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elgin watch list.pngThe Watch List is a weekly list of all those things we're watching, things we're loving, things we're talking about in the newsroom this week, in general.

EVERYBODY!!! Come and see how good we look! The Courier-News staff will be the People of the Week at Villa Verone, starting at 6 p.m. at the downtown Elgin bar and restaurant, 13 Douglas Ave. Reporter Mike Danahey's even made a Facebook event for the occasion. Come and meet us, have a drink and support a good cause! -- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

Have you seen the Blue Moose Family at Platt Hill Nursery on Randall Road in Carpentersville? (Picture to come.)

Or any other great Christmas decorations, in general?!


Post links to photos of your Christmas decorations here, or e-mail them to Between the Bylines editor Emily McFarlan at! -- Katie Anderson, Staff Writer

-- The Courier-News Staff

katie.jpgI am now a MoJo.

As many of you know from previous posts, on Monday, Dec. 13, the longtime Courier-News building at 300 Lake Street closed with many of its operations relocated to Aurora.

Although my former office now stands vacant, your trusty Courier reporter Katie Anderson (and my co-workers) still are working right here in the community. Parked in local coffee shops, libraries and other common spaces with wifi access, we still are taking calls, investigating tips, covering government and writing articles on the Elgin area.

This move has come with challenges, but we intend to take them all in stride, and each reporter with the Courier is creating his and her own space to do mobile journalism.


Katie's new home office

Since I live in Elgin (on the northeast side), I have made my new base inside my home. I also plan to work on articles using my laptop inside the coffee shop at the Gail Borden Library several days a week.

More about where you can find us MoJos out in the community, daily, after the jump

elgin watch list.pngThe Watch List is a weekly list of all those things we're watching, things we're loving, things we're talking about in the newsroom this week, in general.

john steffen halloween.jpg

Post-Halloween Facebook beefcakes. Apparently Elgin city councilman John Steffen was some sort of Greco-Roman emperor for Halloween this year and was walking around downtown Elgin showing off his pec. Just one -- the other was covered. For proof, friend him on Facebook and check out his photo albums. -- Mike Danahey, Staff Writer

The photo above is from the NorthEast Neighborhood Association of Elgin's public "MMB" photo album on Facebook. -- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

You might be able to pick out some more prominent Elginites from the "Monster Mash" photo album on NENA's website. -- Katie Anderson, Staff Writer

Double rainbows, Hemmens happenings, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgLike everybody else, as the election results rolled in last night, we wanted to know who won.

But that's not all. We didn't just want to hear the candidates' side of the election story, or the Kane County Board of Elections' side of the story -- we also wanted to hear yours. And while we heard from the county there were few complaints about the election process, mostly about signage, what we heard from you was there were some ridiculously long lines at area polling places and a few other "interesting anomalies."

Reporter Katie Anderson has that story in today's paper ("Kane voter turnout spors long waits at Elgin-area polls").

Here are a few more from our readers, in their own words...

Danise Habun

Danise Habun of Elgin knows she is the only Danise Habun in Kane County, but yet when she tried to vote at about 10:15 a.m., she was told that she had already voted by absentee ballot.

"I always vote on election day," Habun said.

At the polling location, Elgin Community Church, the judges said the computer they had showed she had voted, but a call to the Kane County Clerks office said she hadn't. Eventually, a technician was able to override the info in the computer and allow her to cast her vote anyway.

The judges said other people had had problems voting, too, Habun said, but she didn't get into what the problems were.

Once she was done, Habun said, she filed a complaint at Kane County. She then posted her story on Facebook.

And, she said, "I had some interesting responses about the anomalies that have occurred in our area with voting today."

-- Janelle Walker, Freelance Writer

More reader reports, ways to share your experiences, after the jump.

elgin watch list.pngThe Watch List is a weekly list of all those things we're watching, things we're loving, things we're talking about in the newsroom this week, in general.

