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Work experience

Jan 2009Present

Freelance Editor/Writer

Self-employed

Mentor high school juniors in Goodman Theatre's Cindy Bandle Young Critics program, developing their critical voice; teaching them the mechanics of writing, professional journalism and issues pertinent to women and criticism; seeing nine productions with them; meeting with them bimonthly during workshops; and editing their feature articles and play reviews. Copyedit articles and essays for Chicago regional theater's print publications. Edit and condense interviews for film review Web site. Research, write and copyedit press releases, bylined articles, case studies, white papers, repurposed articles and Web site content for business-to-business public relations firm.

Mar 2011Present

PR and Social Media Specialist

Fibre-Craft Materials Corp.

Work closely with Integrated Marketing Director on conceiving, executing and analyzing results of promotional and social media plans, as well as donations, giveaways and contests.Manage and maintain social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.Form and foster relationships with key people in industry, including mom bloggers and influential crafters.Write and edit copy for websites, email blasts, flyers and other promotional materials.Maintain and update company websites with news, events, staff profiles, partnership announcements and consumer engagement.Improve customer service/retention by working with other departments on handling and resolving complaints submitted via social media platforms in timely manner.Create and distribute press materials for consumer and trade media outlets.

Mar 2010Mar 2011

Editor/PR Specialist

Fibre-Craft Materials Corp.

Wrote, edited, proofread and fact-checked instructions and copy on consumer packaging for mass market retail in several drafts, working with graphic artists and other departments for most accurate information.  Researched packaging regulations in U.S. and Canada for branded and private label packaging and shared with graphics department to ensure compliance.  Worked with designers and crafters to create, write, photograph and upload craft projects to Creative Hands® website.  Served as liaison for toy-testing agencies, the visual merchandising department and other internal teams.

Apr 2006Jan 2009

Group Editor

Promoted to Group Editor over other managing editors to restore stability and reader loyalty in Hinsdale office, becoming responsible for all editorial decisions and processes in newsroom. Created and delivered internal and external communications for variety of key audiences, including readers, customers, government officials, community and group leaders, senior staff and employees. Conulted with senior management on messages and initiatives supporting corporate objectives and values, including policy changes, company accomplishments, staff announcements and special assignments. Managed flagship publication and up to 13 staff members. Oversaw hiring and training. Participated in twice daily teleconference meetings with senior management and contributed to decisions regarding editorial and company policy for Sun-Times News Group division. Supervised activities of editors, writers, photographers, designers, graphic artists and Web staff to assure agreed-upon objectives were met.

Jan 2005Jan 2009

News Managing Editor

Moved back into news to play larger role in staff's writing and reporting development. Demonstrated leadership on Editorial Board, wrote columns and editorials, supervised letters to the editor, and designed award-winning Opinion pages. Represented company to legislators, government officials, community and group leaders, and industry experts. Directed art department in story placement and page design and assisted with pagination when needed. Planned, assigned, and edited stories for print and online.

Jan 2002Jan 2005

Features Managing Editor

Promoted to Features Managing Editor to oversee lifestyle, arts and entertainment, business, real estate and health sections. Created exercises to improve editing, writing and reporting skills in newsroom. Conceived, planned, and produced first themed issue. Facilitated yearlong partnerships with nonprofits. Attended community events to form relationships with sources and readers. Assigned coverage that served in public relations capacity for nonprofits and other local clubs and groups. 

May 1999Jan 2002

Lead Writer

First reporter in office ever chosen to fill in for absent editors. Hired for flagship publication beat and within first few weeks given seat on Editorial Board. Pitched, researched and wrote six to eight stories a week, including editorials, news, education, business, features and entertainment. Analyzed taxing body budgets and campaign finance reports during elections.

May 1998May 1999

City Reporter/Designer

Researched and wrote five to seven stories a week: news, education, personality profiles and around-the-town column. Covered police, local politics and spot news. Received press materials from various public relations firms and used them to inform stories. Paginated news section and took photos.

Education

Aug 1994May 1998

Bachelor of Arts

Northern Illinois University

Minor in Women's Studies

  • Received 1998 Outstanding Woman Student certificate.
  • Published poem and short story in school literary magazine.
  • Other honors and activities: Dean's list; Northern Star campus editor, editorial board member and columnist.

References

Pam Lannom

Randy Liss

Eric Martin

Please e-mail me for contact information.

Visit my blog

Read previous work

Here I am on ...

Editorial Portfolio

Job Target

Communications Specialist/Public Relations and Social Media Manager/Media Relations Coordinator

VISION  EXECUTION  LEADERSHIP  RESULTS

Performance Profile

Versatile, deadline-driven communications expert and innovative thinker who can effectively manage the publication and promotion of news and information. Advanced rapidly to management role with division of Sun-Times News Group. Strong leader/team participant skilled in explaining complicated ideas clearly and concisely and motivating others to excel. Efficient self-starter with analytical, organizational and creative talent. Social media enthusiast recognized for superior writing aptitude and ability to develop and maintain strong relationships within a community. Quick learner eager for new professional/technical challenges.

Passionate advocate for the power of technology to share ideas, connect people, and advance human endeavors.

