In July, I was asked if I could slide into a newly created position at Sauk Valley Media.
Now, you are reading the blog of SVM’s lead magazine writer.
What is this? How did this happen? Will you still write about sports?
I worked as a general news assignment writer since January of 2019 after a few years working in the sports department. My main duties were covering education and small business.
No, I’m not doing local education or local small business anymore.
When COVID-19 hit, I broke the story about the first case in the Sauk Valley. Sort of knowing how big that moment was, I considered it my hallmark as a “news” reporter. The coronavirus changed the way everyone lived, and how business functioned. Sauk Valley Media’s newsroom was no different: I was covering just about anything and everything that happened on the days I worked.
With the new position, I work on five or six stories in a 10-day period. It’s a more relaxing pace for me, and I am looking forward to the challenge, coverage opportunities, and boosting the quality of our magazines! This move also benefits my health, which is something that I’ve struggled to get in order for many years.
Most people don’t know that Sauk Valley Media publishes magazines. The names of them may seem familiar, but they are generated from our office in downtown Dixon.
We publish “LIVING” magazines for Sterling/Rock Falls (“Sterling-Rock Falls Living”), Dixon, Whiteside County (“Small Town Living West”), Lee County (“Small Town Living East”), Ogle County, Carroll County, and the Clinton/Fulton area (“River City Living”). They are mailed to homes within those areas. Each issue has five feature stories about special things, people and places in those areas.
We also publish “Lake Lifestyle,” a monthly magazine for the Lake Carroll community between Lanark and Pearl City. It features six to seven feature stories about the community and the surrounding area.
Other publications that are part of the fold are “Northern Illinois AgMag,” “I Do” (wedding guide), “Business Journal,” a golf guide, and a few more.
My routine involves gathering story ideas, making interview and photo arrangements with the subjects, transcribing the interviews, and piecing the words and sentences together into flowing paragraphs of relevant information and stories.
I get to go to many interesting places and businesses, meet many interesting people, and bring those stories to light for everyone’s enjoyment.
Each story is published in the magazines, and are later published in SVM’s print products (daily and weekly newspapers) and online at saukvalley.com. So you’ll still see my name on some stories in the print newspaper, but my name will appear less frequently since I’m not writing as many stories.
While my story count is down from my peak of these past few months, the time it takes to put these magazine stories takes up the allotted hours I’m scheduled to work. I also utilize my time to advise the news and sports departments with what’s going on during the day, but I don’t write the stories.
So what about sports?
My sports stories are limited to what I am able to feature in the magazines; and possibly later include in the print products. With my presence in these publications now, I am trying to include more sports-like stories. So far, I have written about a high school golfer and a teacher who is a mixed martial arts fighter.
Coronavirus has pushed the Illinois high school football season back to the spring, and since that is our biggest sport, I will likely be asked to chip in to SVM’s coverage of local teams once more – I’ve done this since 2014, and don’t want to miss a season.
I think this role will be great for me.
Issues of our magazines are available at our Dixon office, however the office currently is closed to the public due to COVID-19. I have a limited number of copies in my possession of each magazine; contact me for more information.