Was J-School Worth It?

Interesting HuffPo piece to mention: dude writes about getting a journalism school – or, j-school – master’s degree and whether or not it’s worth it.

I read it, thought it was okay, if a bit short of much more than personal stuff, and then started thinking.

“Sooo, am I glad I got my j-school master’s?” I asked myself.

Well, let’s see – there’s the stuff in the piece, and its comments, about going to this or that school and therefore having connections. Yeah, I got connections, lots of ‘em, with my fancy Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications piece o’ paper, which currently resides in storage, incidentally, along with the equally schmancy BFA from SFAI.

Thing is, the news industry has changed so much – far worse than anyone could’ve imagined – that if I’d ever gone to school, undergraduate, graduate or otherwise, with the thought of the big bucks shining in me peepers, I obviously got it very wrong. Continue reading “Was J-School Worth It?”

Gadhafi Must Go

Maid of the Seas
The cockpit of Pan Am flight 103, found across the street from Tundergarth church in Scotland

On December 21, 1988, 259 souls were torn from the cold night and thrown six miles to the terra firma of Lockerbie, Scotland, as the 747 they were in was blasted to pieces. Part of the fuselage with 60 passengers inside landed between houses, a jet engine crashed to earth on the other side of town, while a wing vaporized three houses and its 11 occupants after bursting into a fireball, leaving nothing but a crater.

In Lockerbie, they’ll describe that night as hell on earth, a nuclear-seeming holocaust. One woman nearly vomits at the smell of leather – she was a child, and her mother carried her, screaming, through the flames and raining fuel while wearing a leather jacket.

Bodies, body parts, contents and pieces of the plane, luggage, presents, teddy bears and jet fuel rained down, covering an area of more than 800 square miles. Rescuers describe dead found clutching handfuls of grass, others with arms wrapped tight around each other.

According to Libyan ex-justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi gave the direct orders to bomb Pan Am 103 from the sky, according to the Associated Press. Continue reading “Gadhafi Must Go”

How to Stop an Oligarchy, v2: Madison, Wisconsin

What the hell is going on in Wisconsin, huh?

Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine guitarist
"Mubarak of the Midwest" is the name Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello - who will play as part of a concert for the protestors - has given Wisconsin Gov. Walker.

Democratic Senators fleeing the state en masse, 40,000 people, as of Friday, taking to the streets to protest, and the tea party shipping in good conservative souls from all points to counter.

It almost sounds like the Middle East, with one glaring exception: we have the constitutional right to gather and make our voices heard without repercussions.

Apparently some of the protestors have signs decreeing non-violence. Let’s hope it sticks.

Because the fact is, these public employees have a just cause that goes well beyond the land of cheddar.

Straight and simple, the budget cuts the state is trying to vote on, which would cut health and pension benefits, are not the core issue.

Included in the vote is something that is very important to anyone currently holding, or hoping someday to again hold, a job. Let’s cut the bullshit and call it what it is:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is union busting.

Continue reading “How to Stop an Oligarchy, v2: Madison, Wisconsin”

The End Result

Another byline in print, another clip to add to the roster, and a lot more information learned.

Such is the end result of my information-gathering expedition on CIOs and CTOs, the dudes (and dudettes) who run the technology show at just about any company modern enough to own a computer.

(Not sure what company wouldn’t be digitally hooked in at this point, but I bet they exist … and they’re probably a lot less pressed for time!)

You can catch my newest article in Certification Magazine’s May issue.

And now, as always, back to work!

CIO & CTO a-go-go!

They say March comes in like a lion. Well, it brought work with it this year, a blessing in this economy.

One of the projects I’m working on is a magazine article about the challenges facing CIOs and CTOs in the current economic and business climate.

I’ve tapped some great minds who occupy these positions. But, as I look at the overall piece, I realize I need more.

More voices, more experiences, more examples of what those in charge of wrangling a company’s technology in today’s workplace are going through, and how that might be different from what they’ve experienced before.

The other thing I want to know is who, exactly, holds these positions. When it comes to the latest in technology, so much of what’s the latest and greatest is scattered in hard drives of young geeks across the country. But, CIOs and CTOs occupy the C-suite – positions traditionally held by those with the most tenure.

With the exception of the youth-led dot.coms, who holds these positions, and why?

If you or someone you know has CIO or CTO in his/her job title, I want to hear from you. I’m putting a call out to the network for anyone interested in becoming part of my article, or just giving me background info, to email me at esbrath@gmail.com. And soon – I’m wrapping the piece up in the next few days.

Thanks! Now, back to work…

Another Year Uploaded!

Pop the cork, it’s time to celebrate yet another year of crazy copy writing and editing for my favorite long-term client, Bodek and Rhodes.

For those of you not in the know, I left my 9-to-5 corporate gig in the spring of last year to go all freelance, all the time. B&R made it possible with its annual project, a behemoth catalog featuring the corporate, casual, performance and activewear the company sells and imprints for countless companies around the globe.

This year’s paper catalog clocked in at a whopping 417 pages, of which yours truly put her personal stamp on each and every number, character and space on each and every page! It’s a massive project, but the people at B&R are some of the most wonderful, talented and truly amazing people I’ve ever had the good fortune to work with.

And continue to work with. So, I’m about to take a long-needed break for my pixel-shaped eyes, but it won’t last long and I’ll be back to the ol’ freelance grind … in between preparations for the upcoming holidays, of course.

