New City, New Job, New Blog Post!

Hello there!

Long time no see, right? It’s been a minute…

Well, I won’t keep you waiting. I moved and got a new job!

I am now part of KING 5’s Evening Magazine team in the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington.

Evening Magazine airs at 7:30pm PT, Monday through Friday. It’s a show about everything Pacific Northwest- the people, the places and the food that makes Seattle (and beyond) so unique!

I’ll be reporting, shooting and producing for the show. My formal title is Multi-Platform Producer. I’ve already been able to see some pretty cool sights thanks to my job- like this $18 dollar hot dog at Deep Dive bar!

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Yes, that’s caviar on a hot dog!

Will I continue running this blog? You bet! What will I post? Pretty much what I post now- whatever I want!

Thanks for reading this slightly self-indulgent post. Now, back to unpacking. I promise I’ll have some meatier content soon. Meatier than an $18 hot dog? We’ll see.

What to Eat, See and Do in Vancouver, BC

Oh, Canada! You’re so awesome.

I visited Vancouver, BC for a long weekend in July. I’ve been to Canada once before- I visited Montreal when I was very young. Unfortunately, my only lasting memory of the trip involves a shopkeeper angrily berating me in French. I forget why.

So, I was excited to return to our Northern neighbor- and Vancouver did not disappoint. Travel guides often describe Vancouver’s waterfront as stunning and “glassy”. I didn’t quite understand the description until I visited. The city’s wide waterfront sparkles with bright, glimmering buildings.

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I feel like Vancouver is as close as I’m going to get to visiting a literal utopia. Or, at least, a city that looks like one.

Everything was clean. Everyone was polite and friendly. There’s a ton of fantastic food. It’s a diverse, multicultural city with incredible culture and a love for the outdoors. The waterfront sidewalk is split in two- one side for pedestrians, the other side for bikes. And people actually followed the rules! Which is truly a testament to the city.

Okay, I’m rambling. If my weird city-worship has convinced you to visit to Vancouver, the least I can do is give you some recommendations on what to eat, see and do in the fair city.

Granville Island Public Market

Seattle has Pike Place Market, Vancouver has Granville Island Public Market. This popular attraction sits across from Vancouver’s waterfront, on Granville Island. Hop on one of the convenient Aquabus boats and explore the public market.

img_3656Much like Pike Place Market, the market is colorful and loud and wonderful. Fruit and vegetable vendors wedge their stands together in narrow aisles, piling cherries in tiny pyramids to show off for shoppers. Bouquets of fragrant, blooming flowers at astoundingly low prices decorate florist stalls. And fish. Lots of fish!

I’d recommend getting there right when it opens to beat some of the crowds, especially on the weekend. Be sure to stop by Lee’s Donuts while you’re there, and get the Honey Dip donut. They’re almost always served warm, and they’re good for your soul. Your body? Debatable. But really, the soul is what matters in the end.

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Miku

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If you’re looking for incredible seafood and sushi in Vancouver, Miku is the place to go.

It’s a sleek, stylish restaurant right on the Burrard Inlet, a popular waterfront area. They specialize in Aburi sushi. Translated directly, aburi means “flame-seared”. The chefs take a blow-torch and a piece of coal to the top of the sushi, searing the fish lightly. What results is a really unique, rich flavor, complimented by the different sauces they use.

It’s an expensive restaurant, but in my opinion, it’s worth it. This is a distinctly Vancouver experience, and if you want to treat yourself to an amazing meal, go here. The food, the view of the waterfront- it’s all fantastic! The cover photo for this post is from Miku.

Bella Gelateria

Bella Gelateria is world famous. I didn’t know that when I stopped by, though. I was just looking for the nearest ice cream shop, because I wanted ice cream and have zeroimg_3820 self-control when it comes to food.

Bella Gelateria has won dozens of gelato competitions, been consistently voted “Number One Gelato/Ice Cream in Vancouver”, and even won “Best Gelato in North America” in the Gelato World Cup. The Italian Consulate of Canada has also given it their seal of approval, and it gets mine as well!

