Calling All Atheist Writers

Hello, everyone, Trina here.

As many of you know by now, I am the National Atheism Examiner (columnist) for Examiner.com. I want to share with you briefly how it is that I ended up with that gig before I get to my main point.

A while back, as a result of the recession, I lost my job. I was 43 at the time. I am one of those people who is skilled in a variety of areas so I typically am able to find a job rather quickly. Not this time. My area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

I decided to take stock of my life, my skills, and my passions before moving forward. A few things ocurred to me. I have always loved to write. In fact, when I started college, back in the day, I did so with the intent of majoring in journalism. I changed my mind somewhat quickly after realizing that I would have to write about crap I didn’t care about.

The other thing that I took note of was that I was a relatively new atheist who spent her spare time devouring books, debates, and articles on the topic. (Do I know how to party or what? Woo Hoo!) In my quest to soak it all up, I realized that media outlets, in general, rarely give atheists a voice. To be sure, many of them, if not most of them, had religion sections. They employed religious writers. And too often, when the topic of atheism was written about it was done so by religious writers. We all know that many of those writers do not typically look on us favorably and some of them go out of their way to spin any atheism story negatively.

I had a mission. I wanted to work toward getting atheists’ voices heard, starting with mine. Of course, there are atheist blogs and the like, but I wanted our voices to be given equal time in the main stream news media. So, I approached about 20 media outlets, print as well as internet, about letting me write an atheism column. I waited… and waited… and waited….

About 2 months went by. I was beginning to think that it just wasn’t going to happen. And just when I was on the verge of giving up, I was contacted by Examiner. Initially, I was slated to write as a local writer — Miami area, I believe. But within a couple of days, my column was so popular that the Examiner powers that be decided to make me national.

I don’t mind telling you all that my column catapulted to the top of the Religion and Spirituality channel. With rare exception, my column stays in that top spot. Tee hee.

Since bringing me on board, Examiner has brought on other atheist writers. They write for the local online editions. There is one writer, Paul Fidalgo, who is the DC Secular Examiner. We also have Atheism Examiners in Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Manchester.

But, I want more! I want there to be so many atheist columnists that they have to give us our own category, which I am currently working on. Hopefully, very soon, there will be a “Freethinkers” category for secular writers, atheist writers, skepticism writer, and the like.

Yes, I do get paid for doing what I do. However, what is at the heart of what I am trying to accomplish remains the same. I want the atheist voice to be given equal time. I want atheists to be represented by atheists. I want atheists to determine their worth rather than letting certain religious folk do it. And I want atheists, rather than relgious haters, to define what the word “atheist” means.

So, on to the main point. I invite all you atheist writers out there to get on board. Join me at Examiner. If you have something to say, a voice, follow this link. Once the page loads, read all about it. If it intrigues you, click on the link to “join now.” Once the page loads, click on the Religion & Spirituality category. When the new page loads, scroll down passed the available positions and choose “or pick a topic we have not covered above.” Once you have done that, you are on your way. If we all rally together, we can become a force to be reckoned with, and we can make a difference.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Did you know that materialism contradicts science? I read it at The Examiner.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner Trina Hoaks

    I did not know that. Thanks for that link. :)

  • http://limadean.wordpress.com Nadine

    I’d love to get involved, but Examiner doesn’t have a channel for Kansas City! What a tragedy. Oddly, they have one for Wichita, KS. Nothing against the fine city of Wichita, but it seems strange there’s one for them and nada for KC.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner Trina Hoaks

    Nadine,

    They plan to bring in more cities as they grow. What they will do in the meantime is plug you into the major city that is closest to you. Hope that helps. :)

  • dfledermaus

    I just had an article accepted by The Humanist. It’s a great honor but I wouldn’t mind being paid cash once in awhile instead. I’m in the Los Angeles area and I’ll be doing volunteer work at the Atheists United booth at the UCLA Book Fair weekend after next. Think they might like a report on the book fair from the atheist perspective?

  • Nick

    In fact, when I started college, back in the day, I did so with the intent of majoring in journalism. I changed my mind somewhat quickly after realizing that I would have to write about crap I didn’t care about.

    Sad but, too often, true for young jounalists.

  • http://brokenocean.wordpress.com Nick

    I was perfectly willing to apply – having been a journalism major myself, once upon a time – but the application process turned me off, especially questions regarding locality. I’m just a guy with ideas, an atheist but not necessarily a humanist. And I don’t get out much. Guess my (neglected) blog will continue to suffice.

    Good luck to everyone who applies!

  • Christy C.

    That’s an inspiring story, Trina. Way to go!

  • http://www.travisjmorgan.com Travis Morgan

    I’d like to, but I am not confident I can think of atheistic material to write about every day. I sometimes suprise myself I spend so much time on the subject to begin with. It tends to end up being more anti-theism topics then a-theistic topics.

    Now, I might be able to go anti-theistic. :)

  • http://candycolouredfrown.blogspot.com Jackie

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve sent in an application to be the Boston Examiner. I love the local aspect about the site, especially since I’m very active in the Boston Atheists group as an organizer, blogger, and podcaster. :D I could use some extra money on the side for doing what I already do.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner Trina Hoaks

    Travis, I think you have it in you. :)

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner Trina Hoaks

    Excellent, Jackie! Good luck!

