Sunday, October 31, 2010

Returning to Starkville: Back to Normality

April and I woke up this morning and drove back to Starkville, and it was long. I studied French most of the way home. And, to be honest, nothing really exciting happened. I shut-up and didn't get us lost.

What I Learned:
1) Canons are more popular than Nikons.
2) There's a lot we can do to make the paper even better.
3) College Publisher is confusing.
4) April knows where she's going and doesn't need my help to direct us anywhere.
5) I should never give directions.
6) It's probably good Delta messed up our flight. Because we had to buy stuff. And then bought more stuff.
7) I need to do something, anything, this summer.
8) I understand the basic rules of football. Kinda.
9) Bad sleep patterns=Being tired all the time.
10) Journalists are weird people.

The conference was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. I just wish I didn't have make-up work and assignments staring me in the face. I'm looking forward to Friday and it's only Sunday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Break From Shopping: NCMC Day Four

Today was the day of truth: interview day. April and I slept in because we had stayed up late last night to attend the midnight newspaper critique. We met with the adviser for the Iowa State newspaper and the online editor. They gave us good advice, and April and I have some ideas for the paper and know what they said we need to improve. But, over all, they had a lot of good things to say about The Reflector.

Anyway, after we woke up, we did some homework and then went to eat. I decided I wanted a salad, so April asked the hotel desk where a good place to eat was. The guy working suggested a grill between sixth and seventh, so we decided to head there. Once we got there and looked at the menu, I saw a yummy sounding Mediterranean pasta dish. So I got that instead of the salad, and it was good.

After lunch, we went back to the hotel and did more homework. I read a lot of my King Arthur assignment and have come to the conclusion that Malory is probably the worst Arthurian writer ever. And no one besides me cares. Our interviews began creeping closer and closer, so we got ready and went downstair twenty minutes early.

I still don't know exactly how my interview went. Because my interviewer liked me, said I had passion and gave me advice to prepare for a job and said I would go far, but admitted my smaller number of internships and sophomore status would not put me at the top of a list for an internship this year. But hoped I would consider the Courier-Journal as a career goal one day.

After interviews, April and I went to go get smoothies at Thelma's. They were ok, just not great. We then went back to the room, and I took a nap for two hours. I blame being so tired all the time on Delta. We then went to get pizza for dinner at a place call Sicilian's and watched the MSU-Kentucky game.

During the game, as usual, I had intelligent commentary like:

Me: So we're in the middle of the fourth quarter?
April: It's actually the third quarter but yes.

Me: So our plan is to stop Kentucky from scoring and hopefully make another touchdown?

Me: We're MSU. We're not Kentucky.

Me: I understand what the [D and fence] signs mean.

And that's some of the more intelligent things I said. Yeah, I know, I'm sure April is proud to have me as an employee of The Reflector. There's a reason why I have experience to Entertainment and News but not Sports.

After the game ended, we headed back to the hotel. Where we either worked on homework or blogged. Because we're nerds.

I also saw two more Canons today and no Nikons. I think that means something.

Oh, yeah, we didn't go shopping today. That's a first.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Saw Only Canons: NCMC Day Three

Everyday this week, April and I have been oversleeping. The best part of this extra sleep thing? We haven't been late to our nine o'clock sessions yet. This morning, we both decided to go to career-related sessions. After listening to April talk about finding a job after she graduates in May, I have become officially freaked out about being competitive enough for the job market.

Basically, I learned:

1) Include references on resumes.
2) All of your high school experience is pretty useless.
3) Graduate school is pretty useless you want to teach later.
4) Objectives are stupid. They know you're objective — to get a job.
5) Portfolios should be five to seven clips.

April later went to a session on blogging, while I went to a session on feature stories. While at her session, she was inspired to create a new blog. I was also inspired — though my ideas were about The Reflector instead. Hopefully when we return to Starkville, I can begin following up a few of the ideas I've had here.

April and I also attended a class on working with the law enforcement officials on campus because I did not want to go to another advertising seminar. I learned some useful stuff about developing relationships with police officers and learned Reflector history.

