The raconteur Comment on this post ↓
October 7th, 2013 by Warren Swil

Your raconteur

AS A NEWS JUNKY, ex-journalism professor, former newspaper editor and reporter, I am passionate about blogging, journalism, teaching, cruising on luxury yachts, and motorcycles … in that order.

Most who know me personally will not recognize me in a coat and tie. It’s not my usual garb. Image was taken in April at a formal even in Hollywood. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc.

Recently, I have started reporting writing for publication again ­– most furiously at this blog, which was registered on Sunday, April 28, 2013 with WordPress, then immediately activated by NetworkSolutions.
I loved my job as professor of journalism at Pasadena City College, but am always open to exciting new ventures and adventures.
I have had quite a few of those in the past six months. Had you asked a year ago, I would never have dreamed in my entire life that I would have five trips abroad – before October: the British Virgin Islands; Guadalaja, Mexico; Sweden; Britain; and Canada were visited before August.
Most notable was my trip to the Middle East at a moment’s notice in September when everyone thought President Obama was about to drop a boatload of Tomahawks on Syria.
I always dreamed of being a war correspondent. I had hired Alex Ghawi, whom I met in Sweden, to report for In the (K)now from Egypt during the upheaval in July – the novice reporter did a great job as I held his hand (metaphorically) from Canada where I was visiting at the time (my phone bill was through the roof in August!)
Just enter “Egypt” or “Greece” in the search box above to see Alex’s dispatches from the front lines.
So I jumped on a plane Sept. 7 and hit the ground running at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
When President Obama announced (late afternoon in Jerusalem) that he was halting the debate in Congress to consider the Russian diplomatic deal, I was crestfallen.
There would be no “war.”
I rushed to the American Colony (hotel and bar) where I knew all the foreign correspondents could be found. There I met three members of a London-based crew from CNN who filled me in on the previous four hours of breaking news.
We cried into our beers.
How on earth would we feed the beast?
They had a 24-hour news cycle to fill; my ticket home was seven days hence.
You can see a tiny bit of the back-story to this memorable evening at Transcontinental whiplash as Syria debate see-saws.
Names and other minutiae have been omitted for purposes of discretion, Scottie!
The easiest way to discover my solution is to click this link to Israel and scroll down a couple of screens to see the feature stories written on the fly and on deadline.
You can be sure that – as the news dictates and resources allow – I will go where the story is, to bring it back to you, wherever you may be.

I WORK FAST on deadline, can do “breaking” opinion in response to fast breaking news (like the government shutdown) and also deep analysis.
Features are fun, for you and for me.
You should be aware that for me, as a seasoned journalist, blogging is scary: Every previous published word I authored was subjected to the rigorous editing process of newspapers.
It has taken a huge adjustment to fly without that net. Forgive the mistakes; to borrow from the famous web site, we “regret the error.”
What I have recently rediscovered is that most life experiences generate stories worth telling. Whether they be artists or motorcycle riders, creative folks from all walks of life who are open to the universe, just love to share their stories.
I have learned to listen, because they are in the (k)now!
For you, dear reader, I am the raconteur.

Welcome Aboard!

Warren Swil

Privacy-v-Health medium


“Make it so, Dr. Spock!”

7 Responses  
  • Mark Orwoll writes:
    May 10th, 2013

    Free advice – worth what you paid for it!

    I really do think it’s important for a blogger to be on Twitter. Try and keep your tweets focused on a handful of topics so you build up your niche followers.
    As the International Editor of Travel + Leisure, I know how useful this is.
    And yes, you do want to be newsy, so try posting links to current events from the newspapers and other sources, along with a pithy comment from you and the articles headline.
    Use hash tags and Twitter handles to help other users find you. And whenever you post something new on your blog, Tweet the link to drive traffic from Twitter to your own site.
    Trust me, I know all about drowning in emails. But don’t let the weight of that stop you from marketing your own brand to best effect!

    • Warren writes:
      June 20th, 2013

      About Twitter… I’ve been thinking about it since you posted this…. But more in a minute.
      I was astounded last evening when this item hit the “most viewed list.” BTW, that is fully automatic … WordPress counts the hits, I don’t even know how to adjust them.
      For some reason this description of li’l ol’ me is striking a chord.
      I am, of course, delighted.
      It demonstrates the power of truth.
      Regarding Twitter: I fail to see how meaningful information can be communicated in 140 characters or less, with one exception: as an alert for urgently breaking news.
      Yes, I know many journalists are using it as a promotional tool, and perhaps it is effective that way.
      We here will be doing very little breaking news; I’ll leave that up to the experts at BBC, NYT and AP who have far greater resources and reach.
      I remain unconvinced of the need for yet another channel… I’m having trouble keeping up with the many that I already must manage.
      Unless of course you want to volunteer to be my secretary!!
      As you know I am always open for further debate. Anyone else want to chime in?

    • warrn writes:
      July 24th, 2013

      I capitulated!
      I have been tweeting all posts this week….
      Let’s see what happens.

  • Fuggedabout Twitter writes:
    July 4th, 2013

    Twitter is drivel.
    What you really need is REDDIT
    That is what works. They have 6 percent of ALL the eyeballs on the Internet

  • Rob O'Neil writes:
    September 4th, 2013


    I see you haven’t given up on teaching, at the least sending me to my dictionary.

    I always thought that ‘junkie’ was the only acceptable spelling when referring to addiction, and ‘junky’ was an adjective referring to the condition of my office …


    • Warren writes:
      September 4th, 2013

      No, Rob, it’s the condition of MY office!
      Indeed, I have not given up teaching … boy, is there a wealth of lesson plans on THIS site alone!
      You should know a little secret: the SCARIEST thing about blogging – its like doing the highwire without a net!
      NO EDITOR!
      In my entire professional career until April 28, every word I published was edited.
      Not here!
      Do you know any retired former journalism professors who might be interested in a part-time gig?

  • KKleve writes:
    October 24th, 2013

    Hi Warren!

    This is kkeve from the Huffpo blogs. You just faved me and found your link. I had to stop by after reading your tag line, since I’m a “news junkie, journalism major, an 15+ years in PR” (retired now).

    I just wanted to say I LOVE you site. Good work!!!


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