I have read today's newspaper (Jan.13). Mr. Layton clearly demonstrated to me the difference between amateur writers and professional reporters. My personal experience comparison is that for a number of years, many years ago, as a member of the United Steelworkers, I was their newsletter editor at one of the nearby, now closed aluminum plants.
It would take me many weeks to get some articles assembled for our quarterly newsletter.
I write slowly and do not find it easy. You write well and must be fast at it.
If I wrote for a living, I would have starved to death three lifetimes ago.
I am impressed with Solid Waste related articles in today's newspaper. You were able to distill big chunks of unfamiliar, related but distinct topics; sort it all out; weave in information from the PSC web site; stay appropriately neutral on all the topics and still reveal the divergent and varied opinions of those you quoted.
That is why professional writers do what they do and do it well.
It is also the quality that I have seen is some other print journalist.
They, and you, can assemble; sort; digest; distill and organize a lot of info and most impressively do it quickly and accurately.
You must write well under a time deadline. Since where I live is somewhat surrounded by the shale gas operations and since I know Steve Lancaster, and since I have occasionally attended those meetings, I can picture how challenging it might have been to assemble that story as well. It is hard for me to believe all this was done in time to get it all to the printer.
Lauren (Matthews) had covered the Oil & Gas meeting and had that story written it up. It is a topic she is familiar with and, as I have told her on other stories she's done, she does a very good job also. It remains true that all the readers here benefit from both of your skills.
Thanks for doing a such a good job.
You (Layton) are a credit to the newspaper and to journalism in general.
Bill Hughes of Wileyville