Friday, September 24, 2004
How I became a Mosquito reporter
I read with interest the article about empty nest syndrome in last week's Mosquito. I think I caught a mini-version of this dread disease when my older child entered middle school, and it resulted in my becoming a staff reporter for the Carlisle Mosquito.
During my kids' elementary years my focus had been on school-centered activities — room parenting, library and playground volunteers, CEF Pig 'n Pepper fundraisers, and CSA functions. School volunteer work offered what I needed at the time — flexibility, friendship with other parents, and the satisfaction of supporting an institution of great worth to my family. But as my older child entered sixth grade and my younger fourth, I needed a change. There was less need to be so involved in my kids' lives; in truth, they no longer really appreciated my maternal presence at school. And it was time to step aside and let some of the new parents have a chance to experience the benefits and occasional frustrations of school volunteering.
I considered returning to work, and for four months took on a project in my field of high-tech marketing. The experience gave me a new appreciation for working mothers and a new awareness that I just wasn't ready to make the compromises necessary to make even a part-time job in my field work. My need was less for a high-paying job than one that provided flexibility, camaraderie, and a chance to make a contribution.
I had always admired the Mosquito. Until I moved to Carlisle in 1992, I had never experienced a real town paper, one providing the local information that connects neighbor to neighbor. During my time on school volunteer committees I had written a few articles for the paper, and when I learned reporters were needed, I checked it out.
Now three years later, I have written many features and reported on the Selectmen and Finance Committees. The Mosquito provides the flexibility I need. Most weeks I work less than eight hours, but can take on more or less as other obligations allow.
Through my reporting I have gone from a know-nothing on town issues to someone who is sought out on the soccer field for my informed opinion. I've had a birds-eye view as the Benfield purchase was negotiated and have gotten to know the people who decide town priorities and direction. It's satisfying to have people I meet notice and comment on my articles (usually favorably, but not always).
Not so long ago, I knew hardly anyone who wasn't a parent with similar aged kids. Through the Mosquito I've gotten to know some of the most interesting, creative, nicest members of the community, of all ages. I've especially enjoyed working with the talented Mosquito staff who coddled me through my first assignments and who throw a wonderful, well-attended holiday party every December.
So if you've ever considered a job at the Mosquito, I urge you to try it out. Worried about your writing skills? Here's the opportunity to develop them, and the very experienced Mosquito editors can help. Worried about getting over-committed? Most ongoing reporting jobs are teamed if enough reporters are available, so responsibility is shared. Wondering if reporting is right for you? Give me a call at1-978-287-4369 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be happy to talk with you. We always need talented people.
Like to write? The Mosquito always needs more reporters, but now there is a special need for those interested in covering town government. If interested, call the news editor Maya Liteplo, or the feature editor Marilyn Harte at 1-978-369-8313.
The Mosquito is looking for someone who is available during weekday hours to join our team of photographers. Pay is negligible, but the work is fun! If interested, call Penny Zezima at 1-978-369-8313.
© 2004 The Carlisle Mosquito