Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Final Paper

by Jordan Kamikawa

The Media Impact Tour in New York and Washington DC was a highly beneficial trip for me, and gave me insight into possible future endeavors. In addition, being the East Coast for the first time was great experience in itself, and just getting a taste of the culture and lifestyle there was exhilarating. In this paper, I will first talk about our meetings with the many media corporations and the information I learned from them, and then I will discuss a little about our extra-curricular activities, such as the museums and Inauguration. Finally, I will talk about what the trip means to me, especially in terms of future application.


Our first meeting with FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) set the tone for the meetings to come. This is because going in to it, I had no idea what to expect from the meetings, and how they would be laid out. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be conducted more like a lecture, or more of an open discussion. However, this meeting proved to be a good mixture of both, in which Janine Jackson gave us some background of the organization, and then proceeded to answer questions from the group. I found this layout appealing because we not only got a taste of the organization, but also additional information that we were curious about. Overall, I found this meeting to be highly informative in giving us a peek into a media watch group who analyzes and critiques various outlets. Even though I sensed from the outset that Jackson was heavily biased towards left-wing politics, she made it certain that their research is solid and that their scrutiny of the media is thoughtful and heart-felt. This is due to the sensitivity of some of the issues they tackle, such as race and gender discrimination. Another key point that I pulled from this meeting was that media is our climate, which Janine further explained by saying that even though a person doesn’t come into contact with a certain newspaper or publication, it can still affect him/her. I thought that this was a fascinating and true point, and displays the media’s impact on society. Thus, I think that it is great to have an organization like FAIR to serve as a kind of watch group on the media, and to point out things that may lead to biases.

The next meeting with The Smoking Gun was one of my favorites on the trip. The humor and comradery that all three editors displayed were a treat to witness. It seemed as though each of them thoroughly loved coming to work everyday and finding a new, interesting story to tackle. It was also fascinating to see them working on a new story as we were there, and the process of how they went about doing it was very meticulous and efficient. The chief editor, William Bastone explained that being first is everything, which clarifies the immediacy of the project at hand. Also, it was great to see how they rallied information from government sources by using the Freedom of Information Act. That added to the authenticity of the publication, because the reader knows that whatever he/she is reading there will be accurate. I think an inspiring point from the meeting was hearing about how the Smoking Gun grew from a small website based in a room to the widely known media entity it is today. This really displays the drive and commitment that Bastone had, and how he was able to capitalize on these things and reach his goals.

Next was our meeting with The Onion, which I have been a fan of ever since reading their book, Our Dumb World last year. When I first heard that we would meet with them, I was ecstatic. Their hilarious sense of humor conveyed through fantastic writing skills really enthralled me, so I was quite excited when we walked into their office. Like The Smoking Gun, this meeting also turned out to be one of my favorites because of the ease and down-to-earth mentality that the staff displayed. From the start, I could tell that everyone writing there had a great sense of humor, which was translated through their obvious love for their job. One of the questions I had going into the meeting was if they were cautious about covering certain topics and if some areas were considered taboo. In response, they explained that they are never scared about tackling tough issues and that no topic is off-limits. However, they did say that when they take on issues like this, they put extra care in planning it out and in writing it. They said that one of the best examples of this was their September 11th issue, in which they were the first comedy publication to take on the tragedy. Because they were sensitive enough to the issues at hand, they said that no one really took offense to anything in the issue, and that many people actually felt “relieved” because it broke some of the tension during that time. I thought that their ability to take an almost impossible task, such as 9/11, and somehow find a different slant on it, was truly amazing. It is this attention to detail and ability to be delicate on certain topics that really impressed me, and made me gain so much more respect for their organization. Overall, this meeting was not only hilarious and entertaining, but it gave us a look into a publication that isn’t afraid of breaking the rules and pushing the envelope.

Our next meeting was with Channel 13, and was our first encounter with a Television broadcast corporation. I thought that the people here were very professional, and did an excellent job in explaining how their shows are produced. One of the highlights for me was the discussion with Charlotte Madson, who is involved with the production of the documentary show “Wide Angle.” The immense amount of work and time put into each show was especially evident, which in turn illustrates the organization’s commitment to quality. Also, authenticity was stressed, as the reporters would get in-depth information on a particular country, and try to tell stories that are largely unheard. This often spurs on people to react to the stories, which definitely proves the impact of the show on the general public. Throughout the meeting, we were also given many pieces of advice on being better journalists and reporters. One of the main points stressed in this meeting was that as a journalist you have to be flexible, and to be skilled in not only writing, but in producing as well. This includes being able to shoot videos, take pictures, and edit pieces. They explained that the reason for this was because nowadays people have to do most of the work themselves, rather than having a large TV crew accompany them. I thought that this was great advice considering that we are in the midst of a new digital media age, in which technology will continue to change how reporting is carried out.

Our meeting with the Nielsen Company, the biggest marketing and research company in the world, was definitely a change of pace for us considering most of the places we visited have been on the other side of the spectrum in terms of media. Although I thought that this meeting was not the most beneficial for me in terms of my future, I still enjoyed learning about how Nielsen analyzes corporations and products. It is impressive how they can gather information about the viewing habits on so many people and still provide accurate results. However, one of the issues discussed was how DVR and Tivo are changing the game, in a sense it makes it harder to track if people are watching advertisements or programs. Also, it was interesting to hear that Nielsen is often compared to an Umpire in the sense that no one really takes notice until a bad call or mistake is made. Therefore, they are pushed to provide the most accurate data and research possible in keeping their standards high.

Personally being more interested in public relations rather than the journalistic side of the media, I was looking forward to our next meeting at Ketchum Public Relations. One of the first points stressed in the meeting was how the field has grown tremendously in the last few decades. John Palusazek, senior PR practitioner, attributed this growth to four main points. The first was that PR has grown because they offer communication resources of all types and to all kinds of audiences. Therefore, the attraction of PR is very broad. The second point was that every kind of institution realizes the need to relate to their publics, which PR professionals help them to do. The third point was that PR today is considered a global practice, thus showing its scope. Finally, the last point was that digital services are influencing all business, thus making their job more crucial and involved. I thought that these points were very true, and that more and more corporations are realizing the need for a PR department in order to better interact with their publics and to reach their goals. Also, they said that one of the biggest parts of their job is evaluation, and that relying on research is key. This is very important considering that because they are such a large-scale corporation, they often have many different clients with differing needs, thus making feedback and research extremely vital to their service. Ultimately, this meeting was highly educational for me, and provided me with a good look into how the field of PR is evolving and how the organization conducts business in response to these changes.

