I’ll just say it — I am not someone who does well without a job. Two months of freelancing/loafing did not suit me. You might say, “Take up a new hobby, binge-watch Breaking Bad, explore the new city.” To which I’d say, “I did that. I baked bread, powered through season two (so behind, right?) and walked as far as my feet would take me.” But it didn’t help. I am someone who likes being busy. My brain craves constant activity and it needs some amount of structure to be creative and productive.
So, it’s with considerable relief that I belatedly announce I am now employed. The job is with Patch.com, filling a somewhat nontraditional role as Boston metro reporter for the historically hyperlocal collection of sites.
Patch is rightly infamous in journalism circles, but a few weeks spent talking with its regional manager and national leadership team gave me the confidence and injection of genuine excitement about journalism needed to sign on.
It’s been a busy few weeks, so I’ll play catch up now.
What I’m writing
I tread so very carefully with this top story. Not only was it the first longer-form attempt for my new employer, but it dealt with sensitive issues — death and deeply held beliefs that people take very personally. I read studies about how news reports meant to “debunk” conspiracy theories frequently fuel them, and how “conspiracy theorists” aren’t actually all that irrational.
“In the past seven years, the bodies of at least 10 young men have been found in waterways in and around the city, sometimes weeks after their disappearance. Law enforcement has separately attributed those deaths to alcohol, drugs, accidental drownings and suicide. Parts of the Internet see a much darker trend…” — Recent Drownings Just Accidents — or Something More Sinister?
“In another case of FBI versus Apple Inc., court documents unsealed Friday show a Massachusetts judge granted the bureau’s request for help extracting data from a locked iPhone in connection to a Boston gang case, despite Apple’s objections.” — FBI vs. Apple
“On New Year’s Day, a JetBlue pilot making the final approach to Boston’s Logan International Airport spotted what’s becoming a more common sight — a white object with flashing strobe lights hovering 700 feet off the ground. It wasn’t unlike the 24-inch, red and black “quad-copter” another pilot spotted flying 500 feet below his aircraft outside Boston last fall, or a contraption that sailed just 200 feet below a pilot approaching the Norwood Memorial Airport in October.” — Drones Over Massachusetts
“They tried it in 1997, and before that in 1993, and again in 2013, but in 2016, Framingham might actually pull it off.” — New England’s Largest Town Wants to Become a City
What I’m reading
I normally don’t go on about the Pulitzers, but I just want to highlight two winners this year.
The AP exposé on slavery in the seafood trade is an example of journalists not only laying bare the nastiness of something that was, essentially, an open secret, but doing so in a way that made clear the connection to U.S. consumers and literally freed slaves from captivity before publication. Also, it was reported out by a team of badass women reporters. Boom.👊
Then there’s this win from the Boston Globe, which fulfills a whole different mission of journalism — fostering empathy and understanding. The writing is outstanding, but these award-winning photos make it impossible to forget or not to feel moved.
Both are so, so worthy of the award and 100% worth a read. (Note: This is a shameless repost from Facebook. I stand by it.)
What I’m cooking
This will be a roundup because of the many missed weeks spent acclimating to a new job.
First off, it’s worth mentioning that I’m still trying hard to eat something that resembles breakfast. Lately, that’s meant my boyfriend and I trading off prepping sliced green apples and peanut butter in the mornings, but at least it’s something. Other days, it’s more like what you see above — radishes, carrots, cubed white cheddar, whole wheat toast and soft-boiled eggs with hot coffee. But that’s so, so rare. Working on it.
We recently subscribed to a local farms’ meat CSA (they don’t call it that, but I think it’s accurate). It has yielded delicious things made even better with quality, local meat, like pesto gnocchi with sausage and peppers, North African meatballs and turmeric pork skillet.
All of that’s great, but for the most part we’re really sticking strong to our weekday vegetarian rule. That’s manifested itself into many amazing things, like my first attempt at homemade baguettes, or red lentil bolognese, trini chana and aloo, and slow-cooker butternut squash soup.