The Future of Journalism

Whenever anyone mentions the word “future” (and they’re not talking about yours) what comes to mind? Technology, right? (If not, I’m really sorry, but you’re gonna have to go with me on the technology thing). Well, the UF College of Journalism and Communications (my beloved Weimer Hall) is already on that. Last semester they opened up this brand new Center for Media Innovation and Research, also called the 21st Century News Lab.

And what they plan to do in the near future is create a wholly combined newsroom where broadcast, print and online student can all work together, collaborating on news and using all forms of media to our advantage.

Do you know how versatile that will make future students? I’m not even jealous that I won’t get to partake of this awesomeness, I’m just so awed that they’re doing it, and I can’t wait to come back as an alumna to see it. And I’ve already gotten to take part of this 21st century stuff at last November’s elections. Radio, television, and online all rolled into one and we broadcast live results as they came in from Supervisor of Elections websites in the counties we broadcast to and from student-journalists in the field (like me!) It was so cool to know that when I phoned in my two bits, people listening on the radio could hear me, people watching on TV could see a picture of me along with my voice, and my parents back home could watch online too. How amazing is that? If this is the future, I’m excited 🙂

(Photos taken with my lovely iPod Touch)

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The Tipping Point: A Review

I had heard of Malcolm Gladwell before. Always here and there hearing about this book Outliers and I figured it must be good, but pushed it way down on my list of books to read when I’m retired. Yes, I do think that far ahead. Retirement’s gonna be awesome! 🙂

Anyway, so back to Gladwell. I just read his book The Tipping Point and I have to say it was really good! It’s not a novel. It’s more…informative reading, and I know when I was younger I would have ignorantly warded off books like this, but I really liked it. It starts off all mysterious. I can even quote the sentence that he wrote twice that really got me into it. It’s simply: “But then something strange happened.” It’s like reading a Brothers Grimm Fairytale but not really. This is based on true life. Somehow Gladwell has found a connection between the most random occurrences (like crime and shoe sales) and a way to define and give reason to events that occur in our world. The Tipping Point. The one tiny detail or change that makes something ordinary positively extraordinary.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

He uses words like ‘epidemic’ and ‘contagious’ to describe events like the spike in popularity of Hush Puppies in the mid 90s, and then turns around and applies that to the sharp drop in crime in New York in the same decade. It’s crazy. And the whole time, all you can think is: “This guy is a genius!” I even started thinking of ways to apply the tipping point theory to things I notice in my own life. Like in Jamaica, new words are added to our language every day. It’s constantly changing and developing (the essence of the idea that language is alive). I left just under four years ago and just by observing my friends on Facebook, I’ve noticed them using new words that I don’t know the meanings of. The tipping point. Someone somewhere came up with the idea for that word and started using it. Here’s the ‘aha’ moment too. A connector picked it up. Yup. We all know those people who seem to know everyone and everything and they actually have a way of creating epidemics (like the spread of a new word) without even meaning to. They’re just being themselves. So a connector picks it up and the next thing you know (because Jamaica is a small island), everyone is using that word. The same thing happens in any situation you can think of.

I loved reading this book. Gladwell uses so much research and explains so much that you can’t help but turn the next page, wondering what new insight he’ll share with you. My only complaints are that I didn’t agree with the placement of a couple of chapters (one on crime follows right after one dissecting children’s TV shows) and a piece on the tipping point for the book The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood took too long to get to the ‘aha’ moment. But as he leads you by the hand through this amazing idea and his research that proves it, he reinforces his points along the way, just in case you got a little bit lost. That really helped me keep track, even though I read this in three days. It would also really help anyone who happened to take a much longer time than that.

The best part is, Gladwell ends by showing that this book and this idea can be used to solve problems we face on a daily basis in any situation imaginable. And he proves that big results can come from little changes, just like one of his main points. This book is genius and I recommend it to everyone. Yes, I went there. This is a book for everyone.

