Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What do doctors, union reps and transsexuals have in common?

Anyone know the answer?

They all "pound the pavement" every week at the state capital!

Oh, the life of a lobbyist...

When one hears the word "lobbyist" one tends to envision a well-heeled, slick, smooth-talking shmoozing-type who tells everyone exactly what they want to hear.

Well let me tell you something.

That description only fits a very small proportion of the lobbyists I've met and worked with this semester.

Most are solidly middle class, passionate folk who are working for a cause they strongly believe in.
They are men and women whose primary job is lobbying, but many, many more who lobby part-time for the industry they happen to work in.

So far this semester, I've met and lobbied with folks from the Catholic CHurch (fighting for the rights of immigrant and ex-cons), the Tennessee Immigrants Rights Coalition (guess who they fight for?), the Tennessee Equality Project (a group that fights for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people), the AFL-CIO, and I could go on and on.

So: what do doctors, union reps, and transsexuals have in common?
They all have a need and a right to educate our elected representatives on their needs as citizens.
Lobbyists are not scary or untrustworthy people.
They just care enough to get involved!
Shana Hammaker

P.S. There's a movie coming out in May (I think) called "Thank You for Smoking". It's about a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. Now, HE'S the kind of shmarmy lobbyist that fits the stereotype. But don't let that poison your image of the entire industry.
BUT the movie looks hysterical! You should all see it!

Random moment of excitement

Hey interns,

Ok, so I am at my job on Monday doing all of the normal tasks that I do - updating myspace friends, answering emails, forwarding those that I cannot answer, etc. I get assigned a few additional tasks, one of which is counting out 500 of the autographed Warren Barfield CD jackets that we got in. As you can imagine, this was not fun. So I am sitting in the floor of a cubicle counting these out seeing Warren Barfield's face and signature repeatedly, when a male voice says, "Man you have to count all of those?" I look up from my stooped over indian style pose and there stands - towers, rather - Warren himself. Now to me, this is a big deal because I like him. I don't like any of the other Provident Label Artists except him. Not to mention, on my way to Franklin that morning I listened to his new album which comes out on March 7. I had already heard most of it, but listening to it in its entirety was great. So anyway, I say, "Yeah I do - but only 500. You had to sign them all, so that couldn't have been much better..." He just smiles and walks on following the publicity lady that he came through tailing. They were looking for something. THEN, he comes back through and I made eye contact with him and he shook his head at me and said "I'm so sorry", all I could say was, "it's ok" with a VERY large smile. Did I mention how handsome he is? Anyway, this moment made my whole otherwise mundane day worth being there. So for those of you who are bored at your place of internship, keep your head up. You never know when a random moment of excitement could happen!


Oh how I love my job!

So, this is a funny but very frustrating story. As part of my job for the Sounds I do community relations, which consist of traveling to many different elementary and middle schools to promote the "reading club". I and another intern with our mascot do a 20 min assembly to encourage kids to read. We play games and ask trivia question then give out prizes. Most days we do 3 or 4 schools. Well on Friday, we rode with the mascot (who drives) to KY. The bad part is that I had to get up at 4:40 am to be at work at 6am. We rode in the car all day with the mascot who is so awful, I have no other words to describe him, but awful. He loves to listen to sports radio and the "Johnny Paycheck" I ask politely if we could "compromise on the music" he replied "no, no compromises" I shut my mouth and continued riding in the car. Well then he got us lost and when I tried to show him the way to the interstate he refused to listen and drove around for 30 more min. before he decided to listen. For 10 and a half hours we listened to Johnny paycheck and sports radio. blah blah. I was going out of my mind. At the end of the last appearance he (the mascot) got into the car and put on the CD and I could not take it anymore, I said "you know what, I am starting to love this guy, turn it up. He did not get my sarcasm and of course turned it up. So the moral of the story is, bring your I-pod!

And don't forget the future ...

I have never been more frightened in my life. As I work at the DNJ, the more and more I realize that I don't want to be a newspaper reporter. At least I figured that out, right? But really, where does this leave me?

With a journalism degree, I am wondering what else is available. What other areas can this diploma I'm receiving in May help? I have thought about book publishing or magazine writing, but the jobs I'm looking for are wanting people with two or three years of experience, which I DON'T HAVE.

But graduation is coming closer and closer. I had no idea how quickly this semester would go. It's already on the eve of March, and Spring Break (or as I call it, Winter Break Part Deux) is next week. I feel like I have learned nothing over the past four years. I feel ill-equipped to enter the adult world. It's not just schooling either. Everyone at the DNJ looks like they belong there. I still sense that I am a duck out of water, and I'm not sure if anything (minus simply plunging into this new realm) will make this feeling go away.

I have tried to talk to the other reporters about this issue, but they don't really know how to help me. They've all been in the business for years, so I think many of them have forgotten what it's like to be a newly minted adult with a bachelor's degree.

Is anyone feeling like this at all? Maybe it is just my egocentric way, but it's almost as if I'm alone here. Everyone else seems to act like they have the rest of their lives planned out, while I'm struggling just to figure out what I'm going to do for the rest of the week. If anyone can commiserate with me here, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Changes are good....healthy

Okay, so last week, I experienced my first big change at the station. After much consideration and disappointment over the Fall Arbitron book (the book that basically tells you if your station sucks or not), 103 WKDF decided to make a few changes. If any of you ever listen to the station (which you should cause it's a great station), you'll notice that we are no longer 103 WKDF #1 For New Country and the Legends. Apparently, there were differing opinions about what legends were according to us and our listeners. We are now 103 WKDF Home to 103 minute music sweeps. WOW!!!! Since most of you probably don't know, 103 minutes of music is a very brave (but smart) thing to do. Basically what it is, is four times a day, we have music sweeps where we play...no kidding....103 minutes of music......that's an hour and 40 minutes of non-stop music. We have a DJ come in and introduce and song or something, but other than that, it's pure music. It's really actually great, because, even though I'm in sales, and I work with people who make their living selling commercials, you can do so much in 103 minutes.
We've had so many people calling in telling us what they can do in 103 minutes, so that's going to start a whole new segment of things that our station will be known for. We have a DJ named "Stuntboy" and he does just what his name says. He's basically the guy who goes out and does "stunts." So now, he's going to be the guy who goes and tries to do different things in 103 minutes. Maybe like putting together one of those office desks. Basically seeing how far he can go and what he can do in that period of time. I just wish I was the brains behind the whole operation! It's just so interesting to see that kind of things that our managers and president came up with to get our listenership up. I hope the Spring books blow everyone out of the water!!!!!
I'll keep you posted on any other changes and the affects of this one.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Scene #3

“Oh my god, there’s a black person on the cover of nFocus,” blurted a Scene editor as she entered the office with a copy of the socialite-minded tabloid that shares The Scene’s building on 8th Avenue. I believe evidence of a resentful rivalry is exposing itself to me.
“Can you believe it?”
The editor directed the mock disbelief at the one staff writer that skipped lunch to conduct phone interviews. The rest of the staff continued to wander in from a 2-hour long lunch break, which included a walk around Radnor Lake. I had stuck around, also.
“James, what are you still doing here?” asked the editor.
“Just trying to come up with ideas for that Nashville mini spring break vacation thing you assigned to everyone.”
“Good, but I’ve got something else for you, too.”
She went on to explain that in a few weeks the main Spring issue will come out, and she was looking for stories having to do with “springy things.” Other writers were already slated to write about grilling, gardening, moving, home improvements, etc.
“Is there something you’re interested in that you might want to write about?”
I told her a few things, but that led nowhere. She whipped up some ideas of her own.
“Maybe you could write about model airplanes … rugby, tree houses …chicken coupes, yeah you could try to find somebody who raises specialty chickens,” she said. She was certainly reaching.
“OK. I’ll try to come up with something,” I said.
I sat at my unofficial desk – “make yourself comfortable, just not too comfortable” – thinking “please let me come up with something better than specialty chickens.” I wrestled with ideas for a while before one slapped me in the face. How could I have so nearly overlooked that? The editor was on her way out the door for the weekend.
“See you later,” she said.
“Wait, I think I have a story idea.” I explained the basic concept to her.
“Perfect. Do that,” she answered.
So now I have a semi-real assignment. Barring any space constraints or me screwing it up, The Scene will soon run a story on “ladder golf.”
We’ll see.
Sidelines this week has been very busy for the sports section. I work in the sports section so I have been very busy. The girls basketball team is the beat that I cover for the newspaper. Last week I had three games that I wrote about including the men's basketball games. All the stories were due on Sunday by noon. I had to write four stories and I only had two days to finish. Then, on a Sunday afternoon my editor called me and told me to write another story for him. The story was also due that Sunday afternoon. I only had hour to finish the story. In many of my journalism classes the teachers tells us that in the real world of journalism there will be a time when your editor will assign a story on the same day that it is due. Deadlines are very important and Sidelines teaches you about meeting your deadlines. In the world of journalism you cannot be a journalist if you cannot meet your deadlines therefore, Sidelines teaches about deadlines. Also, in the journalism world you will be very busy if a great deal of stories to cover. Sidelines gives you the option of exploring the busy life of a journalist by letting you pick your own assignments. Therefore, you can pick a great deal of stories so you can learn more about how to write and report.

working hard

Another fun week at Mix 92.9. On Tuesday, I did Mix on the Move. This is where we go around to different businesses and hand out free Mix goodies. This is a great way to promote the station because at each business we try to build relationships with the people so they will listen to our station. This week I also worked three differents remotes, so I am basically a pro now! The first remote was on Thursday at a Kroger store remoldeling. This was the first time that me and a part-timer had set up the remote by ourselves, so it was very interesting. Its really cool how a remote works. You have to raise the radio antenna on the van, and then call someone at the station until you find a signal. I'm not really sure of the logistics of it, but I was still really excited that we were able to do it. The on-air personality that was there was Rick Marino. Rick does live broadcasts from the Kroger, so it was really cool to see him standing there knowing we were live. On Saturday, we did two more remotes. One was at Bill Heard Chevrolet and the other was at the same Kroger. The Bill Heard remote was very boring because we only had 3 people stop by the whole 3 hours we were there. Also, we kind of had a run in with the management, because there was some confusion about what time we were supposed to be there. I saw how a situation like that should be handled and how to deal with unpleasant people! The Kroger remote was better just because you see so many people and you can talk to everyone who passes by. I also did an event for Jack this week, called Jack on the Move, which is pretty much the same thing as Mix on the Move. I actually feel like I know what I'm doing now, so I'm much more comfortable.

