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Jul. 30 2010 - 7:28 pm | 331 views | 1 recommendation | 20 comments

Waving, (Not Drowning), Good-Bye

New York, New York. Newsroom of the New York T...

Get me rewrite! Image via Wikipedia

Away I go, 900+ posts later…

Whatever will I do with all this newfound empty time?

I started blogging here July 1, 2009, quite literally shaking with fear. Who on earth would want to listen? But, bless y’all, you did.

I found 5,000 visitors by November and 10,000 every month after that; May was my best, with more than 15,000. I never attained the Olympian heights of Taibbi et al, but people showed up.

Mystery: Who are you, anyway?

For someone whose entire career, since college, has been writing for print, not knowing your audience — always tidily demographically profiled and sliced up by the ad department (like, women 18-34) — is unnerving. Really.

So I’m proud of the audience I’ve found, because 50 percent of my followers are male, 50 percent female. I’ve been told this is highly unusual for a blogger and I’m delighted.

(I was hired to blog about women, but, typical Gemini, I flitted like a drunken butterfly from one topic to another.)

I’ve enjoyed getting to know some T/S members and hearing your distinctive voices; luckily, here, it’s remained sane and thoughtful. I’ve valued your insights, wisdom and occasional shared outrage.

I treasure the international, multi-generational friendships True/Slant has brought into my life. Some I’ve already met face to face: Fran Johns, Colin Horgan, Todd Essig, Claudia Deutsch, Nancy Miller, while I look forward to meeting many others who have reached out, including Bart Brouwers, Paul Smalera, Matthew Newton, Devon Pendleton, Dawn Reiss, Fruszina Eordogh and Nick Obourn.

Scott Bowen offered advice and support throughout the writing of my book and Jerry Lanson invited me to Boston to speak to his journalism students. Fellow T/Ser Osha Gray Davidson last week chose my blog here as a “must-follow”. I will miss them all!

Ours is so often a struggling, cut-throat business, so to find a new, talented, generous posse is rare and great and so I am sad that this party is ending.

Here, I “met”, and read the work of talented writers in Bhutan, Saudia Arabia, India, Afghanistan, Rome, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Seattle, Phoenix, Lille. I found this plenitude of perspectives astonishing. Imagine my surprised delight when even PJ Tobia, another stranger to me — in Afghanistan — sent me a story idea. Such attentiveness tells me what a great crew we were.

My first life-changing year was when I won an eight-month fellowship in Paris with 28 journos, ages 25 to 35, from 19 countries. It was the happiest year of my professional life and I remain friends, decades later, with some of them.

In its many similarities to that experience, True/Slant comes in as the second-best.

The dirty secret — as the old-news veterans know — is that very few real-time newsrooms are ever as fun, funny or collegial as this one was. There are way too many Big Egos, too much gossip, an editor who hates you, a thwarted promotion. Here, we enjoyed a level playing field and cool, supportive colleagues. Bliss.

A thank-you to Coates Bateman and Michael Roston, to Lewis, Andrea and Steve — and for allowing the unusual, editorially undisturbed fermentation that produced that unique and special True/Slant fizz.

A special merci beaucoup! to Katie Drummond, a fellow Canadian jock in NY, for recruiting me.

Next?

I’m revising my second book “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” (Portfolio, spring 2011) and pitching my usual clients like The New York Times. I’m thrilled to be a speaker at a major retail conference in September, where I’ll be addressing executives from some of industry’s key players. I’ll be doing it on crutches (the lousy hip) but figure it will win me a shred or two of sympathy.

Vegas on crutches….sounds like a blog post to me!

You can find Broadside here starting next week and I hope you’ll keep reading, and spreading the word if you like what you find.

As a a fulltime freelancer, I’m always looking for new, profitable and interesting gigs. Feel free to drop me a line through my website, (or find me on Facebook,) where you’ll find my email address and current work/activities.

“One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.”

— Herman Hesse


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  1. collapse expand

    I will definitely miss visiting your site, Caitlin. You offered a lot of insight here along with a steady dose of wit, all wrapped up as only a master storyteller can. Thanks for always having something new posted for us online junkies to read, and I look forward to finding your words wherever they’re posted (or printed, as the case may be–can’t wait to see your book!)

  2. collapse expand

    Thanks! It’s been so fun. I’ll miss your brain-y stories. I learned a lot.

  3. collapse expand

    Hey, you guys, instead of missing each other, let’s keep in touch! Of course, David and I don’t know yet what our future is going to look like. But Caitlin, I’ve already subscribed to the RSS feed of the new Broadside, and I’ll be following along.

