Talbot County - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Talbot County

Originally assigned to handle data-mining and map visualization, I got assigned the Talbot county story late – fact checking assignments, have already been made and I’m not on the list.

Talbot County’s human services chief talks with me briefly, then passes me off to state, who responds by sending me the same state-level budget overview they sent to the state-team. The county breakdown lumps all counties together.

When I point this out to them and the fact that Talbot County’s latest online budget summary “brochure” is more than two years out of date, forcing me to have to fudge the data and assume stagnant funding (not far from the truth, actually), the answer is resounding silence.

The County Council president, however, is a young Baltimore transplant who cares about his new home and knows something about representing.

Fairly late in the multi-day editing process, I asked whether I was needed to fact check, and was then assigned someone to fact check my Talbot article, a young master’s student named Dana Amihere whose family hails from Guyana. I refer to her name as a question and she consigns me to hear more Hille-billy jokes than I have since middle school.

But it’s late in the game, I’m in another class at the 11th hour when the questions come back and playing catch-up the next morning when the other stories are hitting the wire. My first “significant contribution” to the class project gets killed in a bureaucratic shuffle, though the data and interactive map turn out stunningly.


About the author

Karl B. Hille

Karl Hille lived and breathed local news beat reporting in Greenbelt and the Baltimore/Washington region for more than 12 years until the 2007 recession. While learning and improving the online side of the Baltimore Examiner operations, his platform dropped out from under his feet, then his rebound job at a regional business news magazine downsized him three months later. Now, working for the “dark side” - public communications work by day for the awesome government agency - he is going back to school to find the critical intersection of news, investigation, and the Internet – and re-learning how to be a student while he’s the only guy on campus sporting a fedora. Contact the author.

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