Break Sounds Great!

I have to agree with you guys looking forward to spring break! My last job was a cinch compared to this internship! Last week was rough with several midterms!! Tax season is in full swing here and we are very busy!
I am now using InDesign to work on projects here, which is in my opinion, easier to use than QuarkExpress. It is cool to be able to use what you learned in the classroom in your job. Obviously, I use theory, but I had no idea how to use a design program until last semester... now I see why I needed it! Hope all is well with everyone!

Time for a break...

So like a lot of you have been saying...I'm so ready for Spring Break! Goodness, it just goes to show you how you have to really prioritize your time with an internship AND school. This past week was just jammed with things to do - and not enough time to get them all done. I feel like trying to get everything done at the office and trying to get all my school work done is quite a task. I found myself forgetting important things that had to be done and trying to finish them at the last minute. At the end of the week, though, I had begun to calm down somewhat, and now I feel like I can start this week!
Things have been going pretty much the same way as weeks before - just training SOA's and trying to get familiarized with all that CUSTOMS encompasses. We've been having several discussions with advisors and faculty about totally eliminating the transfer CUSTOMS. Each summer, we have several freshman sessions and several transfer sessions. This is quite the decision - but it does take a lot of the work off us in the office of New Student and Family Programs. However, we do have to make sure there is plenty of opportunities for transfer students to get advised - it just goes on and on! It's quite exciting though getting to give my feedback on something so important!
The most important thing for me to accomplish right now is having a good, positive attitude and always being a role model to the other SOA's - after a short break ( which I'll be doing loads of work ) it's back in the office for more work, for the tasks never end in this office!

Ready for Spring Break

Hey Everyone,

I've been very busy here at Passport Health since my last post. I've been doning culture work for the company to establish their core culture features. this involved lots of reading through management and human resources books. Not very exciting but I get to create something that will be imortant to the company. Also, my boss has me looking up different careers on job posting websites to do a compensation comparison study. This has been fun because I get to explore different job websites and see hiw much different positions go for. It has made me rethink my choice about being finished with school after graduation. More education seems to really make a difference in job compensation. Passport has about 150 employees and they are all finishing up their self and management evaluations. I am responsible for inputing the information for the appraisals into an Excel speadsheet. This has given me valuable experience with this program; I took a computer class at MTSU but still didn't feel proficent.
I made my first real mistake the other day when using powerpoint. I double checked the presentation, that was shown to all employees, but I guess I should have triple checked. On a budget page it was suppoed to say "assets" but instead it said "asses". Ooops! I'm glad my boss was understanding and we both had a good laugh. She has shown me a lot about how women in upper level positions have to compete with their counterparts and really make their mark. She is the only women with a "Cheif" title at this company and I feel like I have been able to witness the breaking of the glass ceiling first hand.
Well I'm ready for Spring Break, I get the week off and am headed to Phoenix. Hope everybody has a safe and relaxing break!
Justine Biola

When Ideas Come to You .......

So I have discovered the valuable nature of initiative. Apparently, like everyone's told me, it's a good thing to have, especially when it comes to things that are based on creativity. Even though I don't particularly care for news writing, it is still writing, so you have to be able to express yourself well: and that is an art. Kind of.
Anyway, I was thinking over the weekend about something a guest speaker in my Feature Writing class told me: write what you are passionate about. Okay, I thought, what catches my interest or makes my blood boil? Social injustice. Animals. History. Visual art. Classical music. Etc etc etc, as Yule Brenner said in "The King and I." I have many interests, but making those into a story is where the challenge lies.
I don't like the idea of waiting for my editors to hand me stories. I don't have a beat, so I don't have those resources. But I'm also not located in any specific area, like news or lifestyles, so I have a little more room to move than a lot of reporters at the DNJ.
Then it came to me. National Women's History Month starts Wed., and I am VERY passionate about that. I'm not a feminazi, but I definitely love learning about strong women that have influenced the way we live today. I thought originally that I would just do a series of stories on famous women, but then I realized that the DNJ is a local paper. It is at its best when it is covering local events, so I figured that I could cover influential women from this area. Of course, I don't know of any, really, but that's the fun of this.
I proposed my idea to Gary, one of the editors, and he loved it. I think he was surprised that I was approaching him with a story idea; I'm an intern, for goodness' sake. But I get to actually write about this. And I might meet some very interesting people in the process. So, once again, I'm hopeful. Thank God for an overactive mind.

Getting to take trips!

Things are going well working at Wilhelmina talent agency. There are so many trips and contest going on that i think i'm going to be attending a few. Some are in Memphis Tn and others are in LA and New York. Ide rather go to LA or New York obviously! I am still spending my days making phone calls and heading up the "New Faces" department. This is the area of the agency that tries to grow in the number of talent we represent. I have actually been able to make some commission by signing people to the agency and such.

There is actually a pretty cool proposition that has been offered to me. I am probably moving to Austin TX after i graduate and the owner of this agency has been flirting around with the idea of me opening a branch of this agency in Austin. I'm not sure if that is something i would really want to do but i feel like i am learning a lot and just to have that option is awsome!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Working in the real world

I already mentioned my very interesting Tuesday and Thursday this week. I have yet to mention my Friday. This Friday was basically like any other Friday for me in the office, minus one little detail. One of my press releases went out Friday morning to many of the Nashville papers including the Nashville Record, the Nashville Post and the Tennessean, just to name a few. It ran in the morning edition of the online Nashville Post. It was awesome! I am officially published. It is the first of several writing pieces that are going to be sent to state/local papers. This is going to be great for my portfolio and resume. I should definitely get several clips from it.

On a different note, all of the interns leave @noon, except for me; I am there until much later in the day. I worked on meth mailings as usual, meth clippings for clients, weekly clippings and research for Senior Partner Mark McNeely. There is always the mad rush of the staff associates to me @ the end of the day with a thousand things that HAVE TO BE DONE TODAY!!! I am getting to the point that I find their panicking from procrastination amusing. I definitely think many ad/pr businesses could not survive without their interns who do much of the "real" work.

I discovered a juicy little tidbit of information from one of the girls I work with, named Lauren. She is a really nice staff associate who is about to have a baby in May. Anyways...I was told how much money the staff associates make...which is exciting. I didn't ask. She has been very candid with me--which is part of why I really like her. YAY! I am not worried about starving or having to live on the street when I graduate from college. I can totally live off a PR salary from MP&F. My parents were also thrilled as well.

Life Goes on at Provident

For an update, I am interning at Provident Label Group in Franklin. They are a contemporary Christian Label under the Sony/BMG umbrella. Last week I got to sit in on the marketeing meeting, as usual, but this time I was a bit more engaged that I usually am. The topics on the table interested me because they started talking about how they could do a better job of reaching the market who are fans of more progressive Christian music- like fans of artists on Tooth and Nail Records and the like. I know a lot of people who listen to bands like Anberlin, Mae, and Underoath so my ears perked up. Not to mention, I don't know anyone besides the people at Provident who listen to Contemporary Christian. I know that a lot of people do in real life, but I am thinking in terms of demographics here. Who I know and who is my age and what they listen to. So anyway, being an advertising major I obviously know that there are many obstacles that a marketer may have to overcome when promoting a product, I just didn't realize how challenging this can be with a product like music. I cannot disclose most of the numbers and other information that was shared with me, but I am learning a lot about the whole music business in general. I might add that I do not plan to go into marketing or advertising music, and that is why I took this internship. To broaden my horizons and learn about the unknown. I figured if I can learn about selling a product that is as challenging to sell as music, then I can figure out how to sell anything. I also got to meet with a new band that Provident just signed and I actually like their music. I think they are going to be a big hit! You can check them out at www.myspace.com/leelandmusic Until next time...

Leslie J.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Entertainment Writing 2-24-2006

Today I got edited versions back of all the little restaurant blurbs that I’ve written. I turned them in on Wed. and I was pleased with the results. Pat Embry was very thorough in explaining why he changed what he changed and to my surprise they actually weren’t altered that much. Today he talked about how writing short blurbs is hard to do because you still have to capture an atmosphere (at least in the restaurant world) and get the appropriate information out at the same time. He said I did a really good job with doing that and liked an anecdote I used in the review of Smokin’ Ed’s BBQ. He did say that it seemed like I was writing ad copy a little but it was no big deal. The other intern had that problem as well and its wasn’t even really a problem because we are only doing positive reviews. If the review is bad we just leave the restaurant out. Which, according to Pat is no big deal because we have to stay true to our publication, which is entertainment. Although you can come away with social trends after you read the entire book of reviews – a trend meaning how the particular town is as far as dining culture – that’s not what we’re out to discover. We’re here to tell you what’s good.

