Posted tagged ‘Connecticut Press Club’

Meet a Member: Megan Smith-Harris

June 1, 2016

New members are vital to our organization. One of our newest members is Megan Smith-Harris who earlier this year joined Connecticut Press Club and won honors in the affiliate communications contest. She has commitments, so she can not join us this fall in Kansas, but hopefully she will be able to attend the Alabama conference. Meet one of our outstanding new members.

Megan Smith-Harris, Editor of Wilton Magazine Photo by Karen Morneau

Megan Smith-Harris, Editor of Wilton Magazine Photo by Karen Morneau

Name: Megan Smith-Harris

City and State: Wilton, Connecticut

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Connecticut Press Club

Years a member of NFPW: Newbie! Joined in January 2016.

Tell us a little about you.

For the past couple of years I have been fortunate enough to be the editor of Wilton Magazine, a regional high-end lifestyle magazine that is part of the TownVibe Media Company. I came to my editorial role in a rather circuitous route. Throughout my 20s I made a successful living as a professional actress and writer, working mostly in comedy. I got frustrated with the two-dimensional roles being offered to women so in my early 30s I quit acting and went to film school. Soon after, I got sidelined from my goal of writing and producing feature films when I fell in love with storytelling potential of making documentaries.

After helming a series of documentaries that have aired in Canada, the U.S., and abroad, I heard that Wilton Magazine was looking for a new editor. At the time, I was writing MEGAblog, a popular blog for Hearst CT Media, and thought, “Why not try for the editorial position?” I pitched myself as a passionate storyteller who had worked professionally in multiple media, including television, film, radio, theatre, magazines, and blogs. I was the dark horse in the race because of my lack of a journalism pedigree, but TownVibe publisher and editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Morris liked my ideas, enthusiasm, and writing samples. Amazingly, I got the gig.

I’ve been in the position just over two years and I love the job. Not only do I get to write for every issue of the magazine, but I also have (almost) full autonomy over the editorial content. Content is driven by its relevance to our community,, which allows me to make the magazine truly a reflection of the readers it serves. I am also in the fortunate position of being able to cultivate local writers and develop new writing voices, which is wonderful. My goal is always to make the next issue better than the last.

Though I write for work, I also write for pleasure. Recently, I finished a one-act play that I’m now expanding into a full-length play. I’m also putting the finishing touches on a feature film script Behind the Hedgerows that I’ve been toying with for several years.

I’ve had a non-traditional path to journalism and am so grateful to my boss for taking a leap of faith and hiring me. To win multiple awards from the CT Press Club on my very first year submitting work has made me happy and proud. In this life, we all evolve and grow. Writing has always been a personal passion and remains the one constant that I have been able to rely on both professionally and personally.

Wilton Magazine Editor Megan Smith-Harris with young author Claire Fraise at "The Wilton 25" party

Wilton Magazine Editor Megan Smith-Harris with young author Claire Fraise at “The Wilton 25” party

Any career advice you would give?

Develop social media and marketing skills even if they’re rudimentary. Make sure that you’re on Linkedin and Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. View yourself as a brand that people need and want. And get out there! Go to film festivals, plays, art openings, seminars, author readings, and parties. Not only will you have fun and gain exposure, but you’ll also make some useful contacts and possibly land a great gig. The old chestnut is still true: Do what you love because if you love what you do, you’ll excel in your field and enjoy life a lot more.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Wow. That’s tough. There are so many things I’d like to be able to do. In descending order: Sing like Nina Simone (never going to happen), speak French like a native, and tap dance like Eleanor Powell who was reputed to be the best female tap dancer of all time. If I could do all three simultaneously…? Well, that would be something, wouldn’t it?

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Again with the challenging questions! It’s a toss-up between Vancouver (a temperate climate year round, no bugs, and jaw-dropping views) and the South of France. I’ve never actually been to the south of France but I can dream, can’t I?

What book are you reading?

