Obits are never dead

So much has happened in the 6+ years since I left USA TODAY for the digital world and beyond. But Sunday, with the news that Nancy Reagan had left for the Great Beyond, it was, as a great New York sage once said, deja vu all over again.

That’s because, as any journalist knows, advance obits never get old as long as their subjects stick around. Thus, yesterday saw the publication of another of the first ladies whose legacy it was my job to distill before I moved from what we once called “The Nation’s Newspaper” on to other journalistic pastures.

I think it holds up well. What do you think of “Nancy Reagan, protector of former president’s legacy, dies at 94?”


Requiem for a freelance career? Unlikely

I’m just starting to settle in this week to my new job as the director of career services at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. My name is on the school’s webpage but I wasn’t expecting to see my byline in pixels anytime soon.

And then this popped up on the National Geographic website: ‘Shark Lady’ Eugenie Clark, Famed Marine Biologist, Has Died and I remembered why I was so busy as a freelancer — even when the number of bylines didn’t seem to match my work load. I was writing obituaries.

I won’t say how many obits I wrote for National Geographic but they include some very famous and amazing people about whom I learned so much during my research and interviews.

Clark, a native New Yorker who fell in love with sharks at the aquarium at Battery Park, was the first to pass away and thus her obituary is the first to be published.

Who says you can’t go home again?

I owe a lot of who I am to the City University of New York. I first became a reporter for the Lehman College newspaper, Meridian. I met my husband, then the editor-in-chief, on Meridian. And I made some friends for life at the paper as well. So, what could be more fitting after a truly wonderful career, one that has taken me across the country and around the globe and allowed me to witness history as it was being made, than to come back to New York to help a new generation of journalists get their start in this amazing business?

The answer: Not much.

Which is why I am thrilled to announce that, starting February 23, I will be the new director of career services at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. You can read all about it here.

I believe the correct response is: Woohoo!!!


A story I was born to write

Sure I’ve lived in Washington for most of the last 30 years but while you can take the girl out of the Bronx, you can’t take the Bronx out of the girl. And in this story for The Washington Post, I’ve found a way to connect the two places where I’ve spent most of my life. I hope you enjoy In the Bronx, finding hidden ties to Washington as much as I and my “photojournalist” husband enjoyed reporting it.