Our next meeting with Barron’s Magazine was probably one of my least favorites from our trip. This is mostly due to the fact that I have little interest for stocks and big business finances, so the information presented didn’t really catch my attention. However, Flemming Meeks, the editor of the daily online newsletter there, did give some good advice on general writing skills. He said that one of the most important things to remember when writing a story is that you have to gain the reader’s attention from the outset. Even though he does write about financial issues, he tries to remember that it’s not the numbers; it’s the people that bring about a good story. I found this compelling because I came into the meeting expecting to hear about numbers and math, so his emphasis on people and human nature was refreshing.
The New York School of Law was the next meeting on our list, and it was also one of my least favorites. Similar to Barron’s, the topic covered never really appealed to me, thus seeming not as important for my future career. However, they discussed some interesting information concerning new technology and the switch to digital cable. They covered many of the technological components of the switch, which I never fully understood before. In addition, a good piece of advice was given to us, which basically implied that we should brush up on our technological terms, especially because of the approaching digital age which is on the horizon. I thought that this advice was important, especially as most of us will be dealing with more and more technology in the future to come.

Our next meeting, which was with the Associated Press, really impressed me as far as the organization and professionalism of the tour. Having two experienced and very intelligent speakers was definitely a treat for us, and both conveyed different aspects of the issues in the media and within the organization. One of the key points that came out of the first discussion was that the demand for news is still as great as it’s ever been. Even with the changing of times, the media is still thriving and growing. I thought this was sort of counterintuitive because as the Internet becomes increasingly vast, it seems as though the role of journalists may decrease. Another valuable statement that came from the first discussion was the thought that the media is constantly changing, and that people must expect the change and move forward. I felt that this was good advice considering that some people rigidly try to hold on to dying technology, which doesn’t get them anywhere. The second part of the meeting involved a tour of their facilities, and even a sit in on one of their meetings. This tour gave us all a better sense of how a giant like the Associated Press actually works, and in my case, brought the whole experience to life - instead of just listening to the people telling us about the organization, we were able to see it in action first-hand. Overall, the entire experience at the AP was definitely a highlight of the trip, and helped me get a sense of how a successful newsroom is run.

Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising was our next meeting and really stood out to me as an interesting and fun organization. One of the first things I noticed when walking into their office was the very modern decorations and furniture. This gave me a fresh, innovative first impression of them. When we started our meeting, I was really impressed by their work on various advertisements. Their emphasis on simple, but heart-warming messages really drew me in. In addition, many of their ads were humorous and memorable, such as the Tide stain commercial. Erin Lyons, the communications team leader there, explained how they utilize an idea called “Lovemarks,” which she explained as being the act of elevating and evolving brands to a high level and also producing an immense level of respect. This concept was very appealing to me, because they seemed to operate with a lot of thoughtfulness and meaning behind their work. In addition, their thought process was made up of an abbreviation that included the objective, the issue, interest, and the creative challenge. I thought that was an innovative way to go about their planning, and probably helps in keeping people on track and focused. Also, their emphasis on positive messages and support for humanitarian causes such as UNICEF really intrigued me. This showed that they actually care about constructive issues, and how to better society. The tour of the facility was also a highlight of the meeting, and displayed the fun and easy-going atmosphere of working there. Overall, I think that this was one of the organizations that most appealed to me in terms of future employment due to their mix of professionalism and creativity.

Columbia University, the next stop on our list, was a very interesting due to Sree Sreenivasan, a professor and media expert. From the start, he made us feel welcome and encouraged for our meeting to be more of an open discussion rather than a lecture. He then discussed a wealth of information about new media and Internet tools. One of the points that he stressed was that people need to have a new media mindset, rather than just having a new media toolset. Thus, this implies not only having the technological tools to keep up with the changing times, but a mindset that adapts with the technology as well. An interesting term which he told us about in the meeting was called a “tradigital journalist;” which basically describes a person who has all the traits of a traditional journalist, but also knows his/her way around digital as well. Another fascinating point Sreenivasan brought to the table was that the media is facing a challenge due to the business model, not the technology or the journalists.
Our next meeting was in the same building with Mike Hoyt, executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. My first thoughts about the publication that Hoyt gave us were that it looked very well put-together and professional. The articles were well-written and scholarly, and pertained to appealing topics. However, I thought that the rest of the meeting as a whole wasn’t as interesting, and dealt with issues that didn’t spark my attention.

Project for Excellence in Journalism was our first meeting Washington DC. There we met with Tom Rosenthal, who gave us an inside look into how their organization goes about critiquing journalism. In addition, Rosenthal talked about how news is becoming a more active environment in which we pick and choose whatever we want. He described the shift from the old media as going from being the gatekeeper and having people be consumers, to people now becoming their own editors. He also described news-gathering as being like a “diet,” in which people need the right amount of nutrition, and not too much “junk food.” Overall, he concluded by saying that technology has the potential for a much richer journalism.

The Podesta Group, which focuses on lobbying and public relations, was our next meeting in DC. Claudia James, who is the telecommunications expert there, mostly explained how Obama’s administration is changing the policy on disclosure, and how it shifts the focus to a policy of openness and affects the FOYA applications. James also talked about how DTV will be an issue in the future concerning their work.

National Public Radio was our next stop, and instead of a conference type of meeting, we were given a full tour. Although the tour was interesting, I felt that it wasn’t as informational as the other meetings, because we weren’t able to ask a lot of questions that we wanted answered. Instead, it seemed like more of a show and tell type of experience. However, it was really neat to see the main sound studio, being that music and recording are some of my biggest passions. However, as a whole I would say that this meeting did not stand out that much to me simply because of the lack of depth in the content covered.

Our next meeting with Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was a nice change of pace because they were an advocacy organization that dealt with legal issues. Being that I don’t write for a paper, I had never heard of this organization before. However, if I was a reporter, it would be nice to know that an organization like this would be able to help me if I got into some legal issues. It really seemed like they do a thorough job in investigating each case, and try to defend journalists who have been treated unlawfully to the best of their ability.

Similar to the previous meeting, the Student Press Law Center provided the same kind of legal services to student journalists. Frank LoMonte, director of the SPLC, also talked about the internship program which seemed very hands-on, evidenced by the intern-produced final project which we were able to look at. The piece was put together very nicely, and featured stories and articles pertaining to cases they’ve dealt with.

The next meeting with The Express was very inspiring because we met with Aimee Goodwin, copy editor who was also a former student at Whitworth. Not only did I think that the paper was well balanced and a good read, but the fact that a person who was in my position a few years ago and is now in a successful position really encouraged me. Also, it was great to see that they try to keep the office light-hearted and fun, such as stacking their papers like well-earned trophies.

The Washington Post Online was also a refreshing change of pace, dealing with more of the website side of things. Chet Rhodes, assistant managing editor, not only was funny, but also gave us an extensive tour of how the website operates and is managed. Rhodes also displayed a new system of displaying news called TimeSpace, which was a unique way for the viewer to experience events. Overall, I thought that this was a very intriguing presentation, and Rhodes was able to give us a taste of how news is presented on the Internet medium.

