Build a community

My first job as a journalist was in a small weekly (circulation: 1,500) that covered the rural town we lived in when my children were growing up. I was hired as a freelance journalist and photographer, paid (if I vaguely remember) about $1 an inch for articles and $3 for each photo – more if they made the front page.

It was a great job for a stay-at-home mom (I had a toddler and two kids in grade school). I was already going to tons of community events. All I had to do was bring my camera, interview a few people, and write an article once the kids were in bed. Sometimes I did in-depth interviews with local celebrities like the bus driver who had two sets of triplets on his way.

As I drove around in my van taking photos and doodling in notebooks, I realized that the real purpose of this article was to make a small town feel small. Sprawling property developments had sprung up in the previous decade and longtime residents complained. By putting as many people in our little tabloid as possible, we helped everyone feel like they knew each other. No story was too small if we could get a new name and face the community.

Many years and many posts later, I still believe that one of my most important jobs is to help people feel like they know what’s going on with members of their community. That’s why one of the most important parts of ASBMB Today is our Member Update section, found right at the start of our print magazine, and a weekly anchor on our website that we affectionately call Member Monday. This is where we share good news about you and what we call your “Rewards, Promotions, Milestones and More”.

I scroll through Google searches looking for this news. Angela Hopp, our editor, gets tips from Twitter. We pull all of this information together, and science writer Laurel Oldach writes the lion’s share of the articles (including good thumbnail descriptions of each person’s research). Lately, our volunteer contributors have taken on the responsibility of writing obituaries for In Memoriam members. They do a fantastic job.

We hope you enjoy reading from your fellow members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and that you share your own good news. On this last point, I invite you to tell us about the significant events in your life. Send an email to [email protected] with the subject “Member News” — or tell your institution’s communications office to send us a press release. Please don’t be shy. We are quite discreet; no one will know where we got the tip from. Just think of it as doing your part to build a community in the city of ASBMB.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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