Tom Durkin multimedia writer-editor-photographer
© Tom Durkin 1998-2017

Easy reading is damn hard writing. - Maya Angelou

What follows are links to samples of my writing from very asssorted genres. I will rotate articles from time to time. Some of the links will take you off-site. Please don’t forget to come back.

News Reporting

Native Americans locked out of their cemetery - This was the beginning of a strange tale of covert racism, white guilt, intertribal tensions, and bureaucratic gridlock. The cemetery was quickly reopened, but the underlying issues were still unresolved when I left the the newspaper. Sewer rate protest fails - Small town politics are ugly and personal. This was the culmination of months of vicious infighting that went all the way to the State Water Resources Board.

Investigative Reporting

I’ve investigated street drugs and prostitution, illegal marijuana grows and crooked contractors, but the most enterprising investigation I’ve ever done was to find out who ran a secret satirical e-zine that was amusing and annoying prominent citizens. It took me months to pierce their veil of secrecy: The Nevada County Scooper sheds light on “issues of the day” through satire.

Creative Nonfiction

Sometimes you get an assignment that is so weird that you have to take a weird angle to do justice to the subject. As my publisher Gil Gordon noted in his introduction to A Tale of Two Commuters, the topic was, on the face of it, totally crackpot - until I put a face on it. Sometimes you have to make up your own assignments. It’s called enterprise reporting. After years of covering workers compensation stakeholders accusing each other of fraud, I decided to point out how each sector committed fraud in Workers Compensation Fraud: Crime and Punishment.

Personality Profile

She beats the blues, with strings attached - Paula was one of the best guitar teachers I’ve ever had - and I’m not sure if it was because of her epilepsy or in spite of it. Paula, if you’re reading this, I need more lessons.

Entertainment

Melissa Etheridge: not in Kansas anymore - First and foremost, Melissa Etheridge is a performer. For her solo “This is M.E.” tour, the rock star is showing off her lead guitar chops. Live from Nevada City, It’s The Geezer Gig! - “Party like an animal and be home in bed by 10.”

Legal & Legislative Analysis

CTA v Gould I - Pre-verdict analysis of a multi-year, multi-milllion dollar lawsuit by the California Teachers Association against the state over misappropriation of funds from Proposition 98 lottery income designated  for education. There was a gag order, but I found deep throat sources on both sides. CTA v Gould II - Post-verdict analysis. CTA won. Most papers reported a $373 million settlement, but that was only the first payout. The actual settlement was $1.76 billion. Most papers didn’t get that.

Technical Writing

SETI Researchers Sift Interstellar Static for Signs of Life - Soft-core technical  writing for executives and non-engineers. Digital Radio Receiver System - Technical marketing to engineers. SMACTM - Applied as a New Gigabit Ethernet Protocol - Hard-core technical writing for engineers.

Ghostwriting

In my capacity as managing editor of Xcell Journal, it was my occasional privilege to interview Wim Roelandts, the CEO of Xilinx Inc., and write his column. Here’s what he had to say about How to Survive a Recession and Gain Market Leadership.

Copywriting

Durkin Gibbs & Associates - I wrote this about 30 years ago. It was my philosophy then, and it still is.
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