Tuesday, July 21, 2015

WJMC Day 2

So I am kind of a fail at life. Blogging while at WJMC became an apparent struggle because of the lack of sleep. Any moment I had time to blog it was late at night and anything I wrote was not going to sound coherent or meaningful. In turn I decided to wait to blog and give a general synopsis of the week. Personally, my experience was documented in my student workbook so I do not feel a pressure to write down my experience so that I, personally, am able to remember what a remarkable week I had, but I will record it for reference and the select few that choose to read this diary of sorts. I understand that WJMC did not want us to write our blogs as if they are diaries, so I will try my best.

The Editor in Chief of National Geographic, Susan Goldberg, was our first speaker of the day giving insight into the world of National Geographic as well as the way a news company of their type is run. She put an extreme emphasis on the direction they are heading pertaining to social media, repeatedly enforcing that Nat Geo is the leading brand on the social media site Instagram. The specificity of Nat Geo's so called "Explorers" (the people who are hired to write and photograph stories) are unmatched in their field. There are photographers who explicitly photograph urban profiles or underwater mammals or aerial views. I was intrigued to learn how specific these Explorers are and that it is not at all random who is hired for each story. Nat Geo is mainly, if not all, produced (written and photographed) by free lance writers who come in to do a story here and there, allowing for much more specific and detailed articles. She also may or may not have given us the titles and topics for articles of the rest of 2015.

Tuesday afternoon was spent at the National Press Club where we heard from a politics panel of Jennifer Bendery (Huffington Post @jbendery) and Richard Wolf (USA Today @richardjwolf). Getting a closer look into the politics side of journalism was very informative. One of the most interesting things I took away from their panel is how the government and press interact. For example Congress will supply the press with information and conversation all day long where as the White House and Supreme Court will leak no information. Ever. It was also surprising to hear that all the stories we see in the news regarding big political decisions were all pre-written. What I mean by that is the reporters will write every possible verdict knowing that when the real one comes out they can add a few quotes and publish it within 20 seconds of the information being received. I did not know that was how it worked in today's age of technology, but I'm not really sure what else I expected. The point that was stressed the most was to continue to be curious. Always ask questions that you care about too. While, yes, there is a job at hand you are also doing this job because it is what matters to you, so don't be afraid to ask your own questions too. 

The last panel at the National Press Club was given by Sonya Ross (@sonyagal) who is the Race and Ethnicity Editor for the Associated Press. Her speech was extremely moving, giving me confidence in the ability to achieve one's passions and goals without coming from being given every opportunity to automatically succeed. The most moving part of her speech was her story of being with President Bush during the 9/11 attacks. I have heard all the stories, read the books, watched the films, but there is something different about hearing it face to face from a person who was right at the heart of it on the political side, physically WITH the president. It was heart wrenching and amazing. Her main tip of advice seems easy enough to follow: use common sense. She believes that there is an endless amount of information to be found if you navigate the world with common sense. 

The final panel of the day was a sports journalism panel. This was the least intriguing part of the day for me. I do not have an interest in sports journalism and tend to become annoyed by sports journalism as it is a game of facts and speculation. The questions asked were not very engaging although the high was to hear them discuss if college athletes should be paid. All of them said no and when I asked if they believed the NCAA should allow universities to give more scholarships to athletes. They, again, said no claiming that universities do not have any money to give more scholarships. I find this very hard to believe with the millions division I football teams bring in and the fact that tuition is outrageous. If they can't afford to give a few more kids more financial help for working extremely hard physically, then where is the money really going? That is my view anyway. 

So Tuesday was a long, interesting day. At first when I started this recap I thought I was going to summarize the whole thing in one post, but I quickly realized I could not do that. So I guess I'm going to write out a full post for each day. Hopefully this was a little informative!

Monday, July 13, 2015

WJMC Day 1.5

So this week I am at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference in Washington D.C. and because this is obviously about journalism and media I will be blogging about each day I'm here.

Sunday was arrival day. While I am numb to the excitement of meeting new people it was interesting to get to meet the people in my group. We are organized into groups of 25 and each assigned a color to designate our groups. I have the please of being on the Teal Team otherwise known as Teal Team 6. The fellow students in my color group are extremely pleasant and fun to be around. I am genuinely surprised at how quickly we have all gotten to know each other and feel comfortable around one another- and it is only the first day!