  • Sara C

    there is one in Fargo! this is pretty exciting – i’ve been wanting to get into atheist writing :) thanks so much for the tip!

  • SmilingAtheist

    I would love to give it a go but there’s nothing for Australia there. That and a topic. Though I’m sure if I think about it I could come up with something.

    So when are they putting an Australia channel in? Also what happens if I move countries?

  • http://proudatheists.wordpress.com/ Mark Pogue

    I live near St. Louis and I would love to do it, but I am too much of a ranter.

  • http://homesteadnotes.blogspot.com Teresa

    Well, the closest town to me is Indianapolis, but I’m sure there are plenty of brilliant writers in Indy who can do the job better than I.

    Love following your tweets, BTW!

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner Trina Hoaks

    Thanks everyone for all the kind words. To those of you who applied, I wish you luck. And, thanks!

    The beauty of your column is that it is okay to rant. :) It is perfectly acceptable to write commentary.

    Again, thanks everyone. Once you are on board, I will be in touch. I will do all I can to help promote your columns via mine.

  • Nick L

    Trina, I’m from Australia. I didn’t realise that the Examiner was US based. (a little ignorant on my part) Any idea if they are thinking of expanding internationally? The US city close to me is LA. (give or take a few miles) I do have a friend there… hmmm

    Anyway, I haven’t seen anything like the Examiner in Australia so it would be interesting to know. (if you happen to know an Australian equivalent that would be good)

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner Trina Hoaks

    Nick, I have asked the powers that be about the possibility of going international. I will get back to you when I hear back from them.

  • Trina Hoaks

    Nick,, I just heard back. I heard that they just brought in a team to launch their international edition. It will be closer to the end of the year, however, before it is ready to go. Apparently, there are a great many legal hurdles to deal with.

    Hopefully, we can bring you on board then, if you are still interested at that time. :)

  • http://agersomnia.blogspot.com Agersomnia

    Do they have a channel for Latin America, Mexico, or at least “The Rest of the World”?

    I’d like to write too…

  • Trina Hoaks

    Sorry, Agersomnia, but no. They are about to start expanding into other nations, but it will take some time. My understanding is that because of all the legal “stuff” it is a slow process.

    Hopefully, the time will come when we can include many more nations. It would certainly add to the overall appeal of the site.

  • BathTub

    Trina, I would think being the highest traffic Examiner in the religion section would be a good reason to stay in the religion section?

  • Trina Hoaks

    Yes, BathTub, you are right about that. I think the “new” category would be a subcategory of R&S. This way people could find all of us in one place, but we would still find our way into the attention of religious folk.

  • BathTub

    Ah well then, the Best of Both Worlds!

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-4383-Portland-Progressive-Examiner Portland Progrssive Examiner

    Hi Trina,

    I think the idea of a Free Thinkers Channel on Examiner is great. I write for the Examiner, offering progressive political commentary. A significant portion of my posts are devoted to issues around separation of church and state and the dangers of religious fundamentalism and social conservatives.

    Keep up the good work, and let’s make that Free Thinker category happen.

  • http://www.ziztur.com Ziztur

    Well, I applied to be the atheist examiner in St. Louis!

    Wish me luck!

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    Trina, when you say they have plans to open up an international edition, what does this mean exactly?

    Will they have one edition for all non-US countries?

    Or will they add countries one-by-one? Like, you know, Canada or something like that. *nudge nudge*

    I live near Burlington, Ontario and I’m pretty good at playing dumb. Could I be the Burlington examiner?

  • Trina Hoaks

    Michael,

    Thanks for alerting me to your column. I will make sure to add you to my weekly recap, which will appear for the first time tomorrow. I will also add you to one of my link lists.

    Keep up the good fight! :)

    Ziztur,

    I am glad you applied! Good luck to you!

    Tao,

    I am not sure how they will handle it, exactly. I think they may start out adding different edition by country. I don’t think it would be practical to lump all non-US countries together.

    Thanks again to everyone!

  • http://www.ziztur.com Ziztur

    Okay well, I was accepted! I’m now the atheist examiner in St. Louis. Make sure you get credit, as I put you in as a reference.

  • Trina Hoaks

    Ziztur,

    I am so excited! I cannot wait to read your column and help to promote you!

    Welcome aboard!

  • dfledermaus

    I’ve just been invited to be the atheist examiner for Los Angeles. I’ll be looking forward to working with Trina and everyone else in the local atheist venues!

  • Trina Hoaks

    d,

    I am so happy for you!

    I can’t wait to read your column.

  • http://diaphanus.livejournal.com/ Ian Andreas Miller

    I’d love to have Atheism Examiners here in Fredericton!

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-8776-Boston-Atheism-Examiner Jackie

    I was recently accepted as Boston Atheism examiner, yay. Thanks again for the promotion, I’m excited to be a part of the site. :D

  • Trina Hoaks

    Congrats, Jackie! I am so glad you came on board!

  • Michael

    Hey Trina,

    Can you e-mail me what the compensation is usually? Looks like you have to write at least once a day or so? I’d also like to help enlighten this country.