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Magazine reporter discusses pulse of Internet news

Thursday, September 11, 2008 | 9:21 p.m. CDT; updated 10:02 a.m. CDT, Monday, September 15, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Internet brought her in, and the Internet is now her working medium.

The age of technology has especially influenced Lindsay Powers. A reporter for Usmagazine.com, she writes about celebrities and the entertainment industry — filing up to 15 stories a day.

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She covers everything from births and deaths, to custody hearings and movie premieres, all with the grueling, to-the-minute deadlines of the Web.

It's not a career this former hard-news-minded journalist might not have foreseen for herself some years ago.

"At first I thought I was going to be a serious news journalist," Powers said. "Embedded with the troops. But Paducah, Kentucky, wasn't exactly where I wanted to be."

In fact, from the beginning, Powers knew one thing. She wanted to live and work in New York.

"I just typed in ‘magazines and newspapers in New York City,' " she said of the Web search that started her big-city editorial dreams.

A response from a "Tell Us At Cosmo" section eventually had her doing small sidebars. At the time, she was still an undergraduate student at MU, so she reported her stories in Columbia.

"They'd have me do pieces like ‘What Would You Do if Your Girlfriend Cheated On You?' " Powers said. "I'd go around with a camera and notepad, ask around Harpos and take photos of the boys."

Persistence paid off. The Journalism School summer program in New York led to further connections, allowing Powers to collect business cards.

She moved to New York a week after graduation and eventually snagged a job as an editorial assistant at the New York Post. She then worked her way up to staff writer.

The New York Post taught her to have her finger on the pulse of the city, Powers said.

She became a jack-of-all-trades, covering general assignments, weddings and features on new TV shows.In 2006 Powers became a reporter for US Weekly, a position she loved for both its journalistic and travel opportunities.

"I covered Tom and Katie's wedding in Rome; Anna Nicole Smith's case in the Bahamas; and the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France," Power said. "I wanted to travel, and I knew I would be able to with this job."

Her hard news past at the Missourian and her work at the Post, have helped her investigative chops. "I've written about big court cases," Powers said. "I've had to go to the mayor's office, dig through files and movie permits to see who was shooting where, and I've filed many Freedom of Information requests."

Since October, Powers and a small staff have been working to improve US Magazine's Web site.

It's a jump Powers and another editor were able to do successfully. In fact, since working on Us Weekly's Web site as a staff writer-editor, Powers has seen traffic nearly triple.

"We gave it the voice of the magazine, breaking real celebrity news," says Powers, In an age when everything is shifting, and debate over whether print will remain the dominant medium is never ending, Powers weighs in on the side of the Internet. And she stands firm behind the importance of her industry.

"You can't discount the entertainment market," Powers said. "It's what people want to read."


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