Joe B. enjoys movies, video games, music, and reading anything he can get his hands on, from newspapers to old magazine ads to mystery novels, even taking selfies in front of any "historic points of interest" roadside signs he runs across. He also has learned page design and html, and enjoys helping clients to blend their text and visuals to create an even stronger message. Don't ask about poetry though -- he has two published poems to his name and can wield iambic pentameter like a boss, but prefers other written forms.
Joe B. is a past regional president of the Idaho Press Club, a past member of the Society of Professional Journalists and an active member of the Knights of Columbus. In college, he completed a 4-year honors program studying the Great Books of Western Literature. Outside of the writing business, he enjoys history, video games, travel, collecting vintage toys and plastic snowglobes, and was recently bequeathed an impressive commemorative spoon collection.
Joe B. completed CWU's Honors Program which included a 4-year survey of the Great Books of the World. Communications program included focus on newspaper, video/broadcast and public relations.
A veteran sales person once told Joe B that good marketing is simply convincing people to feel good so they'll buy more stuff. Good marketing is quick and creates an emotional response. Better marketing paints a picture and sells an experience with words and visuals. Joe B loves how strong writing can help a company sell a product, a service, even an idea or concept. Along with 20 years of newspaper work, he has written marketing content for various clients -- short, sweet and snappy pieces designed to get people thinking, feeling and ultimately buying. With today's audience making decisions faster, often on their mobile phones, being brief and effective is the name of the game.
In 1980, Joe B's dad brought home a TRS-80 home computer, which kicked off a lifetime of interest in games, programming, and general technology. Since then, he's learned about all sorts of hardware and software, and is also fascinated with how personal tech has become such a vital part of our lives. Joe has written tech content for magazines, newspapers, blogs and news sites, including a popular regionally syndicated weekly newspaper column about interesting Internet destinations. He's especially interested in current trends including mobile marketing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, streaming, Virtual Reality, wearables and the Internet of Things.
Even with the new business-speak of e-commerce, SEO, SSL and 'synergy,' the fundamentals of business still remain the same – create a great product or service that meets people’s demand. Repeat as needed. Though the formula is simple, Joe B. never tires of telling readers about businesses that are successful or at least hoping to hit it big, or perhaps what may have gone wrong along the way. There’s always going to be a significant learning curve, but he enjoys helping people get the word out through strong marketing. He’s written a variety of features and business profiles for a daily newspaper Business section, a monthly business magazine and a variety of business blogs. He’s also received past regional awards for profiles about a new business/education partnership, and the new spirit of collaboration seen between the modern natural resource industries and groups wanting to be vigilant of the environment.
"What's happening?" Just ask Joe B., who enjoys following news about interesting people doing interesting things in performing and visual arts at the local, regional and national levels. He currently manages the content for an regional entertainment site, and also served as Entertainment Editor at a regional daily newspaper. Content in this role required a blend of national syndicated Hollywood/personality news plus features on local artists and regional cultural festivals. Joe is a wealth of knowledge about past and present movies, TV shows, and theater -- make sure he's on your Trivial Pursuit team! He goes to 'cons, follows a variety of entertainment blogs and Twitter feeds, and knows what a Kardashian is so you don't have to.
“Other” is an excellent word for the stories that don’t fit into any category, and these are the ones Joe B. writes well. As a daily newspaper reporter for 20 years and a longtime freelance writer, he knows that there’s no end to catch-all stories, from obscure industries to sub-genres of hobbies to anything-goes topics. But solid writing skills and excellent research abilities make it easy to make them relevant to readers.
Great health writing goes way beyond scaring people or selling miracle cures. Though there are plenty of risky topics that the public should be aware of or take precautions for (flus, general hygiene, meat preparation, general sanitation), there are also other topics that shouldn't be scary once you know the right info (Ebola! Zika!) Joe B. believes the best health stories are ones that connect with and help readers, not just frighten them. He has written health and wellness news over the last 20 years, which includes dozens of physicians and four larger medical centers. He currently edits and writes for a semi-annual health and wellness magazine and a monthly cannabis/marijuana section. He also likes to connect health issues to other areas of the community, such as schools, business, politics, and family life. These days, with so much attention on health, readers need objective, accurate and not necessarily frightening medical advice.
