Sarah Ford, a fairly recent graduate of the University of Denver’s Media Film and Journalism Studies School. Ford, 23, Is the OnTopic Content Manager for Examiner.com in Denver Colorado. In this day and age many media outlets thrive off the “quick and dirty” stories that’s impact on the consumer is minimal but somehow captivating. This is true for both TV and online, articles seemed to be pumped out to fill a slot of interest like pumping gas for your car.
This trend in American media creates a large need for these “quick and dirty” pieces so many companies have come about to fill that need. Companies like Examiner.com, who Ford is employed by, is there to fill that space on the local nightly news or late morning talk shows. Ford admits, “these bit and articles aren’t anything to write home about… they fill a space in a broadcast.”
A typical day for Ford entails an early wake up at 7:00 (at least for some) and a trip to downtown Denver where she attends a morning office meeting then meets with her team to discuss the day’s plans, or at least it used to. Due to budget cuts the Examiner.com sold their office in favor for everyone working remotely from home. Ford described the change as “not ideal” stating its harder to communicate with her team and keep everyone on track with work, “I get to wake up later, which is good I guess, but other than there aren’t many benefits to employee’s.” She now spends her day in local coffee establishments drinking the finest hipster coffee that is now roasted made with your fathers sweat or the air Bernie Sanders breathes. Nevertheless, it’s a struggle as she paces to and from the counter all morning trying to communicate with employee’s all around the US. This seems an especially hard task when you realize that her small group of journalist puts out about 122 articles a week, an astonishing amount of work. To put that in perspective some New York Times writers only publish a few articles a month.
A typical morning entails reading hundreds of emails many of which are from producers from stations like CBS2/ KCAL9 in dire need of something for one of their shows. The topics are as Ford describes, “very Buzzfeed eques.” Catchy articles like “10 best places to walk your dog in LA”, “Where should you grab a drink Saturday night.” The ironic thing about it all is that Ford is from small town Durango, Colorado and she’s spent minimal time in LA. From her office in Denver, a hipster coffee shop, her and team based around Denver create this content about LA for LA news stations. The irony is strong as Ford and her team, based in the Denver area, write stories for those media outlets in LA for the people of LA and many have never even been there. She highlights this irony laughing as I give her a perplexed look, “It’s very ironic, I spend all day in Denver researching what’s going on in LA… I often feel like I know more about cities I write content for than I know about my own home in Denver.”
As the end of day creeps near and Ford consumes her 5th coffee deliciously roasted with Bernie Sanders breath she elates. “The amount of editing and content review I do can be insane,” says Ford, “But I’m at least glad I have the opportunity to do it. As Ford is still very young she knows this won’t be what she does forever, it’s not the dream journalistic job but at least it’s a start. Promising, as well, for all the soon to be grad here at DU from the MFJS school. Ford doesn’t clearly doesn’t love her job but at the same time she loves it because it’s the experience she wants and needs. “I obviously don’t plan to stay here forever but I’m glad I have this opportunity now.”
The way media and journalism has changed recently with the development of native advertising and “click-bate” articles many seem to have lost hope in the field. At the same time however this extremely young alum of DU who graduated not too long ago has a place to work. Journalism used to be defined by elite brands like the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal but the times have really shifted. For better or for worse Ford is a happy camper and excited for her future in the field.