Wednesday, January 28, 2009

15pg Reflection: Trip in Review

When you think abroad you usually think about traveling far way and seeing places that you never thought you could go see. So before this trip when people were asking me what I was doing for Jan Term and I said study abroad, I’m going to New York and Washington D.C. they would then reply well that’s not study abroad that’s just traveling the states. Well in my opinion study abroad is going off to different parts of the world whether it is in the states or half way around the world and learning new information or experiencing a different culture. This is what I received from going on this trip along with the fact that I had never been to New York or D.C. and it was also fun to get to know people that I had never met before.
Going into the trip I really didn’t know what to expect because I had never traveled to a place without my family so to go with twelve strangers who I had never met before besides Jordan Kamikawa and Yong Kim I was a little nervous. I have also never been a really good flyer because turbulence sometimes makes me nocuous and don’t feel good. I was glad that we had our first meeting for this trip over first semester so that we could get all of the information and meet the people that were going to be living with for three weeks. I think it made the trip that much easier because we knew each other and the overall background for the trip itself. Leading up to the beginning of Jan Term was very exciting because I was ready to get this trip underway and experience another part of the states that I had never been to. When the first day of Jan Term came around and we were going to have our first meeting the night before people were hoping we would get classes cancelled. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted class or not because on one hand I didn’t want to wake up that early but on the other hand I really wanted to know who we were meeting and where we were going to be staying for the next three weeks. On the day of our first meeting I received a lot of information that was really helpful and found out that we were going to be living in hostels. I didn’t know what a hostel was so I thought it was going to be interesting to say the least. It always makes me laugh when teachers make kids get up early because when I saw our flight to New York and saw that we had to get to the Spokane airport by 4:30 in the morning I found that to be funny because no college student likes to get up at that hour.
The three meetings went by and they were very helpful because we finally got to see who we were going to be having meetings with and received the complete schedule. When I got the schedule and looked it over I was very pleased to see that we had a lot of free time because I really wanted to experience New York and Washington DC for what they really are. After having the meetings I knew that the trip was for us to experience media and learn about different types of jobs in media and how these people got to where they are today. During our last meeting I really started to think about how interesting this whole thing was going to be and how lucky I was to get to meet professionals in the media business and the negatives and positives of having these jobs. I was also really interested to know how the current recession we have been in is affecting their businesses and how they do their jobs. The last night we were in Spokane I was nervous and excited all at the same time. Nervous because I had to go on the plane but excited because I was going to New York and Washington DC the capital of the United States of America.
Finally the day had arrived and I had only gotten about two hours of sleep before I had to be at the airport checking in by 4:30am. I always like traveling on new airlines to see which one I like better and for most of my life I only know Alaska Airlines so to travel on Delta was pretty fun. As Jordan and I got to the airport it looked as though we weren’t the only ones that were very tired. The quick little flight from Spokane to Salt Lake City wasn’t bad because I slept the entire time and neither was the flight from Salt Lake to JFK airport because Delta provided us with our own monitors and to my surprise they had TV so I watched ESPN the entire way down there.
When we finally landed I was interested to find out how we were going to get to our hostel but lucky enough for us we found a van taxi that took all fourteen of us to our hostel. We had people smashed all over the place and even Derek was sitting on a stool and Danika lay across me and four other people so we were pretty squished. When we arrived at our hostel I had a lot of things going through my mind but none of them really matched the way the hostel actually looked. I would say that I wouldn’t mind living in the hostels again but I wasn’t a big fan of the fact that we had some random kid living with us at the hostel in New York and he looked like he had ran away because of how young he looked. Based on how the hostels looked and their accommodations I would say that we paid just the right amount of money and they were a good place to sleep.
When we got to the Hostel in DC for some reason I was expecting it to be worse than the one in Manhattan and that’s mainly because some of the group looked it up online and they looked at the pictures but to our surprise it was a lot better. The showers were much nicer and another plus was that we didn’t have some random kid living with us so that was nice. I would say that each was a great place to stay and I wouldn’t mind living there again if I had to but each hostel needed to add things but overall it was an enjoyable stay. I won’t mention any names but I’m sure you could guess. It was funny to see some of the girls freak out about how they had to stay in the hostels and one of them was going to book a hotel the first night we were in New York but she decided not to.