Their gelato is rich, creamy, fabulous stuff. And they have a host of interesting flavors! I got Black Sesame and Matcha Green Tea, because I’m a sucker for pretty food and unique flavors.

Vancouver Water Adventures

Boats are everywhere in Vancouver- little Aquabus boats zipping up and down False Creek, kayakers gliding on the water, houseboats hugging the side of Granville Island. So, it’s only fitting that you take a boat tour of a boat city.

Vancouver Water Adventures is a great option. I took the City and Seals Tour, an hour and a half tour that takes you past Vancouver’s most well-known spots. We swung around places like Siwash Rock, Lions Gate Bridge, and Vancouver’s nearby seal colony. And yes, there were plenty of adorable seals! They’re just so darn cute, I can’t get over it. They’re basically dog mermaids.

The company uses Zodiac boats, which is apparently the same type of boat used by the Coast Guard in Vancouver. I felt pretty safe jumping into one of those.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is 1000 acres of lush greenery, quiet beaches and beautiful views. It’s oneimg_3756 of Vancouver’s main tourist destinations, and for a good reason. It houses Canada’s largest aquarium, as well as one of the city’s most famous icons, Siwash Rock. Pictured here! Ignore me.

The best way to see Stanley Park is on foot. A walk/bike path winds around the perimeter of the park, along Vancouver’s seawall. On a sunny, warm day, you’ll see plenty of people enjoying the weather- but even when I went on a beautiful Saturday, I never felt too overwhelmed with crowds.

You can get your exercise in, and see one of Vancouver’s most famous sites! Win-win.


Thanks for reading! If you can’t make it up to Vancouver, but can swing by Oregon, I’ve also got you covered. Here are some of my favorite restaurants in Eugene, as well as my favorite place to view waterfalls in Oregon.

Happy travels! Oh, and always remember–

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Where to Find Some of the Best Waterfalls in Oregon

Oregon is clearly Mother Nature’s favorite child.

How could a state have so much green, so many waterfalls, such a variety of incredible nature…and not be a favorite? Sure, the rain can be an issue sometimes, but as someone once told me: “We need the rain- that’s what keeps Oregon so green!”

Now that our land is a little dryer and a little warmer, it’s time to get outside. If you’re looking for waterfalls this summer, I recommend heading to Silver Falls State Park.

Silver Falls is the largest state park in Oregon. It boasts 10 waterfalls and a whopping 9,200 acres of land, which includes miles of trail, a restaurant and lodge, and plenty of parking. And yes! They have bathrooms.

The park is hidden away in Sublimity, at the end of rolling country roads. Depending on where you’re coming from, you might lose phone service and internet along the way- so download a map or follow the signs.

The main hike that allows you to see all 10 waterfalls is a 7.2 mile loop, and considered a moderate hike. I did the slightly shorter hike, a 5.1 mile loop that took me around (and under) plenty of incredible waterfalls.

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The path snakes around massive, gorgeous waterfalls, takes hikers on bridges over South Fork Silver Creek, and leads you through quiet, green woodland. The path even dips behind some waterfalls, into half-moon canyons coated with moss. Standing so close to the crashing curtain of water and cool spray is an experience like no other.

A piece of advice- if you can, arrive early! I arrived at 9:30am to a relatively empty park. However, by the time I left at 1:30pm, the parking lot was almost full and the trails were getting crowded. The early morning allows for a quieter, peaceful hike- if you can stand the early wake-up call.

There’s a ton of amazing waterfalls in Oregon. But if you’re looking for a great hike and views like the one below? Head to Silver Falls State Park.

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What’s your favorite place to hike on Oregon? Favorite waterfall? Comment below or drop me a line right here. And if you’re hankering for another Oregon adventure, check out my blog post on the famous Blue Pool!

My Tinnitus Article

Above is the photo of a very proud, very excited woman, holding the most challenging and rewarding article she’s ever written (so far).

I’m going to talk about that article soon. But first, I think you all need some background.

In February 2014, I lost the ability to experience silence.

