If you've read the bio you know I've done just about every kind of writing except hieroglyphic sports reporting. From time to time I'll dredge up something from the vault and plaster it here (in no particular order) for your delectation.
Please note that this is a just a small sample of my entire portfolio. My resume has links to about a dozen clips in total. If you've like to talk about working together ask me and I'll send it to you. My bio links to a few more.
Some of the clips are rather old. I'm not as conscientous keeping samples of my work as I used to be. I've found that clips are like kids. When your first born gets a nosebleed you call the pediatrician. When your lastborn gets one you tell him not to bleed in the living room.
Tom Wrona, Business Journalist
Perhaps I should call this "Tom Wrona, the Early Years". These are some oldies but goodies.
The $1.5 Billion Question: Where Did the Money Go? (246K JPG)
When I was a senior editor at Computer Reseller News I wrote a column about the Mac called "The Third Degree". I didn't think up the name; I inherited it from the guy who wrote it before me. For my inaugural column I wondered out loud how Apple managed to blow a billion and a half dollars in R&D over five years without coming up with anything better than a couple of new printers and some minor variations on their eight year old computer. Ahh, that John Sculley--he could sure sell the living hell out of some Pepsi.
How Fast is Fast Enough? Or Wrona's First Law of Computing (112K GIF)
There was a time when (sober, intelligent) people really couldn't see why anyone would need one o' them fancy high-powered 33MHz 386DX supercomputers. In this Third Degree column I proposed that "in your lifetime" you'd consider a machine 100 times faster than whatever you were then using too slow. At the time 25MHz machines were common. Fourteen years later I wish I had a 3GHz machine to do my video editing. Do the math. The future is here.
The Utility New Yorkers Love to Hate (489K PDF)
I wrote a bullish analysis of Consolidated Edison's prospects in the March 27, 1983 issue of Barron's. If you called your broker the following Monday and bought $10,000 worth it would be worth over $51,000 (not including dividends!) by mid 2005 (the last time I checked) . Even when you adjust for inflation you'd have about doubled your money in a nice conservative utility. Hey this guy's goooood!
Tom Wrona, Technical Illustrator
Much of the work I do for corporate clients is proprietary in nature and they can't give me permission to use the work in my online portfolio. I'm a whiz at most of the programs I use and I particularly enjoy working with Microsoft's Visio, a technical illustration program. So to demonstrate my prowess with Visio I took an old chili recipe and used Visio to redo the recipe as a flow diagram. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Tom Wrona's High Precision Visio Chili with Cornbread Dumplings. (76K PDF)
Tom Wrona, Entertainment Writer
In the summer of 2002, just for the hell of it, I became an entertainment writer for The SandPaper of Surf City, NJ, and the theater critic for its sister weekly, The Beachcomber. I stayed on as the Beachcomber's theater critic for six years but I worked for the SandPaper only that one summer.
It was a lot of fun. I wrote small town news and features like what to expect on the upcoming church-benefit walking garden tour, who's opening that new store on The Boulevard and how town dockmasters spend their days.
And as a Jersey Shore resort Long Beach Island offered lots of opportunities to write features like profiles of the bands opening at the local clubs and nostalgia pieces like the history and fate of the island's movie theaters and a two-part series on the birth of long board surfing on the East Coast in the early 60s and its rediscovery by a new generation.
Every week I was responsible for at least one "band story," which was a staple of Section II, the SandPaper's summer entertainment section, where most of my work appeared.
Amy Ward's Cool Guys, Hot Women (149K PDF)
The Amy Ward Band was my favorite act that summer. They were relative unknowns back then but they inspired me to write what may be the best lede (opening line) I've ever written. The band is no more but Amy Ward's solo career has skyrocketed. Her music has been featured in more than a dozen TV shows including Burn Notice, NCIS, The Unit and The Young and the Restless and half a dozen movies. She performs regularly in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere. For more on Amy check out her website.
It's Undisputed: They Own Thursday Nights at Joe Pop's (265k GIF)
Joe Pop's in Ship Bottom may not have achieved the legendary status of the Stone Pony in Asbury Park but it's seen its share of great bands. If you were a female in your 20s on LBI that summer, chances are you caught Undisputed there at least once. I enjoyed talking with them and catching their act almost as much as I enjoyed watching their fan base take over the dance floor.
Tom Wrona, Correspondent
As in "one who writes letters," not the reincarnation of Ernie Pyle or Edward R. Murrow.
Personal Letter from NY Daily News Editor in Chief F. Gilman Spencer (64K PNG)
I once wrote a piece for the New York Daily News' Counterpunch column. Counterpunch was (is?) one of those op ed outlets where readers can voice their views on the paper and the affairs of the day (if the paper decides to run it). Kate McMahon, who was editing the column in those days, punted my piece back to me saying it really wasn't on topic for Counterpunch. In a fit of pique, I dashed off a letter to the News' publisher William Hoge. In return I got a short, humorous letter from the News' editor in chief F. Gilman Spencer.
It's not a big thing but I cherish this letter because Spencer is something of a legend in American journalism. Before working at the New York Daily News he was editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. During his tenure in that sports-crazed town a U Penn scientist won the Nobel Prize. The headline the next day: "Phillies Fan wins Nobel".
Anyway, Spencer offered to run an abbreviated version in the letters column and I agreed. It's around here somewhere and I'll put it up when I get around to scanning it. In the meantime you can read what it takes to earn the "undying admiration and respect" of a Pulitzer Prize winning editor.
Contribution to William Safire's book On Language (127K PDF)
Gil Spencer wasn't the first Pulitzer Prize winning writer with whom I corresponded. For more than a quarter century William Safire has been writing his weekly "On Language" column for the New York Times. In one of his earliest columns he looked askance at President Carter's use of the term "encrypt" in a speech because Safire thought it was just a hifalutin subsitution for the more plainspoken "encode". It isn't. I knew Safire was wrong because I was using crypto as a US Navy radioman long before most of today's cypherpunks were born. I wrote Safire a letter correcting his English.
He never mentioned my letter in his column but some months later I got a letter from Times Books asking for my permission to use my letter in an upcoming book. I excitedly agreed. A few months after that I was waiting for a date on 57th Street when I spied the book in the window of a Barnes and Noble. I rushed into the store, grabbed a copy of the book, flicked to the index and saw my name. I let out a whoop and bought the book on the spot. It was a great date. And the first time my name was in a book more interesting than the white pages.