Then he went into how his only beef with All the Rage is that they’re forgetting their audience, or the consumer. All the Rage is suppose to be about entertainment but they’re using some database now to get show listings and they don’t even have that much detail, instead of going out and finding out who’s playing where and all that jazz. (even though they are working hard, he added =o).

However, I was really glad to hear Pat say that we as journalists are optimistic people that just expect a few disappointments every now and then. He said we’re not so much cynical as we are skeptics. And that’s OK with me. I don’t consider myself to be as cynical as most of my journalism peers pride themselves in being.

And, Sidelines, SEJC 2006 was great, placing third out of 22 colleges was completely awesome. I felt like I learned a little bit about feature writing and the sessions backed up what I was saying in my first blog about this new internet paradigm. Woohoo!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Road To The Horse Show

This week, I have been doing alot of research dealing with the sponsorship project. Shana and I are still in the process of fufilling our goal of getting 4 more sponsors for the Miller Coliseum. Since we are having a show this weekend that means that I have to create more promotional material for our sponsors with the Coliseum. The show that is going on this week is the Road To the Horse show which will display a variety of horses in addition to learning how to train them. Other then that, this week has been pretty non-hectic this go around. Perhaps next week will probably pick up a bit once we find out if the potential businesses want to advertise with us.
Hi everybody!
This week has been an extremely busy, but good week at the Media Collective. As most of you know, the Gospel Music Awards are right around the corner. Therefore, everyone has been going crazy around the office; one of our publicists has 8 artists ALONE involved with GMA. Can you imagine? I have been helping prepare as much as possible for GMA as well. I have been setting up interviews, confirming interviews, planning dinners, RSVPing through email, and ordering things, which are all very small things compared to what the girls at the Media Collective have been up to. I have learned this week through planning for GMA just how persistent some journalists are. For example, once you tell them that an artist will not be available for an interview, they keep trying 2 or 3 more times! It's alright though :0)
By far the most exciting thing I got to do this week was be a member of a consumer panel at a Leadership Music meeting at RCA Music Group. First of all, I have never been to "Music Row," so I was very excited! The RCA building was beautiful and full of key players in the recording industry that intimidated me, not on purpose though. As part of the consumer panel, workers in the recording industry basically just asked me and other members questions about where we bought/downloaded music, favorite music, etc. It was very nerveracking, but SO much fun! Plus, before I left I got to see the President of RCA!!!
It's been a great week at The Media Collective and I am looking forward to next week! Everyone have a great relaxing weekend!
Today has been a wonderful day! Renita, my supervisor, just arrived back in town from New York where she met with George Hearst. He is the main investor for the Equestrian Influence television show premiering this year! He is very excited to get this project under way. He has about 20 magazines in which he owns and we're adding another to the list because he wants to make the TV show into a magazine as well to build-up a big fan base. So this is going to make life pretty busy for me and I couldn't be more excited. We may be making more visits to New York as well to me with Mr. Hearst again.

More exciting news is that I will be going to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as well to meet all the people in the Sports-Sponsorship and Fundraising Department. I will be meeting a lot of important people involved in hospital research which is going to be such an awesome opportunity.

As of right now, I'm just staying busy putting together spreadsheets and powerpoints for all the projects we have lined up to do! So I hope everyone else is staying busy and excited for Spring Break coming up!


A Word to the Wise

Alright, folks, this is probably just common sense talking, but I have a definite lack of it in some areas. It is important to treat your internship VERY professionally. This means showing up on time, dressing appropriately, and calling if you will not be in.

Now, I have been very sick the past few days. Lots of fun nausea. I was bedridden on Wednesday and completely forgot to call the DNJ to tell them that I wouldn't be coming in to work. Of course, my editor was very nice about it, but I think that type of understanding always makes you feel a little bit more guilty. It's an effective psychological punishment, I think.

Anyway, contacting people is a lot harder in some situations than in others. Businesses and public officials have been the hardest to get a hold of, but I'm assuming that's true universally. They are busy and probably have calls coming in all of the time, clogging up their availability. Still, it would make my job a little easier if they could just forget everyone else and focus on me. I suppose it's the selfish part of me, because the professional Jenn would be a tad bit more cognizant of the difficulties of business.

Well, the newsroom was hopping today, mainly because there was a fire at a gas station down on S. Church St. A police radio is stationed in the middle of the room, and it usually just gives officers' accounts of speeding stops and other various chatter of police jargon. So when an actual "big deal" happened, it was like the Second Coming. Well, for some. Other reporters just sat at their computers, typing away. It was almost surreal.

Wow, this post was all over today. Forgive me, it's probably the prescription I'm on. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

EMI CMG: Famous Ones

As I taped a sign saying "Devotions" on the door, I could tell they had arrived. People were starting to gather in the halls, and I sensed a flurry of activity heading my way. From the corner of my eye, I spotted them: EMI CMG's newest "Gold" artist, the author of some of the most famous worship songs in the world, and a renowned Passion Conference speaker. I tried to look busy as I scrutinized the sign I had just placed, but my nervous eyes bounced around like a misdirected basketball.
Each month, our corporate communications department plans a devotion that is open to all employees. This time we even offered lunch. But the biggest incentive today was definitely Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Louie Giglio. For those not familiar with these artists, here's a brief rundown: Chris Tomlin's latest record has just been certified Gold (500,000+ copies) and his hits include "Holy Is The Lord," "Indescribable," and "Famous One;" Matt Redman penned the worship ballads entitled "The Heart of Worship" and "Blessed Be Your Name;" and Louie Giglio is a renowned speaker for the popular Passion Conferences. Even though these people are "famous ones," their desire to make Jesus Christ the "Famous One" is clearly evident.
After listening to a few songs, I was whisked away to set up lunch for the employees (a downside to event planning). However, this has been one of the most exciting yet tiring days of my internship so far!

Tuesday was a wreck...but life got mucho better!

My week started off on a bad note with me getting really sick w/a migraine on Tuesday and almost passing out in the office in front of a certain very attractive co-worker--always interesting to tell. Needless to say, the embarrassment has passed and I am coming in next week to make up my missed hours from that day. Plus, next Tuesday, I have a meeting with Senior Partner, Mark McNeely, of McNeely Pigott and Fox Public Relations. I was nervous to find this out Tuesday in a team meeting about the meeting, but since then... my nervousness has turned more to excitement. Yay!

Today turned out to be a much better day, but boy was I swamped with work. I had a Job Corps meeting today, clippings, meth research for the up-coming youth meth conference with Governor Bredesen in April, follow-up calls for a press release regarding Nashville Children's Theater's presentation of Wind and the Willow (with most of the papers in Tennessee), meth clippings, meth mailings, meth packets for state attorney generals and senators such as Senator Clinton --to name one in particular. It's a pretty big deal. Meth has become my life it appears. I also made my final edits on the new hire and promotion press releases for MP&F, which will be going in many state-wide papers, such as the Tennessean. I am lucky to have so many good writing pieces to compile in my portfolio, which is really awesome! Also, today I received my first assignment from Mark McNeely himself. Evidently not many interns get asked to do projects for him. It was really neat. I am definitely not as nervous about meeting with him again next week, since I was able to spend some time with him today one-on-one.

1 Phone Call and It's All Worth It

Yesterday I interviewed a local Henderson woman who suffers from fibromyalgia -- a musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder. This was a feature story so I interviewed her at her home and brought along a photographer. It was very obvious to me once I stepped in the door she was uncomfortable with the whole situation so I layed on the charm and flattery pretty thick.

I ended up growing very fond of Miss Maggie very quickly and remembered to take note of everything for this feature story like Stephen Alligood taught when I took his class. When Miss Maggie found out I was visiting the church she was a member of, she invited me to join her and her husband for dinner after church this Sunday. I accepted.

I went back to the office, wrote the article and it appeared on the front page of the paper today. Miss Maggie called me this afternoon and told me my article made her feel like she could fly. She said she was on Cloud 9. She also mentioned she'd gotten several calls and e-mails from others telling her how much they enjoyed my article too. Miss Maggie was the first person to ever call me since my internship started and comment -- good or bad -- on my stuff.

Other newspaper employees kept stopping by to compliment me and I even got an e-mail from the newspaper's publisher complimenting me. He said he recognized my strength in writing was getting "involved" in the story and not looking at it from a third party's perspective.

Of course, it seemed, my day was all downhill from there. Haha. Nothing seemed to go right after that.

But, my point is, it's stories like Miss Maggie's and the subsequent reactions of people opening their eyes to issues, are what drove me to major in journalism in the first place. That one phone call I got this morning makes everything else worthwhile.

I hope everyone gets an experience(s) like that in their internships.
So, the Sounds Stadium passed and what a celebration it was. The whole city council process is so cool. There was a dabate on Feb.7th, it lasted for an hour and a half. The final tabulation was 28 yes and 7 no. All we needed were 21 yes. I really think that I could be a council woman. Also I forgot to mention in my previous blog that I have produced several flyers for my department. I always use Quark (thanks Marcie Hinton). I have probably created 7 differnt flyers and 3 power point presentation. These flyers have been sent to many area churches, restaurants and corperations. I am still loving my job and I think I may stay on after I graduate (if they can afford me, lol). Till next time.

That dang AP style!! Rude Media!

You know when you were in English classes and the teachers always said, "Remember this! You will use it for the rest of your life!"

Well, I'm calling bs on that! While I have been trying to get accustomed to AP style for a while, my old grammar rules still trip me up, especially commas in series! There is just so much to learn.

