Working in the Newsroom: INF

January 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

This summer, the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida finished building the Integrated News Facility (INF). The INF newsroom is where all students at the university can collaborate together on news reporting for the WUFT station affiliated with NPR. This semester, I’m working as a web producer for online materials through my Editing course lab.

As my first time in the WUFT Integrated News Facility, I found the experience quite enriching. Monday was my first time working in a newsroom, and the atmosphere of the INF definitely felt like a real newsroom, similar to what I imagine working for a local media source would be like. I thought the additions of the television and radio gear in the INF was a very neat learning experience and environment than just the typical newspaper newsroom.

This summer I will be interning with the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper as a web producer. I am very excited to have a pre-web producing experience through my position this semester with the same job. By earning a newsroom experience with WUFT, I feel I will be more prepared for my summer internship.

I believe this experience in the newsroom on Mondays is more beneficial than a regular journalism lab because these articles are actually published for a media source and not just a run-of-the-mill class assignment. I enjoy collaborating with and meeting the other students. I also liked working with other communications majors in addition to journalism majors.

These are the following clips I worked on during my Monday INF experience from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

In the News: I searched the Twitter feeds as well as numerous national, state and local websites for a snapshot of popular news and events of the weekend. I was able to have my byline on this feature. I really enjoyed compiling these news stories because I was able to synthesize the major news events of the weekend and read articles as my first task of the day.

‘Venus in Fur’ coming to Gainesville’s Hippodrome Theatre: I wrote the text of this interview conducted by a radio student. While a shorter piece, I found the writing took me longer than I expected because the interview was more than 10 minutes and I could not pause and rewind the interview. Each time I wanted to copy a quote word-for-word in attribution, I had to start the interview all over again. Listening over and over was tedious, but I liked completing the task and felt accomplished afterward.

The changing face of home economics: While my name is not listed on this article, I edited this story quite a lot. The other student working on this assignment had to leave to cover a story, since she was a Reporting and Writing for Online Media student. I took out my handy-dandy AP Stylebook and edited away. I gave correct attributions, re-worded the grammar and punctuation, and I also fact-checked. I called Gainesville High School for the correct spelling of the teacher’s name in the article since the radio student did not have the spelling available for any of her sources. Additionally, the student who spoke at the end of the clip was not attributed, so I could not include his name or quote.

Construction to begin on Archer to Gainesville bike trail: Again, I am not listed on this article, but I edited this article. The article did not need much work at all, and soon after my shift was finished.


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Spring Semester & Summer Plans

May 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm (Uncategorized)

After taking Reporting last semester, I thought this one would be a tad lighter, but it was hard in a different way. I officially became a dual major in history and multimedia journalism, taking two history courses (museum studies and modern middle eastern history), a web design class and beginning Italian I. The reading was so intense, but I learned a lot about topics I had no experience with and I was able to spend time with organizations rather than 100% schoolwork.

As far as the summer goes, I will be interning with National History Day at the University of Maryland just outside Washington, D.C. for the month of June. For July and part of August, I will be studying abroad in Rome, Italy for six weeks before heading back to UF for Housing training. I will have a separate blog for my Italian experiences (though I will start it closer to when I am leaving for my trip).

Here are some highlights from the semester:

  1. Becoming a “Big Dip” in Campus Diplomats: Spring marked the end of my first year of being a UF Campus Diplomat Ambassador for the Dean of Students Office. With spring came my opportunity to become a Big Dip by taking on a Little Dip of the new Dips class. I was super lucky to have Amy as my Little, and there couldn’t be a more perfect match! I’ll also be co-chairing UF’s Family Weekend in the fall.

    Amy's Campus Diplomats Induction 2012

    Amy’s Campus Diplomats Induction 2012

  2. Trusler Hall’s Leader Scholar Program Graduation: As a Peer Mentor this year in the residence hall I lived in last year, I had the pleasure of meeting 53 amazing freshmen girls on my floor and helping them along their first-year of college with one of my best friends who was the RA (and my Peer Mentor last year!). I learned so much about them and myself. This was another opportunity for me to grow in independence and leadership. The other three Peer Mentors and I planned a good 2-4 programs a month for the whole year in addition to other responsibilities, culminating in the LSP graduation of 61 Trusler residents!

    LSP Graduation 2012 GT3

    LSP Graduation 2012 GT3<3 (Girls of Trusler 3rd Floor love!)

  3. Learning CSS3 and HTML5: Web Design was probably my favorite class this semester. I love design and combining that with the Internet was another great skill to develop. I recently became the webmaster for the UF chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in order to utilize what I’ve learned this semester and gain more experience in the Web. Here are the two sites I developed this semester:

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Update on Fall Semester: Data Vis, Reporting, and Jobs

December 23, 2011 at 12:41 am (Uncategorized)

It’s been such a busy semester that I didn’t have much free time nor did I post a blog since August! Here’s an update on my fall semester:

1) After planning every weekly story, scheduling interviews, writing a weekly in-class assignment and taking an AP style quiz, I can successfully say I survived UF’s “weed-out” reporting class!

