Disclaimer: Stuff posted on CodyCutter.net do not reflect the views of Sauk Valley Media, Shaw Media or its publications.
Linked below are the Shaw Media magazine, newspaper and online publications that I write for.
Northern Illinois AgMag: Agriculture news and features in the Sauk Valley and beyond
Publishes three times a year (February, July, November)
Sauk Valley Business Journal: Small and large business features in the Sauk Valley
Publishes four times a year (March, June, September, December)
Carroll County Living: Feature stories and more from Carroll County
Publishes twice a year (February and August)
Dixon Living: Feature stories and more from Dixon and northwest Lee County
Publishes three times a year (April, July, October)
Golf Guide: Features and information about golf courses in NW Illinois and Eastern Iowa
Publishes every April
Kaleidoscope: Features and news about senior living in the Sauk Valley
Publishes twice a year (February and August)
Ogle County Living: Feature stories and more from Ogle County
Publishes twice a year (April and September)
River City Living: Feature stories and more from Clinton, Fulton and nearby towns
Publishes twice a year (May and September)
Small Town Living EAST: Feature stories and more from Lee County (outside of Dixon)
Publishes twice a year (June and December)
Small Town Living WEST: Feature stories and more from Whiteside County (outside of Sterling-Rock Falls)
Publishes twice a year (March and August)
Sauk Valley Weddings: Wedding-based news and profiles featuring people and places in the Sauk Valley
Publishes every February
Sterling-Rock Falls Living: Feature stories and more from Sterling, Rock Falls and northeast Whiteside County
Publishes three times a year (March, July, October)
Cody’s Journalism timeline
Fall 2002: Began as a content provider for the Sterling H.S. football and volleyball teams at Prep Sports Online, the parent company of the former SterlingGoldenWarriors.com. Later expanded to work with websites for Dixon, Newman and Rock Falls high schools. Duties includes photography, video taking, and writing small write-ups on sports events.
April 2004: Began first stint at Sauk Valley Media, publisher of the Daily Gazette and Dixon Telegraph. Covered a 20-inning state semifinal softball game with Rock Falls in June. Left SVM in August.
September 2004: Started Northern Illinois Sports Beat (NISB, for short), a website I would run for about 10 years. Tuned as a successor website to the former NCI Preps, NISB had game stories, features, message boards, and some photo-video. Many different website and message board platforms came and went. Had a coverage area of basically about 75-90 miles with Sterling as the center. If it was a state final team in that area, I likely covered it in the state finals.
2010: I had help in running NISB. Had a staff of three writers until 2013.
December 31, 2013: After an aborted attempt to start a Sterling-Rock Falls based prep sports website, I ceased the content portion of NISB and began an 8-month “sabbatical” from routine journalism. On Week 1 of the 2014 football season, I was at a bar listening to local bands play country music – to give you an idea of the life I was living throughout much of 2014. The message boards continued to operate.
Spring, summer 2014: Wrote occasional articles for the monthly shopper Sauk Valley Sun.
August 25, 2014: Left the Sun and started my second and current stint at Sauk Valley Media as a part-time sports writer.
October 2017: Promoted to full-time status – Divided time between sports and newsroom desk duties (writing news briefs, obituaries, photo pages). Started running the Carroll County Prairie Advocate sports section, and did so for slightly less than a year. Wrote business profiles for the company’s various “Living” magazines.
January 2019: Became SVM’s education and small business reporter; also write feature stories and local history items. Also wrote my “Cutter’s Corner” sports column to remain active in prep sports journalism.
July 2020: Left the full-time newsroom gig and began new full-time role working in SVM’s magazine (“niche”) division. Currently, I am the lead writer for the local “Living” feature-based magazines, “Lake Lifestyle” magazine for the Lake Carroll community, and other special feature publications. I still write the occasional sports and news articles for the newspaper and online products.
I incorporate both old and new styles to my writing and journalism process, having initially learned from a veteran newspaper reporter of the 1970s and 80s and applying that to newer styles and trends, such as adapting to smaller attention spans.
One of the things that you will notice during my interviews is that I use an audio recorder to help take notes. Such a practice is eschewed by some editors, but it has been truly beneficial to my work. It’s one of the best ways to prevent misquoting and is a audio reference to recall information from the interview. I keep recordings until 1 month after article publication, and then delete them.
My timeframe to meet for in-person interviews is any time before 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, or by appointment on Saturday, Sunday or on a state holiday. A photographer likely will accompany me to these interviews. My online office hours at SVM’s Dixon Office are from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday (office itself is closed during these times for walk-ins). Phone interviews may be done during office hours, but I prefer to meet in person; evening phone interviews should be planned with both an interview time AND a separate photo shoot time in mind on location.