So far this week at Bridgestone/Firestone, my biggest complaint, and I usually don't have any, has been media calls. Those pesky journalists! (just kidding, to all you journalism majors)
They always think they are the most important priority when they call, like we don't have a million other things going on right now.

What really ticks some of them off is when I say," Let me take your information, what your story/article is about and when your deadline is."
They always respond with snarky comments like," Well, is anyone going to call me back?Why can't I talk to someone now?"

Just a note to you journalists: If you're trying to deal with PR people, being rude is not the best way to expedite your request for information! But I'm sure none of you would ever do this!!

later taters

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

As of last week, I'm 1/3 of the way through my internship. Looking back over the four weeks, I'm amazed to see all that I've accomplished. While I was working on various projects, it didn't feel like a lot, but it all adds up quickly. I'm really enjoying the experience. As I mentioned before, the office is small, and things are hectic, so I'm getting to assist with or even take over projects. Not to say that classes weren't beneficial, but I feel like this is helping to prepare me for life after college (which isn't too far away).
The majority of my time last week was spent working a marketing/communication plan. For everyone that's had Campaigns, it was like compiling a PR planbook. With one exeception, instead of having an entire semester to work on it, I had 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. Thankfully a lot of the work consisted of typing information from various sources into one nicely formatted document. On Friday, we presented it to a committee to approve before it was shown to the full board. All went well, but at the end of the week I was extremely tired of looking at a computer screen.
On another note, I can't believe the middle of the semester is almost here. As mid-term projects and papers and test pile up, it's becoming harder to try to balance everything. I feel like some days there just aren't enough hours to get everything that needs to be done accomplished. I didn't realize the amount of work this semester was going to require. Needless to say, I am definately counting down the days until Spring Break.

Still learning

Over the past few weeks I've been working on a couple of projects. Helping to develop 1. A "client" culture 2. A community outreach program. I've had to do a lot of secondary research for both projects. I have contacted hotels, Mobil Travel, AAA, Captain Kidney, and more. The contacts I have made have been extremely helpful and even pointed me toward other sources.
I never thought about research in the manner I am using it now. Secondary research is very much about getting out there and digging until you find what you need. How do you know where to start digging? Well, you have to think about the big picture and set objectives. Once you can see smaller goals things seem to slowly fall into place.
I've relied so heavily on books and the internet for information that I didn't realize how much time was involved in planning, tracking, and locating sources/information. Just because you know what you're looking for doesn't mean that it will be available to you when you need. For instance, I contacted an organization about having them send me information about one of their programs. I waited and waited... Actually I had lost hope and started feeling like I had wasted more time than I had to spare. Finally, I received the information. They had actually sent me more than I expected. So all was not lost and I now have a whole new avenue to scavenge for information.

MT Interns Sp 06

Another day fighting for civil liberties...

Hey people!
I'm here to report on another week spent busily fighting, persuading, and arguing for all of our civil liberties.
And when I say "ALL of our civil liberties", I mean it.
Some of you may be currently unfamiliar with the name "Reverend Phelps".
If that is the case, let me familiarize you with this particularly despicable individual.

Reverend Phelps is a former civil rights attorney, and current Baptist minister in Kansas.
His church runs a website. You may visit it at Godhatesfags.com.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Reverend Phelps' particular ministerial style is to incite hatred. He teaches his congregation (including the children) that God is angry at the United States for "enabling the fags".

A few years ago, I had occassion to question a 12-year-old girl in his congregation about their beliefs.

It was at a Metro-Davidson city council meeting at which the councilmembers were debating a proposal to ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Reverend Phelps' congregation came down to protest the ordinance.

The 12-year-old girl in question was holding a sign that read "Thank God for September 11".

I asked her what that meant. Her face lit up, and she bore a warm smile.

Then she proceeded to explain to me that the terrorist attacks were orchestrated by God as a warning to us to stop enabling the "fags".

She then explained that the war in Iraq was also an extension of God's vengeance for our rampant "fag enabling".

That is the kind of thing that this church does.

They travel the country to visit the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before the wars, they qould visit the funerals of gay men (Mathew Shepard, most prominently) who died at the hands of gay bashers. At the funerals, they hold signs that say things like "God Hates Fags", "Thank God for September 11", and so on.

Obviously, they are not making very many friends at these events.

How does the ACLU fit into all of this?

Well, the Tennessee State Legislature, among many other state governments around the country, have drafted legislation to try to curb the activities of this particular group of evil, hate-filled individuals.

The problem is, as awful and dangerous as Reverend Phelps and his congregation are, they have constitutional rights, too.

The ACLU, for whatever reason, is often thought of as a left-wing organization, and few people would be surprised to know that we frequently fight for the right of LGBT groups like the Tennessee Equality Project to march and demonstrate.

But we also fight for the right of the Reverend Phelpses out there.

We defend EVERYBODY's rights.

So, yesterday, we walked the halls of the legislature out at legislative plaza in Nashville, and argued with the state legislators.

When they sighed and spoke of the solemnity of funerals, and the respect that they (rightly) deserve,
we sighed and reminded them that speech is speech, no matter who is saying it, and if you take away the rights of the least among us, then the rights of everyone are diminished.

It was a difficult argument to make. Reverend Phelps is, by all accounts, a madman. He spews vile and filth whenever he opens his mouth.
But, just as I have the right to say "We are all God's children, and homosexuals are beautiful, creative, intelligent people who contribute greatly to our society", he has the right to say "Fags are the spawn of Satan, and God wants them dead".

At the end of a long day, the Senate Judiciary Committee debated the proposed legislation.

It was a sight to behold.

Our efforts were not in vain. The bill didn't die, but it was clear that the legislators we spoke with didn't dismiss our arguments. All of the points we had brought up were broached, and debated in detail.

In the end, the bill was "rolled" (put on hold) until next week, pending an advisory opinion from the state Attorney General.

Democracy in action.

Until next time, I will continue to fight for the civil liberties of all,


So, the Collage deadline was last Thursday, the same day I left for the Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC) at Emory just outside Atlanta. I had a blast on the trip, and we came in third out of 33 universities. We came back on Saturday (luckily it was only sleeting on Monteagle and Chief's SUV is tough), of course with me getting sick. On Monday morning, I go into the Collage office, and the Editor wants to talk with me. She closes the door and says she's worried about me fulfilling my hours as a practicum. Then she asks if I knew there was a meeting on Thursday that I had missed. I tell her yes, I was at the conference in Atlanta that I had told her about two weeks ago (a week before the conference). "Ohhhhhh," she says. "That's right. I feel much better." My stomach was still in knots from her saying I might be fired, but everything is cool now; just a misunderstanding. So, note to self: If you tell someone something a week or two in advance, make sure you remind them again closer to that time.

But all is crazy at Collage, so it's a good thing I'm not out of town this week. We got 186 submissions, and we have three days (Feb. 20-22) to grade them. In fact, that's really where I should be now, but I'm finishing my first cup of coffee. So far, I've seen some really good submissions as well as some really bad ones. Unfortunately, I can't discuss any of them with my fellow staffers, let alone in this blog thing. All I can tell you is our method of grading fairly. Every piece has a number, 1-186, and none have anyone's name, so we can't play favorites. We rate each piece on a scale of 1-10, making sure to write comments about what we liked/hated, to make the final selection process easier. Even though I'm the literature editor, I get to grade the visual pieces, too, although I'll have nothing to do with which ones end up in the magazine (although I bet the ones that I gave a '1' probably won't; actually, that's a lie, because I don't think I've given a score that low). But it is up to my assistant and me to choose the literature, and I know it's going to be a long and tedious process picking out which precious few will make it into the magazine. And I still haven't graded one of the literature folders and two of the visual folders, so it's back to the Honors building for me. (By the way, if you ever want free coffee, I learned yesterday that there's a coffee pot and tub of Folgers in the commons room of the building. Anything to avoid Starbucks.)

Hope everyone is enjoying their internships, and you better believe I'm counting down the days to spring break, even though I'll be working in Murfreesboro the entire time.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Real World

I've been thinking about the "real world" a lot lately. No, not the MTV show -- I still maintain the first few seasons were the best -- but the actuality of becoming a responsible member of the thing that happens after college.

I spent a good amount of time this weekend updating my resume, writing cover letters and putting together manilla envelops filled with those and my writing clips. I mailed them off today -- 15 packets going to 15 different newspapers around the south/southeast/northeast. Let's hope I get some responses for my efforts.

And who knows? The newspaper I'm interning at might offer me a full-time job. We'll just have to wait and see.

This week has been a pretty uneventful week so far. I finished a story this morning on a woman, a native of Henderson, who will be on a special edition of NBC's "The Biggest Loser." Now I've got several story assignments on my plate, but no one has responded to the e-mails or phone messages I've left them.

I got an reply to an e-mail I sent yesterday about what, if any, impact an article I had written about a concert affected/effected (never can remember the right one) ticket sales. Ticket sales were flowing smoothly, my contact reported, but mentioned that the mayor had talked to her about a section of the article. This concert is benefitting a local beautification organization which needs to recoup the revenue they lost when the city cut it from its budget. Well, I mentioned that in the article ... and the mayor obviously didn't appreciate that. That's completely understandable since it kinda puts him and the city of Henderson in a bad light and I can't help wondering I could have more sensitively-worded what I wrote.

Ah, well. It's just one of those "what if" questions that you can dwell on or shrug off.

