November was a full month, personally and professionally. On the personal side, I gained a daughter-in-law on my birthday (welcome to the family, Patience!). On the professional side, I got to explore eight new favorite stories at SmartBrief.
I’ve also added the most-clicked story for each brief so you can see what captured people’s interest the most — in all eight cases, it was something besides the story I picked. (That’s fine, because I like giving some of the stories that may be less blockbuster but still have a unique angle their time in the spotlight).
I’ve thought about Jane Fonda more in 2020 than I probably have in the last 10 years, because Wayne and I watched all available seasons of Grace and Frankie. She has had quite a personal history, hasn’t she? One cool thing she has done over the past 25 years is create and support the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, which began as the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.
Here’s the passage in the article about this organization that I loved: “Hope is the best contraceptive. If you help a child see a future for themselves they will be motivated to either not have sex or to use contraceptives responsibly when they do.” I know hope isn’t literally an effective contraceptive, but I fully agree that helping a child feel that their future holds options for them is a large part of the battle against teen pregnancy.
Business Transformation SmartBrief
Here’s the line in this story that earned it a spot this month: “Be intentional about compassion.” This article was an interesting look at the pros and cons of working remotely, and the passage headed by “Be intentional about compassion” talked about how teams that are succeeding amid so much more remote work are making efforts to check in with each other and help each other out more. Teams that are struggling “tend to leave people to their own devices.”
I also really love this headline. One of my goals as an editor is to create the most compelling headlines possible (as long as they still make sense) and to help the writers on my teams do the same. This one scored a 77 on the Coschedule headline analyzer (a score in the high 70s is somewhat rare and points to (among other things) an effective combination of uncommon, emotional and powerful words). This story was the fourth-highest scoring story in this brief in November (once you take away headlines related to polls, which are big draws too).
International City/County Management Association
This story is a big deal for a few reasons. First, the fact that Raleigh, N.C., has its first Black female city manager (congratulations, Ms. Adams-David!). Here’s the line that appealed to me: “Sometimes it takes a national search to realize you have exactly what you need right here at home.” This is what Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said about the process of choosing Adams-David. Raleigh got 60 applications and interviewed six finalists.
I read a lot of articles about city manager selection processes, and I’ve gotten interested in patterns that play out. It’s not uncommon for an assistant to make it to the next level and be selected manager. Baldwin’s quote seemed to capture that very well.
National Association of Social Workers
I’m not a dog person, but I do love stories about how much dogs can help people in emotional distress. In this case, dogs have played an integral role in California since a shooting at Saugus High School two years ago. Comfort dogs were used right after the incident, and are still a part of efforts to help students cope with their ongoing trauma.
Top story: How to cope with a disrupted holiday season
National Emergency Number Association
As you can see, we did not share a full two-sentence summary about this story. However, it made a big impression on me. I’ve read several stories about Guadalupe Lopez, the dispatcher who died from COVID-19, and how much his fellow first responders loved him. (Sadly, his wife died from COVID about three weeks ago.) By now (several weeks later), I’ve read other stories about dispatchers who died and more who are ill from the coronavirus. I wish each of them could have more words publicly shared in their memory.
Reserve Officers Association
I’m featuring this story because if there were ever a “2020” reality story, this is it. The “fatality management plan” was mentioned in a tweet from El Paso Mayor Dee Margo as he expressed his gratitude to the National Guard members.
Top story: Trump says Esper has been terminated
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society
So many of my favorite Sigma Xi stories have to do with the general category of “scientists who do incredibly specific things to small animals to understand them (along with other living beings) better.” Read the description in the article about their process — the 2-millimeter-wide ridges on the outer surfaces of the wheels they rolled along the fin rays of round gobies, for example — and think to yourself, “these people love science a whole lot.”
Forty-one children were among the 73 people left homeless by the destruction of this village. I can’t wrap my head around the lifelong trauma they’ll endure.
About working at Future/SmartBrief
Each month, I share the open positions at SmartBrief and Future for anyone who is interested in being a part of finding and sharing stories through business-to-business newsletters and Future’s other enterprises.
I wrote in more detail about my experience as a SmartBrief employee here, which may help answer any questions you have. As always, I’m happy to answer inquiries and provide more information about the process.
Here are a few of the most recent US-based positions that have been advertised:
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Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.