Getting ready for the meetings I was really excited to meet with some of the people that we were meeting with but others I wasn’t. Some I was really fascinated by them and was surprised to find out that I did like them. I would say that after visiting all of them, besides a couple there really wasn’t a bad meeting and it could have been that some of them were bad because of the speaker and the other reason was partly because I just wasn’t interested in that particular company. When we had our first day of meetings I didn’t really know what they were going to be talking to us about and I didn’t know that the questions we made on our first paper we didn’t have to ask them we just came up with our own if you even had one. I am not the type of guy that usually asks a question in class, I usually tend to ask it after class if I have one so sometimes asking a question was a little nerve racking but I managed and I think I asked some pretty good ones. I think that there were a couple of times where I felt that I had to ask a question so I would force it out and to me it sounded like a bad question. Every meeting that we had I felt I came out of that meeting with knowledge and some idea of knowing what I want to work in.
Our first meeting that we had was with Fairness and Accuracy in Media with Janine Jackson program director. I didn’t really know what we were going to be doing in this meeting since it was our first meeting of the trip. I learned how the business of media and their magazine have been affected by the recession that we are currently in. I learned that in running a company there is going to be ups and downs and somehow you must power through the bad times and know that in the end things happen for a reason. If you try hard enough and keep up with your writing skills you can be a successful journalist or any type of business you see yourself working in.
Our next meeting was with The Smoking Gun with William Bastone, editor. I thought that these guys were really cool from the way they started their company to how they are successful right now. It was very interesting for me to see their company being run by only three guys with all the work and information finding that goes into their stories. From them I pretty much learned that it doesn’t matter how many people are involved you can do whatever it is you dream of. I also learned that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication because if any of them go on vacation then the other two have to do that persons work. To me that shows a strong will power that has helped them with their careers. It was cool because we got to sit in on some action because they were trying to get a voice over of Charles Barkley but it was very clear.
The next meeting was with The Onion with Joe Randazzo, editor and it was cool because about four other people ended up coming to the meeting and talking to us about their jobs and how successful their newspaper has become. This was one of my favorite meetings we had because all of the writers were so funny and the titles they come up with for their stories just crack me up. I had never heard about them before so it was interesting to see a real newspaper that made fun of real stories. I am the kind of guy that likes to make people laugh so to see that I could do that through news articles was awesome to me. I learned that news articles take time to come up with, write and edit and that the process can sometimes be strenuous. The funniest thing I heard from them was that they try and follow AP style rules but if it makes the article funnier they will break them. I never really thought of myself going into that line of work but I don’t think it would be a bad gig.
Our next meeting we had was with Channel 13 with Mary Ann Donahue. It was very interesting to see all the aspects to Channel 13 there are and the information they put out. They try and educate people from their documentaries and their news shows. I learned that sometimes non-profit organizations have hard times coming up with money to produce what they need and when they don’t get enough they just end up scraping the project and saving the money for something new. I also learned that you have to be patient and that documentaries can take a while but you must finish by the deadline. It was very cool to see inside their newsroom and we even got to sit where their lead anchor sits and gives the news. It was really hard because the anchor has to push the lever with his foot while reading the teleprompter, I could never do that.
Our next meeting was with Nielson Company with Dave Thomas, President of Global Media Client Services. This was a very interesting company but it was amazing to see how the development of technology has really advanced companies to the next level. Media has become more advanced and people are watching shows in more ways than just the television. “Internet TV has increased overall media as well” stated Dave. I was fascinated to see how the television side of things works in the media business.
Our next meeting was with Ketchum Public Relations/Public Relations Society of America with John Paluszek, senior PR practitioner and director of PR for PRSA. This was a meeting that I was very interested in because I took a PR class over first semester and we did a service learning project that dealt with a PR firm and we had to help them get ready for an event that they were hosting. So coming into this meeting I had questions on topics that I had learned over first semester and it was interesting to see what they had to say. One of the questions that I asked them was about their crises plan and what it was and to me it seemed like they had a good process for solving their problems. I learned that there are for major aspects in the growth of PR. One address all of your audiences, two every kind of institution must relate to your audience, three PR is a global process, and four coming up with a Digital Crisis Plan because if you don’t have one in place when a crisis happens you won’t be ready for it. The one word that I heard over and over again in the meeting is that to be great in anything you do you must PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and PRACTICE.
Our next meeting was with Barron’s Magazine/Barron’s Daily Stock Alert with Fleming Meeks, editor of daily online newsletter about stocks. I felt like I listened a little more in this one because I really don’t know much about the stock market so to hear what he did for his job was exciting to learn about. The bad thing about this meeting was even after we had him scheduled with us for some time, when we got there people were having a meeting in the conference room we were supposed to be in, so all fourteen of us had to squish into his little tiny office so it was very uncomfortable. Then I asked him what he had been doing on 9/11. Thankfully he hadn’t come into work yet because he got a call saying not to come in because of the attack on the World Trade Centers and their building was only a block away from the attack. I learned that if you trust what you are doing it usually ends up looking good.
