“The Tipping Point”-Malcolm Gladwell

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The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell was really a mind-opening read for me. It shook me up a bit because it changed the way or at least gave me a completely new perspective that challenged the viewpoints I’ve developed over the course of my life. Ideas, trends, appeal, and opinions among other things are so much more than just face value. These topics are more complex and are controlled by societal shifts and influencers.

Reflecting on this I tried analyzing how Gladwell’s ideas can apply to daily scenarios. Chapter 2: The Law of the Few, explains that so many things such as fashion, politics, news, etc. are pretty much controlled by a select group of master influencers that make epidemics/trending topics happen. I thought about someone who would fall under this category and one person came immediately to mind, Ellen DeGeneres.

She is what Gladwell would consider a “Connector”. Ellen knows everyone. She befriends celebrities and even makes normal people become sensations (Sofia Grace and Rosie). She’s a huge marketing mogul. She’s been a spokesperson for Covergirl Cosmetics, JC Penny, hosted the Academy Awards, has her own talk show, has an app (which is so much fun FYI), and is a viral sensation just to name a few. Someone like Ellen really influences people’s opinions on a wide array of topics. I can’t speak for all, but I’ve caught myself starting topics like “Did you see how Ellen did ____?” We fall into a mob mentality and some of our viewpoints definitely correlate to our influencers.

But aside from influencers, Gladwell also touches on things becoming relevant or newsworthy because of their “stickiness factor”. This made so much sense to me. In fact, some of the values associated with stickiness factor are factors that I use in my news reporting. They make the story memorable or at least able to leave an impression on viewers. Uniqueness, personification, and engagement would be the three that stood out the most.

I always try to find a unique story that differentiates itself from the rest. It catches the attention of the viewer. I find a central character or someone/something that has personality. Doing so engages the audience. The audience is able to connect emotionally or relate to the story in some way.

Aside from my storytelling, media overall and specific news organizations uses these factors. They develop their brands and market them. “Where the News Comes First”, “In Your Corner”, “On Your Side”… these are just some examples of branding some news stations have. Their branding and marketing strategies are no accident and Gladwell’s book really elucidates these principals.

Overall, “The Tipping Point” serves as an interesting read. It’s message resonated with me and made me think twice and analyze deeper as to why things are the way they are, why people do certain things, think the way they do, etc. It’s a truthful lesson in branding and marketing.

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Blog Buddies (Part 2) *Potpourri Edition*

Don’t get me wrong, I love news and everything about it….BUT I’ve got other interests too! I love to travel, I’m a huge foodie, and I “appreciate” fitness. In Part 1, I shared blogs related to the “News World”. In Part 2, I’ll be doing the same except these blogs are about some of my other interests.

Kathryn Komarnicki‘s blog “Kat K Travels” is about what I wish I could do everyday forever until the end of time–TRAVEL! I could go on and on about how awesome traveling is and about all the amazing places I’ve been lucky to visit and hope to in the future. What I love about travel blogs like Kathryn’s is that you get a sense of familiarity and are able to connect (especially if you’ve been there), yet are still able to get a fresh perspective. She’s been to some cool places, some I’ve been to and some I’m waiting to visit!

Food! It’s my favorite part of everyday. Andrea Newport-Jones gets it, and her blog “The Brunch Betch” is a comical take on brunch and opinions/recommendations. Though I’m so as well-versed on brunch, I’ve been to a few of the places Andrea mentions. Her reviews are great and really helpful if your looking to brunch in Gainesville. –WARNING– You will get hungry reading!

After eating food during travels or brunching, you’ve got to keep the balance and stay in shape. My friend Sara Girard and her blog “Uncredible Fitness”explores exercise in a way an amateur like myself can relate to. Sara’s posts are so in-depth and easy to follow! Currently my fitness/exercise activeness on a scale of 1 to 10 is a … 3 (5 on a good day). Reading this blog will make you want to aim higher and reach those fitness goals!

Blog Buddies (Part 1) *News Edition*

If you’ve kept reading up to this point and you’ve enjoyed getting an inside look at the “News World”, then it’s time I share some other interesting blogs from some of my pals doing the same thing. I’ve got to say, it’s always interesting to look at the world and industry through other people’s perspective. Below I’ll include a short summary about three other blogs that give some fascinating insight into the industry.

Olivia Courtney‘s blog “Get Lost In It” is a fun read for anyone who wants another look at what the day to day of a reporter is like. While she has experience at general assignment reporting, O (my nickname for her) really shines when covering entertainment stories. It’s her passion, and mark my words…this girl will be on Late Night someday or some sort of talkshow interviewing celebrities.  What I like about her blog specifically is how she includes examples of some of her published work.