Joe B. had a revelation about 20 years ago -- a Wall Street Journal story made actual sense. After growing up thinking the newspaper was too technical and too dry, he realized that it actually told the story well of modern commerce. It's not always exciting, but informs company owners and investors about the bottom line -- what companies are making money and why, what companies are losing money and why and what forces are influencing future activity. Once this formula was figured out, Joe B. used it in his finance and business writing. He's worked in the newspaper industry for about 20 years, including 10 years writing a variety of topics including business and finance. He's created long-form stories looking closely at local companies, and features about how local companies are responding to national trends. Readers of these types of stories want interesting news but they also want to justify taking valuable time to read this article help their business.
Joe B. doesn't know why strange and wonderful things occur in this world, but enjoys talking to many people who believe they do. Hearing these diverse opinions helps in his spiritual path, and also helps him learn ways to better explain basic truths from other religions and general spirituality to readers. He's written Faith and Spirituality stories for a daily newspaper for five years, everything from discussing activities at the local parochial schools to what makes representatives from differing faiths come together to find common ground. Joe B. is happy to help educate readers objectively about common faith trends or help explore the deeper reasoning and traditions in many cultures. He's even interested in non-religious ways of looking at the world such as astrology. Along with newspaper writing, he's been a Reverend, a member of the Knights of Columbus and has studied comparative religions in college.
When Joe B. first began covering education, he was told "When you understand school financing it's time to move to another beat." The first reason for this is that school financing is so complex that it takes much study to fully understand the complex mechanics involved in selling bonds, tax rates and appealing to the community for more support. It's certainly more of an intricate topic for an "Education Writer" than 'Fun local teachers inspiring fun students' types of stories readers really prefer. But it shows that a good education writer must go beyond the basics to fully immerse himself or herself in all the components that make up current education -- not just classroom magic but so much vital behind-the-scenes activities, from curriculum review to nutritional planning in the cafeterias.
Joe B. spent more than five years covering schools in the Northwest. His 'beat' included everything from innovative pre-K programs to active programs to get senior citizens to keep boosting their brains long after they've left the classroom. He's covered creative teachers and bright students at the K-12 and higher education levels, efforts to accommodate too many students trying to access too few facilities, and how private efforts can go hand-in-hand with public support. These days, parents have so many more choices when trying to find the best educational outlets for their children, from public schools to private schools to homeschooling to charter schools to Common Core. Every good teacher and every good parent want the best for their child, but the methods certainly vary. As a writer, Joe B. enjoyed telling every aspect of the schools story. He's able to understand the detailed jargon of the industry and get readers to learn a little more about the challenges and opportunities facing today's youth and tomorrow's future community members.
Some people set lofty travel goals like visiting every state, every national park or climbing every mountain. While this can be an excellent motivator and always assures one of new horizons, it also can limit your ability to go back to favorite places again and again. Joe B. tries to find a middle ground in his travel -- and travel writing. He and his family enjoy exploring new communities and seeing new sights but also returning to enjoyable spots. He's been writing travel and destination stories for more than a decade, everything from how to get wherever you're going (packing a car, making flight reservations, keeping kids occupied) to what to do when you get there. Over the years, he also has made some longer journeys, everything from a two-week road trip to Chicago, stopping at every roadside attraction, to Washington, D.C., to Europe. Joe thinks a good travel piece accomplishes a lot of things -- it lets people follow you on your journey, gives them ideas for things they can do if they take that trip, or even helps create a fantasy -- if they never make it to that particular place, at least they can enjoy your experience.
Joe B. is the Editor and a contributor to a multimedia Green Living/Sustainable Life print and online section. The print and digital initiative was designed to reach as many people as possible, so there was a monthly section in the print newspaper, a quarterly magazine, an active Web site, and a monthly e-newsletter. Stories highlighted interesting people trying to make sense of what ‘Going Green’ means in our current world; businesses who are learning that their bottom line could be enhanced by improving energy efficiency; and ways for average readers to understand the differing personal and political perspectives on complex topics such as climate change, cap-and-trade and those new light bulbs.
Readers want and sometimes need info about good food! But that's where things get tricky, which is where good food writing comes in. Joe B. enjoys writing about all sorts of food as much as he enjoys consuming it. As a past Food Editor for a daily newspaper, he regularly wrote previews and reviews of new restaurants, plus a variety of fun stories from the best midnight donuts and favorite truck stop fare to the fanciest foo-foo spots in town. He also organized an annual reader cooking contest for several years. His food and beverage foundation includes industry work as well, starting with washing dishes and busing tables at a pizza place, cooking and serving at a fast-food burger chain and setting up, serving and breaking down in a busy hotel banquet center.