2) I learned a lot of interesting media skills in the journalism industry this year through my two favorite classes, multimedia reporting and visual journalism. I made videos, took photographs, created designs and logos, and even made a data visualization project, something I’m most proud of.  This is an inspiring video my teacher showed us to prepare us for the data vis project (since her lecture, I’ve become addicted to TED Talks). edwards.datavis is my end result. You can’t tell with the pdf file, but the boxes are a lighter gray and when you click on each celebrity’s name, the charities they donate to grow darker – but that’s the html/flash interactive part I can’t’ upload. Now I’m super excited to take the web design .html coding course in the spring!

3) I’ve officially transferred to a Mac and have smoothly transitioned into using an iPhone. Truly the products help journalists stay in tune with the news more quickly. It’s kind of scary I’m considering that police scanner app….maybe when I’m a professional…

4) With the help of my prolific reporting class, I was published quite a bit in the Tallahassee Democrat, Gainesville Sun, and The Alligator (check out my clips for the articles). I’ve also been writing a monthly art features article for the Council on Culture and the Arts. Starting this month, I’ve been writing freelance articles for magazine publishing company Tower Publications, Inc. in Gainesville, Fla. A highlight of my exam week was visiting/reporting on a local Gainesville business that rescues wild animals including lemurs, tigers, lions, mountain lions, and alligators. I also took some neat pictures with my new camera!

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Have a Merry Christmas and I hope to continue my updates and interesting journalism lessons I learn!

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A Major Malfunction

August 2, 2011 at 7:00 am (Uncategorized)

Hearing success stories of individuals on reality shows and news networks pursuing their dreams provides such an inspiration.

Well, instead of focusing on the national spotlight, what about looking for inspiration through friends?

Recently, I Skyped with a friend who is in the process of earning a dance degree as well as a pre-physical therapy degree. Stories of students like my friend who follow a career passion are truly special. And rare.

Unfortunately, many students feel the need to choose the “right” major. But what most students tend to forget when choosing a major(s) are their talents and proclivity toward certain subjects. According to a 2005 article by MSNBC, 80 percent of college-bound students have not chosen a major and are thus forced to select one at the last moment. This type of situation can lead to parents telling their child to pursue a major of the parents’ choice, students choosing an unreasonable or unsuitable major for themselves and wasting valuable credits and money.

If you, or a friend, need some assistance in choosing college majors, you might want to follow some of these tips provided by the University of Florida  Career Resource Center:

  1. Self Assessment: What are your interests, skills, values and personality?
  2. Exploring Options: Research your college’s course offerings, meet with an adviser, explore career opportunities for your major, talk to someone in the profession and utilize your college’s career services.
  3. Decision: If you have multiple interests, choose a major with many career paths and prioritize things you value most in a career to decide between majors.
  4. Evaluating Choices: Gain classroom experience and work experience through internships.

Check out these tips if you are considering a change of major.

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The Changing World of J-School

July 28, 2011 at 10:53 pm (Uncategorized)

Last week I received a call from a young lady who attends my high school Alma Matter. She heard I am a journalism and history dual major at the University of Florida and wanted to hear about the renowned journalism department and how it is different from other journalism programs.

Reflecting back on why I chose UF as my college, where I am today and what I plan to accomplish in the future through the journalism department exceeds the expectations I had when I made my decision.

As I’m sure most see or have heard, the field of journalism is altering to fit the communication and technological needs of our global community. Social media, online news sources, blogs, YouTube and other sources of information make print journalism a difficult area to pursue. These reasons, in addition to my design pursuits, are why I chose UF’s journalism program.

Rather than silo-ing journalism majors into fields of online media or print journalism or magazines or telecommunications, etc., UF continues to implement modifications to their journalism curriculum to meet the needs of students interested in multiple areas of communication careers. As a freshman, I was able to immediately start j-school courses my first semester of college, regardless of how many credits I earned beforehand. At other colleges, students are required to earn “junior” status, finish pre-requisites and apply to the journalism school after already attending the university.

As a student pursuing two degrees, I still have the ability to focus on magazine writing/designing and multimedia communication within the journalism major. I can even take required journalism electives in a variety of areas that aren’t strictly the “magazine” or “multimedia” route. In addition, I chose electives and general education requirement courses that are of interest to me and that I feel will add to my skills as a journalist.

Future journalists, take these facts into consideration when deciding upon educational institutions after high school.

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Internship Advice

June 29, 2011 at 11:19 pm (Uncategorized)

After going through my first “real” interviews, application process and research on potential internships this summer, I have the opportunity to intern at two businesses. For any first-timers like myself this past year, some of my advice tips on how to obtain and keep an internship could help:

1. Picking the right internships for your major is important. I specifically sought out experiences that were both “prestigious” (yet obtainable) and in areas I wanted to work in after college. An internship that isn’t in your field of interest won’t give you the experience of what your life/job could be like after college in the real world.

2. Networking is key! It’s important to build friendships and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. This is how I found out about my current internships and met individuals working at those places.

3. Start early and research places before you apply. Some internships don’t provide a due date on their website or application form – first come, first served/early bird gets the worm. Doing this also shows your dedication and enthusiasm for the internship. Plus, if you apply to a couple places this helps in choosing amongst more than one company or provides more than one internship, and if you don’t get one internship there are plenty more to choose instead of waiting until the last minute.

