Dear major news networks: You’re not losing to Twitter

The archenemy

Stop throwing darts at him and embrace him instead. If eight measly birds can do it, so can you.

I saw this article today, and every time I read these stories with such befuddled language towards twitter sprinkled with the slightest tinge of jealousy (“Twitter is once again being credited for outracing traditional news sources on a major story…” aaaand cue sympathetic violins) I have to laugh.

I can see all you news directors and producers, fuming in your newsrooms like a villain that got busted on Scooby Doo (“And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling Tweeters!!!”). Let’s face it, major news networks: You don’t want to admit it, but Twitter scares the hell out of you. You feel like you’re losing your audience to this beast, and you’re frustrated because you don’t understand how or why people actually trust or turn to Twitter to get their news. What does Twitter have that you don’t? Is it the 140 character limit, or that blasted fail whale with the gorgeous blue eyes?

While that adorable whale does hold a special place in my heart (even though he’s probably the bullseye of a dartboard you have hanging in your newsrooms), that’s not why I use Twitter. I was one of millions who heard the news about Osama bin Laden on Twitter before all else. I hate to break it to you, but I don’t watch the news every night; I don’t even have a television in my room anymore, and the number of times I’ve actually sat down and deliberately watched TV over the last few months are few and far between. I am the generation Y prototype who seems to have so much power, and who you feel threatens your very existence. I am the elusive college student who rarely reads the newspaper and gets all the day’s important news from aggregates like Google News, word-of-mouth on Facebook, and my News list on Twitter. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s convenient because, let’s face it: social media is my part-time job. I know that’s exactly the last thing you want to hear right now, but drag yourselves out of your corner of shame, put down your darts directed at the fail whale, and just hear me out. As a soon-to-be journalism graduate who knows a thing or two about this topic, here’s a few words of advice, direct from me to you.

There IS hope, O Disgruntled Mainstream Media! More



Me in Madison this weekend

Had you told me 10 years ago that in 10 years I’d be out protesting something, I might have believed you.
Had you told me 10 years ago that in 10 years I’d be out protesting something because I was interested in politics, understood what was happening and was truly passionate about the issue, I may have found that harder to believe.

I’ve never been Nancy Politics. I’ve never been genuinely interested in social studies or history or government or economics or unions; I learned it because I had to, and that’s that. But when I read that Walker was planning on taking away collective bargaining rights from unions and wanted the bill passed in a week, something struck a chord inside me, and I was pissed. I did my research, made sure to read up on both sides. Posted on facebook, had debates with neighbors. The more news stories I read, the more interested I became. The more debates I had, the more fascinated I became. And it all culminated with me taking a trip to the capitol this weekend – to do a news story for senior sem, yes – but more importantly, to give Walker a piece of my mind. And it was fantastic.

I’ve never been involved in a protest before. Closest thing to it was the gay pride parade I attended in DC, which was also wonderful. But this was something different. This was democracy in action; this was what it means to be American. There was so much anger yet so much respect for one another. It was unity in its purest form. It made me proud to be an American and even prouder to be a Wisconsinite. This is MY state and I’m not going to let some idiot eff it up.

There were firefighters marching down the streets with bagpipes, showing their support for unions; there were doctors writing notes for teachers; I EVEN SAW MY SIXTH GRADE TEACHER AND GOT TO SAY HI TO HIM. I knew I always loved him :) Anyway, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was history unfolding in front of my eyes.

It was invigorating. It was enlightening. And I can totally see myself becoming one of those politically-obsessed people I used to hate. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but if I ever cross a line with any of you, please let me know. This is all new to me, and I still have so much to learn. But I couldn’t be more excited.

(picture is of me on State Street today in front of the Madison, Wis. capitol building :])

Summer Plans!

