Resume / curriculum vitae for Paula Wethington of Monroe, Michigan.
For an introduction and contact form, see my about page; for samples of my work, see my portfolio section; for my social media accounts, see the links I have posted on the front page of the blog; for a list of continuing education classes I have taken, see that separate list.
My career path has been as a reporter on print side of the news business; however, as you will see looking through this page I have successfully moved into digital and social media formats.
My newspaper chronology is as follows.
- Bedford Now, a division of The Monroe News in Monroe, Mich. General assignments reporter and occasional photographer for a weekly newspaper covering the suburban Toledo communities of Lambertville and Temperance. February 2015-present.
- The Monroe News, Monroe, Mich. Reporter and occasional photographer for a daily newspaper in Monroe, Mich., with assignments such as breaking news, features, government meetings, calendar listings. My favorite pieces included a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the Miss Monroe County pageant, a feature about a day at a NASCAR race in which I was both photographer and reporter, and an in-depth look at how the student loan crisis affected Monroe-area college graduates and dropouts. The Monroe News became a GateHouse Media company in fall 2015; previously it was employee-owned and I was among the employee owners. 2000-present.
- The News Herald, a Gannett newspaper, Port Clinton, Ohio. I was the newsroom’s lead reporter and occasional photographer with numerous breaking news stories during the late 1990s. This included being the only reporter on the scene of a 20-car pileup that happened during heavy fog (state troopers let our newsroom know when it was safe to go there); and also the first reporter at the city dock after we got word there was an accident involving a ferry boat. Also at various times handled the police / court, city hall beat and tourism beats. Awards included Associated Press Society of Ohio Third Place Division I Breaking News in 1999; and Associated Press Society of Ohio First Place Lifestyle Division I Lifestyle in 1999. Reporter 1997-2000; Reporter 1988-1988; Intern in summer 1988.
- The News-Messenger, a Gannett newspaper, Fremont, Ohio. Reporter assigned at various times to village councils, police / court and education beats; occasional photographer, some copyediting, also the newsroom librarian duties. I hosted or co-hosted several reader focus group meetings during 1993-1997 and mentored junior high and high school student visitors through their job shadow experiences in 1994 and 1996. My favorite assignments included a day as a circus clown in which I was both reporter and photographer, a precursor to today’s “multimedia reporter” duties. Reporter from 1989-1997.
- The State in Columbia S.C. Part-time copy runner whose duties included assisting copy editors and writing obituaries. Summer and fall 1986.
Student newspaper experience:
While the professional work experience is most applicable, I also had quite a career in student media. That included:
- The Carolina Reporter at University of South Carolina. I was chosen to be city editor during my cohort’s editing rotation at the senior journalism class’s weekly newspaper. During the reporting rotation, I covered city hall and statehouse news. Spring 1988.
- The Gamecock at University of South Carolina. I served one semester as news editor, two as assistant news editor, two as features editor, other terms as reporter for what was then a three-day a week newspaper run by the students. Assignments included covering visits to campus by Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan. Fall 1985-fall 1987.
- The BG News at Bowling Green State University. Reporter on general assignments. Summer 1985.
- The Chatter at Fremont Ross High School, Fremont, Ohio. This monthly student newspaper nearly shut down during my junior year when the editor stepped down and a leadership vacancy resulted. I took over as editor in chief during fall of my senior year, recruited a new advisor and staff, re-signed the printing contracts, and handed it over upon graduation to the next student leaders. My duties during my sophomore and junior years included clubs and organizations editor.
Web editor and blog experience:
Much of what I have done in web editing and production is directly related to my duties at The Monroe News. This includes:
- MonroeNews.com. Work with other reporters and editors in writing, curating and posting content to The Monroe News’ daily newspaper’s website. I have handled web editor duties during numerous breaking news situations such as tornado warnings, Amber alerts, a fatal plane crash and two high profile murder investigations. My specialties include picking up on trending topics, adding backgrounder links, creating Canva graphics and providing social media support to the news of the day. I also created the snow day school closing procedures in 2012 after several years of our newsroom stalling out on how we could get the schools to report to us and then post the announcements in a timely manner. For much of the time that I was on the web team, the site was run on the Ellington platform. We moved to the Saxotech Online platform in early 2016 and also had used an earlier version of Saxotech in the mid-2000s. 2006-present.
- BedfordNow.com. Bedford Now is a division of The Monroe News. Lead reporter responsible for writing, curating and posting content to the Bedford Now weekly newspaper’s website for the communities of Temperance and Lambertville, Mich. In addition to writing most of the local news copy, I curated and posted county and state news copy for the website. When I was assigned to handle web production on the site, it was run on the Ellington platform. We moved to the Saxotech Online platform in early 2016. February 2015-present.