Our final meeting with PBS was definitely a great way to end the trip. Just the fact that we met with the President and CEO of the corporation, Paula Kerger, was exhilarating to say the least. Let me be honest and admit that I was not expecting a woman to come walking through those doors. That being said, it was an extremely nice surprise to see that a woman made it to such a position of power, which is unfortunately not as easily achieved in our society. It’s a sad fact in itself when we are surprised or taken back by a woman who is in a high position of authority, and I hope that this can change in the near future. The meeting was very interesting and informative, and it was especially fascinating to hear how they balance such a wide range of shows aimed at varying demographics. Ultimately, this was a great meeting to end our trip on, and I’m glad that we were given the opportunity to meet someone of the caliber of Kerger.

Museums and Other Events

In addition to the many great meeting we had, our group was also fortunate to experience a little slice of life that both New York and Washington DC had to offer. This took the form of museums, shows, and of course, the Inauguration.

First, the museums we visited were all intriguing and fascinating. The first museum we saw in New York was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was overwhelming to say the least. I have never seen an exhibit as extensive and thorough as the Metro, which featured art pieces and artifacts from numerous cultures. I felt that the Egyptian section was the most interesting part of the museum for me because just seeing some of the tombs and buildings in person was very breath-taking. In addition, it was great to see some of the hieroglyphics and early forms of communication, which related much to the Mass Media History course I took last semester.

Along the trip, we also visited other museums featuring different aspects of history. One of those that stood out was the National Holocaust Museum, which was enormously powerful and saddening. It hit me hard to see how the events played out, from Hitler’s rise to power to the tragic massacre of millions of people. Out of all the museums, this one definitely had the biggest impact on me, and made me recognize how large scale the holocaust actually was.

The National Archives was another interesting museum we went to, and I felt it was the most important in terms of our nation’s history. Seeing the actual original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, as well as many other important documents was a very unreal experience. I felt as though I was staring at our country’s foundation in a sense, especially in terms of the freedoms we enjoy. In addition, seeing the Constitution was very exciting from a media and particularly journalist point of view, because it laid the foundation for the freedoms we use in the practice. Thus, this was a very big part of the trip for me, because I feel that the media’s impact wouldn’t be the same without the fundamental roots that these documents established.

However, one of the most beneficial activities in terms of relation to our class was our trip to the Newseum. I thought that museum illustrated all the different mediums of the media in intricate detail; from its early beginnings to the digital age. One of the highlights for me was the wall that displayed all of the Pulitzer Prize photos. Some were really heart wrenching and intense and display was overall inspiring to lay eyes on. In fact, this exhibit almost inspired me to consider photojournalist as a possible career; however, after thinking it through, I’m not sure that that will happen. Also, I enjoyed the section about the digital age, and how technology is changing the way that media operates. I thought this section went hand in hand with many of the meetings we went to considering that almost everyone we met with discussed this issue.

Another high point of the trip was when Pat and I went to see a Conan O’Brien show live. I have always been a big fan of Conan for his humor and spunk, so I was thrilled when we finally got in after three hours of waiting. I never realized how much goes on behind the scenes and during commercial breaks before I witnessed it at the show. The studio looked much different in person, and featured a lot of equipment and cameras which you never see on TV. In addition, there were a lot of staff involved on the set and in the area much of the time, including cameramen and make-up artists. Ultimately, it was captivating to witness the show from a behind-the-scenes perspective, and in the end, it was extremely funny and well worth the wait.

Finally, the biggest highlight for me, and probably for many others from the trip, was being able to attend the Inauguration. When I first heard I would have the possibility to attend this historic event, it sounded almost too good to be true. Just the thought of watching the first African-American president take his oath into office was tremendously exciting. When the day actually arrived and we headed downtown at 4:30 AM, it slowly set in on how historic the event would be. Just standing out there in the sub-freezing temperatures with thousands of other people was literally and figuratively a bone-chilling experience. However, when we finally got in and I realized how many people were around me, it really started to hit me. Just looking around at all the people from different races and walks of life, gathered together in joyous anticipation of what was to come, was something that I’ll never forget. You could tell people traveled far and wide just to be at this event, which made it feel like I was part of something immensely significant. Hearing the chants of “Obama” from about two million people in unison was also a memory that will be engrained in my head for the rest of my life. It was truly a historic moment, and I was glad I was able to be a part of it.

Future Application

In terms of my future, I feel that this trip was an exceptionally beneficial and valuable experience for me. Although I don’t really see myself going into journalism or broadcast, it was great seeing how they operate first-hand. Places like the Smoking Gun and The Onion really stood out to me, and if I was to take the journalistic route, I could imagine myself being at a place similar to those two. I’ve always enjoyed writing in more of a creative and humorous manner, therefore making these seem like a perfect fit.

However, the real highlight for me was seeing both the advertising and public relations side of the media through meetings such as Ketchum Public Relations and Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising. This is the area of Communications that I could really see myself doing in the future, so it was a great experience to visit these places in person. I especially was interested in Saatchi and Saatchi and the work they do there, because I admire their creativity and innovative approach to their ads. I could definitely see myself working at a place like this in the future, and thoroughly enjoying my work while doing so. In addition, the visit to Ketchum Public Relations solidified what I learned in a PR class I took last semester, and it was neat to see how the concepts in class actually played out in the real world.

In addition, hearing about the advancements in technology and how it is affecting the media will probably better prepare me for my future. Because we are in the midst of a digital age, I feel that it is important to be able to keep up with the times and adapt accordingly. Thus, hearing many different professional opinions on this trip helped me to get a better sense of where the industry may be going in the near future. Therefore, this knowledge may prepare me for advancements and changes to come. In turn, if I am able to apply those pieces of advice to my future career, I may be ahead of the curve in terms of technological knowledge.

Just going to the East Coast for the first time also meant a lot to me, and may have an impact on my future. Who knows, I may end up working in the East Coast. But even if I don’t, I feel that the experiences and knowledge I have gained by being on the East Coast for three weeks is something that will definitely better me in the long run. I firmly believe that the more you travel, the more you grow intellectually and culturally as a result. I have lived in Hawaii most of my life, which is basically the total opposite side of the country from the East Coast, so going there for the first time was definitely a shell-shock. Even compared to life here in Spokane, the differences between the two places are night and day. One of the biggest differences I noticed was the pace of lifestyle. In New York everything’s faster paced, and if you are not up to speed, you could get left behind in the dust. Also, the diversity mix was extremely different from Spokane, where most of the population is Caucasian. In addition, I got to see how a very efficient public transportation is run, something that neither Hawaii nor Spokane really has.

This trip has also quelled some wrong suppositions I’ve had about the East Coast. For example, I always had the assumption that New Yorkers were very self-oriented and rude individuals. This assumption was mostly based on what I have seen in movies or TV shows. However, I found the reality to be quite opposite. In fact, pretty much all the people we met with and ran into on the streets were courteous and kind, and were more than happy to help us. It is revelations like these that I would have never known if I had not gone on this trip, and I now feel more knowledgeable and content as a result.

Ultimately, this trip not only broadened my horizons academically, but also showed me some options for future careers and pathways. Wherever I’m headed in the future, I’ll be able to apply the knowledge I learned on this trip, especially in terms of the changing digital times.