Monday, February 20, 2006

MT Interns Sp 06

MT Interns Sp 06
Hey folks! I thought I'd update you on my fun interning at the Office of News and Public Affairs on campus.
Last week I got an amazing assignment. I went to cover a press conference in Nashville on Wednesday because my boss, Tom Tozer couldn't make it. I met Mayor Bill Purcell and wore my new power suit (navy with gold stripes!) for the occassion. I turned in my story earlier today and it should be in the next Record if you have a chance to peek at it.
It's been hard balancing my practicum and all the writing I'm doing at Sidelines this semester. I fell into that kind of by accident, although I wrote feature articles for them last semester. A good friend of mine is the News Editor and I write at least an article every week for them, while conducting interviews and putting articles for The Record together and attending 16 other hours of class and working about 28 hours a week at a bad retail job so I can still pay the rent.

However all the work is deffinitly worth it. And working for the Office of News and Public Affairs is great for references and for exposure to different kinds of news I'd never get to cover at Sidelines.

Sidelines crew went to the SEJC this past weekend and we brought in four awards, and one third best over all among the 24 or so groups competing at the event. Overall this semester makes me feel better about getting a 'real job' when I graduate.

Hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am!


Valerie Nutt

finally here

Ok so after some lost e-mails and confusion, I am finally able to post my blog about my experiences so far. Starting in January, I found myself at the end of my rope on finding an internship, and I was beginning to worry about graduation in May. So I went to Dr. Hinton and she helped me get in touch with Bracken Mayo. Bracken is the Editor and creator of the new publication in town called The Murfreesboro Pulse. It is a bi-weekly publication similar to the Nashville Scene and Rage. Since starting with The Pulse, I have written two stories. The first of which was the Cover/feature story entitled Heavy Metal. This was published on the third issue of the paper and was pretty exciting for me, having never been published before. My second story, which will be in this upcoming Friday's issue (2/25/06) is about the rise of popularity of poker in Murfreesboro. Bracken is a great guy and has been helpful, and it is great experience interviewing people for my stories. I hope to have a pretty nice portfolio after I am done working with the pulse. By the way, the pulse needs readers, so if you see any laying around and haven't read the current issue, pick it up. Maybe with enough readers, Travis can get paid. Thanks for reading about me.

Learning the ropes...

Well, another week has gone by in the office of new student and family programs! This past week, I learned the importance of being flexible. Each week, we have one day of training for about 1 1/2. This past week, I had set 3 speakers to come and tell the new SOA's about their job and how it pertains to MTSU. Well, two speakers didn't show up, which created quite a predicament! It just goes to show you that you should ALWAYS be prepared for the best AND the worst. Had I been prepared, I could have had other things to go over while at training; however, I was not prepared for speakers not showing up. Therefore, the SOA's got a short training - something that is not supposed to happen. Of course, I had some explaining to do to my supervisors, and I assured them that it would never happen again.
So after that sour start....I am continuing to work every day in the office. My biggest task right now is planning the weekend retreat that is going to take place after spring break. I would really like to change retreat as a whole, but my gut is telling me to play it safe and follow the same format as years before. All in all, I'm really enjoying my time. I really have developed a respect for those who work in student relations - especially at the college/university level. It is quite the task! For now, I will continue to train the new SOA's to the best of my ability, and I will be ready for ANY obstacle that comes my way next time! Until next week!

Busy, Busy, but exciting news!

It's been a busy past few weeks here in the newsroom of Sidelines. I have written and had 5 of my stories published, which is majorly exciting to me. I almost got screwed over by one of my editors since my story was a timely one, but luckily the time part got cut during editing and so now it will be in this coming Thursday's issue. Then what made me even more upset was the story that I really was looking forward to working on and writing, which required me to interview Dave Ramsey the financial guru got cut because some free lancer decided to write a story on the same subject and it got published today. I was madder than fire!!! That was my story that got scooped out from under me. Grrr!!!
So other things that have been going on include getting a bi-line with the editor of the whole paper on the biggest story that we've done so far on Dr. Walker's passing. That was me who wrote that article and did everything on that story; almost. Sarah wrote some, but the majority of it was mine. I have never been more proud of a project in my life than I am of that story. It was a 9 hours straight work day, running all over campus getting quotes, photographs, interviews and then sitting in the office to write the story. What was even better was that I had a features article run the same day, so basically 3 of the 7 pages I think we ran that day were mine. Talk about exiciting considering I'd only been there for a month at that point. I even got the FRONT PAGE; not just the outside front but the whole inside as well. It was a great day to see that happen.
But my exciting news that I will share is that I have an interview on the 24th for an internship position for the summer with Lifeway. I'm so excited. It's hectic though because I'm having to touch up the resume and put my portfolio together. Putting this thing together has been an adventure in itself. I talked with one of my former professors about how to put the thing together, and she told me to mount all of my articles to dry-mount board and put them in a portfolio. Then she told me to make sure that I hadn't cut up the articles from the paper. OOPS!! I didn't know that, because I wasn't told not to do that. I had them all taped and written which issue they came from and they looked great. Now mind you I had just taped them to a regualr plain white piece of paper. Big no-no #2! [At this point I can't do anything right.] So I ran all over campus to where we put out the issues of the paper looking for the full paper issues that my articles appeared in. Luckily they haven't cleaned out the papers from Corlew Hall since school began this semester, so I found all of them and am no longer having a heart attack and thinking I'm a failure as a journalist. (*breathing a sigh of relief at this point*) Why don't they teach us how to put a portfolio together while we are here in one of our classes? I was never told how to do that as I'm sure others have the same question as I did. Is it possible to make recommendations to professors about putting this in the curriculum somewhere? Just a suggestion...
I still have many more writing assignements to finish for Sidelines, 2 that I'm working on right now. Keep looking for our awesome paper around campus!

Another week of craziness

Wow, I thought I was busy 2 weeks ago, I had no idea just how busy I would be. We started this week out at Mix with another promotions event. It was called Bowling for Miracles and helped to raise money for Vanderbilt Children's hospital. I worked the event all day Sunday, which was fun but also tiring. We basically mingled with the different teams who were there to bowl and also gave away prizes with our Mix 92.9 prize wheel. This is a big hit with everyone, and its amazing how excited people get over free stuff! On Valentines Day, I worked the Bon Jovi concert at Gaylord Entertainment Center, this was alot of fun because we got to promote the station at such a cool event. The worst part of this was setting up our tent outside in the freezing cold and having to carry all this heavy stuff to and from the van...I definitely didn't sign up for manual labor! On Saturday, I worked a remote at Southern Hills Medical Center for the health clinic. A remote is where an on air personality and the promotions staff set up and do on air interviews, and give away prizes. This was really fun getting to interact with everyone. On Sunday it was another day of Bowling for Miracles. I have to say, this Sunday was alot better than last Sunday. I felt like it was more organized on the promotions part and we also got to have more fun by challenging other bowlers to beat our score. After this week, I am ready for a vacation, but I have a feeling next week will be just as busy! I am also getting to know everyone alot better which makes work easier and funner to be at.

Oh, the stress

Although I've been involved in some sort of journalism since I was 16, I suppose I've always expected to get the story done when I wanted it done. But of course, the well-laid plans of reporters can be fizzled.
I have been trying to write my first story since last Monday, but the poor woman I'm supposed to interview is going through a trying time right now. Her father is in the hospital, so she's not at her best. I wanted to interview her Friday, but she was crying and frantic, so I backed away with my hands up. I felt bad for her, but at the same time, my brain was thinking, "No no no no no no no! You need this story by Monday! You can't mess up on your first piece! Come on! Be pushy! Be your hero, Lois Lane!" (Disclaimer: yes, I understand that Lois Lane is a fictional character, but she did a damn good job.) Of course, I let my compassion overrule my desire to get the story, and I let things be.
I spent the next few days freaking out. If I messed up on my first story EVER, would the editors give me letters of recommendation? Would I pass this internship course? AUGH!
Thank God my editor was cool. "Stuff happens."
A huge sigh of relief.
But what if my story was on a required deadline? I suppose the best plan is to have backup stories. You can't just hand your editor a blank piece of paper with a shrug and say, "Sorry, couldn't get the story."
I am going to call her back today though. I just hope her father is out of the hospital, for both selfish and selfless reasons.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I luv Nashvegas!

This week has been a very good one. I have been continuing on the same weekly path of client team meetings for Job Corps Atlanta and First Bank, as well as meth and JC Corp Atlanta clippings. I have also been doing some research for the Meth Free TN Campaign. There is going to be an event involving the Meth Free TN Campaign and Governor Bredesen in the next month, that I will be directly involved in, assisting w/some of the planning and event coordination. Friday, I worked on state-wide meth mailings for various state attorney generals. I do meth mailings every Friday now, and I get to work with this really attractive guy--which is always a plus. I finally got the final edits back for a website piece I was working for on JC Corps Atlanta (each piece that anyone writes is edited @ least 4 or 5 times by various editors w/in the firm. It is a long process to obtain the finished product). It is going to go up on the MP&F website this week. On a funny note, I got lost this week for the first time since I have been working there. Strangely, I got lost driving out to the Tennessee Bankers Association off of 8th Avenue North. I did, however, discover a new part of town which was awesome. I had always wondered where the Farmer's Market was located, and now I know. I also discovered where the Werthan Mill Lofts are located. I so... want to live there someday! I love Nashvegas!!!

last week

The River was doing a mass wedding for its listeners on Valentine's Day at Opryland Hotel, which is also where I work. So that is where I spent my holiday, which actually wasn't that bad. I was an hour late, though, because of a wreck on the interstate. I called my boss and she told me there was no rush so I was relieved. When I finally got there I found out that only 31 of the 7o something couples acutally showed up. We even delayed starting by 30 minutes to allow for more people to come, but 31 was the final number. I was very impressed at the organization that the mass wedding had. Each couple was given a number that matched the number on the spot where they were to stand and be married. So when the time came each couple was shown where their spot was by a radio personality. After all the couples were on their spots the ceremony began. It was kinda cool, a lot of the couples were renewing their vows. Each couple was also allowed 10 guests so their families got to be there. It is not necessarily the way I want to get married, but it was fun. I was disappointed at the amount of couples to show up, but 31 is better than none! I am becoming more familiar with promotions and giveaways that happen on the radio too. I even got to pick some of the winners, which is kinda cool to later hear the names announced on the radio. They are also doing this giveaway of designer handbags, and I went through the purses they have and I found so many I wanted. I also helped fill up the prize closet, which is just that, a closet full of prizes. Just seeing all that goes on to getting a promotion approved and aired to make everyone happy is really cool. It is definitely something that I would like to do one day. So far I have had a lot of fun and learned even more.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Since last we met...

