Thursday, December 20, 2012

Anything Can Happen

On the subway yesterday, the unusual happened - chivalry.

A man offered up his seat to a woman who was holding two heavy grocery bags. In our push and shove society, it was remarkable to see. Chivalry is far from dead; someone just decided to take it a step further. It is that level of selflessness that I strive for everyday.

100 posts ago, I started this blog. I wanted to take my aspiring journalism mindset a step further, and I have. It has been a whirlwind of busy the last two plus years, and I have many people to thank - God, my family and all the journalism colleagues I have met along the way.

I think I can carefully say that I have hit my stride. I still have plenty of room for improvement, but I can carry out almost any journalism assignment with the same intensity as the last one.

I will throw everything I have at 2013, hoping to land a full-time job with benefits in 2014. I know the odds and the fate of the journalism industry is uncertain, but anything can happen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Vow

At a recent holiday party, a journalism colleague had a sleep-deprived, stressed look on his face. But the level of commitment was stronger than ever.

You see, the passion in one's eyes often outlasts the initial stress of a life blessing. Shakespeare tells us that the "eyes are the windows to the soul" and I want that look of commitment. A vow that supersedes anything remotely close to an obstacle.

Until that day comes...I will think back to December 2012 as a winter web intern for Redbook Magazine. I will look for the familiar red "R" on airport stands and probably smile with the work I completed for that publication.

It will be a culture shock to say the least, curating content for a women's magazine, but journalism has no boundaries. It all starts Friday - and I am ready.

Moreover, I vow to continue to shape myself into a better-rounded person.

I have started speaking about my Diabetic experiences in front of grade school children and I have taken up learning Spanish via in-car CDs.

While I still have many more vows to experience in my lifetime, I have started small and will continue to work my way up.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Catch My Breath

"You'll climb the red," the sports instructor said.

The red path loomed overhead. It was the tallest and the most difficult. But gear attached, I started to climb.

On my recent Thanksgiving cruise vacation, I decided to rock climb. Little did I know, my climb would be met by jeers and cheers from the crowd a deck below.

"Don't mess up!" one shouted. "You won't make it!" yelled another.

Two days earlier, at the dinner table, I read an email that congratulated me on my acceptance as a News21 fellow for summer 2013. I honestly did not expect this email. I was shocked.

For two and a half years, I have sent almost every email, application and care package possible in hopes of landing a high-profile internship. And its here!

My high school journalism teacher once told me "the truth will come out in the wash." Not knowing what the phrase meant, I Googled it. Now I understand what she meant.

Hard work does not go unnoticed. My impending summer journalism opportunity is better than I ever thought possible. And I have alot to be thankful for.

As I approached the halfway point on the rock climbing wall, my hand almost slipped, but I caught ahold of the preceding rock. I took a deep breath and climbed higher. And on my last step, unknowingly, I passed the bell before ringing it with satisfaction.

I climbed higher than I needed to.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

20 Seconds of Courage

As strange as it may sound, I am a shy journalist. I think before I speak, but I can tell a good story.

This week, I spoke in front of a group of middle school students about my Type 1 Diabetes. The school has been among the best in fundraising for T1D. It was my first public speaking opportunity since probably high school. But, as scared as I was, I had a story to tell.

A few weeks earlier, I prayed to God to heal my Type 1 Diabetes. However, I realize that, even without the healing, I can strengthen others through talking about my own experiences.

I asked the students what was there favorite thing about second grade, some answered with "math" or "recess," as I then began to tell my story of my diagnosis in the second grade, waking up on a hospital bed with blood-filled tubes spread out across my body.

This holiday season and into the new year, I will try to get out of my confort zone. That means pubic speaking, going beyond the daily work/school routine and being courageous.

Taking a step into the unknown requires faith, but it may open a world of opportunities.

Why not start with "20 seconds of courage"?


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Silent Praise or Harsh Criticism

One of the toughest aspects of journalism is silent praise. As reporters, we crank out story after story, often without as much as a "good job" or "nice story," but then the opposite occurs, harsh criticism.

A heavily criticized story can be two-fold, either the story is bad or so good that it stirs up readers' emotions, or a little of both. It is like being stuck in no man's land, either a reader hates a story or has literally nothing to say about it.

Maybe its a spelling error, politics or just that one person who comments negatively on every story.

But journalism is worth the silent praise (we assume) and harsh criticism. The job requires thick skin.

The rest of the year I will focus on rebranding (if you have not noticed already), shooting and editing video and learning Spanish. They are personal goals I need to accomplish to become a better journalist. While a reader comment may lower my mood for a moment, the thrill of molding my craft will never flail.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Front Page

1A. It is an elusive little bugger. Two and half years into journalism and it has not happened on any level: high school, college or professional. But I am not worried.

