Writer, teacher, web publisher. (And chicken farmer.)

I'm a writer, web publisher and senior lecturer in the Journalism Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

I teach Intro to Multimedia, Magazine Writing, and Entrepreneurial Journalism, along with two classes I developed, The First-Year Students Seminar for first-year students, and The Journalism Launchpad, a career development course for sophomores, juniors and seniors. 

I serve as advisor and teacher for Amherstwire, and as internship and career advisor for journalism students. I help people get jobs. My blog, The Journalism Launchpad, is full of job and internship tips and information for students about the business. 

In 2013, I was named Outstanding Teacher by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass. What a kick it was to receive this honor.

I keep up with new developments by getting together with others who teach entrepreneurial journalism, including workshops and conferences. This academic year I am working as a Coleman Fellow,  a national program that seeks to improve entrepreneurial teaching outside of the business schools on college campuses around the country. For the past two years, I have attended a gathering of entrepreneurial teachers and practitioners hosted by Jeff Jarvis and Jeremy Caplan at City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. 

In 2013, I was a fellow at the  Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute, at the Cronkite School at Arizona State University. It was energizing to talk with pros like Mark Briggs, Jeff Jarvis and Dan Gillmor about building out courses in Entrepreneurial Journalism at UMass. I've also attended workshops in teaching and in journalistic entrepreneurship at the Poynter Institute.

Here's a little bit of what I learned. 

In my Entrepreneurial Journalism class, students develop their own information-based digital business and compete in a pitch competition at the end of the semester. It's part of our ongoing efforts in the UMass Journalism Department to teach the next generation of critical thinkers how to report, write and publish with courage and clarity, using text, digital images and sound to tell their stories, and social media to build their audiences. 

Amherstwire serves as a learning laboratory for students. They run the show, including everything from story assignment to working with Wordpress to understanding Google Analytics and the role of social media in both reporting and distributing our work. 

I'm particularly proud of The Journalism Launchpad course, which has helped dozens of students successfully manage their post-college transition, by providing resources, career advising and encouragement. This year, at least two thirds of the students who took this class in the spring ended up with jobs or internships in the field of journalism by the end of the summer. 

For more than two decades, I covered western Mass. as a correspondent and worked as a Sunday columnist for The Boston Globe and the Boston Globe Magazine. I've also written for many other publications on many topics, like  my love of Cape Cod  for Yankee Magazine. I wrote about a garden that uses mostly native plants up in Stowe, Vermont for  Design New England, and, more recently, about the redevelopment of an old department store into a boutique hotel in Pittsfield, Mass. 

Here's a piece I particularly enjoyed writing for The Boston Globe Travel Section about two artists' chapels in Southern France. Here's Me, Inc, for The Boston Globe Magazine, which tells why non-business school students are studying entrepreneurship. 

My piece about the challenges of getting broadband internet service in western Mass. appeared this year in the Boston Globe Op-Ed section.

I just found this Globe story in the wayback machine, about the transformation of a giant white pine in the hills of western Mass. into the mast of a then-100-year-old schooner in New Bedford. My neighbor Norman Hicks actually cut down that tree, and it was a lot of fun to spend time in a meadow along the Deerfield River, watching the craftsmen do their work. 

More recently, my Fiftyshift blog appeared on boston.com for two years. 

I'm not a professional photographer, but I often shoot photos to accompany my work. On a whim I entered a contest, and my photo led the New York Times Magazine slideshow, Front Yards Are the New Backyards. 

I thought this was pretty cool.

I live in western Massachusetts with my husband Dan and a remarkably charismatic flock of chickens: Barred Rocks and Araucanas. The longer I live with chickens the more I think everyone should have a few around.