Rosemary Feal, Modern Language Association, Metro Q&A: Stories that never ran

A year ago, I did a short interview with Rosemary Feal, then the Executive Director of the Modern Language Association, ahead of the group’s annual conference in Philadelphia.

The interview was due to run in the Metro but never did. With a year passed and its hook gone, I run it here for all you grammar geeks because there just might be interest in hearing the thoughts of someone who told me: “I also love the semicolon, but that’s just my personal preference.”

Find what I submitted below.

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Stories that never ran: the Philadelphia workplace in five years

More than a year ago, I handled a half dozen interviews and a couple rewrites on a story for the Inquirer that covered what Philadelphia workplaces will look like in the future. As is sometimes the case, it never found its home in print.

The story’s primary timeliness has been lost, but I think it still has merit. So, with permission from my editor, I share it below, in addition to a slew of extras from the heavy lifting of reporting.

It was meant to be a localized version of a Time magazine cover story that caught my attention.

Below, read the story, see portions of my interviews that didn’t make it into the piece and watch some related video news pieces

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Inquirer: My first couch surfing experience

My travel mate Sean Blanda (left), Zurich, Switzerland couch surfing host Dule Misevic, and myself in November 2008.

A full-length travel story of mine focused on the five year anniversary of CouchSurfing.com at first destined for the Philadelphia Inquirer last January never found a home there. After a back and forth, I went another direction and it got a tad stale for the daily’s travel editor.

So, because I’ve shared other stories that didn’t run as planned, I’ll do so today. Additionally, as always, I also like to share some grafs that were reworked and items I cut from my original story, which also can be seen below.

ZüRICH, SWITZERLAND — I just can’t find chopped beef for cheesesteaks anywhere. But cheese? Well I have my choice of cheeses in the largest city of this European country known for its favorite holey dairy product.

I snag a jalapeno-laced Swiss cheese and settle for a pound of ground beef I plan to mince. After picking up fresh rolls, peppers and onions, I am back climbing hilly Kornhausstrase, a busy road northwest of the city center that rides over the Linth River to Zurich’s residential neighborhoods. As a jet-setting tourist, this is a part of Zürich you would never see. Unless, of course, you are couch surfing, which is why I am here.

CouchSurfing.com, the online hospitality-exchange giant, is celebrating six years this month and has nearly 1.6 million members, but it hasn’t lost its mission. For five weeks in fall 2008, I made something new of the tired European backpacking trip by hopping from one stranger’s couch to another, not for money, but in the name of cultural exchange. I never had a better experience than my first, sleeping on a tan couch in the leafy northern extreme of Zürich, Switzerland.

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Stories that never ran: What does a sex columnist look like?

sex-columnist

Sex columnists seem to have something in common.

That was a thought that came to my mind last January, while talking at the beginning of 2009 to friend who wrote a sex column for his college newspaper. None of my existing freelance contacts seemed all that interested in the topic, so I went shopping for someone who was.

I found a buyer in a Web site for sexuality, but I was just developing my freelance career and not yet stern in my not-writing-for-free policy, so I agreed to finish a draft before agreeing to terms.

When it came in, my editor balked, the economy worsened, advertising declined and freelance budgets were continually slashed, and so the story has sat ever since. Today, I share it here: a profile of the mindset of someone who just might be a sex columnist.

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Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’

Last month, the Devon Theater, a professional production house in a working-class neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, canceled the final half of its inaugural season due to state budget constraints.

In going through some documents of mine, I found, perhaps prophetically, a story that never was from back in March when the Devon first reopened. Originally planned for Philadelphia Weekly, its working slug title was ‘Can the Devon survive in Mayfair?’

Perhaps that hope now seems less likely. Below, I share the piece that didn’t run (for a variety of reasons) and some extras from the reporting.

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Grid magazine: Dansko, a responsible shoe company

grid-august

Earlier this summer, I did some reporting for sustainability publication Grid magazine about Dansko, a suburban-Philadelphia durable footwear company that specializes in clogs. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the story for some personal reasons.

Still, you should see the final product by Natalie Hope McDonald on Page 10 here, and check out the whole mag, which is an interesting niche news startup in Philadelphia.

Below read some of the content that I didn’t get the chance to use.

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Graduation speech column for The Temple News that never ran

At my desk in the newsroom of The Temple News after graduating and cleaned out May 21, 2008.
At my desk in the newsroom of The Temple News after graduating and cleaned out May 21, 2008.

In April I wrote a piece to run in the commentary section of The Temple News but never ran it. My last column was an open letter to the university’s President Ann Weaver Hart. Since last week I shared video of my commencement address, on which this column focuses, I thought I would share the column that never was.

By Christopher Wink | April 18, 2008 | The Temple News (never ran)

I am your commencement speaker.

A committee of professors and administrators have decided that I am serviceable enough to represent my 4,000 fellow graduates on Temple University May 22 commencement ceremony. I will speak to you, our families and our friends, more than 8,000 people in the Liacouras Center.

But, I, too, have sat through graduation speeches of little note and boring memory. I want this to be yours as well.

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Vince Fumo: his color and charm and corruption charges leave

Vince Fumo is the funniest indicted state senator in the history of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

To Philadelphians Fumo is tinged with corruption, his name only said amid seething recounts of his 139-count indictment looming in the fall. But in Harrisburg, his professional home since 1978, Fumo is still a force.

After a second heart attack in March and this round of indictments that came last year, Fumo announced he would not seek reelection in November and vacated his post as chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee, a powerful seat he held since 1984. Still, after each negotiating session of state leaders this budget season, it was Fumo who came out, sleeves rolled up, ready to speak to the press.

In what may be the final week of his legislative career, Fumo was loose and downright uppity.

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