Hello, all! I apologize for such a horrid delay in updates! Once the year took off, it really took off and left me with hardly any time to think. I’m now nearly a month away from finishing the semester and becoming a senior in college! CRAZY! With summer fast approaching I’ve been giving some thought as to what plans I hold. And let me tell you, I do have some exciting plans :)

First of all, a month or so ago I bought a plane ticket to Barcelona. Which means I am officially going back to Spain mid-May! Commence child-like squeeing!! I’m meeting a friend from WSU there, and we will spend two days in Barcelona. Then I’m taking a train up to France to visit a high school friend studying there, then another train back down to my old stomping grounds, Granada! I’m going to be seeing and hopefully staying with two good college friends who just happen to be staying with the host family that I stayed with. I have to get back up to Barcelona because that’s where I leave from, and then I have a 23-hour layover in Amsterdam before flying home. This sounds absurd but I purchased this ticket on purpose – this way, I’ll be able to explore the city! I have never been there but I hope to take a river boat tour and just explore a little bit. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place! I am beyond excited and plan to keep everyone updated on my travels here! Hopefully I’ll be able to update before I leave on May 10!

Secondly, and even more importantly, I have an internship for this summer with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)!!!!!! I have been following this organization since I was very little and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be given the chance to work for them, even if it is only for credit. In the beginning of June I’ll fly out to Washington D.C., where their U.S. headquarters are, and spend about two months working on editing and producing video in their Creative Services department. While I’m not looking forward to paying insanely high rent out there, I am beyond stoked to live in the nation’s capitol for two months. I’ve spent a lot of time this academic school year in video editing and production, and I really enjoy it. I’m excited to learn more and hopefully have a lot of fun as well! I’ll definitely keep you updated on how that’s going here, too!

I know this update was extremely brief, but I’m at home right now and I’m probably going to be eating dinner and getting together with the neighbor folk soon. But, I promise I’ll try to update sometime before I leave for Europe and let you know how everything is going! Take care!!

Convention results

All the NBS-ers at dinner!

The Winona NBS-ers at dinner Friday, left to right: Nate, Megan, Jade, Olga, myself and Kevin

Wow, you guys. Just wow. That’s all I can say. While I’m not particularly religious anymore, I would definitely consider myself spiritual at the least, and I must say that I think all the stars aligned just perfectly for me this weekend at the National Broadcasting Society (NBS) Regional Convention in Quad Cities, Iowa/Illinois.

I’ll start out by explaining everything a little, and then tell you why I am about ready to burst at the seams because I am so excited to start planning for next summer, and my future. NBS is a professional, university-based organization. Tons of universities and colleges around the country have NBS chapters, and it (obviously) just so happens that Winona State has one. The main focus of the organization is career planning, and the highlights are the regional and national conventions. The convention this year was held this weekend (Oct. 23-24) in the Quad Cities.

Before I continue, I have to stress that I only joined NBS by happenstance. I decided to show up to the first meeting of the semester just to see what it was like. We’re a small organization – there’s probably 20-25 people on the mailing list, though less than 10 people show up to any given meeting. Anyhow, that first meeting I was informed that there were two officer positions open. I won’t say I was forced into the position of treasurer, but I was definitely strongly encouraged to do so :) I also signed up for the convention figuring “why not” – I hoped it would only help me out in the future. I really have no broadcasting experience yet, so I’ll take whatever I can get!

We left WSU at 6 a.m. Friday and arrived at our hotel 5 hours later with plenty of leeway before our first excursion. The entire weekend, we were given opportunities to speak with and hopefully learn from many professionals in the opportunity. Round table discussions, keynote speakers and studio tours made up the two-day itinerary, including the obligatory pizza dinner, pool party time, and luncheon (and awards ceremony, where we smoked the competition! we took every award except for most improved chapter!!). Aforementioned excursion, we decided, would be to the Independent News Network (INN) station headquarters nearby. I had no clue what to expect, and I was excited! More

Uncharted territory…

Well I must say, many exciting events have transpired since my last entry almost a month ago, and I apologize for my absence! As I mentioned earlier, I do have a lot going on in my life. Aforementioned ‘niche’ includes writing multiple news stories a week in all sorts of exciting formats, as well as lots of club commitments. Most recently, I did some clean-up work with one of WSU’s newest clubs, Photo League, in the bluffs across the river. We hiked all the way up there (and there were no nice steps like at Garvin Heights!), took some pictures and a quick lunch break, and swiftly got to work clearing out invasive species like buckthorn and honeysuckle. I’ll be the first to admit that I am still sore two days later! It’s not easy work on flat ground, but the angle at which we were doing all this work made it a lot harder on my pathetically out of shape body. It was a lot of fun though, and we’re thinking of making it into a monthly ordeal! I’m looking forward to the next one, because there are rumors of burning everything we cut out. I’ll let you know how that goes (and hopefully in a timely manner!).

