Covering the world from a Texan countryside: Profile of a Digital Journalist Special
He writes news articles from a library computer and wakes up to mountains and sunrises every morning. He's been published in Time Magazine. Find out more about a very busy Digital Journalist, Lynn Herrmann.
You won't find Lynn Herrmann
white-knuckled behind the wheel in rush hour traffic, or clutching a Starbucks on a busy city street. Herrmann, 55, is instead living far from urban life by calling Texas hill country his home. Around eight miles from Bandera, Texas, Herrmann enjoys a relaxing life with his dog and garden and wide open spaces.
Herrmann, a Digital Journalist who's published 672 articles since March 2010, doesn't even have Internet access up in his country home. Instead, he visits libraries or coffee shops to publish his Digital Journal articles after researching his topic thoroughly. "I'm not going to pay $100 a month to get patchy Internet here, " he says in an interview. Sometimes, even cellphone service is disrupted near his home.
Herrmann says his Digital Journal work has been rewarding so far, thanks to being informed about news he's interested in, such as politics and the environment. Herrmann has written extensively on Texas wildfires
, the Pentagon
, and issues relating to President Obama's legislation
. Herrmann is unafraid to unleash his frustration at certain politicos, and often his Op-Ed articles
receive a substantial amount of comments.
There's a downside to learning so much so quickly, he admits. "Friends might not want to discuss news issues with me because they haven't done their homework," he says.
Herrmann explains his writing process, outlining how he tackles his stories every day. "I search the Net like everyone, from Salon to Huffington Post to several environmental sites...Sometimes I read the first sentence of the story I write and it just feels right, and it's easy to produce a story. I wish it were like that with every story but that's not to be."
He supports the role of citizen journalism in the news conversation, saying he often sees headlines in mainstream outlets days after they were reported by citizen journalists. "Citizen journalism is especially useful in metro areas where people have more access to what's going on, as opposed to my area where sometimes the biggest news is a snake eating a frog."
He might live a private life in the Texas hills but he busies himself with several projects: an avid photographer, he freelances for several publications, and has been published in Time
, Texas Monthly
, Texas Parks and Wildlife
and many more; he dabbles in real estate and landscaping, building straw bale homes and looking to sell a property in Bandera; writing on two blogs
; and travelling extensively throughout Latin America and Mexico. It's obvious Herrmann has a hunger for seeing more of what's enticing in the world, and he admits he's always wanted to live in Chile after visiting in awhile ago.
"The scenery is absolutely beautiful," he says, "and I really like the traditional folk aspect of the country."
Herrmann treasures his privacy in his country home, something he's used to after growing up in a ranch in Texas, where he rode a horse almost every day and experienced nature in all its intricate details. He still surrounds himself with animals, such as his pet dog Cap, an Australian shepherd rescue dog (unfortunately his "guardian angel" dog Blue died several months ago). And he still follows the San Antonio Spurs
, as any reader of Digital Journal can attest, because Herrmann was an avid baller back in the college days.
At 30, he reached a quarter-life crisis and returned to school to study solar technology in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The six-year stay got him interested in environmental issues but his passion for photography inspired him to enrol in the school's photo program. He later worked as a commercial photographer for several years in Aspen before moving back to Texas in 1991.
For shutterbugs curious to know what Herrmann uses, he prefers his Canon EOS-1D Mark III DSLR
, having ditched most of his film cameras several years ago when the industry went digital. He's slowing learning how to use photo-editing software such as Aperture
and is dabbling with Photoshop. (To check out some of his original photos, click here
And in case you wanted to visit Herrmann out near the unpolluted air and starry sky, he might fix you up with one of his favourite dinners: grilled wild salmon cooked over mesquite coals, with a margarita to wash it down.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. In Lynn Herrmann's corner of the world, life is actually down-sized to the essentials, so much so the Digital Journalist's off-the-grid days seem like a serene vacation from the concrete jungle many of us were born into.