To put it less dramatically, I developed tinnitus. It’s a medical condition that produces a sound in your ears only you can hear- a ringing, a hissing, a buzzing, a murmuring.

For some people, it’s temporary. It’s the ringing in your ears after a night at a loud concert. For others, it’s permanent. It can occur after you catch a cold, or develop an ear infection. There are dozens of reasons why someone develops permanent, or chronic, tinnitus. I’m one of those people.

According to the American Tinnitus Association, about 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus. 2 million suffer through “extreme and debilitating” cases. That’s akin to a roaring train, or a blaring fire alarm, trapped in your head.

Tinnitus can lead to depression and anxiety, or make mental health conditions worse if you already have them. Severe cases can lead to suicide.

When I first developed tinnitus, it was a struggle to adapt to my new normal. My life was a chaotic mess of anxiety, a common feeling for many people immediately after they develop the condition. The loss of silence is something so nebulous and strange, it was hard to process. Lots of sleepless nights, and worry, and wondering if it could get better.

My tinnitus didn’t get better, but I did. Four years later, I still have the condition, but I’ve learned to manage it and live a very happy, healthy life. My tinnitus is close to background noise now, but it’s never quite left my mind.

I’ve never been able to forget how alone I felt when I first developed it. I know there are other people who were in the same place I was four years ago.

That’s why, in September, I reached out to the American Tinnitus Association, a national non-profit that publishes a quarterly magazine, Tinnitus Today.

Eight months later, I’m incredibly happy and proud to present my article in their Spring 2018 edition, “Pursuing Dreams, Life, and Joy…Despite Tinnitus”. It’s on page 26. In case you want to read it. Hint, hint.

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I wanted to tell my candid story, how tinnitus has affected my life, and how I’ve coped with it after four years. Writing this article brought back tough memories I had long buried, but it was absolutely worth it. I can’t thank the American Tinnitus Association enough for giving me a chance to tell my story.

And…that’s that. I’ve bared (part of) my soul, and I’m feeling happy and proud and nineteen different other things. It would mean the world to me if you read my article. Pass it on if you know someone with tinnitus.

As I’ve said before, if I make one person feel less alone, it was worth it.

Click here to see more of my published writing. If you’d like me to write for your publication or website, send me a note!

Ellen Eats: Vengan Pa’ Ka

The first few times I drove past Vengan Pa’ Ka, the name tricked me.

It’s a sleek food truck painted a glossy dark gray, posted up in downtown Eugene’s park blocks. The gold splash of a garlic bulb decorates the side, and over it, in thick white brushstroke, is the name.

VEGAN PA’ KA.

Wait. No.

Vengan Pa’ Ka.

My curiosity grew with every trip past the truck. Was the name some kind of subliminal messaging? What did it mean? Was I obsessing over this too much?

Yes, but that’s just me. And thankfully, the owner of Vengan Pa’ Ka, Juan Umaña, didn’t think it was weird when I asked to profile his food truck on my blog.

So when I finally got to ask him about the name, I realized while I might be weird and obsessed, I wasn’t technically wrong.

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Owner Juan Umaña and his food truck, Vengan Pa’ Ka

The name Vengan Pa’ Ka is a trick of the eye doing triple duty, an optical illusion that represents the food truck’s diverse menu.

Juan explained the meaning behind the name when I visited the truck earlier this winter.

Vengan is a Spanish verb, meaning “to come”.

Pa’ Ka is Caribbean street slang, derived from the phrase para acá, meaning “over here”.

Hence the name Vengan Pa’ Kacome over here, and try delicious vegan food inspired by Juan’s multicultural background. The name is a celebration of the life he’s chosen to live, where he came from, and the Spanish and Southeast Asian flavor of the menu.

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Vengan Pa’ Ka’s winter and spring menu. If you stop by three months from now, chances are it won’t look the same. The menu changes with the seasons.

Juan’s vision for Vengan Pa’ Ka isn’t just about the finished dish. He cares deeply about where his ingredients come from, trying to source his produce from local businesses and farms as close to the truck as possible. The truck’s slogan reflects that idea: “Street food with a conscience”.