New York and Washington D.C.: Sights and sounds

Students met with media professionals in two cities over the course of two week in New York and Washington D.C. Check out an audio slideshow of the media-related experience from the trip below.

Voices of Inauguration

Four students took on a project to document the people attending the inauguration ceremonies from all 50 states. They came up a few states short but found a diverse array of perspectives to share:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

-Video and interviews by Derek Casanovas, Danika Heatherly, Jasmine Linabary and James Spung. Production by Jasmine Linabary

JMC 346: Final Paper

This happened to be a great excuse to finally start my own personal blog...
My final paper has been posted here...


Final Project - Yong Kim

Click here.

The Journalist's Digital Dilemma: Part Two

-Multimedia by Derek Casanovas and Jasmine Linabary

View part one of this series here: The Journalist's Digital Dilemma: Part One

Final Paper

Media Impact January 2009

Dr. McPherson

Hannah White

Media Impact Personal Reflection Paper


         I spent the month of January in 2009 on a media criticism tour through Whitworth University. Our group met with a variety of companies and organizations that are involved in the media and we discussed with them the current state and direction of the media industry. I enjoyed each of our meetings for specific reasons relating to each individual, but in the end the people we met with, the companies they work for and all our new cultural experiences made me realize three things: the impact of respect for opposing views, points and differences, the importance of professionalism and the significance of learning to adjust and adapt to new technologies and situations.

         Experiencing the culture of the East Coast and the two vastly different cities we visited also resulted in a few life lessons for me.  I tirelessly tried to look like I belonged there – in New York & Washington DC.  I spent time imagining whether or not I could one day belong in one of those famous cities. 

         I was also fortunate enough to attend one of the most historic events of United States, and through this event and the city it was held in, I learned a little more about my career interests and where I want to go with my life.

         Our very first group meeting was with F.A.I.R (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). We met with F.A.I.R’s Program Director, Janine Jackson. Jackson’s job is to look for inaccuracies or loud omissions in mainstream media publications and F.A.I.R is a liberal organization so her criticisms are mostly directed at conservatives. Since I am a conservative and I tend to appreciate conservative media I was not expecting to be so impressed with F.A.I.R. Through out our meeting with Jackson it was clear that she was well informed about the current issues that she critiques and her goal is not to tear others down, but expose truth if it is hidden. As the meeting continued my respect for F.A.I.R grew because of F.A.I.R’s respect for people.

         My next encounter with the importance of respect for people and beliefs was through our meeting with The Smoking Gun. The Smoking Gun is a rather humorous publication that writes about celebrities’ criminal faux pas and other fun facts about laws and regulations. Initially such a publication may seem disrespectful, but The Smoking Gun does not do gossip - just the story. In my mind it is fair game to print a story that may be embarrassing to perpetrator of the crime if it is true and unelaborated. If a criminal did not want a story printed about their mishaps then they should have thought of that before doing it. The 3 person staff at The Smoking Gun specifically explained to us that they do not exaggerate or pass judgment they just run a story for exactly what it was.  Which is impressive because through their work they have the opportunity to totally ridicule well deserving celebrities for their brilliant stupidity, but they do not and that is admirable.

         Channel Thirteen was another place I got a dose of how important respect is in the media industry. This lesson in respect hit a different note than previous meetings because Channel Thirteen has deep respect for people, but also for the world we live in.  The purpose of the programming on Channel Thirteen is to educate the world about the world because if people understand each other and other cultures then they are more likely to respect them.  Americans seem to have a natural tendency to adopt ethnocentric mindsets if they are not exposed to other cultures or the issues and lives of other people across the world.  Wide Angle is a perfect example of a show Channel Thirteen uses to promote respect for different ethnicities.  Wide Angle is a show that follows a single person or family in a foreign country and in their day to day life experiences.  They explore the make up of the country’s government, economy, agriculture and current issues. Channel Thirteen is broadcasting great programs that have a higher goal of education and an ever present theme of respect for the people we live with and the planet we live on.

         A second running theme I ascertained through this trip is the magnitude of being firmly rooted in journalistic integrity and morals. The media industry is not exactly thriving right now, making it hard for new journalists to break into the field and it is also difficult for current reporters to keep their jobs.  During several meetings we asked the executives we were meeting with what young journalists or struggling ones can be doing to find or keep jobs? The answer always included two things, one: keep journalistic integrity and two: do what you’re good at. We have all heard horror stories of journalists who crossed a line in one way, shape or form and the only way to make sure that does not happen is to be grounded in integrity.

         We spent the majority of the time in our one-hour meetings discussing the current state of the media industry and how new technologies and the bad economy are affecting the field.  The huge outbreak of the Internet and the coming switch from analog television to digital is making lots of waves for the media.  It seems that everyone is affected by it in the same general way, but it is interesting to see how each individual company handles it.  Many of the publication type companies we met with are trying to create the perfect balance of print and online material because neither one is completely dominant to an entire reading audience. For example, The Onion focuses mainly on their online content because that is where most of their readers are.  Or Fleming Meeks, who writes for Baron’s magazine.  He writes an online and subscription-only newsletter.  But for “Express” which is a daily commuter paper printed by the Washington Post, they do not do any online work because their audience wants to read tangible print. Although the Internet is a bit of a scary new territory for the media industry it is important to remember that the radio did not replace the newspaper and the television did not replace the radio.  In time everything fell into place and coincided.  The key to adapting to the Internet challenges is knowing your audience.  The various companies that we met with work hard on keeping up to date with who their audience is and what they want.  If you can continue to provide your audience with what they want, then your company is probably not going to go out of business.

         The other big issue for media companies right now is the upcoming switch from analog television to digital.  Marcellus Alexander of the National Association of Broadcasters said that the switch is the number one issue for all television relatable companies right now.  Nielson Company records the number of viewing audiences in all mediums and they are taking precautions for the digital switch so that they do not get an inaccurate count.  From another perspective, Claudia James from the Podesta group, a government relations firm, in Washington DC is not busy getting ready for how companies handle the change.  She is trying to prepare the people for the change. Congress is currently discussing whether or not the date of the change needs to be pushed back.  The present date is set for February 17th, but the American population will probably not be ready by that time. One option people have for continuing to use their television once the signals have been switched is to buy a moderately expensive converter box that will connect to their television sets.  But the bad economy and people’s tendency to procrastinate are proving that lots of people have not yet gotten a converter box and are on a long waiting list for a government coupon that would help cushion the price.  Professionals from the Podesta group, like Claudia James, work with Congress in discussing the effects and outcomes that the pending legislation will have on the people. Overall it was interesting to listen to the voices of companies who would be affected in varying ways by the transition and their thoughts on the issue.

