Down in “Tacoma’s gulches, you’re in another world – a wild one. Deep ravines sandwiched between residential streets, fed by springs flowing to Puget Sound, the gulches are a unique result of land, sea and erosion: filled with tangled branches and moss, with deer, coyote and birdsong. Thanks to 150 years of European settlement, you’ll also find trash and sewer lines, blackberries and ivy, drug users and the homeless – as well as trails and restored habitat. Some Tacomans want to tame the gulches; others want them kept wild. Each one tells its own story – if you go in and explore.”
This self-produced multimedia story, with all my own text, photos, video and interactive design, ran in The News Tribune in July 2014. It won the 2015 award for Best Completed Research (M.Comm) from the University of Washington Communications department, and second place in the Comprehensive Coverage category for the 2015 Northwest awards from the Society for Professional Journalists. I wrote, shot and edited it myself, laying out the design on Adobe Muse.
As part of my Masters degree, I completed a full content strategy for the City of Newcastle’s Economic Development department, which oversee the city’s main tourist website. visitnewcastle.com.au. I took a full audit, and suggested a big move away from the current text- and pdf-heavy design and into a mobile-responsive site that tells the unique Newcastle story with multimedia and a local-voice vibe.
What’s content strategy? Matching great content with your audience needs and business goals. I assess who you are and where you are digitally, tally your resources and come up with a metrics-driven plan that includes style guide, editorial calendar, social media planner and more.
“It had been an average kind of afternoon in outer Issaquah: lunch at an Irish pub, a short trail walk, snapping photos in a ferny forest. But as darkness crept in, damp and chilly through mossy trees, things started to get magical. Lights began to wink on high above me behind rough shingles and shadowy figures made their way up twisty stairs, half hidden behind tree trunks. I was sleeping in a tree-house, one of eight perched high in the canopy like something Tolkien might have dreamed up, at what has to be one of Washington’s more unusual destinations: Treehouse Point.”
This is just the beginning of a travel story I wrote for The News Tribune’s “Getaways” print section in March 2014. For 15 years I’ve written journalism stories: breaking news, features, arts reviews, travel stories. I write long- and short-form, from obituaries to humor. I seek out the best stories and tell them in the best way.
I’ve also given writing workshops and won awards for journalism and fiction.
What happens when you try to play a tricky piece of music, talk to the audience and simultaneously take texts, calls and selfies on your smartphone? I wrote and performed “Multitasking” for my Masters in Communication in Digital Media class at the University of Washington this spring to find out. The result? Connection and distraction, in equal amounts.