- MonroeOnaABudget.com. Launched, authored and ran a personal finance website via WordPress format as a digital media project for The Monroe News. We did not previously have a personal finance beat, although we have long had a business beat. The focus of Monroe on a Budget was news, public service announcements and money-saving tips for southeast Michigan residents. Recurring themes included couponing, paying for college and typical family expenses. It was a huge hit with our readers and soon became nationally known. Monroe on a Budget was honored as a top 200 personal finance blog by both MoneyCrashers and WiseBread; was promoted on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube; and a spinoff weekly column ran for three years in The Monroe News. I hosted or co-hosted a handful of web chats. I also had numerous public speaking appearances that included keynote speaker at the Ladies Day program at the 2010 Monroe County Fair; guest spots on WMIM 98.3 FM in Monroe, Mich.; TV appearances on Fox 36 Toledo and Rebecca Regnier’s Full Plate syndicated lifestyle show; and two radio interviews for Marketplace Money. Unless the discussion was a panel appearance or live interview, I wrote and presented the program in PowerPoint. January 2007-March 2015.
- Other blogs that I hosted or co-hosted for The Monroe News in WordPress format included Road to the Crown (a pageant news blog) 2012-2014, Behind the Headlines (a newsroom blog) 2007-2012, Social Butterflies (a social media blog.) 2012-2013.
Social media experience:
Long before I took formal training in social media, I was hosting or co-hosting nearly all of The Monroe News’ newsroom’s social accounts starting with our digital media push in 2006. I earned the nickname of “newsroom social media liaison” in 2009 while handling a public relations crisis that erupted on our reader forum; about four years later, my job title officially expanded to include “social media team member.”
That being said, the duties I’ve successfully handled fit under the description that other newsrooms now call social media editor or community engagement manager.
- Twitter. Duties include posting breaking news, trending topics and promotional content along with making recommendations on automated content for the newsroom Twitter accounts. I have conducted reader polls, scheduled content via HootSuite and TweetDeck, forwarded customer service questions to co-workers, used searches to find and follow our target audiences, monitored and reported analytics, and taught co-workers and friends how to set up or use their accounts. Success stories: I took the Monroe News’ Twitter account from 5,000 followers in January 2014 to over 14,000 in May 2016. In addition, 85 percent of those followers are in The Monroe News’ target geographic area of Michigan or Ohio. I also pushed the Bedford Now Twitter fan count from 285 when I took it over in February 2015 to 1,300 in May 2016; again with the majority from the geographic target area of Michigan and Ohio. Brand experience 2009-present.
- Facebook. Co-hosted the Monroe News Facebook page since its launch in fall 2010; was assigned to run the Bedford Now Facebook page in February 2015. Also hosted Facebook pages for special projects such as a parenting magazine. Duties included posting and scheduling content; answering and referring customer questions; monitoring and reporting analytics. Success stories included edging out the 25 percent year to year fan count increase on the Bedford Now Facebook account during 2015 as compared to 2014; despite the lack of high profile news stories for that audience during 2015 as compared to two incidents that dramatically pushed the analytics in 2014. Brand experience on Facebook 2010-present.
- Instagram. This was a surprise success story. We had tried a couple of things over the years with our Instagram account, nothing seemed to really work. I then moved it in a new direction in August 2015 with a moderate but consistent level of activity of artsy scenes from across our community and that’s finally what clicked. The numbers jumped from what was then a fan count of 480 to 2,524 fans by May 2016.
- Google +. I co-hosted the Monroe News’ account upon its launch and currently manage it. This has been an off-and-on effort as we were never really sure how many of the followers were from our geographic area; however, I have been posting several links a week in hopes of boosting search engine results for those pieces.
- Reader forum. I was a beta tester and co-moderator of the Monroe News reader forum site upon its launch in 2006. Moderation duties eventually dwindled, as the community pretty much answers itself now.
- Pinterest. I launched the Monroe News’ Pinterest account in 2011, and soon afterward it was among the 100 or so listed on the “Newspapers on Pinterest” blog. In addition to yet another direction to send out links to our websites, this has became a place to showcase the community and host lifestyle topic boards that have been used as multimedia embeds.
- Video apps. I co-hosted at launch the Vine and Tout accounts for The Monroe News. In May 2016, we moved to a corporate account for Tout that allows more features in addition to advertising opportunities.
In addition to the backup photographer for breaking news and feature assignments, along with internal communications and social media duties noted elsewhere, this is what I have done in photography.
- Original stock art creation for Monroe on a Budget, Monroe News and Bedford Now. To fill in the gaps with our newsroom’s file art library and stock art subscription, I have taken numerous photos intended for use as evergreen images in blog posts, website articles and print features. Examples for the newsroom websites included the state park’s public beach “red flag” station warning of dangerous current conditions and theater seats in a local high school auditorium. Examples for Monroe on a Budget included holiday table arrangements with budget-friendly pieces and piles of notebooks for back to school features.
- Amateur photography bookings included taking a professional portrait for my brother when he needed a publicity image for his business, along with taking my daughter’s engagement photo for newspaper publication and her “save the date” wedding cards.
- Several ribbons in the Advanced Amateur division at the photography open class contest at the Sandusky County Fair in Fremont, Ohio. 1990-1999.
