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Staff Q&As: Meet multiplatform journalist Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany FehlingerTo help you get to know our newsroom staff a bit better, a series of question-and-answer posts with each journalist will run on Mondays. This morning, meet Bethany Fehlinger, a multiplatform journalist in the features department. You might have seen her blog posts on Twenty & Change, Smart or Book Buzz.

Name: Bethany Fehlinger
Lives in: York City
Hometown: Wilkes-Barre
Position at the YDR: Multiplatform journalist in the features department
Years with the YDR: About 2 and a half years
Graduated from: Penn State
With a degree in: Journalism and international studies
Twitter: @Wonder_Vegan
Email: bfehlinger@ydr.com
Facebook and Google+: Search for Bethany Fehlinger
Whatever you’d like to tell us about yourself: Journalism fell into my lap. I always loved writing but more creative, free-floating stuff like poetry. When I was 14, I was tasked by my school to write school news for one of the local papers, The Citizens’ Voice. Once I was in high school I joined the school newspaper after my 10th grade English teacher encouraged me (she was the adviser.) She placed me as the — you guessed it — school news correspondent for The Citizens’ Voice. She even gave me, and no one else, a mug titled “You know you’re a journalist when …” as a senior gift. I went to PSU majoring in journalism, joined the Daily Collegian and fell in love with the profession. Also, I am a geek girl. My artist boyfriend pushed me toward comic books and I am in love with it now (and him, too.) There is a post buried in FlipSide’s blog with me dressed up as Wonder Woman (this journalist gig is just a decoy, but shhh!)

1. What made you want to become a journalist? When I first stepped on the PSU campus, I tried to rush a sorority, become a cheerleader and apply for the Daily Collegian candidate program. The first two failed but the third stuck. I instantly got sucked in and loved almost every moment of it. There can be slow nights, but there is a rush when you know you are impacting society.

2. How do you see journalism changing? It amazes me how much has changed since I graduated college, and that was only four years ago! I think a digital presence will be much greater than a print one, but how it will play out will be interesting. Before newspapers had a greater web presence, it was a lot of community journalism through blogs and a lot of opinions. The tone of the web was somewhat relaxed compared to news. Now, many media outlets are sweeping the web and want to be credible, but also garner online readership.

3. What do you like most about your job? Weekends! I am just kidding. I moved over from the copy desk a few months ago, and I am enjoying how many projects I can be involved with. I help with FlipSide, the daily papers and Smart magazine. I write for all three, blog for all three, take video for Smart … and the list goes on and on. There also is so much creativity within the features staff; I love thinking outside the box with the projects I do. The least? Becoming a part-time reporter again was a bit scary and stressful, but I am getting the hang of it once again.

4. It’s 9:30 a.m. on a day off. What are you doing? Farming at Goldfinch Farm CSA or enjoying some Netflix with a cup of tea and a big blanket.

5. What’s been your favorite project or story recently? Why? A local man, Joe Palmieri, told me how he called a man that he served with during World War II but never met. The two were in the same battalion. They became instant friends some 60 years after returning home from war. That man was Joe Sinnott, a famous comic book inker who worked with Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee. Both men allowed me to interview them, and I learned a lot. I love hearing old stories and getting the opportunity to re-tell them to our readers.

6. The drink that’s on your desk right now is: Hot caffeinated tea and water

7. Your favorite journalism-related blog you read or Twitter feed you follow: CNN Geek Out! blog (geekout.blogs.cnn.com) and Twitter @CNNGeekOut

8. What’s your favorite movie? Book? Movie: Wizard of Oz; Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

9. What’s your favorite place in York County? The rail trail. I just love running alongside the beauty of York County, and I hope to bike a lot of it during the spring.

10. What’s one piece of newsroom jargon that had to be explained to you? Beat notes (one word or two?) I had been a reporter for a few semesters in college but went right to the copy desk thereafter, and have stayed there ever since. I never had to write beat notes before. [Editor’s note: Beat notes are as simple as they sound — notes taken on subjects within a reporter’s “beat” or main focus — crime, prep sports, religion, etc.]

Last week, we ran a Q&A with day police reporter Ted Czech. To read all of the staff Q&A interviews we’ve done so far, click on the “Staff Q&As” under “About us” at the top of the homepage.