Our next meeting we had was with New York School of Law with Professor Michael Botein. I learned that with this switch from bunny ears to digital television cable companies need to figure out what they are. People didn’t rush in advance to get their converter box so many families with the switch coming will soon be without TV. This meeting wasn’t too interesting because it was on the law side of media so for me this meeting wasn’t as exciting but I still came out with information.
Our next meeting was with The Associated Press with Xavier Williams, Senior HR Administrator. He had Michael Oreskes and Robert Naylor come in as guests and talk about their jobs and how media has impacted the way the AP does their job. I learned that it is important to know new ways of doing things and technologies coming out of college when applying yourself for a job. “People who understand media and business will be in high demand” said Michael Oreskes. I also learned that the biggest challenge in media is figuring out what people want and how to give it to them. The AP meeting was very exciting because we got to sit in on one of their meetings and they discussed what they were going to be putting in the papers. It was cool because about 20 minutes after we were done with our meeting and the tour we went on the internet and saw one of the articles put up that they had talked about.
The next meeting was with Saatchi and Saatchi with Erin Lyons, Communications Team Leader. I learned that when making commercials you want to try and develop a real insight to the public. Their process in how they do that is first they come up with an idea, then they bring it to the storyboard and start thinking about how they should shoot this, then it’s brought into production and finally it is edited and put out on television. It was cool to see some of the products that they had made for companies because a lot of the commercials I had already seen before and they were very funny. During this meeting she toured us around their entire building and it was cool because the last part of the tour ended with us going on top of their building and we could pretty much see all of Manhattan, it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. What was even cooler was the fact that from their roof I saw the Statue of Liberty which I did not go and see so that was pretty amazing. This meeting was also interesting because they had a weight room and before we could pass we had to do ten jumping jacks but overall it was a really good meeting.
Our next meeting we had was with Columbia University with Sreenath Sreenivasan, professor of professional practice and new media expert. It seemed to me that he was a very down to earth guy who really knew what he was talking about. I would say that the biggest thing I learned from Sree was that you need to know all of the technologies but most importantly you need to know how to use them. I also learned that with journalism you need to know how to connect with your audience so that they will read and like the stories that you write. I also learned that you must pick and choose because every year new technologies become available and it is important to figure out what is better and what is not helpful. When we ended the last couple things I heard which I have been taught from my parents and friends is that you need to be smart and that it helps to know someone that can help you get started.
The next meeting we had was with Columbia Journalism Review with Mike Hoyt, executive editor. I learned that there is print and then there is the internet and it is important to work on both equally as hard and not to focus on one because then you could potentially lose some of your audience. Journalism has always been a big contributor to society and the world needs good journalist. “We need good journalists to have a breathing democracy” said Mike Hoyt.
The next meeting we had was with Project for Excellence in Journalism with Tom Rosenstiel, director. I learned that people want to hear about the news all the time and it must be given in many ways because sometimes people aren’t able to watch it at home on the television and the development of the internet has helped this. I also learned that the top five news destinations are Yahoo, MSNBC, CNN, AOL and the New York Times. The one that I found most interesting was defiantly yahoo because I don’t really see that as a big news site but more of a place where people can chat with one another.
The next meeting we had was National Association of Broadcasters with Marcellus Alexander, executive vice president of television & president of NAB. This meeting was very interesting because I have heard all about the switch to DTV but I never really knew the reason and why it would help out society. I learned that the switch coming up has cause so many problems because there will over 60 million sets without cable which in return will hurt stations because they will have lost viewers. I also learned that the issue in Television is the DTV switch and the issue in radio is performance tax. What I thought was really stupid is that because of downloads both legally and illegally, musicians are losing money so an idea was to have radio stations pay musicians for playing their song but if that were to be the case then radio stations would lose all of their money.
The next meeting we had was with The Podesta Group with Cluadia James, telecommunications expert. This was the meeting that I had the most trouble with and it seemed like everyone else did too. Out of every single meeting we had I felt like this was the only person that barely told us anything about what she does. When we would ask her questions they were short and sometimes didn’t even answer the question in the first place. So without lying I would just for the sake of me saying I learned something say that DTV is a very big issue right now and that something needs to be done.