Crystal Bailey was born a journalist, literally. Her blog “Intern Intel” also shares stories about what it’s really like in the biz. It’s a refreshing read and so cool how she shares her experiences during her internship with WESH 2 News in Orlando. Crystal is a hard worker and like me, lives the newsroom life. She’s got the drive and motivation that it takes to be a reporter!

“The Adventures of Working in Media” is Darling Hill‘s blog about well, just that! As another hard worker in the media industry, Darling shares stories and additional insight. Don’t be fooled by her name, Darling is a go-getter. She tackles on big stories, has internship experience, and even produces her own show.

While technically competition, these ladies are great examples of media professionals. Look out world, we’ve got stories to tell!

From Dreamer to Doer

I’m a reporter because I love telling stories. Shocker, I know! But as cliche as this sounds, it’s absolutely true. Everyday is a new adventure as a reporter because you just never know whose story you’ll get to tell. So–in today’s blog post, I will share my (very abridged) story with all of you.

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Even in the 3rd grade I’ve been a dreamer! Who better to emulate than the ultimate dreamer himself… Walt Disney.

From Dreamer to Doer 

I won’t lie and tell you I’ve wanted to be a reporter all my life, but I can tell you I’ve always been inspired by people who reached for the stars.

When I was younger I thought I was going to be a rollercoaster designer/theme park mogul. This was my ultimate goal! My imagination was on hyperdrive and my thrill-seeker quickly developed at a young age! I loved challenging myself, yet having an opportunity to get creative.

Fast forward through the awkward middle school years to my freshmen year of high school. Math was no longer a fun, and soon became my least favorite subject. Well, to be an engineer… math is kind of a big deal!  I moved on from that dream, but my love for theme parks was (and still is) alive.

Confused and desperately looking for my new niche, I decided to join my school paper as a staff writer. That’s all it took for me to get sucked into the journalism vortex. 2 years later I’d eventually become editor-in-chief of the school’s paper.

College is where I got to really got a true experience in the world of all things journalism/news. Between my internship and reporting/production experiences, I am excited to see where I’m going, how I am growing, and what the future holds.

 

Resumé

 For more information visit my website.

Work Experience

 

News In 90, WUFT – TV, Gainesville, Fla

Anchor/Producer: 2015 – Present

Florida’s 89.1 WUFT FM, Gainesville, Fla

Reporter: 2015 – Present

The Bite, Chompics Productions, Gainesville, Fla

Reporter: 2015 – Present

WOFL- Fox35, Orlando, Fla

Intern: Summer 2014

MDC: In Focus , Miami, Fla

Reporter: 2012 – 2014

Education

University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla

B.S. in Telecommunications, minor in Spanish: Spring 2016

A.A. in Mass Communications/Journalism: Spring 2014

High School Diploma: Spring 2012

Skills

Bilingual: English and Spanish, Reporting, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premiere, Microsoft Office, ENPS, KLZ Newsroom 4.5

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One-Man Band(ing)

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When you’re smiling, but the camera weighs a million pounds

To one-man band is to be the Jack/Jane of all trades. It’s exciting, intense, frustrating, and HEAVY all at the same time!

Also known as MMJ – Multi Media Journalist, one-man banding is becoming essential at almost all news stations across the country. You basically report, film your own footage, and edit all by yourself.

There are definitely pros and cons to being an MMJ.

Pros: 1) You’re in control. 2) You take the video you want. 3) Writing to your video is easier because you took that footage.

Cons: 1) You don’t have any time to waste 2) Shooting a good* standup alone is challenging. 3) Carrying all that equipment can be exhausting.

The key to being successful at one-man banding is time management. You have to know what footage you want and try to line up sources to interview ahead of time.

Being an MMJ can be difficult, but you have to remember to keep your cool and work effectively.

The Neverending Story (Ideas)

It’s amazing how the first step to writing a story can sometimes be the easiest or most difficult part. By first step, I mean finding a story idea.

Looking for these can cause a great deal of agony. Why?–Because the pressure is real! The last thing you want is to choose an idea that’ll make you look like a fool at morning meeting. You have to pick something that will make you stand out, but in the best way possible.

In my opinion, the top story ideas are those that have a local appeal. These ARE the stories that people care about. Always look for an idea that answers the question “Why does the community care?”. To answer this question, the first place I look is in county or town hall meeting agendas.

If I still can’t find anything in meeting agendas, I look at emails people send to the city’s mayor or commissioners. Or I check Twitter, Reddit, look at press releases, listen to police scanners, or even try and listen around for interesting ideas.

But like I said before, sometimes you’ll find good story ideas within seconds and other times you can spend hours searching the web trying to find ANYTHING. The Pointer Institute has a lot of pointers (pun intended) for all things journalism. They even have some tips to find story ideas.

So… when the search gets tough, keep looking because there are millions of interesting stories to tell. You just have to know where to look.

 

Insanely Interactive or Awesomely Awkward

Standups– Insanely interactive or Awesomely awkward.

A standup is the part of the TV story where the audience sees the face of the storyteller. This is a reporter’s 10-15 second glamor shot. It’s our chance to show the audience that we’re experts on the story. While I can’t speak for other reporters, it’s the part I try and get done as early as possible. Why? 1) It helps me plan out how the story would turn out on paper. 2) I’m still semi-presentable for TV. (But really, imagine carrying heavy camera equipment on a sunny day).

A good standup can take a story to the top and really add to it, but a bad one… makes people feel uncomfortable. That’s why I always try and incorporate some interactive element or make sure something is going on in the background to make it compelling.

The video I included is a behind the scenes look at what went on moments before shooting a stand. Just some brief background: The story I covered was about routine prescribed burns at Goethe State Forest. I was giving a closer look to the kinds of preparations that are needed to ensure the burn went smoothly.

While the actual standup isn’t included in this post I’ll explain the general concept of it and my rationale for making these choices.

In this standup I walk into the frame and crouch down around a tree as the Florida Forest Service is burning a ring. I explain what they are doing and why. While pretty basic, I made sure to really get into it.

I first wanted to make sure I blended in with the scene. I did this by wearing the fire protective gear over my clothes. Not only was it required by the Florida Forest Service, but it also added that extra something letting people know I was about to do something. Next, instead of memorizing what I was going to say I made sure to ad lib the information. Doing so makes it sound more natural and increases credibility.  Lastly, I made sure to really get into the scene and show/demonstrate what was going on behind me.

So at the end of the day, always try and make your standup a memorable one. Don’t over do it, don’t make it awkward, but DO make it serve a purpose.

Editing: The Love/Hate Relationship

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Yes, it’s that early and the editing has just begun. 

Editing–editing video specifically. This is the task I once feared and dreaded most. Let’s be honest with each other, shall we? Technology has never been my thing. I’ve never been “great” with computers. In fact, I just learned how to operate a Mac a couple of years ago.

Do I love to edit? Not really, but it’s gotten a lot better than before. Before I hadn’t even the slightest idea what button did what or what software to use when editing video. I just didn’t know, and thought I’d never be able to learn something that looked so complicated.

The more time passed, the less okay it became to not know how to edit. My TV courses required mastery of at least the basics of editing. So I did what many have had to do in any similar situation. I had to force myself to learn.

I signed up to produce Wednesday afternoon “News in 90” cut-ins (a short news segment summarizing the day’s top stories) during the Spring 2015 semester. My responsibilities were to select the headlines, review my anchor’s copy, record the segment, and edit it all together so it could air. It gave me the confidence I once lacked when handling raw footage.

Learning to edit your own video is extremely important, especially in your first job. Most entry level reporting positions are one-man band aka MMJ aka Multimedia Journalist. The job entails you to be a 1) reporter 2) photographer and 3) editor. You have to be the Jack/Jane of all trades essentially.

Is it something I still fear? Not necessarily. I’m still no pro, but I keep trying to sharpen my skills…even if it means being one of the first persons in the newsroom early in the morning.

 

Morning Meetings: Newsworthy or Nightmare?

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Terrific/Terrifying experiences happen in this room. It’s 9:30 AM, are you ready?

No one in their right mind would compete in an Ironman triathlon without the proper training and preparation. The same can be said for any reporter pitching a story during morning meeting. Being unprepared for either scenario is very ill advised.

What is morning meeting anyway? –It’s essentially what it sounds like. In most newsrooms the news managers, producers, and reporters meet in one room to plan how the news day will shape out.

This is where reporters pitch their story ideas. Having been present to morning meetings myself, they can either go seamlessly… or terribly wrong.

Imagine being in a room with all your bosses and peers. You’re next to pitch. The room is silent (for now), and all eyes are on you. Some may even be anxiously writing/typing.       —You’ve got about 1 minute to sell the idea to your news managers and producer. Ready or not, GO!

Ideally you have notes in front of you, potential sources lined up, and even an angle in mind for your story. You feel ready. You’re going to survive and your story may just see the light of day! Right? Well not always. Now comes the barrage of questions. Are you able to answer all questions and doubts that come up? If you can do this, you’ve made it. If not, it can be a massacre/a humiliating way to start your day.

So you want to survive? Always expect the unexpected and tie as many loose ends that you can. Be prepared and try to pre-report before so the framework of your story is built. Think how your station would, and pitch stories you know your audience cares about. But most important— know that every week can’t be perfect. Some ideas are better than others. Just give your best effort to whatever you end up working on that day.