Well kids, a lot's gone in the world of radio since we last spoke. As I told you, I had the opportunity of voicing my first radio spot, which was very interesting. It might even be sold to other radio stations that the client is doing business with, which is kind of exciting. I can't wait until I actually hear it on the radio. That same day, I had the opportunity of meeting Billy Currington. He's an "up and coming" country artist, with hits like Party for Two with Shania Twain and Must be doing something Right. He was in the 103 studio last Monday and we were leaving at the same time, so we talked for a little while (3 minutes). He's a very nice guy, had a lot of advice for me and yes, he's just as beautiful as he looks on his steamy video, rolling around on the beach. I also had the opportunity of meeting General Tommy Franks, many of you may know who he is. He's a four-star General with the U.S. Army and he basically led our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. He recently released a book, called American Soldier, which I've heard is a very powerful and moving story of his life, fighting in Vietnam, and becoming what many soldiers only dream of becoming in their professional careers. It was mostly just an honor to meet him and shake his hand....no matter what my political opinions or affiliation.

I've also gotten the chance to make tons of networking contacts through my intern supervisor, because the people she meets with on a daily basis are marketing and advertising directors for various businesses. I hope to use those contacts that I've made in finding a job that I'm happy with. Not to mention, my supervisor told me the other day that her managers mentioned that they are very impressed with me and my motivation to help...that's always nice to know.

It's nice to see how everyone in the office is utilizing me in different ways. I just had the opportunity to help our national sales rep reorganize his filing system (boring and mundane, yes, but I loved it). Acutally, I re-organized it and told him how it should be done from now on. Now, whenever he needs help with something, he comes to me.. It's a small thing, but I've built a kind of trust with him now....not to mention, he's a great reference, because he's been in the business for over 10 years, at the same place. He was an intern at the station and he's never left since. That kind of story makes you feel good about the possibilities of actually being happy with the career that you end up with.

Friday, February 17, 2006

EMI CMG: Getting Through the Doors

Since this was a fairly slow week, I thought I'd share how I landed my internship at EMI Christian Music Group. Traditionally, internships are arranged over the phone through the HR department. My process, however, started when a parent approached me after a CUSTOMS parent flipchart session this summer at MTSU!
At the beginning of each presentation, we always introduced ourselves and gave a little blurb about our major, etc. When the presentation was over, a parent asked me a little more about my future plans. Little did I know, I was talking to a Christian music industry veteran--the same person who discovered industry giants like Point of Grace and Nichole Nordeman!
He left me with his business card, so I emailed him to see if he knew any people in the industry with careers that matched my interests. He connected me with the corporate communications director for EMI CMG, and I interviewed her in August to find out more about her career. The conversation naturally led to internships, and I expressed my interest. This fall, I emailed her again to see if there were any internship opportunities, and she agreed to let me be the spring intern.
Networking links people together in complex ways. As I take these initial steps on my career path, I hope to proceed unselfishly and see networking as a way to help others instead of merely helping myself.

More of the same Scene

Friday morning at The Scene began with a huddle around Music Listings Editor Dave Rudolph's phone for the office review of an angry voice mail message Rudolph received regarding his article in last week's "Sex Issue." The message referred to Rudolph's piece about adultfriendfinder.com where the writer toured the sometimes seedy Web community that serves as a bypass for the first and second dates to skip straight to the sex. The angry reader sounded inebriated in the voice mail, which was time-stamped at 3:50 a.m. His beef: the article appeared next to an advertisement for Christ Church Cathedral – "real f---ing classy, Dave." The caller went on to defend himself as a "cool guy ... I like metal, music and sex as much as the next guy." Those who heard it enjoyed a laugh. Twice.

"That's tame. That's nothing," said Liz Garrigan, who was recently referred to as the “breasted editor” in a comment left on The Scene’s “Pith in the Wind” blog.

Next up was a visit from Joe Hallinan, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and author of "Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation" – an investigative look at the business of incarceration in America. Hallinan is in town every other Friday for obligations at Vanderbilt (I think he teaches a class there), so Garrigan arranged the meeting as a conversational, laid-back way to discuss investigative reporting and The Scene’s role in it. Staffer Lee Stabert popped out to pick up about 10 different stylings of Pizza Perfect pies for the lunch hour meeting.

The reporter started off discussing the James Frey fiasco. Sales of Frey's book, "A Million Little Pieces," exploded when an endorsement from Oprah's Book Club sent a faithful throng out to bookstores. Journalists and reviewers from all over raised questions about the authenticity of the book, which labeled itself a "memoir," but nobody took the extra step to investigate the book's claims. The Smoking Gun did (go HERE to read the article), which led to Frey being ostracized and lambasted by the queen of housewife TV herself.

Back to the Hallinan meeting, the reporter argued that outfits like The Scene, as well as reporters in general, should keep an ear to the ground for this type of story and thoroughly check them out when it surfaces. If something doesn't feel right, don't just say something about it. Do something about it. Investigate it. Don't let fools get rich from telling lies. But don't worry about Rupert Murdoch. He's already beyond our control.

After that Hallinan shared some of his findings from his extensive research on the prison system. It was all very interesting and educational. The pizza was good too.

Tours, Tours, and Lots of Mail

Hi Everyone! I hope everyone has had a great week at their internships and a great Valentine's Day!
It's been a good, but busy week at The Media Collective. It seems as though everyone is wanting last minute to book their interviews with our artists, but that is definitely a good problem for a publicist! Everyone had been on the phone!
Also, I was able to do a media tour list for one of our artist, Falling Up (if you are into rock then you should definitely try them out, ther are a new Christian rock group). I took their tour list and found colleges, local publications, etc. around the areas they are performing. I then sent them a press packet which included: a bio, press release, and Falling Up's latest CD. This was really neat because I felt as though I was a part of the process of getting the word out! I also did the usual, mailings, answer phones, lists, emails, GMA planning etc. The next few weeks are going to be pretty crazy; two of our three publicists are going to be out of town off and on. That is good though because they definitely deserve some time off.
One other highlight of my week . . . for Valentine's Day I was able to go out to dinner with some people that I work with and their friends from some labels and booking agencies. I had such an awesome time. I have to say that one of my favorite things about this inernship is the people that I get to meet and work with. They are amazing and an absolute blessing!
Everybody have a great weekend! Be careful, I heard it was supposed to snow!

My niche

I really do think that by now -- at the end of my third week as a reporter intern -- I've carved my niche at "The Gleaner."

I stayed incredibly busy this week. I've been writing tons of advance articles -- these are for concerts or events that are happening either by the end of this month or in early March. These articles are going to be published about a week before these events happen, but I finished writing these articles weeks before my deadlines. So, it takes some getting used to knowing you've written 5 articles but none are in the paper yet.

But there'll be an influx of my "By HALEY HUGHES" byline in the next few weeks.

Oh, I got my first paycheck yesterday. Sweet. The AP bureau chief for Tennessee and Kentucky was at the paper earlier this week so I met him. Networking is always good.

Since Henderson is a very small town, most of the stuff in the paper is about finding the local angle. Today I'm interviewing a native Henderson woman who is appearing on a special edition of "The Biggest Loser." And I'm working on finding local women that participated in any American Association of University Women conferences.

Hope everyone is as having as much fun as I am.
I've had some busy, busy weeks. Currently I'm working on two projects at my internship in which I do a variety of things such as event management, event planning, and PR work. St. Jude Children's research hospital had a very successful fundraiser last year and I'm preparing there year-end summaryreport to give to the heads of St. Jude hospital to help them inprove on the 2006 fundraiser. If anyone is interested to check out the fundraiser, you can go to Challengerworld.com and then click on U.S. Challenge. We raised $240,000.00 last year for the hospital. It focuses on corporate team building. It's a neat experience because I work and communicate with people in the UK where Challenger World is based out of and directly with the management for Sports Sponsorship at St. Jude hospital.

I'm also working on launching a TV series that will be starting at the end of this year. Myself along with some other interns are just working on getting the website up, equestrianinfluence.com. It's a cool little site if you like horses and the cowwboy lifestyle.

So I have been staying busy working on the executive summary and powerpoint presentation. So hope it turns out well and I wish everyone else the best of luck on their internships!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Rather Third Week at the Miller Coliseum

This week, has been a rather uneventful week because are major project that we were suppose to be working on has been delayed indefinitely. The Board of Directors has not had another meeting discussing th new project of opening the Miller Club for the public. So instead of working on that, I have been focusing on creating more marketing material for prospective sponsors for the TMC. So bascially I have been making more phone calls in addition to copies of our promotional material. Hopefully with the upcoming events in the next week or so, things will pick up again.