I was going to go to a session on covering the community, however, the speaker was really late, and I honestly got tired of waiting. So I went back to the room and decided to start on some of my homework. The good news is that I've taken what I think is a decent news photo for photography to turn in on Monday. The bad news is I still have a lot King Arthur to read this weekend, and it's all about Lancelot who is probably one of the worst knights ever.

At six o'clock, the newspapers involved with the job fair at NCMC posted who had received interviews for jobs and internships. So, around six-thirty after the crowds had cleared, April and I went downstairs to see if we had gotten anything. Both of us have interviews tomorrow with the Courier-Journal at four-thirty, which is exciting.

We went down Fourth Street to eat, though because of some of the events being held I had to get my hands marked as a minor. I now have two permeant-marker ms on my hands that make me look like I'm in a low-budget gang. Or so I think. After eating, I shot a band who was playing outside for my photography assignment before we went to the two-story Borders. Yep. We went to Borders. To get books for school. I think it's official that we're nerds.

It turns out that when I was packing at two in the morning, because I had put it off like always, I did not grab interview appropriate shoes. So, once again, April and I found ourselves at a mall — though this one was much better than the one we went to last night. This one has a Pottery Barn and a Loft. I managed to find some reasonably priced heels at Dillards and April found some cute professional clothes on sale at Loft.

After we finished shopping, we headed back to the hotel, and I discovered the Internet was working (for once). I finished my application for PowerPlant, a summer missions organization, proofread it, and submitted it. I am proud to say I completed something before the very last minute. I then moved on to something useful i.e. reading random Tweets from the conference.

After reading NCMC Twitter posts, I came to a conclusion:
Me: April, I think we're attending a conference with a bunch of weirds.
April: They're journalists. There's a ton of weirdos.

The conference is offering a free newspaper critique at midnight, so we will be heading down soon.

Oh, and for the record, today I saw a lot of people carrying around their cameras, and every single one was a Canon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stalking the Indiana Jones Dude: NCMC Day Two

Today started off better than yesterday, if only because I wasn't freaking out about what size containers I could bring my liquids in and if I had everything. (Not that it mattered.) Even though April and I managed to get some sleep, we were still tired when we went to register for the conference. We got reporter's notebooks and these really cool eco-friendly pens. I really liked my pen and used it all day. Luckily, the hotel has a place to get coffee so I didn't fall asleep during the first session.

After registering, we split up to go to our first sessions. I went to "Thinking Like an Editor," which was something April had suggested because she went to it last year. Bill Elsen, who worked for The Washington Post before retiring, suggested many different ways for editors to work with their staffs and how to be organized.

Somehow, I ended up in an advertising session next, and I'm not sure how. I learned that Iowa State has a really large staff and has about six thousand other mini-websites. The guy in front of me kept blowing his nose, which made me want to use a lot of Germ-X.

April and I both went to a session called "Chicken Salad" where crappy college designs were redesigned by the guy who led the session. I was proud when none of The Reflector's designs appeared — not that the Michael Koretzky, the speaker, even knows who we are. But I can dream that he's in awe of our fabulous designs.

After "Chicken Salad" ended, we went to lunch. While at lunch, I made the discovery that the guy who wrote some of the Indiana Jones novels was going to speak at today. So, because I felt that going to a session that had anything to remotely do with Indiana Jones would enhance my journalistic qualities, I ended up going to something called "You Should Write a Novel." The room it was located in was away from everything else, and when I asked a hotel employee directions she told me to follow a group of guys headed to the same place.

Big mistake. They didn't know their way around at all, and it took us fifteen minutes to find the room. And, because we went in circles for ten of the fifteen minutes, I had no idea on how to get back to where I should be. So, after stalking Max McCoy, the author, and gaining some tips on how to get a novel published, I truly had no idea what to do with myself.

So I decided to try to find my way back to the main convention area. When that didn't work, I found elevators that I thought would take me to my room because I knew I could find my way back from there. Nope. They had glass backs and creaked and took me to the office and business part of the hotel. I eventually made it to the east tower, somehow, even though it said west tower from where I was standing. So I did the smart thing. I told April I was lost. After walking out into the cold, discovering I was in the east tower instead of the west and getting directions from someone, she managed to find me.