“I wanted to make sure I had a menu that resembled seasonality and the produce that grows here,” Juan said, “showcasing unique and individual ingredients and letting them do the talking.”

Perhaps the best example of that is the Winter Stir Fry, a traditional rice noodle stir fry filled with almost every winter vegetable you could possibly think of.

Celeriac. Kale Sprouts. Cabbage. Rainbow carrots. Mushrooms. Sautéed red potatoes. Ginger red onions, a favorite garnish at the food truck. All tossed on the griddle, sizzling with sesame oil and tamari.

My soul felt a little warmer when I grabbed one of the offered eco-friendly wooden forks, popped open the cardboard take-out box, and chowed down on a delicious, filling stir fry that is completely vegan. To me, it’s kind of the “have your cake, eat it too” mentality.

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And I know that’s a nasty stereotype following vegan food, no matter how many creative chefs defy it- the idea that vegan food is a leaf of spinach, or a single, tasteless block of tofu. It’s an ignorant, lazy stereotype that Vengan Pa’ Ka absolutely blasts out of the water.

The food truck serves lighter options, like mint-beet soup, but there are plenty of filling meals on the menu, like the winter stir fry. What doesn’t change is that all of the dishes are plant-based.

“The showcase always has to be the vegetables,” Juan said.

Juan usually doesn’t replicate animal products in his dishes, which is a vegan phenomenon growing in popularity- cashew cheese, seitan bacon, almond milk yogurt. But he makes an exception when he’s whipping up cultural food that relies on those dairy and meat-based components.

He has a few signature ingredients that make me appreciate how creative vegan cooking can be- like carrot bacon, made from thinly sliced rainbow carrots seasoned with tamari and liquid smoke, fried on the griddle.

But the one that impressed me the most was the cheese sauce.

Yes. Vegan nacho cheese sauce for vegan nachos.

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An unholy vegan delight

For the nachos, Juan slices up a corn tortilla and throws the pieces into the fryer to crisp up into thick, fresh chips. While the tortilla chips are bubbling away, a mix of mashed, spiced pinto beans, mushrooms and celeriac go on the griddle.

The nachos are listed on the menu as a side, but for me, they’re big enough for a meal- and just as satisfying. Freshly made chips pilled with the pinto bean mix, cilantro, ginger red onions, and blistered pieces of Anaheim pepper. All smothered with a generous helping of the vegan cheese sauce, of course.

It’s what he calls his “smoked Goodahh” sauce, although it’s potato-based and features absolutely no dairy. It’s uncanny how close it tastes to actual gouda cheese. Witchcraft!

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Clawing at the sandwich like it’s my lifeline

The last menu item I sampled is tough to photograph, I’ll admit. If you want a better view of it, check out the video at the top. For now, you’ll have to settle for my punch-drunk smile, doped up on badass vegan food.

Lovingly wrapped up in that wax paper bundle is the Vengan Pa’ Ka Portobello Melt, a sandwich that reaffirmed my love for giant mushrooms.

It’s a sandwich comprised of a sliced-up portobello cap, slow soaked in tamari marinade and sizzled up on the grill, resting on a mix of red veined sorrel and red mustard greens. The sandwich is topped with carrot bacon and ginger red onions, coated with the vegan cheese sauce, and served on toasted ciabatta.

In layman’s terms, Vengan Pa’ Ka is the bomb.com. Juan clearly puts thought and care into not just the dishes, but the ingredients themselves and the overall impact of the food truck. There is truly something about knowing you’re not just eating great food- you’re eating great food that’s locally sourced, that has passion behind it, that’s kind and sustainable.

But, that’s just my two cents. If you really want to find out what’s up with Vengan Pa’ Ka, you’ll have to try it yourself. What I’m saying is…

Vegan pa’ka to Vengan Pa’ Ka.


Got another food truck you want me to feature? Have other ideas for my blog? Comment on this post, or head over to the contact page.