Last night, I applied for a winter internship at Cosmopolitan.com (go figure) and I did not receive it, which I treated with indifference. I did not expect to get it, but I apply for any and every journalism opportunity. And maybe the front page works the same way.

I have had stories that could have made the grandeur that is 1A, but it has not happened and it is okay. The front page is like a side ladder for journalism, its nice if one climbs it, but it does not make me any less of a journalist. If anything, without a front-page story, I have worked harder within my stories.

A couple weeks ago, I did an interview in a dog cage, for example. I can only continue to work hard and let the pieces fall where they may. If I am blessed with the front page, it will be the result of faith and hard work.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Sun Will Rise

Between Redbook story pitches, phone interviews and the like, I have been extremely busy.

First, the former. On my intern edit test for Redbook, mind you, this is an entirely woman's magazine; I spent about four hours crafting pitches using a mix of real news, television sitcoms and personal experiences. Difficult, but if I can pitch stories for a woman's magazine, what can I not pitch?

And I had a phone interview for a Zionist-focused conference in Baltimore this week. I know, a completely different ballpark. But I answered the questions to the best of my ability, like everything I do within journalism.

And the "like" is 18 college credits, internships and more internships.

There is no darkness here between early mornings and the satisfaction of a hard worked day. But rather a sense of discovery, the sun will always rise and ready or not, so will I.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Brought to Life

In high school, I was terrible at time management. I would say yes to every opportunity (sound familiar?), but some kind of work would be less than quality in the process.

Now my time management is almost too good. Every day it is one assignment after another; whether its 20 minutes of studying for a test two weeks away or an internship application that is not due for another month.

And the latter may work in my favor for a winter internship, which I have coveted since I knew journalism would be my career path. It usually lasts and month and only a few outlets have them, but I may land one as early as next week.

I am busier than ever, but I seem to have more time for what is important (family, friends, etc) because I make it all count. And yeah, I am that guy in the suit to the right if you have not guessed already.

It is an enlightening experience - "a heart of numbness, gets brought to
life - I'll take you there."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Let's Go

And fall begins.

A new year of college, more journalism and a whirlwind of opportunities and commitments that need a strict attention to detail to manage.

The end of this year will set the tone for 2013 and even more changes. Up to this point, journalism has been fairly easy, but a challenge will make me a better journalist in the long run. This means harder classes and lengthy assignments.

Until then, I will spend my fall balancing work and school, growing as a journalist while picking up on areas of improvement.

"I'm talking here and now - let's go!"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Light It Up

What a summer.

Beyond journalism, I have ventured into other aspects of life - fun.

It may seem like an odd concept with all the work I do, but this summer has been a whirlwind of work, social activities and the like.

From covering the Miami Heat's championship parade to the latest movie, success - and the joy of covering it - has never been more prominent.

With some of my journalism skills, I have never been more confident in my content. I could crank out a one minute actuality with the same tenacity as a 700-word feature. And it keeps getting better.

At the Republican National Convention, its broadcast journalism, not my first foray, but one I look forward to becoming more proficient in.

The joy of each morning is not knowing what is going to happen by the time my head hits the pillow at night.

That's a life worth living.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Get It Started

I recently had an interesting conversation with a journalism colleague. She told me I have been working so hard this summer that I might need a vacation - from a vacation.

As summer winds down, its been almost 40 hour work weeks, movie premieres, concerts and the like. But, to no one's surprise, there is more.

In less than two weeks, I will be venturing into broadcast journalism, covering the Republican National Convention before returning to a full sleight of college classes.

And I always have more planned.

I have been blessed with my work at the Herald/WLRN this summer, but there are 24 hours in a day - and I will work harder and as much as possible.

As Shakira sings in her new song, "Let's get it started - for life."


Friday, July 13, 2012

Part of Me

Wow. To say that I have been busy the last month and a half or so would be a complete understatement.

I have worked five day weeks, six day weeks and even work away from work, if that makes sense.

But it is all out of passion. The high stress, high intensity that journalism brings is intense, but prepares me for the professional world.

I have done everything from Hurricane Andrew audio to synchronized swimming - and I am not done yet.

You see, beyond journalism, is a moral obligation to do good. Drop a dollar in a collection basket, volunteer or at the least, hold a door open on the way out of a store.

Sleep-deprived? Stressed? No problem. I will be there when called upon.

Its a passion that will extend to all areas of my life, one way or another.