         Ironically enough despite these running themes of integrity, being flexible during changes and having respect for opposing viewpoints, my favorite meeting of the trip was with the quirky publication The Onion, and they don’t staunchly follow any of those themes.  The Onion is a publication that parodies and makes fun of mainstream media.  The brainless trends and the big, widely broadcasted events.  For example one of their post inauguration headlines read: “Hillary Clinton mouthing along to Presidential Oath”.  I laughed more in our one-hour meeting with the staff members of the The Onion than I had on the whole trip up until that point! I think part of the reason I liked this working atmosphere so much was not only that they are hilarious as well as educated; they are carefree and untraditional.  Just look at their track record - first they started with a website then began a print publication, and when they write a piece they start with the headline and build the story around it. One of my personal little self-mantras is “don’t take yourself too seriously” and I felt that The Onion embodied that phrase. Their staff was young, fresh and completely competent, but not over bearing or constantly nearing fatal stress levels.  I think that is important!  Certainly society could not handle too many publications like the The Onion because it could become inappropriate if tons of media outlets started mocking current events and celebrities.  But for now I think it is a much needed breath of fresh air and is being done by a good team of writers in a healthy way.

During this trip we visited two major cities, New York City and Washington DC.  I had never been to either place before and I was excited for the new experience.  Being that I am a people watcher New York subways were constantly entertaining.  New Yorkers have a sort of “mojo” that while fascinating to watch and go along with, I do not think in the long run I could keep it up. My favorite part of New York was the vibrancy, an odd vibrancy that could be borderline obnoxious, but still so full of life. What they say is true, New York really is the city that does not sleep. Although the city is vivacious, colorful and very fun to visit I could definitely never live there.

                  Before this trip I was convinced that New York was the coolest place ever and Washington DC was going to be the drab part of the trip, well I’m an idiot! New York was just the opening act. I absolutely loved Washington DC! DC has the hubbub of a city with the cleanliness and charm of a small town. The streets were all spacious and easy to navigate, the buildings were tall and beautiful, and everything was clean. My two favorite parts about the city was the overflowing history and the buzz of intelligence. Being that Washington DC is the capital of the United States and has been for a very long time the place is just teeming with history! Gorgeous monuments (like Lincoln Memorials and The Washington Monument), dignified cemeteries (Arlington Cemetery which is also the grave site of the Kennedys and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier), immaculate museums (like National Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian), huge libraries (housing Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural bible and Thomas Jefferson’s personal book collection) and archives (displaying the original copy of the Declaration of Independence) are just some of the historical venues scattered throughout the city.  The city also has this perpetual buzz of intelligence and importance. Federal legislation, true justice and our most brilliant leaders reside there and the citizens of DC clearly understand the importance of that. It was a neat vibe to be a part of and an incredible city to explore; I am undoubtedly going to go back!

      A major highlight of my trip was the inauguration of President Barack Obama.  President Obama was inaugurated into office on January 20, 2009 and I was blessed enough to be there. For me the most incredible part of the occasion had nothing to do with politics, parties, winning or losing, but the history the event.  The dream of racial equality that Martin Luther King spoke of almost 40 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial finally reached the White House!

One of my favorite aspects of being in Washington DC during inauguration week was all the historical reporting that the media was publishing and broadcasting.  Remembering the story of America step by step. Our foundation, leaders, struggles, triumphs, heroes, wars, leaders, lessons and decisions were recalled and considered so that today we could began writing a new chapter to unfolding story of the United States of America. I am a huge history buff so getting to be in the Capital of the National while history was being made was very exciting for me.

         I spiraled into a contemplative personal reflection session upon hearing President Obama’s Inaugural Address. To be perfectly honest not all of my political beliefs align with Obama and his administration, but nonetheless a resounding message of hope and change became much more then a campaign promise, they came to life with more vigor and intensity then I had ever imagined.

Several of Obama’s statements in particular really stood out to me. For instance, “The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation:  the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.” When Obama said this I just wanted to yell “Amen!” America was built on God and built on freedom and that foundation has repeatedly proven its durability throughout history. The freedom of equality and right to pursue happiness is the uniqueness of America that cannot be forgotten, even amidst threats of terrorism, war and crumbling economy, nothing can change the founding principles upon which this country is built.

The concept of change, huge political policy and administrative modification is scary! I am a traditionalist, so the thought of changing so much of has been our “traditional” was daunting, but I was pleasantly surprised by a feeling of assurance I felt upon hearing Obama’s words. “Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.  Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done…What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” Well needless to say that statement pretty much addressed and subsided my fears instantly. All the coming change is not erasing our past but embracing. America has always withstood hardships and growing pains in the past and it is from those growing pains that we thrive, strengthen and prosper. The one thing we can always predict is change and we should embrace it with complete confidence that we can adapt to and overcome it. Obama is right when he says that the ground has shifted. Change in our world has come and we must answer it with change in our government.

Near the end of speech the President tackled that one subject left unaddressed, race. When speaking about the promise of equality and citizenship in America he used himself as example and said, “a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served in a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.” Well if nothing else in the speech made you cry then this did! In remembering the great history of our nation, we would be remiss if we skipped over the low points. Racism in the United States has been a dark stubborn issue for almost decade, but the election of Obama to the Presidential office is a milestone for the nation plagued with racism. Through the election of an African American man to the highest office our country has a bridge has been built between new and old. Maybe skin color could be a characteristic with absolutely no connotation or automatic assumption of any kind for the next generation or the one after that. It truly is possible.

At the end of that day I was just completely overwhelmed with pride of my countries past, future and growth and had a much greater appreciation for the direction our government is going.

 Being in Washington DC this past month has provided me with plenty of food for thought about my future and career goals. Government was never a path I considered for myself, but being in the capital of my country and watching it work and buzz has peaked my interest a lot. After one our meetings in Washington DC we visited Arlington National Cemetery and inscribed on one of the great stones surrounding JFK’s grave was the famous quote from his inauguration speech in 1961 “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” I have always had a strong sense of patriotism and pride for my country, but I never thought that I had anything to contribute to it, but maybe I do.

In personal, social and work related situations I have always been a good communicator, a peacekeeper and great negotiator. When I chose communications as my college major I was just really glad that there happened to be a major that combined a few of the things I am good, past that I did not think too much about it because I was too busy keeping my grades up and working part time, but this trip allowed to take a breath and figure out what I actually want to do with the degree I was working so hard for. Out of all our meetings in New York the only company I could see myself working for was Ketchum Public Relations firm. I knew it was something I would be good at and I found their work decently interesting, but it did not make me excited.

It was not until we got to Washington DC that I realized I might actually want to work in government. It is funny that somehow I never once considered that path for myself, I never had the dream of becoming a lawyer and going into politics and for some reason that was just about all I imagined government jobs to be, lawyers who turned into politicians. DC opened my eyes to all the opportunities of working and being involved in our government there are.  I have started looking into careers that a person with a communications/public relations job could have in politics and government and I am excited about my results! Basically every Capitol Hill department needs public relation people and I could be legislative assistant, department of defense, health or agriculture researcher or executive, a lobbyist or a good number of other things. I want a career that allows me to work toward justice, promote what is right and help people… which is why I am not sure how working in government never occurred to be before. I know it is a tough field that is laced with deceit and conniving, but I can handle it. I believe that if I work hard and honestly and seek the Lord in all I do, I will be successful.