Interested in other delicious foods in Eugene? I’ve got you covered.

And follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more shenanigans.

5 Things to Read, Watch and Eat in February

January was a busy month- besides talking with Oregon Public Broadcasting, I watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, and ate constantly. I thought I could put my winter hibernation activities to good use and recommend some reads, flicks and eats. Enjoy!

Read/ListenSabriel (read by Tim Curry)

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As an awkward tween with two missing teeth and an affinity for fanfiction, I wasn’t particularly discerning with what I read. If it was in front of me and had pages, I’d generally pick it up- although there was one book that never quite caught my attention. Sabriel, by Garth Nix.

That is, until I was perusing the internet one day and found a list of recommended audiobooks. To my surprise, the top pick was Sabriel…read by Tim Curry.

Sabriel never succeeded in wooing me, but Tim Curry sure did. I grew up with Muppets Treasure Island, okay?

I took the plunge, and I’m glad I did. Sabriel is now one of my favorite YA fantasy books, mainly thanks to Tim Curry’s amazing narration. Every character is lovingly captured in Curry’s voice, from the snarking sidekick cat character to the quiet, serious protagonist. Give it a listen!

Watch: The Shape of Water

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This movie is about a human woman and a fish creature falling in love.

I wanted to get that out of the way ASAP, because a heartfelt movie about interspecies romance ain’t for everyone. Much like your peanut butter preference- smooth vs crunchy- this concept produces strong opinions. I like extra crunchy peanut butter and weird, whimsical movies about fish-people love. Some folks don’t. C’est la vie!

I’m also a diehard fan of the director, Guillermo Del Toro. He could make a movie about a potato and I’d see it.

That being said, if you’re a person with a mind for magic, an affinity for whimsy, and a tolerance for fishy love, please go see this movie. It’s an absolutely beautiful film with a huge heart. It’s one of my favorites of all time, which I guess says something about me, but, whatever. Fantastic score, immensely charming characters, and Michael Shannon insults my hometown. Wowza!

WatchDear Stephanie Meyer

Ah, Twilight.

Similar to The Shape of Water in that it involves a forbidden, interspecies romance. Different in that it does not involve fish-people, and was lambasted by everyone you knew in the early 2000s.

But this YouTube video posits: perhaps everyone who snarked Twilight could’ve been a little nicer, more understanding of teenage girls’ interests.

Lindsay Ellis looks back on the dumpster fire that was book snobbery in the 2000s, and analyzes why exactly people hated the Twilight fandom so vehemently. Ellis’s video casts a much-needed critical eye on how we as a society view female interests, and what we choose to deem “worthy” or “silly”.

Read: I Made the Cinnamon Rolls From Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter

Frustration at systemic and deep-seated oppression of women, thy name is cinnamon rolls.

When celebrity chef Mario Batali was accused of sexual harassment by four different women, he (and his PR team) released an apology letter…

…that included a recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls.

Obviously, most people thought that addition was a little…thoughtless? Tasteless? But, no piece has so clearly shown the ridiculousness behind the letter and the fury one feels reading it, quite like Geraldine DeRuiter’s blog post.

DeRuiter takes it upon herself to actually make the cinnamon rolls, describing in loving detail how horrible the recipe is, almost as horrible as the vein of harassment that continues to run throughout culture and hound women.

Eat: Black Wolf Supper Club

21369153_278438665975084_4287013324493734580_nOut with the old, in with the new. Rising from the ashes of the much loved Belly Taqueria comes a joint in downtown Eugene that knocks my socks off- Black Wolf Super Club.

Black Wolf comes from the same folks who brought you Buck Buck, another local favorite that serves deeply delicious, unhealthy food that fills both your soul and your arteries. So, when I visited Black Wolf, I knew to prepare myself for some damn good dishes.

Black Wolf serves up Southern cuisine, with a particular concentration on Creole and Cajun dishes. I’ve only spent a hot-minute in New Orleans, but their food (and drinks) made a lasting impression on me. So, at Black Wolf, I had to go for their andouille and fried chicken wing gumbo, and a massive frozen hurricane.

