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12 Sep

10 years ago something horrific happened to our country, our people and our mindset. People said America would be forever changed because of 9/11 and it has.

American flags line the area of Wall Street in lower Manhattan in the summer of 2011.

Having lived in New York City this summer, the feelings surrounding this anniversary are a little more dear and close to me.  No, I didn’t have to suffer the loss of family or friends in the attacks. But I have friends who survived them and live with the horror every day. But NYC is a strong, resilient city. New Yorkers are tough with unyielding will, the will to survive. And because of this tragedy we are all a little more compassionate. A little more united. And hopefully this “will to survive” will transform into a will to live. Fully. Happily. Fearlessly.

10 years ago I was sitting on the gym floor at Staley Middle School in Dallas, TX. As a 12 year old, I listened to the announcement over the school intercom. The World Trade Center had been hit. Everyone seemed crushed. Scared. Did I truly understand what had happened? No. Did I wonder why my parents didn’t take me out of school like many others? Maybe.

The rest of the evening was spent entranced by the TV, replaying clips of the planes diving into the buildings. Over and over and over again. Until my head throbbed with physical pain.

While our troops are some of the only ones that suffer physical pain now, I hope we can all remember, not only on 9/11 but every day, how blessed we are to live in the United States of America. A land of freedom. Be grateful for this nation.

So, I issue a challenge. For myself and every person: Be concerned to share your thoughts and vote, in appreciation for our freedom.

Three's the charm

8 Jun
(Spread featuring an article I wrote about parents going out)
The second spread in the section.

This week I designed the spreads for the special section in our paper on parenting. I also wrote one of the stories. Check out the website for my story on activities for local parents to do.

You're only one voice in 8 million…

8 Jun

As my internship at The Riverdale Press draws to a close (as well as my class on international media systems), I’ve been thinking about the impact of communicators. Amidst discussion of globalization, I had a conversation with a new friend, Kristina, who is majoring in public relations and recently visited Glen Beck’s show. (While I am not a fan of Glen Beck, I did find Kristina’s comments to be very intriguing.)

A song popped up on my iPhone while I was riding the subway to work this morning and it expressed the essence (via pop music) of my thoughts after these discussions.
“Build me up or cut me down to size … I’m only one voice in a million but you ain’t taking that from me.”

I’m only one voice in 8 million in NYC … but that is still powerful. One voice can change or influence something. The world needs good communicators. Willing. Honest. Dedicated. Knowledgeable communicators. The world of journalism may be declining into a sink hole in which we cannot be pulled out of, but in a time of globalization and international conflict, priorities and the important news can get lost. Journalists and regular citizens must be willing to communicate and share those priorities. Forget the entertainment and tabloid gossip (This past week’s headlines have been dominated by Sarah Palin’s silly bus and New York Rep. Wiener’s scandal. While people are obsessing over his “sexting,” massive political conflict and news is happening in the Middle East.)

This is my plead today for everyone: read a little less junk and a little more substance.
You may believe events across the ocean are of no importance to you. They do not affect your daily life at home or school or in your cubicle. But you are wrong. You many not care, but this will be a regret one day. There are events and problems in other countries, states and cities that you need to know about for your own life, your children, your job, as an American or as part of your faith. Ignorance was never bliss.

To journalists: Sometimes it can be easy to feel the everyday monotony of reporting and covering news is emotional and physically tiring, draining and difficult. Some assignments may seem trivial or redundant, but I think it is important to remember why you chose this career and what your passion is. Perhaps you need to remind yourself of that, which is important in any career or line of work. Why are you passionate about _______?

Just some food for thought.

New Faces

1 Jun

This week I stayed busy at The Press with an article about local women who (in my opinion) dominated at a Strongman Competition. They lift large amounts of weight via unusual objects (atlas stone, log, etc). Check out the link to read about it. I got a byline and it was on 2nd front.

This week designing the feature page was a little more challenging, but interesting nonetheless. A local photographer is putting together a project of 1,000 local people’s faces. So here it is. We initially thought of doing a grid, but with a smaller number of photos available this is what the final product was.

I had to leave work early on Tuesday in order to visit the UN. (Tuesday is our busiest day of the week, so I felt bad leaving with so much still to be done.) There were so many people from different countries walking around and working. We were briefed by several people in the UN’s strategic communications division. It was interesting to hear their perception of social media and what they are doing with it. I was surprised that they had only about 75,000 “likes” on their Facebook page and 356,000 followers on Twitter. (While the Twitter number is more impressive, I was wondering why their numbers were still so low?) Barack Obama has more than 8 million followers on Twitter. Lady Gaga has 10 million followers.
So my point is: if this assembly is supposed to be helping regular people across the world, how are they reaching them, if even western countries (and developed countries) who use social media to get so much of their information, are not even paying attention to the UN? 
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