I may be a word nerd, but my first love is art, which I’ll be expressing in the form of hand-made gifts for all my loved ones.

My beloved puppy Bunny, in the first sweater I crocheted for her.
My beloved puppy Bunny, in the first sweater I crocheted for her.

Is this something any of you out there do as well? Especially in light of the current economic climate, is this the first year you’ll be exploring the adage, “It’s the thought that counts” and forgoing the mall, or is this something you do every year?

I’d love to hear from readers out there. In addition to holding a BFA, I’ve always dabbled in a variety of arts and crafts, and these days it’s primarily for my own enjoyment.

But lately, with sites like Etsy.comout there, I’ve been toying with the idea of going legit and selling my creations online. Has anyone had any success, or has maybe thought of taking your creations public, for fun and/or profit?

As someone who has always followed her passion while others followed the money, I’ve had some truly hard times. In the end, however, keeping true to what inspires me always works out. Many people I’ve known have had other reasons or responsibilities that kept them from following a so-called less traveled path. But as 401ks falter and jobs seem to simply disappear into thin air, has anyone taken the opportunity to say, “Well, now what have I got to lose? There’s nothing holding me back any longer: I’m going to do XXX, something I’ve always wanted to but never was able to.” ?

I’d sure love to know, because in all the gloom-and-doom tales pervading the news today, there must be at least a few silver linings. Or, if nothing else, a few holiday creations that would otherwise have been lost in the hustle and bustle of 9-to-5.

Deck the Halls … and Anyone Else Who Gets in Your Way

Like tsunamis and pyrotechnics-related club fires, being trampled to death is generally not a fate you consider while lying awake at 4 a.m., your brain buzzing with all the horrors you manage to push back during the day with coffee, the computer, work, family and all the other things that make you forget that, like everyone else swarming across the globe, life can be gone in an instant.

But seriously, who on Long Island would ever consider being trampled to death a viable ending, especially when the great American pastime, shopping, is involved?

WalMart security guard Jdimytai Damour probably didn’t. But I bet he’s watching his family put him to rest up in heaven, or whatever afterlife he personally believed in. And I bet he’s pissed. Continue reading “Deck the Halls … and Anyone Else Who Gets in Your Way”

Roxborough, Pa., Revitalization, Part II

I wrote recently about my local ‘hood’s impending transformation from, well, a wee bit run down to the next go-to destination, thanks to an infusion of cash from various grants.

I wrote about Roxborough again, only this time I talked to a few business owners who envision the area as a green corridor, replete with sustainable businesses along the main drag. And who can be against that? Recycling, wind power, organic goods and local owners all making the area a better place for everyone. I, for one, would love such a place.Hell, I lived in San Francisco for five years. It would be like East Coast nirvana… well, sort of!Anyway, check it out, and keep posted for more stories from yours truly.

And, if anyone has any ideas for a story you think I might want to be looking into, I’m always open to ideas. It’s how I make my living. Throw it my way at esbrath@gmail.com.

Roxborough, Pa., Revitalization, Part I

They always tell you to write what you know…

So what better place to start than in my own backyard? A few weeks back I was trolling craigslist, checking out the community boards for yoga studios. I’ve taken on the form of human Jell-O in the last year, thanks to a crazy work schedule, some surgery and the resulting hiatus from roller derby.

So I figured I’d better get moving and, considering how hectic my schedule is, I figured getting all Zen-pretzel-like a few times a week would do me a world of good. I found what I was looking for: a new yoga studio opening right in my neighborhood! I wandered over there, chatted with the owner and started  looking through the information pamphlets and sheets she’d given me. And one jumped out at me.Apparently she and a group of other like minded individuals were attempting to get more “green” businesses to move to the area.Now, I should begin by stating that the main drag ’round these parts has seen better days. While it’s nowhere near as trash-strewn and dilapidated as my old stomping grounds in West Philly, it’s also not the kind of place that screams, “Stop! Hang out here!”

It’s not crime: there’s very little of it here. And it’s not all that bad. It’s just not as good as some other places that have, for example, a place to buy locally-grown organic food, books and magazines, or clothes and shoes. 

After a bit more talking, I discovered there’s a contingent of people who want to make it that kind of neighborhood. Cool!

Needless to say, the journalist in me took over, pitched the piece, and the first results can be found online.  

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Okay, not really. In fact, it’s snowing outside, which I have to admit I’ve been looking forward to.

I know I’ll be verbally bludgeoned for saying such a thing here in the land of trash trucks as snowplows, but I’ve missed the winter white. It’s true! Granted, years of hoofing it through knee-deep expanses of the stuff, or straining my eyes driving through flakes that begin to resemble warp speed, should’ve left me wanting no more.

But I must be a glutton for punishment. And should we get some real accumulation, I’ll be out there in my mittens, taking a break from the hectic pace I’ve been keeping.

I’m absolutely thrilled that I’ve been working my tail off, but the breakneck speed I’ve been going at for the last few months has left me aching for a vacation.

That won’t be happening anytime soon, however. In addition to a slew of articles in the works, I’m up for a national gig authoring a food website. I’m gunna’ keep it mum for now – it’s me and four other kitchen geeks – but should it land in my lap, I’ll be sure to let y’all in on it.

Until then, enjoy winter, stay warm, and before you know it, we’ll have the heat to whinge about! J