A part of me that will never change, but morph, transform rather, into something greater.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Walk This Way

I realized something today - I have been doing it all wrong.

You see, up until this point, I used to answer "because I liked seeing my name in the paper" with regards to how I got into journalism. That is partly true, but its ultimately the passion of waking up every day and having no clue what will happen.

For example, in one week in New Orleans I was on a movie set, riverboat and at a charity softball game.

I have learned that I will do things solely out of love and faith, not comparing myself to other journalists, but finding ways to bolster my God-given attributes. That means working not for a byline or photo credit, but for sheer passion. I believe I am blessed with the journalism skills needed to tell the stories of others. And part of that is working the hardest I can.

So I will, in this new direction, remove myself from "competition" or looking at what others are doing. This is what I do because I love it and am blessed with it - period.




Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Fighter

No, this is not another Kelly Clarkson reference (try Gym Class Heroes) to start a blog post, but rather, a call to action.

At this point in my life - and beyond journalism - it will be a daily grind on all fronts; be it college, work or social life.

This means sticking to standards, but at the same time allowing leeway for other opportunities. Life happens, often times without a plan, which means adapting and thriving. Fighting, in a sense, to work harder and commit longer.

It is a delicate balance, one difficult to manage, but usually worthwhile. So how can I improve?

Start with this. That video link sums up life rather sadly, but it allows the viewer to shed some perspective. More than likely, something along the lines of "Why was I complaining today?" or "Why am I not doing this?"

I have said this far too often, but I will continue to work harder each and every day.

"This one's a fighter...that's what they'll say of me, say of me."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not Good Enough (Yet)

I am not good enough, I need to work harder.

More than a week into The New York Times Student Journalism Institute and I have had a series of tests thrown at me - breaking news on a Sunday, long-term stories, photography and the like.

However, I need to do more. That means seeking every journalism opportunity every day, mastering weaknesses and writing.

I probably sound like Tim Tebow after his loss to Ole Miss, but it eventually led him to a National Championship.

Expect a reenergized, refocused and harder working individual upon my return to South Florida.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Just a Touch of the Fire...

Burning so bright.

It's crunch time. Summer's here, but also a host of important decisions ahead.

Goals will start to looks more like reality over the next weeks - New Orleans, a possible college transfer and potential journalism opportunities.

I'm ready for the next step; a definite challenge forthcoming.

On an important side note, May 6th marks 11 years with Juvenile Diabetes. Each year becomes growth, looking at my eating patterns and determining the best course of action.

I can sense good change on the horizon, whether I like it for not. An impending appointment with a new endocrinologist, enjoying summer and more and more journalism.

Also, with all the story pitch emails I've sent lately, I'm due for a byline. (or I'd like to think so.)

Either way, I'll keep trying - just touching the fire is enough to ignite a flame.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One Step Closer


In a few days, I'll have literally nothing on my to-do list. Good, right? Not at all - I always want to have something to strive toward, apply for or write about. 

While I treasure the valuable free-time, I'll use it to my advantage. That means more reading, writing and finding journalism opportunities beyond the summer months. Whenever I miss an opportunity, its frustrating - why didn't I know about it? I should have.

This type of tenacity is just part of my passion. I'll apply, re-apply and follow up - everything and anything is possible. 

In a few weeks, I'm off to the Crescent City (New Orleans) for two weeks of intense journalism on a grand stage. I need to be beyond ready and hold myself to a higher standard. 

I need to continue climbing, one step closer to the next step and the next step and the next step...

Journalism is like climbing a ladder - each step puts me at a greater height; while the ladder grows.




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Own the Night (And the Day)

I learned recently I'll have to become an early person - by default. Its the only way to achieve all my daily tasks and goals. I can't walk into a meeting groggy at 10 a.m.

110 percent means alot to me - 100 or 95 won't cut it.

And by early, I mean the time normal, working people wake up. As a young person, naturally I function better in the late afternoon to evening hours, but I have transitioned into the 9 to 5 routine.

Crunch time will ensue over the next few weeks. College finals, picking classes for fall and gearing up for The New York Times' Student Journalism Institute. I'll need to train like a boxer, but journalism style. That means reading journalism books, going over years worth of notes and writing, writing, writing.

I can own the night (finish strong), but I need to own the day (start strong) as well.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stand A Little Taller

I use the words "youngest" and "only" alot. Often, it means I am probably the youngest to complete a certain feat at only a certain age. However, I need to work harder.
I find myself venturing towards opportunities which seem years away, but I want them now. I will continue to aspire to greater goals, even though it may be seen as far-fetched. 