- Participated off and on in the photography amateur open class contest at the Monroe County Fair in Monroe, Mich. 2000-present.
My husband works in radio, as do several of our friends, so I’m familiar with what they do and how they do it; although I haven’t operated a professional audio board since my college days. Here’s what I have done in that field:
- WUSC 90.5 FM in Columbia, S.C. Took the training and license exam to be a disk jockey at the student-run alternative station at University of South Carolina; after which hosted a weekly dance, techno-pop and novelty show; occasionally handled news anchor duties. Summer and fall 1986.
- Guest interview spots on WMIM 98.3 FM in Monroe, Mich., and other radio and TV guest appearances as noted under the digital media category / Monroe on a Budget entry. They included a February 2014 interview on Marketplace Money. 2012-2014.
Publicity and communications experience:
Quite a bit of what I’ve done as job duties or as a volunteer fits on the public relations side of the media business. This include:
- Vendor booth representative at information expos on behalf of The Monroe News and Bedford Now. This includes handling a shift every year for the company booth at the Monroe County Fair and several years staffing the company booth at the Bedford Business Association Trade Fair. 2000-present.
- Company newsletter editor for The News-Messenger and The News Herald. Wrote and edited copy for monthly employee publication. 1991-1999.
- Promotional social media content for The Monroe News. In addition to scheduling headlines and reporting from the scenes, I also post messages on our newsroom accounts directing people to see articles “in today’s paper,” to check out additions to our photo galleries, and promote our accounts on other social media networks. 2006-present.
- Internal communications for The Monroe News to include committee reports and event photos. See entry in leadership category / secretary for employee council entry. 2014-2015.
- Recording secretary for a Star Trek fan club in Toledo, Ohio. I co-founded the club and served over 10 years as its vice president, current role is as a senior staff member. Regardless of my chapter office, I have handled much of the recording secretary duties. I also staffed information booths for the club at movie premiere parties in northwest Ohio, participated in parades, wrote reports about regional and national conventions for our club newsletter, and was interviewed for a newspaper article about the organization. 1991-present.
Leadership and volunteer experience:
All of these assignments were great learning experiences; but the one I am most proud of was the Monroe News employee council as I was voted in by my co-workers to that committee rather than recruited or appointed.
- Secretary for Monroe News Employee Stock Ownership Plan council. The interdepartment council was a key part of The Monroe News’ corporate structure during its employee ownership years. I was one of six employees serving on this committee on rotating terms, and became secretary as soon as I joined. My duties included participating in employee ownership and business workshops, hosting and promoting employee social events, hosting receptions for the company board of directors, reviewing employee concerns to send to management team, taking photos that were used for internal and external communications, and keeping council minutes. January 2014-September 2015.
- Member of Customer Service Committee at The News-Messenger in Fremont, Ohio. The core assignment of this interdepartment committee was to discuss ways to improve customer service for external and internal customers. We also hosted employee social events and reviewed employee concerns to send to management team. 1991-1995.
- Board member of Fremont Ross Music Alumni Foundation. This volunteer organization in my hometown of Fremont, Ohio, coordinates the high school alumni band performances, runs a Hall of Fame program and awards scholarships. I was a founding member in the late 1990s, stepped down for a few years and returned as a board member in 2014.
- Member of Monroe International Friendship Association. This volunteer organization in Monroe, Mich., coordinates the sister city program and high school student exchange program for the City of Monroe and its sister city of Hofu, Japan. I have served as a host mom for visiting Japanese students four times and served as reception hostess for the city’s welcome party at Monroe City Hall several times.
My professional career has been in the smaller communities of southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. As a result, any industry organization involvement requires participating in the Detroit or Toledo chapters. Here’s what I have done:
- Online News Association. Joined ONA and its Detroit chapter in fall 2015. I also attended ONA Camp Indianapolis in summer 2015.
- Society for Professional Journalists. Was vice president during my senior year of the student chapter at University of South Carolina. Continued with professional membership into the early 1990s, attending some of the Toledo chapter events and attending one of the Ohio district conferences in those years.
- University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C., bachelor of arts in journalism, newspaper sequence, 1988.
- Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, freshman year classes, 1984-85.
- Terra Community College, Fremont, Ohio, photography and criminal law classes, 1990-91.
I own an Olympus E-520 DSLR, previously owned a Minolta 35 mm SLR.
I have owned an iPhone since 2010 and an iPad since 2014. While I was a “late adopter” to smartphone devices, I purchased my first basic cell phone in 1996 and moved up to a texting phone in the mid-2000s.
I’ve been on the Internet and an active participant in what we now call social media through the AOL bulletin boards since my family purchased a Macintosh computer in 1996. Before then, I often used my mother’s Windows 3.1 computer for tasks such as working on a club newsletter.
My first venture into technology actually dates back to the early 1980s when I played games on my grandfather’s TRS-80. I typed in code line by line to play some of those games, and saved the programs on tape cassettes and mini cassettes. When I was in college in the mid-1980s, I used the student computer labs to on work class assignments and took an introduction to computer science course where the topics included basic programming.