We ended up taking a nap after sessions ended to catch-up on the sleep we lost because Delta didn't inform us they had canceled our flight. (Yes, I'm still mad about that.) It was the best nap ever, though I managed to sleep through several phone calls and text messages. Oops.

After we both woke up, April and I decided to get food. Then we walked out of the hotel and discovered it was really cold. So we went to buy jackets from a mall. After purchasing our clothes, we went to go find something to eat and ended up at a Mexican restaurant that had pretty good nachos. When we got done eating, we headed back to the hotel to do homework.

Once I got tired of my French homework, I decided that blogging would be a better use of my time. And oddly enough, I'm still really tired.

Random Things That Happened Today:
*We officially have traveled to five states because we went to Indiana to go to the mall.
*April and I both like Canons better than Nikons, and April has been asking random people which they prefer.
*I ordered my lunch just so I could get sherbet.
*We were originally going to eat dinner at Panera Bread, but they closed at 7 p.m. Dinner isn't even over then. And this is a big city, not Starkville.
*I once again gave bad driving advice. Seriously, why does April keep asking me?

Oh, and I can still hear airplanes out my hotel window.

By the way, you should read April's blog post to see how her day went.

Thanks, Delta: NCMC Day One

Because April and I are attending the National College Media Convention in Kentucky from tomorrow until Sunday morning, we were supposed to fly out of Columbus this afternoon and catch a flight to Louisville and arrive around 8 p.m. Supposed being the key word. When we showed up at the airport, we found out our flight had been canceled and had been pushed to tomorrow afternoon and no one had told us. And Julia, who had dropped us off, had already left, so we were stuck at the airport. So, thanks, Delta. For everything. Really.

April tried to find out if we could get a flight out of another airport, but one of the desk guys — who I am officially dubbing Mr. Grumpypants (yes, I know I sound about five) — thought she was stupid. I just don't think he understood her questions. After trying, and failing, to get another flight to Louisville today, we just decided to drive.

Which is why I spent eight hours in a car driving across four states. Well, April did the driving. Luckily, Julia was able to come get us and drop of off at April's car. We took the Nachez Trace even though we didn't have to — that was my fault by giving bad driving advice — and got to see pretty leaves while following a really slow moving silver van. I learned I should never give anyone any opinion on directions, ever and that people drive really slow.

I also have a list of popular songs like "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry and how many times they were played on the pop station of April's satellite radio (eight, for the record). I tried to take pictures of the moon with my camera, but even with the shutter speed at 4000 and the aperture at 36, all I got was a black picture.

I spent the first half of the trip staring at my computer and occasionally writing things down for an opinion article for Friday's edition of The Reflector. Like always, I'm sure everyone will love my take and write me tons of fan mail. That, or call for my immediate resignation. I finally was able to finish it in time for a really annoying smart car to pull in front of us and drive really slow. I'm pretty sure April's land rover could have taken it out.

Eventually, after a gas station stop, a late night meal at Wendy's and getting off at the wrong exit, we made it to the hotel. Just in time for a plane either land or take off every two minutes outside our window. Literally. I still don't understand how every flight to Louisville was booked. But now we're here, with a car and ready to go on another adventure after catching a couple of hours of sleep.

But the worst part of all this is the fact that I went out and bought travel sized bottles to take on the plane. And now I don't even need them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wanted: Morris Cohen - The Reflector - News

Wanted: Morris Cohen - The Reflector - News

This is the second part in my series about the "Super Bad Dawgs" of Mississippi State University. I actually thought it was much cooler that we had a Russian spy attend State than a gangster, so this article was more interesting to write. It's actually shocking how much he and his wife did throughout their lifetime, it's fascinating to think of why they did it.

Of course, everyone who read, "Communism holds merits we may not have seen", my opinion article last Friday, may think I was cheering them on. Of course, they also probably read too much into the article if they think that. I mean, does anyone really think I would choose my form of government based on a cartoon?