When Joe B. first was asked to "fill in" as Outdoors Editor at the daily paper he worked at, it was one of those "gulp" situations. Though he had camped and hiked all his life and lived for most of his life in the Northwest, a region known for impressive natural resources, he felt others more passionate or proficient with a gun or fishing pole should have the job. But nevertheless, he rose to the challenge and in the process helped create an interesting, informative and entertaining section. In the process, he also learned much about the outdoors culture, which ranges from the occasional hiker who wants some fresh air to the hardcore climber and BASE jumper. There are many different viewpoints and cultures every season, from snowmobilers who love doing crazy things with their sleds to Nordic skiers who love the tranquility of a quiet winter evening. Joe is able to unpack his adjectives to describe some great outdoor pursuits and also put some thoughts together to help objectively describe a current outdoor issue (road removal, species management, conservation efforts.)
With so many legal-themed shows, books and movies out there, it’s easy for anyone to think they have a basic understanding of the law. But better attorneys or court personnel will tell you that there’s much more to the current judicial world that courtroom theatrics and surprise legal loopholes. A better understanding can be gained by lots of time in the courtroom and lots of time studying old files. Joe B. has paid his due in worlds, covering the court beat for a daily newspaper for five years and continuing to write other pieces about cases in the news; how new technology is affecting the legal environment, everything from cameras to simple online searching; and why it is an always exciting profession to be part of. Joe B. takes special pride in making sure his legal writing is interesting and even educational, a challenge in a world where complete accuracy is essential and there’s established protocol for everything.
Joe B. knows all about games, from casinos to video games to even basic board games. He saw his first video game at Circus Circus in Las Vegas in 1977 (Space Wars) and was hooked! Since then, he has observed the rapid growth of home and arcade video games and of the entire casino experience. Over the years, Joe B. has chronicled the growth of video games from simple coin-ops to home entertainment systems like Atari and Nintendo. Today, we see their legacy in the form of Xboxes, portable systems like the Nintendo DS and mobile games. It's easy to get geeky and drill deep about a particular segment or title, but he also likes to write about the bigger picture for players, their parents, and those nostalgic about retro games. Joe has written a weekly game column for 4 years for a daily newspaper, and has written about games and high-tech issues for a quarterly tech magazine, a gaming and pop culture blog. He also enjoys the occasional visit to area casinos, playing slots, table games, and other interesting diversions.
Music scholars say we all follow certain natural, internal rhythms, and when we hear ours, it makes us feel great and want to move. Joe B. loves this description of the power of music, which helps explain how so many people can love -- or hate -- so many kinds of music yet there's something universal about how we respond. The feeling we get from music is only half the equation -- the other half is the technical, mechanical stuff. Joe B. has covered entertainment at a daily newspaper for about five years, and a big part of its local music coverage. It gave him a chance to get to know many area artists, from the regular players at the nightclubs to angry high school punk rockers to members of the local orchestra. He wrote a weekly column about local performers and tried to explain a band's appeal to the readers even if the music may not be something that appealed to everyone. He also took several music classes in college which gave him an understanding of the role of music in our current Western culture, including some of past musical periods. This foundation helped his knowledge and added a greater depth to his writing. He enjoys just about every type of music, and his musical library consists of everything from old-school hip-hop to modern country to opera.
Joe B. never considered himself a family writer, until he had one. Now, he’s part of a world where there’s no shortage of advice and a whole lot of trial and error. Though there are some common behaviors by ages, every family’s circumstances and experiences will differ. That’s why it’s important to have “universal” topics that can appeal to just about every reader, whether it’s parenting tips, health and safety information, or development details, whether a child is a toddler, a teen or anything in between. Along with simply being a father, Joe has written a variety of parenting articles essentially letting readers know that they’re not alone, and that other parents have had similar questions and challenges. It’s true that there are different environmental challenges and pressures today, but much of the role of a parent is unchanged. Joe B. also enjoys telling the stories of other parents doing things right.