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I’ve Got Company Part II

I think Michelle McKenzie is closer to me in her feelings about graduation. In one of her posts from earlier this month called Lights Please, Lights Please… she actually fesses up to maybe possibly shedding a tear about graduating! I think her next post, This Life is Moving Fast… is also very good because it gives us something substantial to walk away with. Maybe I should start offering substance 🙂

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I’ve Got Company…

So I haven’t forgotten my rampage on the terror that is graduating from college. As a matter of fact, I found some classmates who feel the same way I do. Ashley Arnold seems like she has it under control although she is still freaked out about graduating. Actually, she sees this as a positive thing. I enjoyed her post, and I think you will too!

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Me! A biography of the life of Denise Burgess

Who doesn’t like writing about themselves? I’m convinced I’m a narcissist, which must mean I am one since I actually sit and think about such things. And here I am about to talk about me some more!

I’ve actually thought about what my biography would look like before. Like if I become famous, or if I die fairly young and my parents have all my journals published (that’s 11 years of collected thoughts, by the way). I’m actually hoping that won’t happen because those thoughts are private and I would be embarrassed from the grave. But let’s dive in anyway…

I was born in Jamaica at the end of what I’m sure was a great decade: the 80s. My parents were young and I was their second gorgeous daughter, even better than the first (they’d never admit it but I know).

We moved from the capital, Kingston, to a small town on the west end when I was two, and I started kindergarten a month later. (Yes, I started kindergarten at age two.) I was actually a quiet kid, which is probably why I took to writing in journals so much. But as I got older, I realized I wanted to turn this writing thing into a career. I wasn’t great at writing stories because I could never finish them, so I thought journalism was the next bet. I did some research and read that journalists are curious and good communicators. I was neither. But I resolved to become both. It’s been only about six years, and I’m still not perfect at it, but I’ve never worked harder at anything in my life. I’ve never had to face so many fears head on. I’m certain no one had more trouble and nerves than me in Radio I and yet, I pushed on. Now, I’m so talkative I wish I didn’t talk so much, and I have this passion for information. I have to know everything. About everything. I have to understand every conversation. Movies from the 1940s? I heard a reference once and realized that I had never really watched any. That summer I compiled a list and borrowed as many from the library as I could. And I’m still not done.

Somewhere along the way, I developed an even greater passion for tennis that is the driving force of my ambition. I want to be a tennis play-by-play announcer. I haven’t done any announcing yet, but I did get to make a TV package last semester. I’ve even devoted a website my father gifted to me to tennis. Sure, such positions are usually left to those who are retired professionals, or who are even (or were even) capable of playing an entire match (I still can’t, but that’s a whole other story), but I’m convinced that I can and will make it. I just have to. And even if that doesn’t happen. I have my back up tennis plan. I’ll become an umpire. That way I’m right in the midst of the action, happy as a lark because I’m doing something that I love.

I’m currently in my penultimate semester at the University of Florida. I’m going to take a year off after college (who even knows what that means since I’ll probably find some textbooks to read or some new language to learn since I don’t know anything other than learning) to save up some money (that’ll be new) for graduate school. There was a point when I said I’d never, but I’ve found a masters in sports journalism program that I’d love to do. And it’s in England, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.

And that’s life so far. it’s felt like so much more than that (there’s more: check out my resume), and to think there’s so much more to come. Don’t you just love it?

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A Little Perspective from the New Yorker

Okay, okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. I have a habit of over-thinking things. Maybe the “real world” isn’t so bad after all. As a character in Greek said in season 4 episode 5: “The real world isn’t scary, it’s just people.” Or something to that effect. Anyway, here’s a laugh from the New Yorker called Your New College Graduate: A Parent’s Guide. Some of this stuff is true already. How embarrassing!

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Greek Feels My Pain

So before I jump into this whole “journey” let me share something else with you. It’s like all of a sudden, both in real life and on TV, people are graduating! From college! And they’re not happy about it either. Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way. I was just catching up on one of my favourite TV shows, Greek, and lo and behold, one of the characters is in a tizzy over finding a real job. Her name is Ashley, she wants a job in the fashion industry, and after quitting her first job, she returned to school and her best friend and has been crashing at her place for the past five or six weeks. Now they’re at Homecoming and this guy is asking all the alumni to give back to the university. Take a look (relevant up to 1:34):

Yup. Ashley and Casey sum it up nicely.

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