The next meeting we had was Nation Public Radio with Jeffery Cabiness member of program services who ended up giving us a tour while talking about what they do. I learned that right know with the stations that they play they are attracting a much older age group and have been trying to connect with younger people. I learned that NPR doesn’t put their shows on the internet until after they have aired because they do not want to lose revenue so the people that miss the shows have to wait. It is always interesting to hear how different nonprofit companies make their money and what happens when they don’t make enough. Something that I learned that I thought was really interesting was how they are coming up with a technology such as HD radio and platforms that will help the deaf.
The next meeting we had was with one of Nikki’s parents friends who they have known for a while that works with Cable Television Association for Marketing. I learned that they try and help companies market more efficiently; it was pretty interesting to hear what they do. It was also interesting to hear what they had to say about the DTV switch and how they were in favor of not moving the date back. That is pretty much what we heard from everyone that we asked.
The next meeting we had was Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press with Lucy Dalglish, executive director. I thought this meeting was very interesting because I learned that if journalists ever get in trouble by the law for doing their job that they can come to RCFP for help and they will try and get them out of trouble. I asked Lucy if more often than none they are always released of the charges and she said with firm voice “yes”, not even hesitating. One thing she was really strict on was how bloggers are not journalists unless they get the story and write about it instead of just talking about their own opinion. They want you to come to them with your problem so they can help you out but they believe that as a journalist you should know what is crossing the line and what isn’t.
The next meeting we had was with Student Press Law Center with Frank LoMonte, director. I also thought that this meeting was very interesting and knowledgeable. This was very interesting because they do the same thing only they help and protect students that are still in school. One thing that they find very hard and cannot help students is when they are at a private institution rather than a public one. Public schools tend to be more lenient with the rules and how you follow them, but if a private school says something goes than it is a lot harder to find a loop whole. They don’t only help students from high school and college but they also help faculty if they are ever having a problem. High school is also harder to help out than college because they have more censorship around high school than they do in college. Most importantly it has to be a journalism case to be taken on by the Student Press Law Center.
The next meeting we had was with the Washington Post Online with Jim Brady, managing editor of I learned that the focus for the Washington Post is on long term revenue to keep journalism going. I also learned that not only do the companies that hire you decide if you are a journalist but so does the public you write for. I also learned that as people are on the go and want the news but want it fast they want quick hits at the top of the news article to tell them the main points of the story. Even though the internet has made it so much easier to let people read the newspaper, the Washington Post gains most of its revenue through print which I found very interesting. After we talked with Jim in the conference room he took us on a tour of the building and it was really amazing to see how they operate.
The next meeting we had was with The Express with Aimee Goodwin, former student of Whitworth University and now copy editor. We had a nice sit down lunch with her across the street from her work at this little café where they served amazing sandwiches and great tomato soup. The best advice that she gave the group was probably that when applying for a job it is important that you apply for more than one so that in case you do get rejected you have more backups. She also said that if you want something you have to go and get it yourself which means that after you apply you should call them to make sure they got your application and then keep calling them asking them if they have made a decision or not, just be extremely pesky to show them that you want this job really bad.
Last but not lease our most important meeting that I found very informational was with PBS with Paula Kerger, President and CEO. It was very exciting to meet the CEO of PBS, there has only been one other time in my life where I have met the CEO of a company. So to meet one from a television network that I grew up watching was pretty amazing. I was fascinated to learn that PBS was one of the first stations to pick up HD TV and that they are trying to do more animated comedy for adults while still keeping the children’s programming. Towards the end of the meeting she started talking with us on a more personal level and giving us information that she thought would be helpful in building a future. “Don’t close yourself off to any possibilities” Paula said. Overall I got a lot out from each meeting that we had and it was a good experience because I think that it helped me better understand what I want to do with my life after I get out of school.
When we were not inside meeting with different media professionals we were out and about going around each city looking at all of the amazing things that they had to offer. In New York I felt like we were the busiest because it seemed like there was so much more to do there than there was in Washington DC. It felt like we visited almost every important place that New York had to offer. We did a lot of really cool stuff when we were in New York, I even got to hang out with my mother because she stopped by and I stayed with her for a night. When she got in I rode the taxi over to her hotel so that I could put my stuff down and get settled in. After that we finally headed out for our evening of fun and excitement. Before she got to New York I was asking her what she had planned for us that night and when she wrote me back she said that we were going to be going to a musical. I have never really been a big fan of musicals but I thought I would go just so I could hang out with my mom and it would be the nice thing to do. So we headed over to where the musical was performing and apparently it had been sold out for months but lucky for us one of my long time friends dad got us tickets so we were able to go.
