former journalists discuss a profession in crisis

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Blog

In Blog on March 12, 2011 at 4:03 am

Why I Wrote This Book

For years, I have had a recurring dream. I’m in a newsroom, working on a story, desperate to be accepted, wanting a job. The room is crowded, noisy, intense. I observe people but they don’t seem to notice me. Obstacles get in the way of making a good impression. Either I’m dressed in my underwear, or can’t find a computer, or don’t understand the assignment. Whatever happens, and however hard and frantically I try, the dream always ends the same way: I am shut out.

I have had this dream since I left journalism, although leaving journalism was a perfectly rational thing to do, and something I did voluntarily. I loved my new career as a public interest lobbyist, and the power it gave me to influence public policy. Writing a sentence in a law, I would tell myself, was far more meaningful than writing a front-page story.

And yet that sense of incompleteness wouldn’t go away.

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The Book

In Main Posts on March 12, 2011 at 4:02 am
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Long before mainstream news organizations were hemorrhaging jobs and losing billions of dollars, journalists at some of the nation’s biggest and most respected mainstream news outlets were leaving their newsrooms. Out of the News tells the stories of some of those journalists. In the process, it offers a detailed accounting of the past three decades of journalism, a time when the news industry has undergone dramatic change.

Out of the News captures the voices of the nation’s best journalists as they explain the circumstances that led them away from mainstream reporting and into new endeavors. Wexler, herself a former award-winning journalist, describes their experiences in and out of journalism and presents a fascinating group memoir of these times and their rich, exciting lives.

Their stories are good reads in and of themselves. But their experiences also offer an inside look at the structure of news organizations, and the limited power many journalists have over their own work.

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The Author

In Main Posts on March 12, 2011 at 4:01 am

Celia Viggo Wexler is an award-winning journalist who made a successful transition to a flourishing career as a public-interest lobbyist working for a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.  She worked for daily newspapers in the Midwest, Northeast and Washington, earning praise for her coverage of the business, consumer, and labor beats, and her investigative reporting on the influence of political contributions on public policy.

She worked for 12 years at Common Cause, a nonprofit good-government group, rising to the position of Vice President for Advocacy.  While at Common Cause, she wrote more than 50 studies that tracked the influence of big money on politics, and became a trusted source to dozens of journalists throughout the country. She now lobbies for the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Her free-lance stories have appeared in The Washington Post, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Toronto and earned her graduate degree in journalism from Point Park University, Pittsburgh.

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