When things fall into place: #EIJ13

Last September, I attended Excellence in Journalism 2012 #EIJ12 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I’m from Florida so it made sense to go. My SPJ chapter went as a group and made the four-hour trek south to the convention. It was definitely a new experience and certainly a rewarding one. I mean, how often do journalists from all across the nation come together for a weekend in the name of all things journalism?

But, as much fun as it was, I figured I probably wouldn’t get the chance to attend again anytime soon. I knew the location changed every year and I assumed next year’s event would probably be on the other side of the country. And I was right.

However, this past January I began working for The Walt Disney Company, which led to me having roommates. One of my roommates, the one I shared a room with, is from the Los Angeles area. This past April, said roomie invited me to go home with her to California — which ended up being my very first trip to Cali! Fast forward a few months later to find out that not only is this year’s convention IN California, but it’s being held across. the. street. from. DISNEYLAND. Really? What are the chances?

So, four months later and I am preparing for a journey out west once again. Isn’t it funny how life works out sometimes? It is truly remarkable how seemingly little choices and decisions can affect other aspects of your future. It’s fascinating to reflect on the little web that is your life and the zillion degrees of separation that form and intertwine from within it.

So, here is what I’m looking forward to:

  1. IN-N-OUT (Hey, at least I’m being honest here.)
  2. Yes, journalism. Of course. It’s always fun to be in a room with other crazy newsies.
  3. Being reunited with my roomie!
  4. Cali weather & landscape (a.k.a. me staring out of the window the entire flight with my jaw to the floor from seeing land that isn’t flat. I still love ya, Florida…)
  5. DISNEYLAND – #DUH. I mean, I’ve only spent one day out of my entire life in this resort, so there is SO much more for me to see and explore. Funny sidenote: the convention is giving each participant two free park hopper tickets. OF COURSE THEY ARE…now that I can get myself in no problem. See, life wins again.
  6. Seeing Jason Mraz in concert on Labor Day. That’ll be one off the bucket list.
  7. The culture & languages – I can practice my Mandarin AND my Spanish all in the same day!
  8. Being somewhere else.
  9. Not knowing what the day will bring.
  10. Making new life connections – who knows where these new stories and experiences may take me!
EIJ12 Welcome Reception: USF SPJ with our genius professor!

EIJ12 Welcome Reception: USF SPJ with our genius professor!

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Exciting things on the horizon!

Hello there, world!

It’s truly amazing how quickly life changes. I have learned a lot about the media industry, and people, in a very short span of time. The saying is true: when one door closes, another opens. I’m feeling very happy and excited about the many opportunities out there and I don’t intend on wasting any of them!

The fall semester starts on Monday and I’m actually excited for it. I’m very near to graduation, so that might have something to do with it, ha ha. I’ll be taking Public Affairs Reporting, which I’m sure will only strengthen my fact-checking super powers. I also signed up to take Mandarin Chinese. The language has always fascinated me and it’s only spoken by like a billion people, so I figure it can’t hurt to try it out.

This will also be my first semester as vice president of SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists, for those not up to speed.) The executive board has come up with several ideas for the semester and I’m amped about our potential. Next month, we’ll be attending the Excellence in Journalism conference in Fort Lauderdale, which should also be a wonderful networking opportunity.

Another opportunity (I notice a theme going on in this blog post) I’m going to try for is a Disney Professional Internship. If you’ve read my “About Me” section, or taken a glance at my résumé, you already know that I’m a Disney College Program alumni (Fall 2007 represent!) Well, this internship is a step beyond that and is a very competitive position. So if the Mouse offers me a spot, I’ll be moving back to Orlando coming January 2013. Zip-ah-dee-doo-dah, indeed.

Other than that, I’m still tweeting, Pinning and Instagram-ing up a storm, watching copious amounts of The Newsroom, Storage Wars and True Blood, counting down the days until season 3 of The Walking Dead, missing Ireland, bracing for Hurricane Isaac (and the RNC), working on my fitness and…pretty much enjoying what life has to offer…which is a lot. Hope you’re doing the same.

P.S. I’ve finally posted a few photos under the Photography tab…so go check ’em out!

P.S.S. (lol) As I type this, I have 1,137 views on this here WordPress. So I know I’m getting some traffic…why not leave me a comment?

Twitter: a trend worth following

The web address of this blog is “fingermeetpulse” because, as journalists, it is our job to always keep our finger on the pulse of what is going on in the world. Our goal is to report news as it happens, while keeping communication lines open and engaging with the public. Twitter meets these goals and has changed journalism as we know it.

This microblogging phenomenon has made the world smaller. The 140 character limit format requires clean and to the point reporting. The site is easily accessible and allows the public to report along with the journalist. When a celebrity dies, a bill is passed or denied, a tornado has touched ground, or when a country revolts against its leader, Twitter is first to break the story.

A perfect example of why Twitter is crucial to journalists and the public alike lies in the recent events in Egypt. News of the events unfolding in the streets was nearly impossible to come by at first due to technology being compromised. Al Jazeera actually encouraged the community to use blogs, social media, eyewitness accounts and videos to show the world what their country was experiencing.

Through Tweeting and Twitpic, citizens were able to have their voices heard. With the use of the hashtag, #Egypt, anyone with a connection to Twitter could quickly access information.

The preamble of the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics speaks of public enlightenment, the foundation of democracy, seeking truth, integrity and credibility. Twitter most certainly enlightens by allowing a constant flow of information, pictures, audio and video.

The site showcases the first amendment right of free speech in full form and allows the public to take full of advantage of that right and privilege.

If any source attempts to spread falsehoods, Twitter allows for the truth to come out in record timing. For example, politicians like Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) may attempt to set the record straight when need be.

Lastly, Twitter verifies accounts, which allows the public to know whether certain Twitter accounts are indeed credible.

The possibilities for Twitter and its uses are endless. I’m certain the site will grow as we grow. Jason De Rusha (@derushaj),  a reporter at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis provides these tips for journalists:

• Do: Get engaged.

• Do: Read replies.

• Do: Respond.

• Don’t: Turn Twitter into a non-stop back-and-forth exchange. Take bigger discussions to e-mail or Direct Messages.

• Do: Start as a listener. It’s OK to start following people and just treat Twitter as something like the AP Wires. Don’t be discouraged because you only care about 1% of people’s tweets. You don’t cancel the AP Wires because you don’t care about the Lottery numbers from Kentucky.

• Do: Post a profile picture.

• Do: Talk to your boss about his/her philosophy about Twitter.

• Do: Ask permission before tweeting anything about internal information (new hires, fires, layoffs, etc.)

• Do: Treat your Tweets like a microblog. Consider whether your readers would care about something before you belch it out to the wider world.