I’ve been writing news stories in Texas for more than 20 years. During my deadline days, I was named the North and East Texas Press Association Journalist of the Year four times.
Working in the newsroom, I had a front row seat as the internet just about killed newspapers. I knew I had to either evolve or risk becoming insignificant, so I changed. I learned how to build websites and blogs, and I used social media to go to my readers.
I teamed up with my good friend Jeff Weinstein to create Henderson County Now, a hyperlocal news blog in Athens, Texas, a town with a population of 12,000. In three years we built a Facebook community with more than 22,000 followers, a website with more than 1 million hits, and popular accounts on Twitter and Instagram.
Now, in addition to writing for HCN, I speak and teach about using social media for journalism and small business marketing. Jeff and I have also started a social media marketing agency to bring influencers and brands together to create successful campaigns benefiting both.
After years of writing about problems, I decided that wasn’t enough. So starting May 1, 2014, I vowed to wear a blue shirt every day for a year to support Go Blue, a child abuse prevention organization. We raised more than $3,000 for the program. On May 28, 2016, I put on a pair of red hi tops and some purple bracelets for a year in support of domestic violence prevention.
When I can, I play my red guitar as a part of the Dogwood Church praise team. I have four children, including 7-year-old twins, and two grandchildren.