4. Sell yourself and advocate for yourself. This shows supervisors how much you want the internship; you have to ask for it. After I earned one of my internships, one of the Vice Presidents remarked on how I did a good job advocating for myself, so this showed me it’s a good thing to know what you’re good at and know who and how you got there.

5. Be persistent and available. Persistence shows how much you want the position. Being available shows your commitment to the position, plus you may have make errands while on the job.

6. Write hand-written thank you notes. This may not seem like a big deal, but to the person receiving the note, it means a whole lot. This can also be the defining point between you and another equally qualified applicant. Writing a hand-written thank you note is unique because not many people do this, it also shows your interest in the position and that you took the time to care about the company or supervisors. 

7. Act like this is a real job and do your best. Networking will earn you the interview, but what you’ve done and how you’ve done it will get you the internship. To keep the internship, your previous performance must show. You need to show and act like a hard-worker and be dependable.

8. Once you have the internship: listen, be humble, always say thank you and show enthusiasm for everything – even if you’re just printing a copy for another worker. This is the difference between an okay intern, and an intern that may be hired by the same company, earn a letter of recommendation for the future or have a more enjoyable learning experience.

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Good to know…I guess

June 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm (Uncategorized)

Journalists usually choose their course of study for the rewarding feeling that comes when they make a difference in the world through writing – not so much for the salary.

I’m not necessarily sure what I was expecting when I read this study from Georgetown University. A $50,000 salary seems pretty good for a starting salary, but maybe not for a full-time career when considering family expenses and the irregular working hours.

Graduate school right after college seemed like a given to me when I was younger. Now I’m discovering journalists aren’t required to have graduate degrees to earn jobs after college. However, to be promoted, journalists – like any other profession – need a graduate school degree.

Teachers have suggested gaining in-the-field knowledge and life experiences, such as traveling and learning skills not specifically pertaining to journalism, before earning a higher degree. I think I agree. With my goal of graduating with dual majors in journalism and history, I’m beginning to see working before graduate school will give me the chance to see what master’s degree I will truly need. Wasting large amounts of money on a useless degree is something I don’t want to do.

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Why not? The only thing they can say is “no”

June 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm (Uncategorized)

One of my internships offered two other interns and myself  the opportunity to attend the Tallahassee Republican’s Lincoln Day Dinner tonight. Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, was the guest speaker and spoke about how he is achieving his platforms for Florida’s businesses, job market, children education initiatives and others.

After Governor Scott’s speech, he immediately had another event to attend so he needed to leave early. I decided to take a risk and ask to introduce myself to the governor before he left. I was granted my request and took a picture with him:

Tonight, I’ve learned to take initiative and seek opportunities – the only thing that can happen is a verbalized “no.” Plucking up the courage to step-out on a limb is hard, but something I need to get over quickly. And I’ve seen the great results from a dinner such as this.

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Summer Reading List

June 16, 2011 at 3:24 am (Uncategorized)

I absolutely LOVE books! Jokingly, I tell my friends that immediately they will know my main interests when they walk into my room: ballet, Harry Potter and books. There are two bookshelves in my room in addition to the five sets of bookends all over my room – my family has even more books in the other rooms of our house.

Even when I was a little girl who could barely read, my mom would take me to the library each weekend and I would check-out as many books as I could carry. My mom had to start bedtime an hour earlier because of the large amount of books I wanted to read before I went to sleep.

Well I have to admit, since high school reading lists and multiple required texts for college, I seldom find myself reading for pleasure. So, I’ve devised a reading list for myself this summer. I have many more novels I would like to read, but these I must:

Read the rest of this entry »

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About This Blog

June 6, 2011 at 1:52 am (About Page)

Welcome! My goal for this blog is to share my experiences as I go through the journeys of becoming a journalist. Through this process I hope you will learn valuable information as I gain insight into how the inner workings of our social society are formed.

This is my second blog, but I explore a separate topic from my first. Through my first blog, I incorporate history with my writing, online media and design skills; it is my way of sharing my journalism and history interests with others.

I was first introduced to journalism in my school’s seventh grade yearbook after-school program. Designing layouts, writing copy and taking pictures was so much fun – the arts always brought me enjoyment. The next summer I attended a yearbook workshop with my teacher and my eyes were opened to a number of different design techniques and story angles. I kept attending the workshops and in high school I continued to work with yearbook as an assistant editor and editor-in-chief my freshman and sophomore years, respectively. Sophomore year, I was selected to write for the Tallahassee Democrat, the local newspaper, on the Teen Board. I joined the newspaper staff junior and senior year as an editor and later, editor-in-chief. After writing articles for the local paper and the Florida Catholic in addition to my work and awards with yearbook and newspaper, I decided to incorporate my journalism and history interests together as a dual major at the University of Florida.

I hope to bring insightful posts to this blog relating  to the fields of journalism, public relations and occasionally history. This summer, in addition to writing articles for the local paper, I am beginning two journalism internships and I look forward for all the exciting experiences ahead.

Thank you for your interest and happy reading!

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