In conclusion, this trip was awesome! I learned so much about media, the industry, history, the east coast, my country, myself and the list could go on forever, but truly I gained life experience from this trip that I could not have obtain anywhere else. The things I got to be a part of, the friends I made and people I met all helped shape my view of the world and of myself in a good way. This trip has taught me how to be a working professional, the skills I need to acquire and subjects I need to study more. Best of all I actually found direction in my career and I am so excited about it! If it were not for this trip allowing me to visit and experience life in the Capital of the nation I would have stayed ignorant about the opportunities in government and would still be searching for my career purpose.



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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Final Project

This paper is the culmination of our trip to New York City and Washington, D.C. I can't believe it is already over, but I gained so much valuable insight from our meetings.

Maddie Hayes

The Journalist's Digital Dilemma: Part One

-Multimedia project by Derek Casanovas and Jasmine Linabary

Watch for Part Two in an upcoming post.

Media Impact: Public and Personal

While in New York and D.C., I discovered the direction of the media industry, but more importantly, I was also able to pursue and discover the directions of my future career. Meeting with professionals from all ends of the media spectrum, I was able to ‘cross off’ jobs which I had no interest in and ‘circle’ jobs which I could research further on my list of possible careers. I never imagined myself as a hard news reporter, but never shut the door on journalism as a profession. I learned on the trip that the art of journalism is dying for a few reasons. Blogs, the economy, law makers, and even the normal citizen all test the credibility of the media. Over the next few pages, I will attempt to summarize our meetings and then I will look at the state of the media from my perspective as well as its influence on my future career decisions.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting aims to critique news media and straight news in their magazine, EXTRA!, and in their radio program, Counterspin. Their studies focus on the stories told and the writer and the factual problems, omissions, and biases. Their website provides an ‘action alert’ which allows readers to combat the biases of media. Before FAIR, people had no idea that you could challenge the media and talk back to the authenticity and credibility of papers. According to Janine Jackson, program director, there is a “…conflict between goals of journalism and making profits.”

Business decisions are taking over journalism decisions. For example, for a higher profit, TIME allowed Ford to sponsor an economic issue. This goes to show the institutional climate that certain stories will enhance a cover and others will not, affecting sales. FAIR calls attention to the ownership of content as well as depicts how mainstream media finds it hard to accurately, if at all, cover issues of war and criticism of Americas objectives and politics. In our meeting with Janine, we also learned that corporate media struggles to accurately cover race and structural inequality is also a taboo subject. In terms of a left-right bias, there tends to be a top-down bias where the most powerful people get to speak. This leaves journalists with the question, who gets to speak and who is spoken for? Janine said the best way to succeed in this industry is to know something beyond journalism and to pursue interests beyond one area in order to support your media criticism.

While at the Smoking Gun, we learned that one person can achieve many things if provided with resources and gumption. The Smoking Gun is owned by TruTV, formerly CourtTV, and is a subsidiary of TimeWarner. As a small operation run by three men for twelve years, the Smoking Gun attempts to maintain a relationship with their readership by responding to every email which comes their way. Their advice to us to obtain resources was to never show your hand that you are a reporter. We learned that if you are credible, no matter what the content of your story, if you don’t pay for your stories and don’t gossip, that there is a real value in reporting. Investigative reporting seems like a lot of work because it is founded on exact documents and can sometimes be a long, enduring process. I don’t think this form of journalism would be for me as I tend to loose patience on long projects.

When walking away from The Onion we were all able to see the optimism in the future of creative journalism. These men, although a little rough around the edges and occasionally unfocused, were proof that there is a way to tell the news in a refreshing manner. They run a fine line between delivering stories with meaning and making people laugh. The employees at The Onion had good rapport between each other and we all walked away thinking that we would love to work in that environment. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact we felt we were in a grown-up playground or behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live. I think the best part about meeting with The Onion staff was when we were the test audience for three headlines they would use in their Inauguration edition. We placed our bets on our favorites and anxiously waited to read the paper in D.C. To our surprise, they used all three headlines on the front page.

Visiting Channel 13 was a good experience because we were able to view the studios and production rooms in order to get a better understanding of the role of public broadcasting. Our visit was the same day as The Onion and these two news organizations could not be more opposite. Channel 13 delivers serious news while The Onion’s main goal is to be funny. We met with the producers of Wide Angle and Front Line. Channel 13 is the largest of 350 stations in the PBS system. They produce some of their own programming, yet also maintain jurisdiction of programming their own shows. Wide Angle is an intimate, character driven approach to international communities and under-reported stories. They produce ten films a year and show them between the months of July and September. Due to the economy, they now have to share the rights with BBC.

Channel 13 takes the stance that the more they maintain original formatting, the more they become unique in the changing landscape. I learned that in order to be successful in broadcasting, you must be flexible and have a back up plan. Mary Ann Donahue gave us the advice that, “…the news cycle is no longer something you wait for. You must create your niche.” Due to blogging, Channel 13 feels the pressure to be accurate with news delivery and authenticity. It is because of their dedication to standards in journalism and non reliance on traditional advertising dollars that PBS news broadcasting has been voted the most trustworthy source for five years. “Once you lie to viewers, you loose their trust and they will no longer watch your show. We can’t afford to lie,” Donahue said.

According to Dave Thomas of Nielsen Co., television remains the principle marketing and advertising medium. Due to the increase in viewing choices on television, there is an increased opportunity to advertise. Nielsen Co. uses the approach of “A2M2” which means Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement to gauge the attitudes towards new perspective products. With this information, they then are able to understand if the consumer would be inclined to buy the product. They then deliver the data to clients in order to give them a clearer understanding between internet and television marketing. The company in turn then produces something that combines sight, sound, and motion in order to appropriately advertise on television and the internet. During this meeting, we discussed the role of Nielsen in the upcoming transition to digital broadcasting. They have become the source for the digital transition announcements and have taken an anticipatory stance. Thomas says that the media industry is seeing a shift from program bias to commercial bias.

I have always been interested in public relations, and eventually want a career in this field. I was ecstatic to meet with Ketchum Public Relations and the Public Relations Society of America. Due to the importance of advertising and marketing as well as the other opportunities which new media is providing, public relations is a flourishing field. Ketchum has a variety of audiences and a variety of techniques which they use when they represent their clients. Every institution knows they must listen to and address its critics, Ketchum provides clients with the tools to do so. We learned that PR is a global profession and interaction which is booming in spite of the economic condition. Clients are not cutting back because they understand the high value of return on their investment in Ketchum’s strategies.

Their holistic viewpoint to doing business and cross communications platform streamlines resources, allowing them to conduct business in a competitive field. Their job is to make clients happy. This company heavily relies on research. “Research starts before the relationship and you win business based on the research you present them,” said John Paluszek, senior PR practitioner and director of PR for PRSA, “Ketchum’s goal is to achieve our client’s goal”. This organization stressed the importance of internships for employers.

