I did not learn of the death of Osama bin Laden from a newspaper, print or digital version. I did not hear report of his passing from CNN, Fox, MSNBC, or even Oprah. I did not overhear it in the grocery store.
No, I learned it from my 14 year-old daughter. She in turn had heard of the successful attack via her Facebook friends, who had been posting it all night long for her to see and inform me when we both woke up that Monday morning. Maybe I need to take a lesson from her and check my FB page upon waking. Maybe I need to take another lesson from her and check my FB page every half hour, instead of once a month like I do now.
To this point I have not considered my 14 year-old daughter a hard news source, unless you count the theme of last week's episode of "Glee" as hard news. Part of this is the parenting process – up to this point, I have been able to lord my worldly knowledge over her, discounting anything that she knows that I don't as "junior high school drivel." (I think that has been able to work so far because she doesn't know what "drivel" means. I'm hiding behind a 1960s vocabulary. Or, in this case, an 1860s vocabulary.)
Posted on Aug 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM0 comments
My wife spent the first part of her career as a newspaper reporter, working for publications throughout New England. About 15 years ago, she was approached by a former colleague who invited her to join him in the press relations office of a federal agency. She has been working there ever since. I can safely say my wife enjoys being a government employee, although I don't think she ever felt an overwhelming desire to use her skills in government work before taking this position. The job came up, and she took it.
I share this because lately -- with all the turmoil surrounding government employees and their roles and functions -- I have been interested in what motivates people to first become government workers, and what still motivates them.
So I would like to ask any public-sector employee a few questions.
How did you get your job?
Were you specifically looking for a government job?
Does it make a difference to you whether you work in the public or private sector, or is it just a job?
Posted on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM31 comments
Every other week the editor of Federal Computer Week sends me a story or topic that will accompany the cartoon on the back page of FCW (or, as the editor would put it, a story that the cartoon will accompany). I get back to the editor (a) to share sketches for two or three cartoon ideas on the topic, or (b) to discuss any unique angles or subject matter that I am not familiar with. After this discussion, I submit the cartoon sketches.
The editor then gets back to me with feedback: Sometimes he picks one favorite cartoon or, if he likes all of my ideas, tells me to go with my favorite. But sometimes he asks me if everything is all right at home. I then redraw the cartoon for publication and send it in.
We recently had a unique experience with the cartoon process. The topic came from a blog entry concerning recent debates about whether contractors should be included in DOD war zone death notices. Now the problem – which you've probably picked up on, and which the editor and I, being professionals, immediately noted – is, what is funny about death reports? In his note to me, the editor suggested that I avoid using war zone deaths as the central theme or image of the cartoon and instead focus on the universal theme of contractors feeling undervalued.
Posted on Jun 09, 2011 at 12:19 PM2 comments