The gumbo was incredible. A rich stew filled with andouille sausage, sprinkled with bright green onions, crowned with a fried chicken wing. The hurricane was bang-for-your-buck-strong, but not enough to ruin the flavor- it was delightfully tart and refreshing.

I’m going to restrain myself from going back sooner, only because I care about my physical and financial health.


Got any restaurants, books or movies to recommend? Leave a comment!

And if you’ve got a story for me, or idea for my next blog post, head to the contact page. Thanks for reading!

Interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting

2018 turned the tables on me. Instead of doing the interviewing, I was the one being interviewed!

On January 2nd, I spoke with Dave Miller with Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud program. We discussed my blog post and Vox article on harassment in local news.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Working with OPB was a fantastic experience.26112417_2035654626461099_1217051890362708663_n Everyone I spoke with- the producer Julie, the host Dave- was incredibly professional and accommodating. We had an interesting discussion that further solidified why I care so much about this topic. I’m incredibly grateful to OPB for inviting me on their show.

I continue to receive messages from folks in the business who share their stories and thoughts. As I mentioned in my interview, the response has truly been powerful. I’m in awe of the number of men and women who’ve dealt with some horrendous behavior, and are brave enough to come forward with their stories.

That photo at the top of this post was my view during the interview. I was in the sunny (snowy) state of South Carolina at the time, so we did a remote interview from ARP Studio, just outside of Charleston.

Comments? Questions? Blog post ideas? Head to the contact page and shoot me a message.

Ringing in 2018 with Radio

Happy 2018!

I’m on vacation right now, spending time with my family and watching as much college football as humanly possibly, and humanly advisable. But I wanted to take a moment to update everyone on some things, and talk about what’s in store for the new year.

Firstly…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who’s read, shared and contacted me about my blog post on harassment in local news. I truly didn’t expect the post to reach so many people, both in and out of the industry. I’ve met so many brave, ambitious folks who shared their stories of harassment and discussed their view of the issue. The response has been incredible, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share my writing and speak my mind.

Vox republished my piece in their First Person section, with some slight edits. This is my first piece published on a major website.

On January 2nd, 12pm PT, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud will interview me about my blog post/Vox article. You can listen both online and on the radio.

And looking towards the future…you’ll see more blog posts in 2018! What kind? More of my longform writing, more articles, more food recommendations and book recommendations- lots of different topics. A veritable blog buffet, if you will.

Thank you again for reading and sharing. And Happy New Year!

Eye Candy: The Harassment in Local News You Don’t See

In June, a man I’ve never met messaged me on my professional Facebook page and asked me to have his children.

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I could fill this entire blog post with harassing comments and gross requests from people I’ve never met and never want to meet. I’ve had a man tell me my skin makes him want to waltz. One guy asked me if he could be my slave.

There’s an old local TV news saying. Every day, people invite you into their homes. You’re on their TV every day, delivering them information. They put their trust in you, they learn things from you, and after awhile, they get to know a part of you- the public part. You become a slice of their lives, and a part of their city.

Many times, it can be a wonderful thing. People say hi to you on the street and compliment your stories. An older woman might bring baked goods to your TV station. You know almost every neighborhood and every street in your town. It’s an amazing feeling.

And then, sometimes, it’s different. Sometimes, people believe they have a right to your body, whether you like it or not. They think they own a part of you, because you’re on TV in their town, and you’re a pretty girl in a pretty dress who’s there for their entertainment. It doesn’t matter what’s in your head, or how hard you worked on your story.

Harassment in the media is a problem- that’s clear. The recent news about Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer cements that reality. That’s another blog post for another time.

But there’s another problem running through local TV news that affects women daily.

Harassment from the people who watch the news.

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It’s the guy who screams, “F**k Her Right in the P***y” behind your live report. Or the local woman who sends you racial slurs because she doesn’t like the way you look. Or the man who sends flowers to your station over and over again. This is a pervasive issue. For the hundreds of young women in local broadcast news, there are thousands of stories of harassment.