How can I do more? Making an extra effort, which is easy to say after driving more than 150 miles this past weekend (and waking up early, legit - 6 a.m.). 

I scour the web daily for journalism opportunities - I have four free months between the end of the spring semester and fall. My goal is have it all booked up. I send three to four followup emails, continue to shadow journalists and send story pitches. 

However, its not good enough. I need to extend my reach - and stand a little taller. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Climbing Faith

It really takes some climbing faith to be an aspiring journalist - I've mentioned the rejection emails in the past, but my faith is too strong to let anything deter my ultimate goal.

As April draws near, its that time of the year again - decision letters - this time from a host of organizations for a variety of different activities. I am always looking to better myself, whether its a cell phone or a college.

The reason why faith is so important is because of the opportunities faith brings. I just know when open door closes, another door or even a window will open. Having faith is key though, even when something seems improbable.

I think I could do anything and everything - through faith. It may not happen right away, but I'll continue to better myself with a climbing faith.

"No mountains too high for you to climb, all you have to do, is have some climbing faith." (Sound familiar?)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Here And Now

Busy, busy month of February between filling out lengthy internship applications, covering events and college work.

After I took a mid-term last week, the first thing I did when I returned home was look for more journalism opportunities - I'll probably do the same after I finish up a few tests and homework this weekend.

The highlight of the month was my AskMen.com byline - I said it would happen eventually and it did. Now, I have higher goals I want to reach; a highly coveted summer internship for example.

A much-needed Spring Break is coming up, which really means I'll be doing just journalism, more than likely. The reason why I try to be so productive is because I won't this energy 10 years from now.

Tired or not, the passion will always be there. Here and now is the best time to do it all - waiting is a missed opportunity.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Stronger

I need to get less predictable with my blog titles, which is usually an allusion to a song - so I'll start with an anecdote.

I had my last appointment with my childhood endocrinologist this week; I didn't see it coming - much like some things in life. Ever since diagnosed with diabetes at age eight, it has been the once-every-three-month appointment - making adjustments to live a better lifestyle. Now, it'll be someone new.

Its time for the next breaking point, the point where strength serves as a model to better others. I was helped - so I will continue as a helper.

Now, back to the title. Kelly Clarkson serves as an inspiration for many - she's the type of person that quiets the naysayers, critics and the like. Weight gain? She took it in stride.

What makes Ms. Clarkson serve as a motivator is the tenacity for growth in the face of opposition. Its this ability I will emulate to become stronger - even when its unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected is a great opportunity lurking about.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Set Fire to the Rain

It has been a monumental week, so much so I will probably have to double-check my Facebook feed with all that I completed just to remember.

I am pitching and completing stories with almost pinpoint accuracy, not to mention managing a unique college workload, with online classes top-heavy. Oh, and of course my spreadsheet with the list of journalism internships, scholarships and the like.

Alot of it is confidence, as dedicated as I am, I hit the rain sometimes as well. It could be a missed story I could have reported on or one of those rejection emails - but rather then grab an umbrella, I simply work harder. You don't need an umbrella with a fiery passion.

Part of that aggressiveness is the new year, nothing to lose mentality. Why wait?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Find The Window

Two weeks into 2012 and I've kept up all of my resolutions - now I am thinking about adding a light diet regimen.

Resolutions aside, however, I wanted to focus on closed doors. Doors seem closed, locked up, absolute, but then there is the window. The small sliver of opportunity that makes it all worthwhile.

I am going to be more aggressive with journalism this year - alternative sources, methods and routes. I will continue to complete applications off my long spreadsheet of deadlines for summer internships because of the window. And, in what may seem obvious, be more aware of what's going on around me.

I want to reach a point where everything in my daily process can be associated to something else, without the help of Google (well, sometimes) or other help devices. College and internships will keep me busy, but I will continue to submit lengthy story-idea emails and requests to cover big events as well.

The door might close, but the window is always open for me.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Selfless

When I think of the word selfless, it reminds me of a great scene in "Schindler's List" where Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, says "I could have got more out...I didn't do enough!"

I won't bore you with a typical New Year's Resolution, but rather, I'd simply just like to be more selfless this year. Good isn't enough, great isn't enough - not even excellent. I always want to do more, whether its dabbling in acting, writing a screenplay or acquiring a new skill-set within journalism.

I need to and will do more, like I wrote in a recent essay, doing nothing drives me crazy. I'll continue to work harder with each passing day - in all aspects of my life. Outside of my aspiring journalism career, I will continue to expand my efforts in other areas like the community and make time for someone other than myself.

Life is what happens when you make other plans as they say - and I want to be there for both.