My first paid publication was a full-page photo survey of closed and converted gasoline service stations in Elkhart County, Indiana. Because the Elkhart Truth only paid for copy, not for “art,” the piece earned me just $12.90–which was less than the film, processing, and printing had cost me.
I didn’t repeat the mistake in the hundreds of news, opinion, and feature articles to follow. Many of those were written while I was Middlebury/Bristol stringer for the Truth, an experience which taught me valuable lessons about writing to a 2 a.m. deadline, and how good copy could steal column inches from weak copy. It also taught me how intensely local issues are felt and local politics are fought, and how hostile many of those involved are to even a Section B, Page 3 spotlight.
Virtually all the beat writing I did doesn’t warrant revisiting here. Even the most pitched battles on that scale are mere background noise decades later. But I developed good working relationships with feature editors and weekend magazine editors at several newspapers, and managed to get them to pay me to explore some of my own interests at greater length–most notably in pieces about science and space exploration, most frequently in the South Bend Tribune‘s weekend magazine Michiana.
The very best of those opportunities started with driving into the Kennedy Space Center with Tribune credentials to cover the launch of the fourth and final Shuttle test flight, STS-4. The resulting feature articles can be found here, along with several profiles of astronauts with Indiana connections and whatever else strikes me as still having enough flavor to chew through.
(Notwithstanding my early goof, I did continue to provide art for many of my features as well as for my work as correspondent, and at least 500 of my photographs have appeared under my byline. Some of those will be found here, too.)

Selected Nonfiction by Michael P. Kube-McDowell

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Last Revised: 06 May 2016

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