Write to the Point!

A Neighborhood Studios Program at the Mark Twain House

CT News Junkie Offers Career Advice to Writing Apprentices

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Christine Stuart, editor of CT News Junkie, with the Twain Studios Writing Apprentices. From left: June Tran, Molly Miller, Rae Martin, Cecilia Gigliotti, Alan Burkholder, Stuart, Jahyra White, Indira Senderovic, Ashaya Nelson, Grant Henry, Ambriel Johnson, Meaghan Szilagyi

By Meaghan Szilagyi

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

When CT News Junkie Editor Christine Stuart came to talk to the writing apprentices of Twain Studios about her job, we didn’t know what to expect.

We started with simple introductions and quickly came to talking about Stuart’s start in journalism and her current job.

A 1999 graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in English, Stuart said she considered grad school but decided to go straight to work.

A few months after graduation, she landed her first journalism job at the Hartford Advocate.

Later, the Journal Inquirer in Manchester gave her a reporting job covering the goings on in East Hartford.

In 2006, Stuart bought the CT News Junkie website.

She didn’t make a lot of money at first.

There was, she said, “a long road to revenue.”

She worked to bring readers to the site.

“Traffic is where revenue comes in,” Stuart said.

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Christine Stuart presents to the Writing Apprentices at Twain Studios Wednesday.

In addition to original articles, Stuart frequently gives the preview of a story from a different source on her site and provides a link. She does this to help small operations get more traffic and more revenue, as well as to provide a service to her readers.

Stuart said she isn’t afraid of losing her readership to these other blogs because she knows they are loyal. The average reader on CT News Junkie checks the site about four times a day, according to Stuart.

To Stuart, credibility and accuracy are more important than being timely.

“It’s the only thing you have,” she said. If Stuart didn’t double-check her facts as she does now, she said, her site’s “value would be diminished.”

Stuart definitely considers journalism a “blue collar profession.”

While working as a journalist, you don’t think about what you’re getting paid, she said, you just care that you’re getting paid for writing.

“You do it because you love it,” she said. “You don’t do it because it supports you.”

When giving advice to aspiring journalists, Stuart has many words of wisdom.

“When in doubt, add a period,” she said, and stick to the point.

Interviewing is “always awkward at the beginning,” she said. “You’re nervous. You’re sweating.”

But, she said, “A better conversation always makes a better story.”

Chatting with Christine Stuart was definitely an eye opener. She is personable and friendly.

And it always helps to have connections.

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