When we got inside we headed towards our seats to watch what I thought wasn’t going to be that exciting of a musical. When the musical had ended and we were leaving I thought that it was the best musical I had ever seen. No wonder people say that you must experience Broadway when going to New York for the first time. After the musical we headed over to this Italian restaurant that my mom had been to before and we had a very nice meal. Afterwards we were both pretty tired so we headed back to the hotel where we just laid in our beds watched some television and headed to bed. Towards the end of my time in New York we went to a Knicks game which I thought was just totally awesome to be at a game in Madison Square Garden. Going to that size of an arena really made me think of what I have been doing going to games at the Key Arena for the Sonics. They have so much history in Madison Square Garden so to say that I had been there was really cool. Not only did we do those things but after a meeting in New York Jordan and I decided to stay at NBC studios to try and get tickets for the Late Night Show with Conan O’Brien. We waited in line and at the studios for nearly three hours and finally got tickets. When we were sitting inside it was pretty crazy to see how small the studio actually was and before the show started he came out and was talking with us to tell us how this show that we were watching on Tuesday was for Thursdays showing on television. So every time he cracked a joke during the show about having one more day before the weekend everyone in the audience started laughing. It was a great experience and I will always remember being able to go to a talk show.
When we headed to Washington DC all the hype was for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. I was so excited to be a part of history that I could tell my children I watched the first African American President sworn in. So when Tuesday finally came we got down to the mass crowd of people around 4:30 in the morning and by 6:30 after standing around for two hours to let us in my leg started throbbing so Yong, Erica and I headed back to the hostel and just watched it on TV. I was a little disappointed but due to medical reasons I couldn’t stay any longer. In DC when we had free time we went to go see a lot of museums that where in the mall area. Some of the museums included The National Holocaust Museum, The National Archives Museum, The Liberty of Congress and The Newseum. They were all extremely interesting and I would have to say that I couldn’t choose between The National Holocaust Museum and The National Archives Museum for which one I liked best. They all had a ton of history, some that was really amazing and other history that was incredibly sad and hard to swallow. It was just awful to see what the Jewish people had to go through but to hear their stories of the ones that survived this awful attack was truly incredible. Some of the movies that we watched were very gruesome and to listen to. What was done to them was hurtful and I can’t understand why no one would stand up for them and try and stop what was going on. It was cool to go to The National Archives Museum because I got to see the history of the United States of America. I got to see not only The Declaration of Independence but I got to see The Bill of Rights as well.
The first night I got to Washington DC I had planned to go and visit one of my friends who I have known since kinder garden over at Georgetown University and to be able to see what a Division 1 school is like and how big it is was pretty cool. I think the coolest part of my time in DC was defiantly when we got to see The Capital, The Washington Monument, and The White House and of course The Lincoln Memorial, he was a lot bigger than I thought. After The Holocaust Museum on our last day Jordan, Maddie, Yong and I headed over towards The Lincoln Memorial and on our way we took pictures of us in front of The Washington Monument. When we got to The Lincoln Memorial I was not expecting it to be that big. We took pictures in front of it so that we could remember our time here. As we were walking down the steps you were able to see all the way to The Capital and all the lights that lit up the entire Mall, it was pretty cool. Heading back to Spokane I was both sad and happy at the same time because I knew that I wouldn’t be back to New York or Washington DC for a while but I was excited to see all of my friends that I had not seen in a while.
After being on this trip and going to all of the meetings we had with the Media professionals was very fun and helpful. I learned a lot from this trip and it helped me prepare myself for getting a job and entering the real world. I have always thought about being a real estate agent but after visiting all of those companies and seeing what they do every day was very exciting and made me think about me doing what they do. My favorite meeting was defiantly The Onion because if I could have fun doing that kind of job everyday while making people laugh at the same time would be pretty awesome. I think the meeting that I got the most out of was defiantly Ketchum PR Agency because after going through a PR class I knew what to expect and my questions were very well answered. I am still not sure what I want to do for a job but going on this trip has really helped me further my decision. If I had to choose a job today I think after this trip I wouldn’t mind being a PR agent. I am glad that I got to experience New York and Washington DC this way both academically and see our country at the same time. All in all I think this trip was very successful and I would do this again in a heartbeat and I am glad I could be part of something amazing.

Patrick Kenney

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