Friday, March 17, 2017

Why Public Notices Matter | National award recognition

The following article appeared in the March 6, 2017 issue of the Reporter & Farmer, the newspaper where I work. It was written by my colleague Emre K. Erku. 

Another story about this award appeared in a neighboring daily newspaper which you can read here.

Local public notice article leads to writer’s national recognition 

Amanda Fanger wins 2017 Public Notice Journalism Award

Reporter & Farmer staff writer Amanda Fanger is now a nationally acclaimed journalist.

For her efforts in uncovering embezzlement allegations within the government body of Grenville last spring, Fanger was named winner of the 2017 Public Notice Journalism Award by the Public Notice Resource Center Feb. 27.

Alongside national recognition, she’ll be honored at the National Press Club during a free trip to Washington, D.C. March 16.

“It’s almost too much to take in,” said Fanger of her selection. “It makes me stop and realize how much I’ve put into my work. There’s so many moving components to a newspaper; I don’t know if people assume we’re just handed these stories.”

According to the PNRC, Fanger’s selection was based on her ability to scratch “below the surface of a public notice.” This included spending months investigating a tip concerning a local financial officer allegedly carrying out “employee dishonesty,” which was noted in the official monthly Grenville town proceedings printed in the public notice section of the Reporter & Farmer on March 21 last year.

Monday, March 6, 2017

I Promised News | A national journalism award

Here's the news I promised. The following is a press release that originally appeared here.

South Dakota reporter wins 2017 national 

Public Notice Journalism Award

Amanda Fanger, a reporter for Reporter & Farmer, a weekly newspaper in rural Day County, South Dakota, today was named winner of the 2017 Public Notice Journalism Award. Fanger won for a story that scratched below the surface of a public notice (see PDF of story here) to reveal a potential embezzlement scheme in one of the small towns within her paper’s coverage area.
Fanger will receive a $500 award and a free trip to Washington, D.C., where she will be honored at a March 16 dinner at the National Press Club.
Jim Lockwood of The Scranton (Penn.) Times-Tribune and Victor Parkins of The Milan (Tenn.) Mirror-Exchange were named winners of second- and third-place, respectively. Lockwood won the Public Notice Journalism Award in 2015.
“There were many worthy entries submitted in this year’s contest, so the winners should be especially proud of their great work,” said PNRC President Bradley L. Thompson II, chairman and CEO of the Detroit Legal News Co., which sponsored the prize. “Reporting on public notices is another way newspapers serve their readers and inform their communities.”

Monday, February 27, 2017

Oh Yeah, I Still Have A Blog | On how dreams don't always look like we thought they would

Oh wow, would you look at that? I still have a blog. Never mind that it's been just about forever since I've posted anything. Hi to anyone who is still reading after such a long respite. 

It wasn't intentional to let this blog sit listless for so long. Over the course of the last couple of years, my life has taken a series of different turns which has caused this blog to take a backseat. I don't want this post to stir hope for a faithful return to blogging anytime in the immediate future, but I do have some exciting writing-related news I want to share with the world soon, so stick around. 

Even with all the changes in my life, while I haven't been writing for this blog, one thing is certain: My life is consumed, more now than ever, with words. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm generating more content now than ever before in my life.

This morning I caught myself reflecting, looking back on my younger self who had first discovered the art of putting thoughts into written word. That younger me had just realized her dream of using this medium to make a living for herself.

Now, that dream is a reality.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Middle of the Month Story Switch | Why It Matters

So I started out this month intending to write one story. Then, part way through, I made a switch to writing another story.

Does this happen to other NaNo’ers too? I’m hoping so. But if I’m an odd ball, it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. 

What I began writing in November was actually a continuation of last year’s NaNo novel… which I never finished. I still have every intention of finishing that story – someday – but a little over a week ago, I was inspired to begin a brand new story, the likes of which I had never tackled before.

The idea sprang up when I was trying to convince my boyfriend (a non writer) that if he wanted to write a book, he indeed had the creativity to do so, despite his thinking that he had not a creative bone in his body.

After some prompting about what a potential character would be named, he finally said, “Jim.”

“And what’s Jim like?” I asked.

“I guess he’s sort of tall,” he replied.

“And what does Jim do in the story?”

“It doesn’t matter because he dies.”

I laughed and ignore this fact. I ask, “How does Jim die?”

“In an elevator.”

“What was Jim doing on the elevator?” I ask, digging deeper.

“He was going to get a snack.”

“What kind of snack?”

“A pretzel. But it doesn’t matter, because he dies,” he said finally with a chuckle. I giggle too, but something was already beginning to take root. From this point on, each time I ask another question about Jim, my boyfriend’s response is, “Yeah, but it doesn’t matter because Jim dies.”

A few days later, I announced the news. “I’m going to write Jim’s story.” That thing that had begun to take root in my mind was now budding and veining out, growing all over my imagination.

At first, my boyfriend tried to convince me that the character he had created on the spot was not worthy of having his own tale, but I was relentless. The idea had already taken form and I was determined to abandon my current novel idea in order to pursue Jim’s story, although it doesn’t matter because he still dies. Spoiler alert.

Only now, I’m on a mission to discover why Jim’s story does matter.

I’m obsessed with telling this story now. I've always believed it important to tell the story that demands to be told, when it is demanding and not putting it off or waiting to tell it when you feel like telling said story.

And it’s true what they say about writers looking and finding inspiration in any place they look. Sorry that we writers always seem to be looking in such weird places. 

Be careful if you befriend a writer.

Now, when I’m stuck about what to write, I find myself turning to my boyfriend to ask about the character he unintentionally created, to learn about a particular piece of history or personality trait that may get the creative juices flowing once more. The other night, he said to me, “Oh, so in a first draft, you just sort of put everything in you can think of and then later you take out what you don’t need?”

He gets it. He gets me.

And that’s an amazing thing for my writing.