Trending this week on Katie's desk... Bigelow brand Vanilla Chai tea! With the blustery weather we had last week I nestled into my desk and downed about 4 mugs of chai tea a day. Specifically, BIGELOW Vanilla Chai. I think part of the reason I've been particularly drawn to these tea bags is (a) they are free (well, Emily bought them, but they've been sitting in the communal drink area for about a year, so I figured they were fair game), and (b) I love reading the box the tea comes in. More products should have evocative descriptions like this: "Explore the mystery of Chai. India is a land shrouded in mystery. From the beauty of the Taj Mahal to the markets of New Delhi, it is a country unlike any other in the world. For centuries, the drink of the Maharajas has been equally mysterious -- an ambrosia called Chai ... A sure way to please your senses and enchant your taste buds." -- Katie Anderson, Staff Writer

We want to hear what you're watching too! Share a few of your favorite things here, or send them throughout the week to Between the Bylines editor Emily McFarlan at

-- The Courier-News Staff

Thumbnail image for katie.jpgToday's Courier-News cover story "Campaign mail buries Elgin-area homes" takes a look at some of the reasons why we've been inundated with campaign mail this election season.

To help you figure out how to tell fact from fiction on all that political propaganda landing in your mail box, we offer up the following: Each is a link that will lead you to a non-partisan website. There you can search and find out exactly how each local candidate voted on issues that are important to you.

More resources from Sun-Times Media West, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for katie.jpgLast Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending the
Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Fall Conference and awards dinner.

Highlights of the evening included a presentation by Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Nelson and accepting four NINA awards on behalf of The Courier-News.

(That's my smiling mug in the picture below.)


This year The Courier-News earned honors including...

  • First place for column writing: Julia Doyle
  • Second place for headline writing: Julia Doyle
  • Third place for a religion story, a.k.a. the Owen Phelps Award: Katie Anderson (me)
  • Third place for sports column writing: Erik Jacobsen

Click the blue text for a full winners list, which includes accolades for reporters and photographers from our sister publications including The Beacon News in Aurora.

More about NINA and the keynote speaker after the jump.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for katie.jpgIt was a Tuesday in early May. I, along with several other reporters from competing news outlets, were lead into a meeting room in the Kane County State's Attorney's Office.

Once seated, we each were handed a single sheet of white typing paper with the following announcement printed on it: Kane County Coroner Charles West had been indicted on felony charges.

Every reporter's eyes immediately went down to scan the press release. After a quick skim, I whipped out my phone, opened the camera application and took a photograph of the press release. I then e-mailed the image to my editors and a fellow reporter who wrote up the news and posted it to The Courier-News website and its affiliates a full 45 minutes before any other news outlet uttered a word about the indictment.

It took me about two minutes in total to take the photograph, log in to my e-mail, attach the image and send the message with photo attached to my newsroom. While my phone did the work transmitting the news, I was free to ask questions and take part in the remainder of the press conference.

As a reporter, my cell phone is as indispensable to me as my notebook and pen. Using my phone, I call and text sources and send e-mails while I'm away from my desk. I even check Facebook and Twitter updates for news tips and scoops. With regards to my work however, the most useful part of my phone is quickly becoming the built-in camera.

More about how Katie uses her cameraphone, what others think of 'cameraphone journalism,' tips on how to take better phone photos, all after the jump!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for katie.jpgYes, that tomato is mooning you.


More importantly, I grew that delectable red Plantae in my very own garden right here in Elgin.

Spurred by an appetite for fresh veggies, a tight budget and a general love of being outside and in the dirt, I dug my own little backyard food patch this summer. This is the second year in a row I have flexed my green thumb and I'm proud to report that it produced several dozen healthy tomatoes, sweet dumpling squash and peppers as a result. My herb garden, on the other hand, petered out pretty early in the summer.

Where you can find fresh fruits and veggies this fall, besides Katie's backyard, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for katie.jpgWhether we like it or not, hyperlocal news websites are here, invading our coverage areas and hiring away our experienced co-workers. (By "our," I'm referring to traditional print media outlets, including The Courier-News and the Chicago Sun Times.)

And, further cementing their place in the news-purveying industry is recent movement by the Illinois Press Association to create a membership category for the hyperlocal dot-coms.

bocatwitterprofile.pngpatch.jpgFor those of you who are not media insiders, currently news websites like Patch (recently sprouted in Geneva, St. Charles and, yesterday, in Naperville) and Elgin's BocaJump float in a sort of limbo. They function as sort of mini newspapers with an online presence only. They report local happenings, publish police reports and cover some local government. They hire people with journalism degrees and sell ads, too.

The creators of these types of news websites say their pages will serve up community journalism with a heavy focus on feature stories and submitted content. Some claim to be "complementary rather than competition," when it comes to traditional print media. Others flat out seek to oust the journalists already in town.

What's the debate? What does this mean? After the jump.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Katie Anderson category.

Julia Doyle is the previous category.

linkage is the next category.

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