I had a new column launch yesterday in the Chambersburg Public Opinion newspaper. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here. It’s not my first newspaper column, but I found that I was quite excited to see it launch. I think it was because much of my bread-and-butter writing is about things I have little interest in. My Looking Back column, however, is about history, which is a subject I love. I enjoy digging up interesting stories from an area’s past and writing about them.

Looking Back is a column that uses primarily a newspaper’s own archives to find stories of the people, places and events that shaped the area. Some are slice-of-life stories. Others may be about unique people, funny situations, interesting events and unsolved crime. Essentially, it’s about whatever catches my attention as a go through the reels of microfilm.

I also write a Looking Back column for the Cumberland Times-News. It won an award from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association for a column about a 40 years unsolved murder. Another column was about a line-of-duty police officer death from 1905 that led to that officer’s name being placed on the National Officer’s Down Memorial.

I tell my students in my magazine writing classes that each writing assignment should be evaluated on a three-point matrix to determine whether you should take it or not. The points are: Pay, Desirability, Prestige. Prestige would be does the assignment add a new credit to your portfolio or is it a publication that improves your reputation or adds to your experience. Pay is, obviously, how much does the project pay? Desirability is how much you want to do the project.
This column ranks very high on the desirability scale. I expect to have a lot of fun writing it as I do the Cumberland Looking Back column.
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