Leadership and Training

  • Goodman Theatre's Cindy Bandle Young Critics program, mentor since 2007

  • International Women's Media Foundation's Leadership Institute for Women Managers, 2007

  • Unity 2008

  • Minority Writers Seminar, 2005

  • National Conference of Editorial Writers, 2004

  • Journalism Fellows Program at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs, 1999

Selected Honors

  • First Place for editorial pages, Northern Illinois Newspaper Association, 2008 and 2007
  • First Place for Best Effort to Attract Young Readers, NINA, 2008
  • First Place for local editorial, Illinois Press Association, 2007
  • First Place for editorial writing, Suburban Newspapers of America, 2006
  • First Place for reviews, IPA, 2006 and 2005
  • First Place for arts and entertainment criticism/commentary, SNA, 2005
  • First place for feature section, NINA, 2005 and 2002
  • First place for in-depth news story, NINA, 2001
  • Second place for Best Coverage of Taxation, IPA, 2007
  • Second place for Best Promotion of the Public’s Right to Know, IPA, 2007
  • Third Place for business/financial/consumer story, NINA, 2004 and 2000

Special Skills and Accomplishments

  • Work closely with Integrated Marketing Director on conceiving, developing and executing promotional plans and social media strategies, as well as monitoring social media trends, tools and applications.
  • Manage social networking programs and day-to-day activities on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to drive online engagement, strengthen branding and sales, and advance reputation as leading arts and crafts company.
  • Set and monitor benchmarks for social networking.  Track, manage, analyze and report metrics to evaluate the results/benefits of various social media campaigns.
  • Launched and contributed to public relations/marketing efforts through social media and the Internet, driving online readership, increasing company visibility and advancing its reputation as leading local source of news and information.
  • Initiated and instituted student column to attract young readers, winning regional award for project.  Performed community outreach to find volunteer high school and college writers.
  • Pioneered and wrote regularly for blog with emphasis on shopping, trends and fashion. Expanded blog readership by posting links on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook,and MySpace. Often named among week's top blogs for garnering high number of hits.
  • Coordinated and edited blogs and columns from residents after recruiting them to strengthen community engagement. Collaborated with volunteer and art department to compile biographies for marketing materials compatible with brand image.
  • Established and refined a catalog of over 500 e-mail contacts to locate story sources, promoting company presence in community and enhancing its reputation.
  • Adapted to reductions in force and fewer resources by taking on increased workload, reorganizing newsroom strucutre and delegating tasks to staff.
  • Consistently met and frequently beat deadlines.
  • Worked as team with reporters, editors, photographers and page designers to conceive and develop award-winning, in-depth news stories and long-form, magazine-style features.
  • Improved customer service and achieved customer satisfaction/retention by handling and resolving complaints in timely manner.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, NewsEdit, QuarkXPress, Movable Type, Wordpress, Outlook Express and other Internet applications.  Experience with PowerPoint, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Contribute.

Core Competencies

  • Verbal and written communication
  • Project planning and management
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Time and resource management
  • Team building and leadership
  • Writing, research, and analysis
  • Superb knowledge of English language/grammar
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Relationship building
  • Problem solving and identification
  • Community outreach
  • Diversity appreciation

What people say

“It was a pleasure speaking with you about the event, and the great coverage you provided will help to increase awareness of our efforts with our philanthropy, the Gus Foundation. The event is a complete sellout, so when you attend, you’ll be in the company of about 850 women!”

nMelissa K. Ehret, Benefit Managing Chair, Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club, February 13, 2004

“I am often asked when giving a reference if I would hire someone again. My answer with Dawn is a resounding yes. She was a real asset to The Doings and will be an asset to a future employer as well.”

nPam Lannom, former supervisor, letter of recommendation, January 26, 2009

“Dawn was both a model employee and an invaluable colleague. She is intelligent, innovative, creative, cooperative and insightful. She brought these skills to bear not only to her work as a journalist, but also in meetings and planning sessions as a constructive part of group efforts in her leadership capacity. As an individual, she is an award-winning writer and editor, always shining with her engaging use of language and unique perspectives on people, places and events. She has covered a wide range of topics, and handles any assignment with grace and enthusiasm.”

nJohn Ambrosia, former Pioneer Press Editor and Publisher, letter of recommendation, January 28, 2009

“Covering every meeting in Hinsdale, making sense out of confusion, unraveling issues and dry ordinances and putting it all together so we readers actually understand what happens at those late-night village meetings—ah, that was a feat.There’s no doubt you have outstanding journalistic abilities and apparently talent for creative editing and management.”

nNancy and Harry Vincent, Hinsdale residents, February 22, 2002

“The editorials take strong positions, especially in criticizing a closed settlement by the village and in admitting that the newspaper endorsed the wrong political candidate.Other columns reflect a broad spectrum, both in terms of voices represented and in topics covered. In this clean layout, letters to the editor have clear attribution and labels and are presented attractively.”

nJudges, IPA, first place for Editorial Page Design, 2007

About Me

I'm an energetic communications expert, social media enthusiast, cultural critic and overall droll person, with a desire to make the world a lovelier place, one sentence at a time. I'm also an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years in developing and presenting news and information in a high-pressure, fast-paced environment.

I work as a PR and Social Media Specialist at an arts and crafts company called Fibre-Craft Materials Corp. It's a new and exciting professional challenge. For most of my career I've worked for a division of the Sun-Times News Group, where I supervised up to 13 employees, directed coverage for two publications and wrote a blog with an emphasis on shopping, trends and fashion.