I’m always reading three or more books simultaneously. Currently on my night stand: A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (because I loved her previous novel Life After Life); Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening by John Elder Robison, detailing his experience with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) during a medical study at Yale,and Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling which is hilarious and the perfect book to read on days when I’m feeling grumpy.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m also a documentary filmmaker. My current film, The Buddy System: A Dog Makes a Difference (http://BuddySytemFilm.org) explores the extraordinary impact of specially trained autism assistance dogs on the lives of a children on the spectrum. Our team has been following a group of kids and their service dogs on and off for over three years. We’re in post-production and hope to launch the film during Autism Awareness month next April 2017.  My last film, Trial by Fire: Lives Re-forged (http://TrialByFireDoc.org) will continue to air on PBS across the country for another few years.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

To be honest, I don’t know yet, but I look forward to finding out. I’m fairly new to print journalism, but as in any field, I think it’s important to get to know your colleagues and the issues that affect your industry. I’m also looking forward to getting better acquainted with other writers through reading the newsletter, attending the national conference at some point in the future, and participating in events sponsored by my local chapter, the Connecticut Press Club.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

Personal Website:  http://MeganSmithHarris.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/megan.smithharris.9

Wilton Magazine Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WiltonMagazine/?fref=ts

TownVibe Website: http://townvibe.com

The Buddy System Documentary: http://BuddySystemFilm.org

Trial by Fire Documentary: http://TrialByFireDoc.org

Meet a Member: Michele Turk

May 5, 2015

Michele Turk is a go-getter. When she sees a need she is willing to step up and help solve the problem. After being a long-time member of the Connecticut Press Club, she saw the need to revitalize the local affiliate and its association with NFPW. She is working to energize the affiliate and is planning activities to be more visible in the area. Networking is important for professional communicators and she is working to help fill the void in Connecticut. If you know of anyone in the area who might be interested in joining, contact our newest affiliate leader, Michele Turk.

Michele Turk

Michele Turk

Name: Michele Turk

City and State: Cos Cob, Conn.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: President, Connecticut Press Club

Years a member of NFPW: I joined the Connecticut Press Club when I moved here 15 years ago, but I am a new member of NFPW.

Tell us a little about you.

Since landing my first job as a junior editor at American Health magazine (a Reader’s Digest publication), I’ve published articles on a wide range of topics, including medicine, education, parenting and business. Initially, my work appeared mostly in national consumer magazines, and later, I wrote articles and blogged for similar websites. Two years ago I co-edited a book, “Ink Stained,” a collection of essays by my classmates in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Class of 1992, and I published “Blood, Sweat and Tears: An Oral History of the American Red Cross” in 2006.  I also worked as an adjunct professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University for four years.

As the founder of A Bloc of Writers, Inc., I oversee a team of writers who provide writing, editing and tutoring services ranging from blog posts to books. I view the company as a culmination and combination of all of the skills I have acquired over the past 20+ years. I work from my home, where I live with my husband, Russ, and our two teenagers and a dog. They keep me pretty busy so I don’t have many hobbies outside of writing, and trying to stay fit at 50, although I joke that my idea of exercise is reading fast.

Any career advice you would give?

Michele Turk enjoying some time with her children.

Michele Turk enjoying some time with her children.

Anyone working in journalism over the past two decades has witnessed unprecedented changes in the industry, and we’ve all had to learn to adapt to the realties of the digital age. Despite all of the emphasis on STEM learning and careers, there will always be jobs for people who love to read, write and edit, so if that’s what you love to do, as I do, don’t become a scientist or engineer because you think that’s where the jobs will be. If you learn and hone a skill, whether it’s writing and editing or develop some other area of expertise, and you work hard, your career will fall into place.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d like to be able to cook — not just follow a recipe, but open the fridge and whip up something spectacular, meals that everyone in my family would enjoy. No matter how hard I try, that’s probably not going to happen.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Italy.

What book are you reading?

I always have several going at once….I just came back from vacation, where I read a novel called “The Accident” by Chris Pavone. It’s a thriller – not a genre I typically read – about the publishing world. I am also making my way through the late David Carr’s memoir, “Night of the Gun.”

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve lived in a Connecticut suburb of New York City for 15 years, the Washington D.C. area for six years and I spent seven years in New York City, so I think people are sometimes surprised when they learn that I grew up in a small farming town in New Jersey whose claim to fame is the “blueberry capital of the world.” My family still lives there, and I am heading there to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I just took over as president of the Connecticut Press Club, an affiliate that has not been active for a year or so. I look forward to meeting and getting to know fellow writers, and I consider it an honor and a challenge to try to revive the chapter. I aim to bring in a younger, more diverse membership with a variety of backgrounds, including writers, editors, authors, bloggers. Since there is no New York affiliate at this time, I’d like to try to include colleagues in neighboring Westchester County, NY. I’m thrilled to have the support and resources of the NFPW to guide me, and to be a part of the national organization.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

www.ablocofwriters.com

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=151009562&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile