Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thankful for

I am thankful for sources who lead you to other sources. And when sources give you information you didn’t think to ask for, but prove to be very helpful to your story.

I appreciate writing. I like writing, communicating and story telling. I like what communicating does for people--not just communicating out of necessity but also for sharing knowledge.

I realize my interests are more in feature writing: topics including trends, our culture, society hobbies, interesting people and stories. I don't like having to write a story on a very short deadline so I need to stay away from newspapers. I am very thorough and try to exhaust every angle of a story before deciding which way is best to go. That often isn’t conducive to short-deadline writing.

People want to be heard. That is one of the benefits people experience with Facebook and twitter and blogging. But people who flood the news feed tend to annoy other Facebook users. So why not blog more? I know a lot of people have blogs, but a lot of people exhaust the patience of Facebook users because they use Facebook to function as a blog when they should just get a blog.

Franks sauce on a hard boiled egg. I don’t know why but it is just so delicious. I’m thankful for New York exposing me to such a sauce. New York also gave me a better appreciation for good pizza, salt potatoes, chicken riggies and wings. Soy sauce has been out of my life for far too long. And orange juice. Holy cow, orange juice is so good!

We spent 6 hours together today. We saw each other twice today and several times this week. I'm in a relationship with the library.

I was feeling really down earlier this afternoon. Down to the point where I wanted pity and attention from others. Brandon gladly obliged. Then I went and spent more time with my new boyfriend, the library. That got my mind off of things for a while. Then after I emerged from the library, I felt an overwhelming need to just get outside of myself and be more concerned for others. Thanks Eric for being sick and making me feel like I wanted to help you and causing this concern for others. So then I texted about 4 people in my phone and asked how they were doing and just let them know I was thinking about them and wanted to make sure they were okay. As I walked home, I thought about this whole process. Often times we get down. And we want empathy from others. We have an opportunity in those low circumstances to get outside ourselves and feel a genuine concern for others. If that feeling isn’t genuine, it won’t lead to you feeling more fulfilled. I suspect it also wont lead to very effective results in helping others to feel better. And don’t forget to act on that concern.

On a side note. Let me give a shout out to my home teacher Derek for spontaneously stopping by my apartment this afternoon. He showed up about a half hour after I started feeling really blue. Just the fact that he was guided to stop by at just the right time made me feel a little better. It made me feel like God was aware I felt bad and reached out to me by sending my home teacher. I was glad to know he cared enough to act on a prompting.

I just invented a word. consortment. It means a group of stuff (i.e., I just ate a consortment of foods for dinner tonight). I realize assortment would probably accomplish the same function.

I never really blogged about thoughts I had my first week of school. It is time. My Comms 420 professor is from Wales and isn’t Mormon. His wife is Mormon though. When they lived on the east coast, he attended church every week with his wife. One day the bishop of that ward came up to him and said he had better church attendance than all the other members. Professor Hughes related that story to us to indicate he has credibility. He worked for the Christian Science monitor and editor for the Deseret news when they transitioned from afternoon to morning news. I am often found walking around campus with a newspaper in hand now. My 420 class is doing a collaborative project about immigration with a bunch of other classes including my 377 class. Professor Randle told us we could partner with ourselves. 

Things I've learned as a student reporter

The way you dress has a lot to do with how your source will trust and open up to you. You need to dress professionally. Yet, you need to match the person you are interviewing. For example, if you are interviewing a corporate VP, dress in your nicest suit. If you're interviewing a forest services employee, jeans and a polo might be better. Dont wear your fancy shoes if you'll be out at a construction site. The following article really helped me shape my understanding of how to dress:

I learned by my own experience on my first story, as well as my news reporting instructor, not to procrastinate starting your story. Just because you work well under pressure and with deadlines doesnt mean you should wait till close to the deadline to start working on your story. Don't voluntarily create pressure for yourself by procrastination. My professor said as soon as you get your story, spend at least 15 minutes with making preliminary contacts and research. This can save so much time. Sources may take awhile to get back to you and scheduling interviews may be more complicated than you think. You can't assume you'll be able to contact a source hours before deadline and expect to get an interview that fits your schedule. With my first story, I thought it would be good to "mull it over" for a few hours before I started contacting. I realized if I had started early, I may have been able to set up interviews that weren't as in conflict with my schedule.

Entertainment News

I know I'm asking for this. I am willingly putting myself into the media sector by choosing to be a news reporter. I know the industry has a lot of flaws and weaknesses (aside from the obvious financial troubles news outlets are experiencing).

I hate how the time, money, energy, and other resources that are put into the news business are wasted on entertainment news. I'm not talking specifically about headlines relating to celebrities, movies, music, and tv, although I think that is a mostly pointless aspect of the news. What I am referring to are news headlines and articles that really don't impact us as a society at all. They focus on whats interesting, entertaining, and weird. Not on

"Petraeus chokes at senate hearing." I am so glad to know someone important was choking during a congressional meeting. so vital for us to know. What makes this newsworthy?

"Spanish Fork Police chief says he was going to buy pants, not steal them." thats just great. I guess its important for people to know their police chief is up to some shady stuff. It blows the whistle for people to look into some of his other practices.

I guess my definition of "newsworthy" is a lot more narrow than what is accepted in the industry. The news reports the ideas that will sell. One of the facets caters to this human emotion that wants to know about the "out-of-the-ordinary" occurances, the shocking tales of crime, abuse, and misconduct.

I wish the news would move away from simply "what's happening" and toward "this thing that is happening is a big deal because _____ (and there really should be some credibility to it) and this is how it influences you"

Who really cares if Katy Perry is a Lady Gaga fan?

I just feel like the issues that we really need to be aware of, the things happening around us that impact us, are quietly being kept undercover while we

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Post Office Irony and Oatmeal Cookies

On December 30th, I decided to go mail my resume to a news organization I am hoping to get an internship for.  The post office inside the Wilk usually services my mailing needs but on this particular day, this location was closed. You mean I actually have to go further than 2 blocks from campus to do something other than grocery shop?

Ok fine. I made it all the way down to 100 south and 100 west. The first time, I drove right past the post office without realizing it. Wondering if maybe they had relocated because of Nu Skin purchasing 100 West, I thought it must be around here somewhere. I had seen a mail delivery truck right behind me. I circled the block and realized it was just on the other corner. I only checked two of the four corners.

As I am pulling into the parking lot, I see a sign that says something to the effect of, "Fifteen minute parking for post office customers only" followed by some other words. I dwelt on that for a minute and then parked. Thursday afternoon at 2:30 couldn't be that busy. Oh but it was. For the first ten minutes, there was only one attendant working. Not surprising. My mom related to me a story of standing in line at the post office during the Christmas rush and how you'd be lucky if you could get out in under an hour. I think I had about 7 people in front of me in line. Then the second attendant came back. But, he spent about 10 minutes with one customer.

Then a man walks up to the counter with about five small packages. My theory is he was shipping bombs to all parts of the world. Whatever the case, these boxes were going to places like Canada and Brazil. He was one of those customers who did extensive market research on exactly how much he would expect to spend on his packages before stepping foot in the post office. This made it difficult for the poor attendant. He would quote the customer a price and the customer would go on about how he looked the price up online and it should be something different. He was with the attendant for about 15 minutes before it was my turn with the other attendant. I am pleased to say my postal needs were met within 60 seconds. It was a heavy, odd-shaped envelope and I just didn't know how much postage it would require. The postal man figured it out fast. I felt a sense of pride. I knew the lady standing behind me was absolutely elated because I was so fast. Most of the customers were taking 5 minutes each at the counter. I left the post office and mr international-packages was still there. I estimate he was there at least 15 minutes. He could have been there longer. I have no way of knowing because I was out of there.

As I walked out of the post office I saw the automated postage machine and wondered if that would have worked for my needs. Maybe I will check it out next time. My total time spent in the post office was 25 minutes. The irony is that the post office only allows for 15 minute parking. Go figure.

In other news,  I have been on a quest to find the best oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. A friend of mine revealed that is his favorite cookie and I am determined to impress with my domestic cooking skills. Guys like cookies, right? A few months ago I searched the internet. Found about two or three recipes I wanted to try. But then they just sat in a folder for a few months. Over the break I have decided I have time to bake. I looked the recipes over and picked the one I think sounded the best.

I could write an entire blog on the differences between the recipes but I wont. I'll simply say, I think most recipes are afraid of nutmeg. Don't fear the nutmeg. It does wonders to your oatmeal raisin cookies. (On a side note, I keep typing raising every time I attempt raisins).

The first time I made the recipe,  I used margarine. Epic mistake. I was at the grocery store looking in the butter section and saw a brand and wondered, "Why is this brand of butter so cheap? Significantly cheaper than the rest" so I grabbed it. When I got home I realized, it was margarine. The box says they are "better for baking buttery sticks" so in my defense, I was easily fooled. I made the recipe anyway. It tasted wonderful! It cooked terribly. Stupid margarine.

Today I decided to cut the recipe in half and use butter instead of margarine. After realizing I had to adjust the cook time so the cookies dont burn, I decided they are okay. The texture was good. They werent too flat. The color was alright. But  I decided this time they didn't taste right. They have less "kick" to them than the first attempt did. I think it has something to do with the nutmeg.

So, I will try this recipe one more time by following each step exactly. No substitute ingredients. No halving the recipe. We'll see how that works. If it doesn't, I will forever abandon recipe A and try an adapted version of the standard oatmeal raisin cookie recipe found on the Quaker oatmeal container. So continues the quest for the perfect oatmeal raisin cookie.