So, back to Sunday. In the evening we had our opening dinner with guest speaker Nicole Livas, WAVY 10 news anchor, who talked to us about what it means to be in broadcast journalism and the evolving industry. Today there are smaller staffs than every and staff members are constantly learning how to do more and multitask with the growing media outreach. Her presentation was extremely nice to listen to as well as informative, exceeding my expectations for it only being the first night. After dinner we broke into our color groups to talk about the week and also begin talking about personal branding. We spoke about what it means to create one's own brand and practiced our 15 second "elevator speeches" as well as firm handshakes. It was a long opening night but is to be followed by an even longer week. 

Today was a nice day in our nation's' capital. We spend the morning and early afternoon touring the Newseum, one of my favorite museums in the nation. There was nothing earth shattering from the experience purely because I have been to the museum many times in the past but I am always amazed by the level of detail, amazing architecture, and pure journalistic work that is put into the Newseum. After we went to a lecture/ Q&A with Mike Shear and .... Smith. The session was an in depth look at the relationship between journalists and press representatives of the White House and revealed many unseen problems that are developing in the industry while still being informative about how these relationships can and will continue changing. Later in the evening we went to tour some of D.C.'s most iconic monuments wrapping up the evening and heading back to George Mason. I am excited to continue the week, but right now it is time for me to get some sleep. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

And We're Off... Again

After 6 days of being back home in Ohio I depart again for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference. I admit that I have not been doing as much preparation for this week as I should have been, I mean I read nearly all the books on the reading list, but from a social internet perspective I have been extremely dormant. Give me a break, I have been at a summer camp where there is NO INTERNET!!!!! So I apologize, but sorry not sorry.

Why am I going to this conference? You have heard me over and over state that I want to be a screenwriter and producer, not a journalist. That is true. I do not want to be a journalist. I want to be a screenwriter, but I want to be a screenwriter for a news television show such as the Tonight Show. If you think that isn’t a type of journalism that you better take a closer look. Those writers, particularly the monologue writers, are constantly looking through news stories, finding one that is comedic or serious, then to concisely summarize and put in a digestible comedic monologue.  That is journalism at its finest. Every single day there is a new story and a new monologue. So, no, I do not want to be a traditional journalist but this conference will give me a feel for the industry. I will not be directly in this industry but being so close to it there is necessity in its understanding.

Another reason: this is an academic experience that I am able to do in a week. I was accepted to New York University Pre-College but was unable to attend because of cost and timing; it is a six week program. One of the major appeals for me to attend this conference was simply its timing. That sounds selfish but there were a lot of programs I was invited to and this one seemed to line up timing wise and interest wise the best. I mean, you can tell, my summer is pretty booked. Eight separate trips in only a few months is a lot of traveling. So, yes, I am a basic white girl that is getting to go to this conference. But I have a passion for writing. My life revolves around writing; I don’t have a better way of explaining it- I just love it. I could be locked up in a room, demanded to write for hours on end and still be satisfied. And when you get to the bottom of journalism it comes down to writing. A story isn’t a story unless the public can consume it. If it is not written in an efficient or captivating way then it becomes meaningless, eventually disappearing. The prestige of The New York Times is not there just because of a name. They hire the best because their ability to deliver the news through writing is unmatched by any other group of individuals in the world.

I am excited for this week. I am also extremely tired going into the week but I'm sure I will be able to power through. Oh, and FYI because this is a journalism conference I will be updating my blog every day this week, so be prepared. 

Friday, July 10, 2015


After 6 long weeks, I have arrived back in Ohio. Actually, I've been in Ohio for nearly a week now. Looking back at my posts I can see the exhaustion that began to seep in as camp continued. I am feeling much more coherent now than I was during my late night writing sprees at camp.

