Experience that works for you
Welcome to Starr Writing. My name is Joe Starr and I am the owner of Starr Writing. Iím glad youíre here and hope we have a chance to talk. Please enjoy your visit to the Starr Writing Web site, and if you have any questions or would like to speak with me about your writing needs, please feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail. I would love to hear about your business and discuss ways I can help it continue to grow. I have included a brief background and history of my experience below. Please feel free to contact me if you need references or have questions. Thanks again for stopping by. I look forward to hearing from you.
Are you wondering if Iím the right writing professional for your business?† Please allow me to give you an idea of my experience by sharing a bit of my professional background.†††
I earned my journalism degree at Michigan State University, at which time I did an internship in the public relations office of Michigan-based Ingham Regional Medical Center. I worked with a team of talented public relations professionals to write stories for the hospital's newsletters and brochures. Developing press releases and other literature for the media was also part of the deal.
Small newspaper, big experience
I enjoyed the internship, but there was no money in it so I made my move to print journalism where everyone is rich...in character that is. I was definitely getting more than my feet wet as I jumped head first into the wonderful world of community newspaper reporting. What better way for a budding public relations professional to learn about the media then to join them. I worked as a staff writer for two news organizations in south central and western Michigan. Lansing Community Newspapers (now The Lansing State Journal) and Advance Newspapers gave me some of the best experience of my career. I quickly learned that staff writers for weekly community newspapers do much more than write. Like most weeklies, our staff was small and I needed to be a jack-of-all trades. This meant working on everything from producing stories, to editing copy, to taking the photos, to designing the newspaper pages, and even delivering the newspaper to the customer on occasion. All of this while maintaining a high standard of accuracy in reporting, turning in clean writing and meeting tight deadlines common in the newspaper business. It was a learning experience rarely found in the print news business and an outstanding proving ground for a rising writer.
Spartan among Wolverines
My next stop was Ann Arbor, Michigan. Being a Michigan State graduate this was a little scary going into enemy territory, but I knew that I made the right move from the beginning.† I had made a move to the next level, working on the copy desk at Ann Arborís daily newspaper (which went out of business closed its doors in July 2009), The Ann Arbor News. This mid-sized newspaper competes with The Detroit News for readership in the competitive southeast Michigan market.
Right from the beginning things were different from my weekly newspaper days. Deadlines were tighter and there were more of them. Before long, I learned The Newsí routine and fell into place as a key player on the copy desk.
My big responsibilities were to copy edit the stories and† write the headlines. Sounds pretty simple, huh?† But donít forget about those deadlines I was talking about.† And then throw in about 20 copy editors ready to pounce when you miss a typo in a story or botch a headline.† Now you have an environment where you catch on fast or catch the door on your ass on the way out. I decided that I wanted to stick around for a few years and learn from this seasoned bunch of grammar gluttons and word junkies.
My grammar and style improved significantly while working alongside several veteran editors and writers. I also worked as a page designer becoming proficient in QuarkXpress and developing a good working knowledge of Photoshop and Freehand. These skills came in handy when I moved from The News to pursue a job offer with a larger newspaper in Oklahoma City.
A trip down tornado alley
In Oklahoma, I continued my copy editing and design work for Oklahoma's largest newspaper, The Daily Oklahoman. It was a much larger newspaper than The News, and with the step up came more opportunity and greater responsibility. Meeting deadlines here was even more critical. Because the publication distribution reached outside Oklahoma into Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas, it was vital that everyone met their deadlines. If someone slipped, the newspaper would arrive late and if that happened someone would definitely catch hell. It was a challenge every night as we always pushed to release pages at the last second to get the latest news to our readers while still meeting the cutoff. It was an honor to work for the Oklahoman. I reached the top of the newspaper chain working with an elite team of journalists. As in previous positions, I quickly caught on to the process and started taking on new roles.
Soon I was working as a wire editor, which involved deciding which national and international stories to place in the newspaper and working with city editors on national stories that had local connections. The work was exciting and I enjoyed the variety of jobs I was able to do. And as the case was with The Ann Arbor News, I had the chance to work with many great writers and editors.†
Less than a year after moving to Oklahoma, I received a call from IT giant EDS, an HP Company. Within the week, I found myself accepting an offer to be the Publications Coordinator for their Oklahoma Medicaid account. The Plano, Texas-based worldwide supplier of technology services is contracted to run Oklahomaís Medicaid program. My primary duty is to coordinate updates to the account's database library of user manuals. This involves writing, editing and coordinating changes to the publications in accordance with the client's requests.
I work directly with the computer programmers and other technical teams to translate technical jargon into easy-to-understand language for use in manuals, Web sites and other training materials. Iíll tell you what - itís hard to take complicated procedures, break them down into their core components and put them into basic language in a step-by-step format that a new user can understand. But I have become pretty good at it.†
Not to worry though. I still get to exercise my creative muscle here. I develop newsletters, brochures, reference guides and plenty of other marketing collateral.
Starr is born
In April 2005, while attempting to calm that creative twitch in my restless mind, I started
Now that you know me, I would love an opportunity to get to know you and your business. The next step is yours. Letís talk. Call me at (608) 839-9249 or send an e-mail. Thank you for your time and for stopping by.† I hope to hear from your soon.
Starr Writing & Desktop Publishing, LLC
Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
EDS, an HP Company
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Copy Editor/Headline Writer/Page Designer
The Daily Oklahoman
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Copy Editor/Headline Writer/Page Designer
The Ann Arbor News
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Staff Writer/Page Designer
Lansing Community Newspapers
Public Relations Writer
Ingham Regional Medical Center
Michigan State University
Bachelor of Arts in journalism
Lansing Community College
Associate in business
St†††† rr Writing & Desktop Publishing, LLC
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