  4. collapse expand

    Thanks! I better get to work….I plan to keep in touch with as many people as are up for it. I’ve loved this treehouse.

  5. collapse expand

    Don’t forget the hoi polloi. See you at the new place.

  6. collapse expand

    Thanks, Colin. It was great having a few other Canadians here as well. See you anon.

  7. collapse expand

    Caitlin, thank you for all your blog posts here! I don’t always respond to everything you write but I read what ever you post. It has been a pleasure. I hope you feel appreciated.

    Thanks for letting me ( all your readers) know where to find you next. I bookmarked both your website and your new blog site home.

    I really hate Facebook – I had mentioned that before a long time ago – but I also like to be kept up to date with things. I am fairly sure you are not going to give me a call with updates so I think I will have to suck it up here *sigh* and join f/b (again).
    On the upside my friends will be happy. They actually get annoyed when they have to repeat things to me that they have already posted on their f/b profiles. I don’t know, there is just something about Facebook that just does not sit well with me but what can you do..? You’re either in or out. When you are just cyber friends or acquaintances, I think that becomes your only option.

    I wish you (and that damn hip!) all the best and I look forward to reading your blogs and books in the future!

    Peut-être,envisager écriture/poste en français? Aller mondial!

    evyb (and my damn ankle)

  8. collapse expand

    evyb, thanks. My French is fine orally, not so fab when written — tant pis!

    I do feel appreciated, and have been surprised and pleased that people have found all this of value. It is such an odd medium without a gatekeeper beyond the “publish” button.

    I find Facebook deeply annoying when people trumpet their success day after day after day (hello, not everyone is doing that well?! you are booooooring us)…and nothing else.

    I enjoy it for hearing what distant friends (i.e. geographically far away) are up to. As a substitute for face to face time, no.

  9. collapse expand

    Good-by from T/S Caitlin, but I will find your posts, articles, etc. elsewhere. Several of the T/S contributors have been so great to read, I can’t quite figure out the Forbes thing, feels like I left my small city for LA. You have been referenced by me to so many family members – “Caitin wrote…” I first came by True/Slant when I attended a wedding with Brian Bennett, an early contributor and a guy I knew when he was a little kid playing with my kids on San Clemente beach. I will find you on Facebook so I can follow your work. Tom Medlicott

  10. collapse expand

    Tom, it’s been great — you’ve been there from the very start. I am a little stunned to hear I get referenced by your family (mine has never read a word of it; welcome to my family), but it’s very flattering.

    The next site for me is http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/

    See you there!

  11. collapse expand

    Well said, as always, Caitlin. Getting to know you, and reading your consistently insightful writing, was by far one of the best/most memorable aspects of my True/Slant experience. Your thoughtful notes to me following my job loss last year surprised me and went a long way to restoring my faith that not everyone in this business is cold and out for themselves. I can’t wait to read your new book. Good luck in all that you do. I’m sure we’ll be talking much more in the future.

  12. collapse expand

    Thanks…I am really honored that fellow writers found/ find my work of value. It’s our job ( and privilege) to inspire and support one another. I have always believed that and, even (especially!) in a recession feel it’s necessary to reach out when someone needs an ear. Matthew, your essay about being fired over the phone was searing. How could one forget it?

    Time to start planning some t/s reunion. These new peers are extraordinary and the great gift the site gave us, a chance to watch one another over time.

  13. collapse expand

    What a surprise. Good-luck.

    You might be interested to know that an exchange with you about women in science and technology prompted me to take some computer science classes this past summer. It went very well and I’m now applying to Master’s programs.

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you do next.

  14. collapse expand

    jaxyn, what a terrific thing to hear! Best of luck with these courses.

    Please come by — new site is here:

    http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/

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    About Me

    Former reporter and feature writer for the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and the New York Daily News. Winner of a Canadian National Magazine Award (humor) about -- what else -- my divorce. I've been writing frequently for The New York Times since 1990 on almost any subject you can think of -- yup, I'm a generalist. Author of "Blown Away: American Women and Guns" (Pocket Books 2004). Canadian born, raised and formally educated, I've lived in New York since 1989.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 249
    Contributor Since: June 2009
    Location:NYC suburb

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    I’m writing my second book, a memoir for Portfolio/Penguin, of working retail in a suburban mall for more than two years. My 11 Reporting Tips from daily newspaper veterans appears in the May issue of The Writer magazine.

    I also coach fellow writers and edit their work.