Flemming Meeks of Barron Magazine online was a testament to the revolution of new media. His article is only produced online and readers must pay $1,000 dollars a year to receive his financial tips. His audience is a bit older and his goal is to give information to individuals who have a lot of financial power. In order to do this, the source must be credible and ‘every page has to sell the story’. Meeks is given more freedom to write freely due to not having to advertise, all profit is from subscriptions. This is unlike other publications which have traded their credibility for advertising dollars. I enjoyed hearing Meeks personal story of his road to journalism as he is a testament to the saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know”. He stressed multiple times that a liberal arts education is vital so that you can understand human nature in order to have an attentive audience.

Our meeting with Michael Botein of the New York School of Law took an unexpected detour when we discussed the technical workings of the digital transition for a majority of our allotted time. However, I was most interested in what Botein had to say about the digital environment and the problems it presents to media lawyers. His perspective is that the internet has made intellectual property a blurry area and that he has no faith in Digital Rights Media as a long term resolution.

“Print journalists don’t know how to technologically appeal to readers, they need a business plan. No one has a clue how to make money from print journalism right now,” said Botein. He stressed the importance of taking a business course in college in order to succeed. Botein does not believe that bloggers will have a true impact on print journalism and that citizen journalism is not a threat. He said, “…bloggers have certain self interests, they are not credible sources, they won’t make money in the long run, and they will self destruct.”

One of my favorite meetings was with the Associated Press (AP). Xavier Williams brought two guest speakers to the meeting, allowed us to sit in on the morning news brief, and took us on a tour of the expansive offices of AP. What I learned from this meeting was that Associated Press is perfectly suited to adapt to the internet age since most new forms of distribution end up existing side by side with the old. The internet is developing the other areas of journalism and helping to reexamine the roles of writers. Again we heard the importance of being business trained when Robert Naylor said, “One thing that will be in acute demand are people who are media and business minded and trained who can present a creative business role model.” Due to the economic struggles, the AP is driven to produce a better product and to invent a delivery platform that caters to the reader.

Of the non traditional journalism meetings, I most enjoyed meeting with Saatchi & Saatchi advertising. When walking into their main office, a potential client would be swept off their feet into the breathtaking views of the New York City skyline and forget about the woes of their business plan. However, the consultants at Saatchi & Saatchi understand that when presented with a marketing scheme, they must start on a strategic side and address the objectives, issues, and creative challenges of the organization before planning an advertising campaign.

I loved the setup of the creative suites which allowed for open communication between employees to bounce ideas off of one another. The environment of Saatchi & Saatchi seemed to address community holistically, making it an organization I would trust in the future—as an employer or employee. Their focus on “love marks” as an advertising campaign rings true within the office environment, as seen in the high love and respect for each other.

Two of my roommates, Stephanie and Hannah, and I were blessed with a lifetime opportunity to meet with Sean Hannity of Fox News. Now, I may loose some audience right off the bat when I mention his name, but I do believe that no matter what political stance one may have, there were valuable lessons to be learned from our experience. Due to the nature of the airplane crash that day, Sean’s taping of his television show was delayed so that it could have live coverage. This meant that we would have less time with him, yet we could see the behind-the-scene nature of producing a live broadcast of breaking news.

Upon entering the building and receiving our credentials, Sean’s assistant Elise brought us up to the recording studio and gave us a brief tour of that floor of the building. She was very interested in our tour and repeatedly made the statement that she ‘wished she would have had the opportunity to take part in a study tour such as ours”. We were then ushered into a green room where the guests of the show were being miked-up and made-up. We met pilots, witnesses, firefighters, Wall Street journalists, stock brokers, a professional blogger, author of new book American Grit, a colleague of Don Imus’ and employees of Fox. We chatted with the guests of the show until we were able to meet Mr. Hannity. When walking into the studio I was surprised at how expansive it was. He immediately walked up to us, made us feel welcome, shook our hands and took an interest in our lives. We had prepared multiple questions, none of which we were able to ask due to the easy conversation which flowed regarding our trip and his genuine interest in our career goals. We then watched the rest of the show and enjoyed the company of the guests.

We were exposed to multiple career opportunities pertaining to broadcast media and left with many contacts and ideas for our futures. The most enjoyable part of the evening came in the form of a picture with Mr. Hannity when we were all exiting the studio. I had insisted on wearing towering heels, and when combined with all six feet of my natural height, the end result was this picture of the girls, Sean and I--soaring a whole head above him.

Our last meetings in New York took place at Columbia University. Sree Sreenirasan, the Dean of Student Affairs and professor of journalism, spoke mainly of new media. “Every journalist must have a new media skill set, but also a new media mindset,” said Sreenirasan. We learned that the problem with the media industry isn’t with the consumer or producer, it is with the business model. Sreenirasan gave us tips on how to develop new media tools and how to acknowledge that the audience may know more than the writer. Most importantly, we learned that if you can create a following, people will notice you and in order to do so, you must promote yourself.

While in New York, I received the vibe that media professionals were sweating bullets because the sky seems to be falling. Conversely, when leaving the meetings in D.C., the sky seems to be blue and almost cloudless. There is generally a positive attitude in D.C. regarding the future of the media. Perhaps this is due to the overall nature of D.C. being a city that thrives on writing public policies in order to better society, and creating opportunities through these policies is a daily deed.

At the Project for Excellence in Journalism in D.C., Tom Rosenstiel spoke of the revolution of media and of how some credibility of journalism was lost to cable news and internet. I learned that we as consumers have evolved from passive to active hunters and gatherers of information. As a part of the ‘On Demand’ generation, I have contributed to the power shift from journalists narrating a story and agenda to the consumer who is their own editor of news. “You are assembling your own diet of news. In the same way Americans are obese, it is because things are made convenient to us. If you have a sweet tooth for celebrity gossip, you need to moderate it,” said Rosenstiel.

The most important thing I took away from this meeting is that the current predicament in the media industry is not the loss of audience, but a loss of revenue. The internet is decoupling news from its revenue source as there are no subscriptions. The internet also provides a bad platform for advertising because you don’t need the news to sell the product. Nevertheless, Rosenstiel was positive that the internet is giving way to a richer form of journalism, only if we learn how to use the medium to make a better product.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) represents television and radio stations in court settings. We heard again that in order to be successful on television, you must have a robust, easy to navigate website in order to have an audience in broadcast. “Innovation and creativity are not only necessary to survive, but also to thrive,” said Marcellus Alexander, President of NAB Education Foundation.

When meeting with National Public Radio, we were given a tour and learned about being a broadcast organization which exists solely on memberships. Depending on the size of the audience, stations can purchase programming from NPR if they pay dues. I was most interested in the digital media department which develops progressive technology to keep radio programming up to date in this changing world. The most interesting technological advancement is radio caption technology for the deaf.

When meeting with Lucy Dlaglish of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, I was blown away when she maintained a positive attitude about the direction of her organization, regardless of plummeting donations, and obstacles presented by previous policies. Perhaps the best news for this questionably floundering profession is that “44”, as locals refer to our new president, has reversed the Ashcroft memorandum within his first two days of being in office. This first step to revive the public interest in government by attempting to allow viewing of documents according to FOIA regulations, will permit for a more ‘transparent government’.