Being of the male persuasion, Joe B. initially encountered a big learning curve being able to write about the beauty industry. But as an accomplished writer and researcher, he's put as much effort into learning about the sometimes complex world of style and fashion that he would to any technical project. In the process, he learned that it isn't such a secret world after all, and everyone can find ways to make themselves look and feel better inside and out. Writing-wise, he was Fitness/Style Editor at a daily newspaper, has written marketing copy for several beauty product companies, including cosmetic, hair and spa products.
Joe B. may have been the only one of his peers whose favorite part of “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” was Ace’s menagerie, rather than the rest of the movie. Until he is able to live out in the country and pay for that much critter chow, he’ll have to make due writing about furry friends. Or scaly friends. Or any kind of animal companion. He’s written a variety of pet- and animal-themed stories for a daily newspaper, including care tips, plus features on area vets.
Joe B's first blog that he was paid for was all about golf. But years before that he was writing his own thoughts and views on life. Today, the golf one has been unplugged, and several other personal ones have come and gone. He still oversees several for his job at a print and online newspaper, including one about Green living and one about autos. In the process, he's become something of an expert about good posts and bad posts -- like art, the best post is one that you actually take the effort to sit down and write, rather than worrying what you'll say!
Joe B. has been writing for more than 20 years on just about every subject and format. He's worked at newspapers in the Northwest for years, along with maintaining a successful freelance writing business helping clients with everything from basic press releases to complete media campaigns.He believes articles should be well-crafted, no matter the length or purpose. His philosophy is that if writing is done right, readers will always prefer something easy to understand and well-written.
Each social network has its good points and bad points, but Joe B still finds that Facebook has more good than bad. He's been a member for more than 7 years -- some may say he's on too much but sometimes he feels like he's not on it enough. He sees Facebook's value as a personal tool to communicate with friends and family but also an impressive business tool.
The biggest challenge is getting people to see your message. Joe number of people to see it. Joe has researched ways businesses can improve their visibility -- but not be too visible. Post too often and you can start to annoy people, post too little and you won't show up on too many people's activity fields. It's a fine line, and Joe B. is happy to discuss current thinking with clients interested in reaching more people through this increasingly popular network.
People often ask Joe B. "How can I get my press release in the paper?" and his first answer is "bribe someone with food." But his second, more serious answer, is to write it well, give the basic info, and don't write long. As a member of a newspaper staff for about 20 years, he's seen a wide range of press releases, from weighty and confusing globs of words that tried and failed to be literary, to succinct pieces perfectly describing the product or event that it was promoting.
The latter ones sometimes need little tweaking to get into the paper, while the former ones need much TLC even if they're even deemed story-worthy. Not everything merits a press release -- sometimes things are fine as new product info. Sometimes things do have some newsworthiness, so a press release is essentially a chance to attract a writer or editor's attention to create their own story.
Along with his newspaper work, Joe B. has written more than a dozen press releases for clients as freelance writing projects. He follows his own advice and tries to keep them short, to the point, and as interesting as possible. Past satisfied clients have included an art supply retailer, an Internet service, a private school, and a theme park.
He's happy to help clients craft strong, interesting press releases and get people excited about the topic.
There are plenty of reasons why Joe B. and others believe Twitter is becoming a preferred alternative to Facebook for many (as of 2013 at least). Posts are shorter, there are less ads, and you don't have to be granted permission to follow someone you like reading about. Plus there's that secret language of hashtags and retweets and DMs. Plus, in terms of conveying instant information and creating conversations, no other electronic media comes as close. Joe B. maintains his own Twitter account, regularly checks in with the sites he manages, and also has built up a strong, active group of followers.
Along with creating content for a variety of sites and blogs, Joe B. was also responsible for letting others know about these interesting products. Outlets could include simple print newspaper ads, online banner ads, direct mail postcards, e-newsletters, and even community outreach at local events. Each option required different voices and size of message.
Newsletters can be downright fun! They can be thought of as a personalized assortment of info -- while the content may not be exactly what you want and need at any moment in time, it's what the sender thinks you'll appreciate. If the sender can add some personality to them, even better -- maybe drop some names of recipients. Joe B. has created a variety of targeted newsletters over the years, including one dedicated to fun online sites in the early days of the Internet; a monthly B2B one that focused on local trends and new opportunities; and a Green-themed ones that shared interesting projects taking place and basic tips on living more sustainably plus mini-features on active members of that community.