Reporter Skye Kinkade is eager to implement the lessons she learned at a two-day journalism symposium in Chicago earlier this month on April 5 and 6.

Reporter Skye Kinkade is eager to implement the lessons she learned at a two-day journalism symposium in Chicago earlier this month on April 5 and 6.

Kinkade attended a reporting conference taught by nine journalists, editors, publishers, and professors. April 7, she was already back at her desk at Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers, inspired, energized and ready to make changes.

“I’ve got a million new ideas; I’ll carry them out a day at a time,” Kinkade said.

The first thing Kinkade did when she got back was start her own blog, called “Skyelines.”

“Linda Cunningham, publisher of the Rockford Register Star, really inspired me. She talked about the future of newspapers and different ways to expand a newspaper’s focus by using Twitter, Facebook, and blogging.”

Kinkade already updates the newspaper’s website regularly and maintains  the paper’s Facebook and Twitter. “The blog will give me a fresh way to interact with our readers,” she added. “It will expand communication and interaction. I’m excited to see how our readers respond.”

Tom Koetting, the managing editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, also inspired Kinkade. “He spoke about managing long term projects and how to fit them into your daily schedule,” she said. “Writing a series, taking an in-depth look at an issue, demands conscious effort since each day is already so full.”

Medill School of Journalism professor Michele Weldon’s workshop on “100 story ideas” made Kinkade realize the importance of incorporating diverse sources in articles. “I found it interesting that such a large percentage of sources in articles are women. Knowing that, I’ll be expanding in that area.”

Bill Glauber, a general assignment reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, provided ideas about how to use statistics in writing and how to make them interesting to readers. “They promised we’d receive tools and information to help us improve our coverage of the current economic crisis and its impact on families in the communities, and we sure learned how to do that,” Kinkade noted.

The 20 reporters who attended the conference came from the east and west coasts as well as the Midwest.

“During the workshops, we learned about global issues and trends; in the evening, during our ‘free time,’ we talked about what was happening in our communities,” Kinkade said.

“I learned no matter where we came from – urban or rural – all of us share the same problems of unemployment, declining funding for schools, declining health insurance coverage, infrastructure problems at all levels. The intensity of the problem varies. Still, I think all of us were surprised by the similarities.”

“We came away wanting to expand our context and support each other. I made 19 new journalist friends; we plan to keep communicating about what we’ve learned and what we’re now accomplishing.”

Kinkade believes that this networking will help provide a national context to local Siskiyou County issues.

The conference training will continue through the online networking platform LinkedIn. The groups’ first webinar workshop will be in 10 weeks, and Kinkade is eager to continue the training she began in Chicago.

Kinkade returned from the windy city inspired, energized, and ready to make changes. “I’m eager to share my ideas with my peers at the paper,” she said. “I want to teach them how to create their own blogs; there’s so much we can do.”

Kinkade is also eager to hear from readers and encourages them to call her at 926-5214, email her at skye@mtshastanews.com or to read her blog, Skyelines.

Skyelines can be found at www.mtshastanews.com/skyelines. Kinkade blogs about what’s happening in the community and behind the scenes in the newsroom. She also plans to blog about being a working mom, she said.

Later this week, reporters Eve Thompson and Richard DuPertuis will also be debuting their own blogs.

Thompson’s blog, “Finding the Light,” will highlight individuals and groups working to support and strengthen our local community.

DuPertuis’ blog, “Dateline: Dunsmuir,” will allow readers to “peek over the shoulder of a reporter as he searches for the angle, the right words, the balance inherent in old school journalism,” he said.

Once activated, a ‘Blogs’ link leading to all the blogs can be found at the top of the mtshastanews.com website.

“This was the most exciting event of my career so far,” Kinkade smiled. “I’m looking forward to making changes. I learned what’s possible and now it’s just time to get started.”