School Bulletins and the Morgue

When I read that title, I laughed. Two things that just don't seem to go together. But I digress.
Apparently, schools are verry eager for the public to know every single little thing going on in their buildings. Even if it's simple stuff, like a spelling bee or the fact that no candy will be given out on Valentine's Day, the administrators write exhaustive lists with such enthusiasm that it's like they're stuck in a perpetual pep rally.
Anyway, it just reminds me how much people just want their stories out. It's almost scary. However, that will make my job easier in the long run. Of course, there will be those stubborn people who refuse to talk even if you promise them milk and cookies, but in general, people simply like to see their names in the papers.
Then I experienced, for the first time in full, my lowly position as an intern. To put it in not-so-nice terms, I am everyone's bitch. What they don't want to do or don't have time to do, they give to me. That's why I know so much about what Rutherford County schools are doing and why I spend hours a week typing up "25 Years Ago." And why today I was sent digging through old newspapers to find over 15 specific issues to lug back to the editor-in-chief's office.
The morgue is where they store every single issue (sometimes multiple copies) of the DNJ. It's old, it smells like ... well, I can't think of the scent exactly, but musty old library doesn't exactly describe it. Call it a mix of toner, grease, yellowing paper and the tiniest hint of B.O., and you've come a little bit closer. Anyway, the editor-in-chief is going through all the articles from 2005 to find entries into the TPA contest. I really didn't mind trying to figure out the organizational system in the morgue, but I knew that it was go-for work. So, after 30 mins or so, I gathered up the stack of newspapers and carefully made my way down the stairs, feeling a little like Gus-Gus (from Cinderella) when he was carrying too many corn kernels. I did get a cookie out of my venture, though.
It gets me to wondering, though: will my first journalism job be like this? Oh well, I'll jump that hurdle when I get to it.

Busy at Bridgestone!

This week has been hectic as usual. I think I've definetely mastered multi-tasking.

This week I've put most of my efforts into directing media calls from various publications around the world. Apparently, this is a busy time for Bridgestone/Firestone. So many events, new product launches, etc.

I have also started composing a script for the VP's presentation of the Bridgestone/Firestone humanitarian award, which is given out annually to the teammate(s) (they use "teammates" instead of employees) who best exemplify the company for their volunteer efforts. I have to compose a summary of each recipient, find pictures of their work in the field to go in the power point presentation, and find out detailed information of their efforts in 2005.

This is a pretty big deal because the CEO and VP will both be reading from this. It will be presented at the "Annual Teammate Meeting" at the Renaissance Center downtown. It's a lot of pressure, but I can do it!

Busy Busy Busy

So, this week has been very busy at the News and Public Affairs Office at MTSU. Before I took this internship/practicum I never really thought about who did the public relations for our campus.
You all would be amazed at how much work they do on a daily basis. They know everything about every faculty members research and excellent students doing extraordinary things. The office also produces a radio broadcast, television broadcast, publishes The Record, and The Alumni Record. Its a very high energy place and I have really enjoyed working in that environment.
Well, they are letting me write some stories for The Record, which is awesome but intimidating. My first story is about the Raider Xpress Shuttle routes (not very exciting, but its experience). Anyway, it will be published on February 27th, so be sure to pick up a copy of The Record.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What It Takes

What exactly does it take to be a good journalist?
As I looked around the Daily News Journal staff, I see how hard they work. They are constantly on the phone, talking with difficult people - trying to get the story. They attend the required meetings (more than often begrudgingly) and take pride in the work they do.
Then I go to my editing class. My professor is a retired AP editor that is working part-time with the DNJ, and the examples he gives us to edit come from the reporters that I work with on a near-daily basis. He has us pick apart every mistake that is made, and I feel a little bad doing that. Of course, he says that being an editor requires you to be indifferent and business-like to a person's feelings. You're actually making them better by critiquing their writing. And it is not like he doesn't actually talk to the reporter later on, so he actually follows through on what he says.
It's a little overwhelming. Being a journalist is a huge responsibility: you have to present facts and do it in an entertaining way. And even if you do that, your editor goes over your work with a fine-tooth comb and sometimes completely changes your story.
It makes me a lot more nervous about turning in my first story on Friday. I will have to get used to the criticism, and this is a good place to start. But that doesn't change the butterflies flitting around in my stomach.

Entertainment Writing

Today I got edited versions back of all the little restaurant blurbs that I’ve written. I turned them in on Wed. and I was pleased with the results. Pat Embry was very thorough in explaining why he changed what he changed and to my surprise they actually weren’t altered that much. Today he talked about how writing short blurbs is hard to do because you still have to capture an atmosphere (at least in the restaurant world) and get the appropriate information out at the same time. He said I did a really good job with doing that and liked an anecdote I used in the review of Smokin’ Ed’s BBQ. He did say that it seemed like I was writing ad copy a little but it was no big deal. The other intern had that problem as well and its wasn’t even really a problem because we are only doing positive reviews. If the review is bad we just leave the restaurant out. Which, according to Pat is no big deal because we have to stay true to our publication, which is entertainment. Although you can come away with social trends after you read the entire book of reviews – a trend meaning how the particular town is as far as dining culture – that’s not what we’re out to discover. We’re here to tell you what’s good.

Then he went into how his only beef with All the Rage is that they’re forgetting their audience, or the consumer. All the Rage is suppose to be about entertainment but they’re using some database now to get show listings and they don’t even have that much detail, instead of going out and finding out who’s playing where and all that jazz. (even though they are working hard, he added =o).

However, I was really glad to hear Pat say that we as journalists are optimistic people that just expect a few disappointments every now and then. He said we’re not so much cynical as we are skeptics. And that’s OK with me. I don’t consider myself to be as cynical as most of my journalism peers pride themselves in being.

And, Sidelines, SEJC 2006 was great, placing third out of 22 colleges was completely awesome. I felt like I learned a little bit about feature writing and the sessions backed up what I was saying in my first blog about this new internet paradigm. Woohoo!

Entertainment Writing

Today I got edited versions back of all the little restaurant blurbs that I’ve written. I turned them in on Wed. and I was pleased with the results. Pat Embry was very thorough in explaining why he changed what he changed and to my surprise they actually weren’t altered that much. Today he talked about how writing short blurbs is hard to do because you still have to capture an atmosphere (at least in the restaurant world) and get the appropriate information out at the same time. He said I did a really good job with doing that and liked an anecdote I used in the review of Smokin’ Ed’s BBQ. He did say that it seemed like I was writing ad copy a little but it was no big deal. The other intern had that problem as well and its wasn’t even really a problem because we are only doing positive reviews. If the review is bad we just leave the restaurant out. Which, according to Pat is no big deal because we have to stay true to our publication, which is entertainment. Although you can come away with social trends after you read the entire book of reviews – a trend meaning how the particular town is as far as dining culture – that’s not what we’re out to discover. We’re here to tell you what’s good.

Then he went into how his only beef with All the Rage is that they’re forgetting their audience, or the consumer. All the Rage is suppose to be about entertainment but they’re using some database now to get show listings and they don’t even have that much detail, instead of going out and finding out who’s playing where and all that jazz. (even though they are working hard, he added =o).

However, I was really glad to hear Pat say that we as journalists are optimistic people that just expect a few disappointments every now and then. He said we’re not so much cynical as we are skeptics. And that’s OK with me. I don’t consider myself to be as cynical as most of my journalism peers pride themselves in being.

And, Sidelines, SEJC 2006 was great, placing third out of 22 colleges was completely awesome. I felt like I learned a little bit about feature writing and the sessions backed up what I was saying in my first blog about this new internet paradigm. Woohoo!

My First Taste...

Ok, so, I was totally under the impression that I would not get to review restaurants - ever. I would only be conducting "chef interviews" which would be the "color" to our website and book, Where the Locals Eat. However, Pat Embry decided to let me and the other intern go ahead and get some clips. So, my first three assignments were to eat at and review Omni Hut, Hickory Falls and Smokin' Ed's BBQ in Smyrna which will be classified as "worth the drive" on the site under Nashville (probably). I turned in the review for Smokin' Ed's today and it was just small like all the rest - probably about 150 words - and Pat said he was going to "fiddle" with it. I'm not sure what that means, but I hope something of what I wrote is left. Other than that, I actually loved the BBQ. It was so hickory smoked and flavorful, you all should definitely try it out if the fancy for BBQ strikes you. And don't let the shady exterior scare you away.

Aside from reviewing and the constant data entry (I've analyzed data and entered over 700 restaurants onto our database based on surveys from around the country about which restaurants locals like best in Louisville, Detroit, Columbus, Oklahoma City and now Charlotte), we do have fun at the office. Today, in honor of Valentine's Day we had an annual Jell-Opalooza celebration. It was hilarious. Everyone at Magellan made crazy dishes and we had real estate employees from a company downstairs come and judge our masterpieces. I made a jello hand by pouring raspberry jello into a disposable glove. It held a heart because I thought it was funny to have a heart stolen. The categories for judging were: most unique, most beautiful and most technically difficult. I for sure thought that my hand and the web guy's used shoe full of nasty green jell-o were in tight competition for most unique. As fate would have it, the Brokeback Mountain jell-o won two categories and some pudding parfait won most beautiful. Haha...the Brokeback Mountain thing was incredible - political cartoon jell-o. It was layered and molded in many flavors from the rainbow and had plastic cowboys and indians and a bear on top with whipped cream surrounding a small heart shaped balloon with the words "I can't quit you" LOL! The two cowboys were obviously the main characters, but the Indian was Dick Cheney and his gun was not aimed at the near by bear if you know what I mean! Ah, anyways... some of the jell-o was good but mostly it all tasted like pooh =o). And I promise I will never use that description in any real review.