And some of those women shared their stories with me.

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One of the many screenshots women in the business shared with me.

Imagine this. You’re a young woman in your first or second job. You’re hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from your family. Surviving on slim paychecks, living alone, and working odd hours. Usually, thanks to social media- it’s relatively easy to find out where you are at any given moment.

And, along with some guy who wants you to kick him in the balls, you’re dealing with people like this:

Harassment Post

Outside harassment is so commonplace, it’s basically become part of the job. You’re a public figure in a small town, a woman always dressed up and made up. Your first creeper is a right of passage. A weirdos obsessed with your shoes is a hilarious screenshot. It’s something to laugh about at drinks with fellow reporters- unless it isn’t funny anymore.

It’s a reality for women. For men. It’s even worse for journalists of color and LGBTQIA journalists.

I’ve tried to understand why these people threaten and harass journalists. Is it power? Sex? They’re just inappropriate weirdos and creeps?

I don’t know. But I do know these people are harassers, and what they’re doing is inexcusable.

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The wild and wonderful world of local news take its reporters everywhere- it’s amazing, and exhilarating, and many times, these young journalists do it alone.

It’s less amazing when you’re constantly worried about the man who pretends to offer reporters jobs before sexually harassing them. Or mentally preparing yourself when an older man approaches you while you’re reporting, and you can tell by the look in his eye that he’s going to say something lewd and offensive.

The kick in the chest doesn’t just come from harsh words or threats to safety. It’s the complete disregard for your intelligence and hard work. It’s that squirming feeling in your heart when you realize that many people consider women in TV news, first and foremost, eye candy.

we determine which news to watch by who has the prettiest girls

As women, and as public figures, too many TV newsers are taught to be polite and friendly. It goes against years of conditioning and stereotype to flip the switch and be aggressive. Even now, when I deflect any kind of harassment, there’s still a little twinge of guilt that I have to brush away.

As I wrote this article, I read a lot of stories from women in the business. At the end of many of them, they asked: Next time this happens, what should I do differently?

Should they be more aggressive? Smile and try to be polite? Every question was filled with a vague sense of guilt and one damning thought: Am I overreacting?

And you know what? That’s happening to me right now, as I write this post.

Let’s go back to the guy who wanted me to have his children. When I responded to him, he got angry.

“There’s a thousand other half-cute journalism grads who’ll easily replace your milquetoast-ass tomorrow. So don’t flatter yourself. No one gives a shit about you.”

His rejection-fueled rage was pretty obvious, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me.

Because, for awhile, I thought he was right. Who would give a shit about some small-town news girl getting creeped on? We’re a dime-a-dozen, generally represented in popular media as vapid bimbos with half a brain.

I sat on this post for months. I started working on this in late spring, but every time I came close to publishing it, doubt started worming its way into my heart. A little voice, whispering at me:

Who cares?

And then, other women began stepping forward, in other industries. Allegations emerged.

And the more women I saw come forward to tell their story, the more people reacted. Other woman, echoing that feeling of helplessness. Of weakness. And I realized that these experiences, no matter how slight or different, absolutely do matter.

I’m tired of getting messages that make me feel ashamed, or have me looking behind my shoulder when I walk to my car at night. I’m tired of talking with other women in the business, feeling their fear and shame, hearing their stories like confessions.

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And when I got tired of the man asking me to have his children, I went to my station about it. Not all stations are supportive when women come forward with their concerns, but mine was. They supported me whole-heartedly. I got in contact with our local police, who also supported me and assured me that it wasn’t a foolish move to report the message.

That experience was one of the two bright spots in this whole mess. The other?

The women I spoke with.

Despite this barrage of threats, sexual requests and invasions of privacy, the woman journalists I spoke with still press forward in their passion. Journalism is already an emotionally and mentally taxing business- to also deal with external threats and still create compelling stories is a testament to the strength of women working in the business.

Many thanks to Vox for republishing my piece.

If you’re a journalist who feels threatened by a harassing message or personal interaction, tell your news director and contact police.

