Ryan Pendell, writer for web journal Silicon Prairie News (SPN) , shares his passion for creative writing and the path that lead him to where the is now.
Pendell attended Northwestern College in Iowa. There he double-majored in philosophy and English and was the editor for the Newspaper and Lit Mag.
“I’ve always loved writing.” said Pendell.
After receieving his degree, Pendell traveled to Chicago to attend the Art Instatute and received a masters degree of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
Pendell had always dreamed of having a career in creative writing, but found the field completely flooded with writers and other like-minded people, so he found difficulty figuring out how to use his degree.
“I soon realized I would have to work really really hard just to get a humane job out there.” said Pendell
He started off doing freelance work then writing item descriptions for products on Hayneedle’s website before joining the SPN team
SPN was created by two friends named Dusty and Jeff when noticed that several newsworthy events in the Midwest weren’t getting the media attention they deserved. They collaborated to report on the “underdog” companies and the cool things that they were doing in the community. They started developing their readership by hosting events for their followers, creating critical business relationships, having comment discussions, and creating local Facebook groups in four states for their readers.
When their readship hit its peak and started to make adapt to trends to stay relevant. They noticed the explosion of Lady Gaga fans when she started calling them “Little Monsters” and decided to mimmic that model. This is when they started a hashtag and started calling their readers SPNers. This worked really well for them and
helped them get to know even more about their readers.
With SPN there has been a question to wether or not it is actually journalism due to all the stories being focussed around what it’s readers were doing and that every single story is positive promotion making it bias.
Pendell stood behind his work and disagreed by saying that SPN should definately be considered journalism because accuracy, quotes, and facts are all important to their stories and everything is written in AP style. SPNs goals are to reach a more general audience. and interact more with their readers.