Side note - I get so amused by names of restaurants I enter for cities sometimes. I mean, I have to do something to amuse myself during the data entry part of the day. Anyways, some of my favorites so far have been: Jimmy's Egg, Steve's Rib, Indian Oven and Tea Rex. Go figure.


Hi everyone, my name is Ashley Burk, and I'm a Senior Journalism major at MTSU. For my internship/practicum, I am working on campus at the Sidelines newspaper. I'm getting a late start to this whole process, and that is actually what I would like to talk about in my first entry.I don't know if there are those of you out there who can relate to this, but I'm a procrastinator, and I feel that I do my best work under pressure. I have never missed a deadline, but I have spent many a sleepless night working into the wee hours of the morning finishing a story or project.I wasn't extremely proactive about finding an internship, and the deadline to register was looming closer and closer. I decided I wanted to work on campus, and I began to email the editor in chief of Sidelines, but I never received a response. I then went to her office three times and called twice with no response. When I realized there was a faculty advisor assigned to the newspaper, I began to hound her with requests to work on staff for my internship. She turned me down three times, but finally caved when she realized I wasn't going to give up. She told me later that my persistence had paid off, and anyone who was that persistent would have a lucrative career as a journalist. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I realized that I would now officially be graduating in May, and I learned two valuable lessons. First of all, don't wait until the last minute to do everything! And second, sometimes you shouldn't take no for an answer. If you want something badly enough, go after it with your whole heart, and your efforts will not go unnoticed.I attended my first meeting as part of the Sidelines staff tonight, and I received my first two story assignments. I will be working on the newswriting team, and I'm excited about getting started. And this time, you better believe that I won't wait until the last minute.

Lobbying with the ACLU

Lobbying with the ACLU
Hey everyone!
Yesterday I spent the afternoon with the executive director of ACLU-TN in the capitol building in Nashville, talking with other lobbyists and legislators.
What fun!
I know that "lobbyist" is becoming a bad word these days, but I really enjoyed myself, and I could see myself doing that for a living.
To clear things up for everyone...
The VAST majority of lobbyists are not wealthy, devious scoundrels that manipulate unsuspecting legilators into writing bad law that serves only to further enrich the wealthy lobbyists and their wealthy friends.
The VAST majority of lobbyists are hard-working stiffs (and, frequently, volunteer stiffs) that work for interest groups or non-profits they believe strongly in.
My boss lobbies for the ACLU because she cares about civil liberties.
Yesterday I met lobbyists who work for non-profits that fight for the rights of immigrants, others who lobby for the NAACP, and others who lobby for religious groups who seek to abolish the death penalty.

A group of us lobbyists met with an unnamed legislator who has sponsored a bill that would severely constrict the rights of immigrants in Tennessee. This meeting highlighted to me the reasons why lobbyists are such an inherently necessary part of the democratic process.
This legislator, whose name appears on the bill, was largely ignorant of the bill's language and meaning. He decided (thankfully) to "roll" the bill (bureacratic-speak for put it on hold for a while) while he researched the effects the bill would likely have and clean up the language.

Although he had decided to roll the bill before meeting with us, we were able to educate the unnamed legislator on several pressing issues regarding immigrants, and the possible effects of the bill should it have passed as it was written.

Legislators at both the state and federal level are unbelievably busy people. They rely on lobbyists (who make themselves experts on whatever issue they lobby for) to provide them with needed research and opinions on pending legislation.

Lobbyists should not be demonized for the role they play in the democratic process.
At least not ACLU lobbyists.
I suppose you can go on demonizing tobacco company lobbyists.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Back to the Beginning

Since this blog board did not start until a week or so ago, I have decided to back track on my whole intern first weeks' experiences. I began my internship back in January, so I have been going at it for about a month now. It will be a month on the 17th of February. My first week was crazy! I had many meetings everyday for orientation, background on the client teams I was assigned to and errands galore. I think most of my time the first week, just flew by so fast that I didn't even know what hit me. I was introduced to the clipping process, as well as to all of the staff. At this point, I was rather overwhelmed by the name game i.e. place name of associate to his/her face and not screw it up in the process. As things sped up the first week, and all my introductions/orientations were over, the REAL errand running began. I think the second week the staff was testing the interns' nerves in general. Literally every time my bum hit the seat, someone came running up to me to go run a driving or walking errand. Week two, I put over 200 miles on my car running their errands, and I walked several miles in the cold, sick. It was not fun! Week three and week four have made up for the suckiness of week two. I am liking my place a lot now! My cubicle in "the Cave" is awesome. On a side note, "the Cave" is where the entry level staff and interns sit to do their work. It is set up like a newsroom where everyone sits closely together. It's definitely togetherness @ the extreme. We don't have any windows in our vicinity. The mid-level staff and account execs have windows, and the partners have huge floor to ceiling windows. That's how you can tell somebody's position within the company. It's a rather amusing form of hierarchy, that I am happy to be a part of now.


I am working for Sidelines this year again. I feel that I am learning a great deal of information that will help me in the furture. The job is very important for me because later in my life I want to be a journalist. The hands on work teaches me how field of journalism will be in real life. I like the job very much. I am a sports writer that mainly writes on women sports. Women's basketball is the main beat that I write. Although, I like the experience that I get at Sidelines I do want to have a internship for a real newspaper one day during the summer. I have try to look for a journalism internship but it is very hard because I live in Antioch, TN and transpition will be crazy for me to get to any other newspaper's place. I one day will find a way to work that out so I can have a real experience at a real newspaper.
However, I really enjoy working for Sidelines and will like to countiue to work for them until I graduate from Middle Tennessee.
The experience is great and I offer it to any one who wants to be a journalist that doesn't have a great deal of information or hands on work experience of journalism.

same project

Hi all,
Mindy from Rodefer Moss. I am continung to work on the same things: contacts, newsletters. Its fun and all, but it seems there is some downtime on things that needs to be done. Hopefully it will be more exciting when I write again!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bon Jovi......PLEASE!!!!!

Hello all...Lindsey here from 103 KDF and 104.5 The Zone. Since I've been here since the beginning of January, I've made more friends than I would have if I had only been here a couple of weeks. The things that I'm doing are AMAZING!!! The people I'm meeting are AMAZING!!! The perks I'm getting are AMAZING!!! As I told you, being a sales intern isn't all that fun....unless you know people. I've been "helping" the promotions department with Kats games (you guys should go...tickets start at $10), and most recently Predators games, with Predators radio. I helped out this past weekend and helped with the production side of the radio show we do from the GEC...but got to go downstairs and see all those sweaty hockey players after the game too and attend a press conference and almost asked a question to Coach Barry Trotz (I got a little nervous because there were professional journalists all around me...but next time). I love my "job." I also just got finished recording a commercial for mycareerbroker.com, so if any of you listen to those two stations and hear that spot, I'll be the girl voice. It's so exciting to experience all of the behind the scenes aspects of radio, and I feel like I'm fortunate because the two stations I'm with are kind of a big deal (can anyone tell me the movie?).

But now my dilemma...Bon Jovi is coming tomorrow (V-Day) and I want to go so bad...so of course, I'm brown-nosing to whomever I need to brown-nose to to get tickets, but I just don't know if it's going to happen. It's not the end of world right??? I mean, it's just Bon-freaking-Jovi.....my favorite singer probably ever.....

First Assignment ... oh the joy ...

After typing up four "25 Years Ago," I think I have learned all I evern need to know about Murfreesboro in 1981. It was as boring as it is now, only with horrendous style and hilarious villain-style handlebar mustaches. So you can just imagine my excitement that engulfted me when I received my first assignment.
When Gary (one of my editors) came to me with a story, I nearly squealed with joy. Don't worry, I managed to stifle this urge, but I was elated, even if I was prepared to go to a City Council meeting that is nearly as tedious as sifting through old newspapers to find somewhat interesting stories. To my utter surprise, he gave me a human interest piece. Once again, I had to fight a little giggle so I didn't embarrass myself in front of the entire newsroom. I wanted to remain calm. Cool. Collected. Human interest stories are my favorites.
I'm doing a follow-up to a story from June 2005, written by none other than a former Daily News Journal Intern, Alan Yarbrough. I never knew the guy, but he wrote very compelling copy that got me incredibly concerned for the subject of the story.
It is about a 10-year-old boy who accidentally stabbed his right eye with a stick; he was completely blinded. But now his parents have scheduled an FDA-approved surgery that will restore his sight. With the help of their church and community members, they held all sorts of fundraisers, like yard sales and car washes, to raise money for the $10,000 operation.
When I read the original story, I felt myself tear up. Although I am prone to crying at dog shows and happy endings, this really tugged at my heartstrings. I could see myself getting really into this story. I emailed his mother to see what time would be the best for us to meet and talk about the story. I think she wanted Alan again, but alas, he is here no longer.
I suppose I am a little nervous about the whole thing. I mean, I've interviewed people before, but it was never for a newspaper or publication beyond a school's avenue. Does anyone else feel this way?
I am just worried that my eagerness will dissolve. Yes, after some time in any job, it just becomes a job. The passion is lost, kind of like a long-term relationship. But I don't want that to happen. I know I will not be thrilled about every story I am assigned, but I don't want to lose a neophyte's enthusiasm. I suppose I am still stuck with the idea that I will be a journalist until I retire, although statistics state that I will most likely have two or three jobs in completely different fields by the time I'm forty. Still, I don't want to become bored with writing. It's all I have ever really wanted to do since I was very small; I might even argue that I was a wee fetus when my love of writing came to me. Perhaps it's the cynic in me that makes me think of these things this early on in the game, but I would like to have some youthful idealism right now.