by Rebecca Raney
 
 
 

A 30-year tour of hope and disaster

Even after 30 years in the news business, sometimes I don't think I've had a very interesting life. Then I remember the fires, floods, plane crashes and murders, and I realize that I don't have much in common with the neighbors.

I come from the backcountry of north Missouri, where my family has lived for nearly 200 years. In the late '80s, after I graduated from journalism school at the University of Missouri, I packed up a rusted-out Ford and headed for a three-month internship in California.

I was 21 then, but I had been on my own since I was 17. When I got to the Golden State, I didn't have enough money to get a place to live.

In those early years, after rent and student loan payments, I had less than $1.50 a day left over for food.

But the stories made the sacrifices worth the trouble, and in 1997, I started writing a column for The New York Times on the Web. That column evolved into day-to-day coverage of the development of the Internet as a force in politics.

These days, I'm working as a freelance writer. I've written a novel that is on submission.

I occasionally pitch in on breaking news for The New York Times. Major stories in recent years have included the "Stairway to Heaven" copyright trial, the San Bernardino terror attack and the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I also write profiles of scientists for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

From 2002 to 2009, I taught writing and computer-assisted reporting at the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California. Freelance credits include essays for Writer's Digest and The Atlantic online. 

And I'm still looking for that next great story.

 

 

E-mail: fairley.raney@gmail.com

Mailing address: 112 Harvard Ave., #134, Claremont, CA 91711