So, were my worries and fears worth worrying and fearing about? Not really, the Lord is freakn' awesome. I was able to start training with my high school soccer team the second day back home, I didn't loose any of my saxophone skills, and I have been reading like a maniac. I have even more of a drive to work after having time off to recover mentally. The best part of camp is that it is straight forward. There is rarely a moment when you have to decide what to do; you have a job that you need to do and when you are done there is really nothing more to do other than sleep, read your Bible, possibly work-out, or hang out in the staff lounge. Even then those options are only available for a small portion of you day, the rest of the time there is a specific task at hand that you need to complete. Cool, that sounds just about like every job on planet earth right? Yes and no. The beauty of camp is that there really isn't TV and there really isn't time to go out and be crazy. In fact it is the perfect balance of isolation without being locked away for the summer. What I'm getting to is that it gave my mind time to reset. Time to work without worrying about the next day because you know exactly how the next day is going to be. The predictability is soothing and gave myself a mental reset from the stress of the school year.

Now that I am back home I am better prepared to be away from home when I go to school, I feel better about who I am, excited that I actually can say I have worked at Sky Ranch, and basically ready to conquer the world. Again, this blog is exceedingly cliché but there isn't any other way I feel adequately describes what I am trying to say. There are still a lot of things circling in the abyss of my mind but for now that is all I have to say. So enjoy these photos from camp.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Camp Pt. 3

Today was a decent day of rest, well whatever constitutes as rest for being at camp. I woke up at 6:00 to get campers luggage all packed up and ready to go, then I made name tags for parents for about 3 hours, took a quick brake, and lifeguarded for a couple hours. That was the morning but as for my time off we went to Tyler for a little visit to civilization. I saw Jurassic World- I could write and entire post about that movie, I'm mixed about it but overall thought it was great- and it gave me time to think. Suddenly I wasn't in Texas. I wasn't in my strange home that is a weird camp. I'm sitting right here in the ROC distracted by Jesse blowing an airhorn at 11:00 on a Saturday, it is just weird. But all of a sudden I was taken away. For a short moment I could think about my world, not Sky Ranch. Before coming to camp I needed something to focus on (camp) but now after being separated from the "real world" for a month, escaping the humdrum buzz of camp life is a necessity. In watching the movie I could think about my life. Yes, I'm a teenager, "I thought about life." Seriously, my desire to be a writer explodes in the summer when I have time on my hands and no other school work to worry about. I have ideas that I want to make into a reality, I want to be caught up on my passion of film and television which is impossible at camp. I want to be in shape to play soccer, which is impossible at camp. I want to finish learning the Glazonov Concerto, but it is impossible at camp. I want to watch and write monologues for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon- also impossible at camp.

Clearly you may be wondering why I even accepted the job at camp because all of my posts are about me complaining how distant I feel from the world. That is the key. I feel distant from the world, but I am closer to the Lord and a community of supportive people. That is what I love about Sky; while work is hard and long I am serving the Lord and around an amazing body of people. I'm in this weird situation where I never want to leave but I'm yearning for my personal life. I don't know if any of this makes sense but it's all a mess of strange emotions.

I wish I could have written this when I was at Tyler instead of when I got back to the ROC, the vibes in the ROC aren't as good as my thoughts after seeing Jurassic World. I got to drive my friend's BMW on the way home. Man, I have never driven a car that nice. Accelerating is so smooth, I understand why people in nice cars speed now.

I love being myself and the downside of being at camp as a staff member instead of a camper is that I don't have a counselor to go to and vent about my life instead I have to slowly allow others to figure me out while I too am figuring them out simultaneously. Again, none of this may make sense- it is late, I'm tired, and I need to go to bed. Goodnight folks, that's all for now.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Camp Pt. 2

It's been a great couple of weeks. Not exaggerating or kidding one bit. My poor use of diction and vocabulary is proof that camp is taking a toll on my intellect. The people I'm with on a daily bases are pretty great. It is mentally fatiguing watching the pool all day but that is what I signed up for in the first place, so that front isn't too bad. The hardest thing that I have confronted while being at camp is finding my real place. That is so cliché, everything I'm writing is cliché but I don't know how else to write telling the truth without sounding like a typical "I'm a teenager help me fit in." So, sorry. I don't even care anymore. 

I'm finding my place. It sucks being the youngest; while my lifeguard companions are my age or a little older, the people I get along with best are the counselors and A-Teamers. I HAVE TWO MORE FREAKN' SUMMERS UNTIL I AM EVEN ELIGIBLE TO BE A REAL EMPLOYEEEEEE. LIFEGUARDS ARE FAKE EMPLOYEES. Okay, that's my rant.

