pirgirl
    Oct 26 2011

    Best of luck Deena. I will miss reading all your blogs – particularly those involving city hall.

    Reply
  23. Oct 26 2011

    Deena,

    Thanks for the blog, always enjoyed reading it. Good luck in your new job and I look forward to reading your work at Nebraska Watchdog.

    Mike James

    Reply
  24. porcupine
    Nov 30 2011

    We sure miss you on this site.

    Reply

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