In other exciting news, that story I wrote for the Daily News?? Ended up on the front page of the next day’s paper!!!! I was a little dumbfounded (slow news day, I’m sure) but excited none the less. It was so crazy to see MY name attached to the story… what an incredible feeling. Although I will admit that I started writing the story and when my editor looked it over, he pretty much re-wrote the entire thing. But it was a great learning experience, and that amazing feeling, looking down at my byline, reminds me why I’m going into journalism. Read my story here!

Coming up this weekend is my first convention, and a journalism-related one too! National Broadcasting Society is holding a regional convention for our region in Moline, Illinois (Quad Cities) Friday and Saturday, and I’m driving down there with 5 other members (and possibly our advisor, though we’re still not sure). I’m not really sure what to expect, seeing as how I’ve never participated in anything like this before. I’m a little nervous but excited at the prospect of networking and finding out what I have to learn (which, I know, is still a lot!). I’m also excited to spend the weekend with my fellow NBS-ers, as they all seem like great people. I don’t really know any of them too well so hopefully the weekend will go smoothly! If anyone happens to read this before our departure at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning, I am certainly open to suggestions and words of encouragement regarding this endeavor. Wish me luck!

I also promised news commentaries, and there have been so many blog-worthy stories lately. Everyone’s favorite balloon boy and the release of Windows 7 are among several stories I heard about and thought, “hey, I should blog about this!”… but to no avail. I think one of my problems is that I’m having a tough time figuring out exactly how to go about commenting on these news stories. If anyone has any suggestions, or bloggers you really like that you think I could take note from, don’t hesitate to let me know!

Alas, I will do my hardest to update here more often, perhaps once life quiets down a bit and I have some breathing time. Take care, all, and have a great weekend!

Story time!

Holy buckets. So remember how I said last entry that I might be writing my first story for the Daily News soon? Yeah that happened. Tonight. I guess you never know how cold the water is until you dive in, head first. (/AttemptAtProfoundIdiom)

I dunno, I’ve been writing stories for the Winonan for awhile now. I’m fairy confident in my ability to crank out a decent (comprehensible, at minimum) story in a short period of time, and I feel like I’m really close to getting the hang of just “feeling” stories as a write. I mean, planning stories doesn’t really do it for me. It helps a little, I guess, but I’ve been reading and writing journalism long enough to kind of intuitively know what should go where, and that kind of thing. I just need to work on perfecting it.

What I’m really trying to get at, though, is that my interview skills? Are definitely lacking. And that’s probably the most important part of the entire process. I’d say pretty much always, crappy interview = crappy story. If I don’t ask the good questions, I won’t get the good answers. I really need to push myself step outside my comfort zones, ask the questions that may or may not make me look stupid and make sure I have all the information – and more – that I need BEFORE writing my story. With almost every story I’ve written this semester so far (which pretty much equals all of the other stories I’ve written in my college career so far, combined), I start to write the story and think of at least 6 questions I should have thought of during the interview. Then I have to decide whether to a) call the person back and make myself look really stupid or b) screw it and use what I have. Not guess, but work around it and try to find other information to put in its place. Neither one are optimal solutions, and well, I just need to work on my journalistic skills in better.

Overall, I’m thrilled to have landed this job, and it’s great that I have an outlet through which I can do this kind of trial-and-error thing. I’m backposting this right now, and I don’t really remember where else I was going with this post, but I hope my interviewing skills get better by the end of the year :)