I'm not ready to leave but I'm ready to have my normal summer. I love the people around but I'm sick of missing out. FOMO, am I right. Sorry my writing sucks right now- I'm trying to write while in the staff lounge surrounded by screaming coworkers and people playing guitars and throwing balls and yo-yoing. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Camp pt 1

I made it. My last post was a little depressing almost, but it was extremely accurate to what I was feeling. Rereading it there are things that over the past few weeks I have learned to be inaccurate but there were also many truths to my thought process in that post.

I made it to camp. I use to much anaphora in this blog but I don't really care. So the whole communication with the outside world is a lot better than I thought it would be. Working at camp is so much different than being a camper. I love it. I am able to use my phone and electronics during my time off which makes it really nice. I'm not as isolated as I thought I would be, which is a positive. There are so many things I could write about the past few weeks and I'm not entirely sure where to start. I've had so many things stuck in my mind that I was kind of procrastinating with this post. Camp is a world of safety. My job is to keep people safe- I'm a lifeguard- but it is also a place of soulful/moral safety. The world isn't compounding on you to conform to the "dark" places in the world. Cussing isn't a thing. Music is generally Christian. Everyone is respectful. We worship together with a sense of community unmatched by anywhere I have been. Sky Ranch is a very difficult place to describe. Right now you are probably thinking, "oh it's just another one of those church camps." Yes it is a Christian camp with a specific ministry, but it is far different than any other camp I have been to. It isn't a camp for kids from a specific church to just go to. It is almost kind of a rich kid camp. As I greet the cars that come through the gates it is filled with Yukons, Escalades, Audis, and Porches. The facilities are top notch; no crappy outdoor cabins or gross camp food. We have amazing activities, staff, and resources. So is it a typical church camp- no. So now your picture of this camp went from good little boys and girls being sent to church camp to spoiled brats that have parents that send them to camp for a week of fun. Sky Ranch is somewhere in the middle. The kids are all well-off but their families value their religion and the fact that God is undeniably the creator. Sky Ranch is all about instilling this in campers, not in an overbearing way (yes there is Bible study, worship, and talks every day) but in a way where kids are shown there is life, true life, and joy in living for the Lord. A place with this many happy staff members working long days for very minimal pay cannot exist without a love for something bigger than what the world stands for.

I hope that gives you a little better idea of what Sky Ranch is, if it doesn't feel free to check out skyranch.org.

So my job is awesome. Long days in the sun are tiring but I generally don't start lifeguarding until 2:00, and in the morning I help out with other activities, talk to campers, and hangout with other staff members. The experience is great, I try to be helpful in every way possible. When I say "hangout" I just mean work with other people facilitating activities. I love meeting new people particularly at camp because I know the relationships formed here are stronger than nearly anywhere else in my life. Getting to be around people I know and love while meeting new people that I will come to know and love is utterly amazing.

I do miss my friends at home. Like my previous post worried about, it was difficult to leave so abruptly. The fact that I am able to text people and use my digital communication more than I assumed has helped a lot in staying relatively sane. Most of the time I am not focusing on what is back in Ohio but when I go to bed and see the pictures of my friends and family on my wall it is difficult not to reminisce about the past and what revel over what I am missing. My biggest concern at camp is my body. I need to keep up with being an athlete but it is so difficult. I am rarely motivated to get up early and run. I really, really, really need to do it. I am going to try my best to do it EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. Maybe putting it in writing will help keep me accountable. Even 20 minutes a day is better than nothing. I also need to get more touches on the ball. Man I feel like my skills are deteriorating. I know I'm overreacting but things at camp are so different. I feel like I'm losing everything. I can't touch a saxophone, I don't have soccer practice, and nothing is challenging me academically! UGGGHGHGHGHGHG I feel useless when thinking about things like that. I'm trying my best but I think camp is better for me than it is worse because the Lord knew that I needed time away from what I spend most of my time focusing on. Here I only need to focus on my job and Him. Everything else is bonus.

I've been writing for a while now and I'm not sure what else to say. Camp is great, it has it's moments where I think about the real world and panic but for 99% of the time everything is awesome. Session 2 starts today. 4 more weeks of camp until I'm home. Parts of me never want to leave but at the same time minuscule parts of me desperately wishes they were home.