The work that Frank Lomonte of the Student Press Law Center is also allowing student journalists to enjoy and take advantage of the privileges of the First Amendment. This group which deals with combating high school and college level censorship, is taking large strides to not only educate student journalists but also to inform the deans, teachers, and advisors of these student groups of their rights in journalism.

Chett Rhodes of Washington Post Online (WPO) presented the idea that we are in a “newsy time” but the news industry is failing due to the dominance of the internet. People can pick and choose what they want to read instead of being presented with the news. Most of the WPO’s audience comes from website traffic nationally, unlike other newspapers. When designing web pages, Rhodes builds for users who may not be familiar with the internet. In other words, he designs with his mother in mind. In order to succeed in the media arena, Rhodes suggested we develop news judgment, the ability to write clearly and succinctly, and the hunger to tell stories.

Our meeting at PBS was incredibly informative and very impressive. I walked away with a new respect for the mission of the organization. PBS combines legacy media with new media and their biggest issue this year is placing content online. They are developing social media tools for their website and are experimenting in order to understand what works. Paula Kerger believes there is a place for both non profit and corporate networks. “Our shareholders aren’t on Wall Street, they are on Main Street,” said Kerger when asked about how to balance advertising for their network with the economic situation.

After the scheduled meetings, I was thrilled to also learn that people in the media business were not the only ones who see a light at the end of the tunnel, but also a few Washington lobbyists. Hannah, Stephanie, and I went to dinner with Sally and Bill Murphy, friends of Stephanie’s family. We were spoiled with an extraordinary meal at the Capitol Grille where we were able to enjoy a clean environment (unlike our hostel situation), rich conversation, and amazing company. Amongst a serenade from Bill, joyful and optimistic tears about our Inauguration day experiences, and steaks which must have come from heaven, we also discussed the uphill battle newspapers have in order to appeal to a technology savvy generation. The positivity that emerged from this conversation lifted our spirits, and I think a lot of that generated from the outlook that we as Americans can do anything we put our minds to-- a theme which has resonated through the election season and especially this past week.

Our experience at Inauguration was fantastic as we were able to see the world come together to support one man and one nation. When I tumbled out of my wooden bunk bed at four in the morning, I was alarmed that my friends in Spokane were still awake and text-messaging me ‘good night’ whilst I responded ‘good morning’. The day’s game plan looked something like this: wake up, have breakfast with Congressman Mike Thompson at 8, leisurely stroll into our ticketed area by the reflecting pool, watch the inauguration and then stroll to the Anheuser Busch/Honeywell parade watching party where we would be the ‘belles of the ball’. However, in reality, our day went something like this:
4 a.m.—Wake up, shower, dress.
6:30 a.m.—Walk to Starbucks, pick up coffee and breakfast and begin trek to Capitol.
7:00 a.m.—Begin to see swarms of people lining up around the city blocks just to enter the Metro system. Immediately understand that the route our tickets advised us to take via Metro was no longer a good idea. Walk with the masses.
7:15 a.m.-Abruptly stopped in a horde of angry people chanting, “Open the gates! Open the gates!” Stupidly wait with these people after being told ticket holders must go through these gates as well.
8:00 a.m.—Became fed up and after talking to an ABC correspondent, we took his advice and attempted another route.
8:30 a.m. -- Stupidly paid 30 dollars for a very short bike ride to a tunnel.
9:300 a.m. - Emerged from a tunnel and found the “Silver ticket” grouping.
10:00 a.m. - Finally went to the security line for our ticket section. Patted down by security guards.
10:05 a.m.—Took pictures in front of Capitol, called family members, looked at Capitol. Realized that because jumbo-trons aren’t pretty, they weren’t placed in ticket holding areas, making any view of Obama and friends look like ants.
10:15a.m. - Began trek to the Anheuser Busch/Honeywell party.
11:00 a.m.—After being pummeled by angry ticket holders not able to get into Inauguration, walking back through the tunnel, and briefly loosing each other in a crowd, we arrived at the party and collapsed in the lobby.
11:05 a.m.—Sat down in the plush 5th floor overlooking the Capitol and parade route, stuffed our faces with catered food and beverages.
4:00 p.m.—After chatting with numerous people in powerful positions, eating our fill of good food, and viewing Inauguration activities, we were saddened to leave and have to walk home.
4:15 p.m.—Feet went numb/ lost feeling, knees were buckling, hailed a cab home.
5:00 p.m.—Went to bed, passed out. Awoke a few hours later, ordered a pizza, and we collapsed once more. Feeling in feet still missing.

Our experience on Inauguration was completely unexpected and although things went haywire, we made the best of it. We met and chatted with so many people, sang happy birthday to three different complete strangers (yes, it was legitimate), met families from Zimbabwe, Peru, Puerto Rico, England, and numerous states, political figures, and lobbyists. However, the same theme remained: No matter what happened to each person that day that could have turned a beautiful moment into a disappointing one, each individual understood that the underlying theme of this occasion was unity as a country. No matter where we went, people of all races, religions, viewpoints, social and marital status, and age were all there for one reason: to support this great country and what it stands for.

I heard from multiple sources that the best way to succeed in this industry is to know something beyond journalism. When meeting with Dave Thomas of Nielsen Company, Ketchum Public Relations, Flemming Meeks of Barrons, Michael Botein of New York Law School, Associated Press, and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, it was made very clear that writing skills are a must in the media business, yet there are numerous other qualities which are attractive to employers. When asked about their hiring processes, all organizations defended their stance that connections, personality, and drive are the most essential components of a desirable employee.

As a Communications major and Business Management minor at a liberal arts university, I
believe that I have been afforded the rounded education which employers are seeking. The impact of this trip on me has been that contacts are necessary to advance your career, you can not close a door on any opportunity, and you must find a mentor in order to succeed.

I learned that the definition of a journalist has changed, and will be evolving as long as technology advances. However, true journalists have standards and bloggers don’t follow these codes. Ethically, the standards have and always will be the same: to deliver fair, accurate, credible, and accountable. Bloggers tailor their work for this audience whereas journalists write to tell a purposeful story.

Journalists are not threatened, yet newspapers are. Journalists must work to expand their skill sets and take new approaches to writing stories. Newspapers must not root themselves in tradition but if to stay afloat, must be a step ahead of the reader and a step ahead of technology.

To wrap things up, I am inspired by the students on this trip who feel that journalism is their duty to society, and am also inspired by the students who believe other forms of in the communication field are their calling. All the professionals we met with agree that if you are not happy in your job, it is not for you and that in order to succeed you must want to go to work every morning, regardless what criticism you receive from others or the obstacles in your way. This trip not only influenced the way I read newspapers, blogs, and magazines but also influenced the way I will think about my job search in the coming months. In fact, I may even start a blog.

-Nikki W.