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Update on the Buffalo Freelance Journalists Collaborative

It’s only been a couple of months since I saw Marti Gorman’s post on BRO announcing the inaugural meeting of the Buffalo Freelance Journalists Collaborative. I was immediately intrigued. The group’s mission – to connect Buffalo writers with positive stories about our city that need to be told at the national level – is brilliant in its simplicity, and Marti has a nearly unparalleled track record of getting things done. When I arrived at the meeting I had no idea what to expect, but I knew whatever it was, it would be good. Now, after only three meetings the Buffalo Freelance Journalists Collaborative has already more than lived up to my expectations.
Despite Buffalo’s unpredictable winter weather, meetings have been well attended, and the group consists of writers at all levels, from professionals who’ve been published in national magazines all the way down to… well, me. But egos are checked at the door, and the experienced writers offer sound advice to us newbies and then sit back and listen carefully to our fresh perspectives on their work.
Meetings follow a format that is simple and allows for flexibility. First, members “check-in” by reporting the projects they’re working on along with any progress they’ve made since the last meeting. Marti and the other group members frequently chime in with feedback, suggestions, resources, contact information or just plain moral support. You can almost see the puzzle pieces falling into place as information is shared.
Marti usually has a guest speaker waiting in the wings for when the check-in is complete. Previous speakers have included Spree magazine’s Elizabeth Licata and Marnie LaVigne of UB’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformetics and Life Sciences. Elizabeth shared her insights and experience as both a freelance writer and magazine editor, and Marnie told the group about the many amazing things that are happening right here in Buffalo in the world of bioinformatics; things the traditional media are ignoring. Though their topics were nothing alike, both speakers were engaging, informative and inspiring. Members walked out the door energized and ready to start writing.
Keep an eye on this group. It’s going to be yet another triumph for Marti Gorman.

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