NOTE: I would like to thank all of the women who shared their stories with me. This post wouldn’t be a reality without them.

NOTE II: Harassment is a reality for journalists, no matter what gender you identify as. However, I’m writing from my perspective as a woman, and chose to keep my focus on events close to my own experiences.

Do you want to share your story? Do you have thoughts on this topic? Comment below or email me at ellenmeny@gmail.com. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

© 2017 Ellen Meny

5 Spooky Podcasts To Get You Ready for Halloween

Happy October, ghosts and ghouls! When I’m not writing about my life as a journalist, or tracking down a creepy caller, I love listening to podcasts.

And, I love all things Halloween and horror. Whether it’s paranormal pondering or true crime terror, I’m there. For my contribution to this spectacular month, I’m bringing you my five favorite petrifying podcasts.

Spooked

icon_549547848-07dc738ba003fbb91d35f0b9dfddd8508a55a8a1-s300-c85Gather ’round the campfire. Hug that blanket tighter around your neck. It’s time for some scary stories…and with Spooked, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home!

Dingy bars, lost in time. Mysterious creatures on the US border. A forlorn ghost holed up in a house. Spooked features people from around the world, recounting their ghostly encounters and paranormal experiences. The storytelling is fantastic, the audio quality is crisp, and narrator Glynn Washington is perhaps my favorite narrator I’ve ever encountered in a podcast.

What really seals the deal for me? I’m pretty tough to scare- but this podcast had me checking under the bed before I went to sleep…

My Favorite Murder

600x600bbImagine you and your two best friends, sitting in your apartment, talking about social issues, true crime, and the drama of your lives. That’s My Favorite Murder in a nutshell!

It’s described as a “true crime comedy podcast” and hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, two witty women obsessed with crime and mystery. Each week, the ladies discuss their…favorite murders, and the stories behind them. Choice quotes include, “Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered”, and “Toxic masculinity ruins the party again!”.

Special props to Karen and Georgia’s openness about their mental health, and encouraging the destigmatization of mental illness.

Dirty John

DJ-300-300x300Dirty John is a lot of things- a terrifying look inside domestic abuse, a cautionary tale of who you can trust, a deep-dive into local journalism. But at the heart of it, it’s a story that makes the listener well-aware that monsters can take human form.

LA Times Christopher Goffard introduces you to the dramatic story of Debra Newell and John Meehan. Newell thought she met the man of her dreams- it turns out, John was more of a nightmare.

Dirty John features six articles you can read after or before you listen to each episode. They’re not required reading, but they enhance the story even further.

Last Podcast On The Left

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What do a six foot seven politician, an obsessive radio-man and a lunatic actor all have in common? A love for all things criminal, paranormal and generally odd.

Last Podcast on the Left is both incredibly informative and hilarious. Each episode, the boys of LPOTL tackle a different topic in the world of the bizarre. From the Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton, to Scientology, to Norwegian Black Metal- each episode is chock-full of information meticulously collected by the three hosts; Ben, Marcus, and Henry.

This podcast is extremely NSFW. Save your listening for in the home, on your earbuds, or in the car. And don’t go through any drive thrus if you choose the last option.

The NoSleep Podcast

logoNosleep is a website where horror writers share their short stories of the macabre and maladjusted. Many of the stories are ripe for narration- and thus, the existence of the NoSleep Podcast.

David Cummings and his merry band of talented narrators aurally illustrate stories that scare, disturb, and, once in awhile, delight. Tales of disappeared cross-continental flights, evil spirits summoned from beyond, a man desperately in need of a plumber.

This is a priced podcast- $20 for a season and hours of content. There are lots of free episodes, but I would recommend taking the plunge and buying a full season.

And hey, if you listen back far enough- you might hear a story written by yours truly


Plenty of creepy content to get you through Halloween, and beyond- because I think a little scare does a body good anytime of the year. Happy haunting, and enjoy listening!

Did I miss any of your favorite podcasts? Let me know. Comment below or contact me on my Facebook Page. You can follow me on Twitter, too.

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