New Job

Well, I’ve officially survived my first day. I am now a working gal living in Morgantown. I must say, although I’m sitting here blogging from my work desk, my day was pretty productive.

When I first got here, I reviewed Extension’s website. I familiarized myself with its content, only to learn it would be changing soon. I then began reviewing the multiple styles of the press releases sent out. This didn’t seem like much at first, but later when I began writing, I learned quickly how important the proper formats were.

After this a fellow survivor of media ethics (joking, of course) came in. Her name is Paige Lavender, which I find to be a very nice name. She said she had been working here for quite some time now and is leaving in a few weeks for a study abroad program in London. She is one of the many students I’ve interacted with this semester who are going to be traveling abroad this summer. After she and I chatted for some time, lunch was just around the corner.

Being the boring pescatarian that I am, I packed lentils and 1/2 a piece of pita bread for lunch. Of course I’m sure I’m the only employee here that finds the kitchen area to be the most fascinating room in the building. I guess it makes it feel official. You are officially employed when you have access to a coffee pot.

After lunch I received my first assignment via email from one of my superiors, Florita Montgomery. She assigned me the task of rewriting two releases that will be sent out to various media outlets. Thankfully I had plenty of time to complete this task, because I must admit that it took me a while to get back into the swing of things. When you stop writing releases, or any news articles for that matter, you tend to get rusty. It just happens. So once I refreshed my AP style memory, I was in PR mode.

So now here I sit snacking on trail mix and staring out the window at a town that looks much different to me now. Even though I am returning in the fall for one final class, I sort of feel like I’m seeing Morgantown through a different pair of eyes. Now it doesn’t seem so much like a college town. (This could be because there isn’t bumper-to-bumper traffic composed of loud, swearing college students.) Now it sort of feels a little more like the town I’m settling in to. Neat-o.

Summer Internships

Well I’ve finally finished up the semester and now I can finally read and blog for fun again. I finished with a 3.5, which wasn’t what I would have hoped for, but was fine. I must say that nobody said taking 18 credit hours, volunteering and assisting a professor with her dissertation would be easy! However it was a great semester, nonetheless, and I am very sad to say that I will never again be considered a full-time undergraduate student.

So now it’s time for the real world. The real world for me is working two 20-hour-a-week internships this summer and hopefully doing the same in the fall on top of my capstone course. Luckily my capstone, which involves health PR, will be held at night, leaving me plenty of time for work. The two internships I will be working with are West Virginia University Extension Services and the P.I. Reed School of Journalism. They both involve a lot of multimedia work and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. So everyone understands each internship, I’ll provide a few details regarding what each specializes in and what I’ll be doing.

WVU Extension Services

Extension services works with the West Virginia 4-H programs and highlights the way it changes the lives of its members. Extension also helps develop family and health programs for the state, which provide residents with more satisfying lives. Another great part of this organization is its agricultural and natural resource education. This is a great help to the many farmers here in West Virginia. Finally, the part of the organization that hits home for me is its work with WVU Jackson’s Mill, located in my hometown of Weston. Basically, what I’ll be doing is helping to create multimedia projects, or videos, showcasing what’s going on this summer with not only the camps, but the programs in general. I’ll be working with a partner and expect we’ll have quite a fun summer.

P.I. Reed School of Journalism

This journalism school has been functioning since 1939 and is a student-centered journalism school. This basically means that it is a very hands-on school, where the students are encouraged to do as much with their craft on campus as possible. This includes writing for the student newspapers such as The Daily Athenaeum and the newly established Mountaineer Jeffersonian, working at the student radio station U92, and jumping on every internship opportunity available. In-school projects are also highly encouraged. One of the most hands-on projects at the school is West Virginia Uncovered, which “was created to cultivate online innovation and storytelling among the Mountain State’s community newspapers.” Now it is a great project that allows students to go out into the towns of West Virginia and tell some amazing stories, be it through print, photography or even video. Over my four years at the school I’ve asked several people what exactly they do in Uncovered and each person has a very different answer. This project gives each student a unique experience with the stories they choose to tell.

Besides offering a very rounded out curriculum, the students at the SOJ have the opportunity to join one of the many clubs catered to each major. For example, I chose the Society of Professional Journalists my freshman year of college and stayed involved until last year. With this organization I had the opportunity to go to Detroit and Pittsburgh for the club’s yearly regional conference. I had the chance to network with some big businesses and made a few friends. I was also lucky enough to build life-long friendships with a lot of the fellow club-members and even got my first long-term job working with the group’s advisor, Bonnie Stewart. Whenever I meet anyone interested in attending WVU or even the SOJ, I always encourage them to join a club, because the benefits are endless.

With this internship I’ll be traveling to four major cities: Chicago, NYC, Charleston, and Washington D.C. In these cities I’ll be working with a partner, collecting interviews to take home for editing. These interviews will be with WVU SOJ Alum and will hopefully be featured on the SOJ website. With all of my multimedia work this summer, I’ll be lucky if I ever watch television again!

So this is a rough summary of what my summer is going to look like. Of course I have a few fun trips planned with my boyfriend Alex, like an Alan Jackson concert and a trip to St. Augustine with his family in July. I’ll also hopefully be going back to the Cincinnati Tennis Tournament in August and back to Point Pleasant for the Mothman Festival in September. Who said growing up has to be a drag?

Disney’s Efforts

I recently found an older article about Disney and it’s newest support for Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign. The Walt Disney Company is set to release a series of public-service announcements featuring our first lady on the Disney channel. In these announcements, she will be promoting physical activity and healthy living. The company will also use their Radio Disney and Disney XD for promotions (FULL STORY).

Now I won’t lie; I watch the Disney Channel. In my defense the show ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ is absolutely hilarious and after a long day of checking emails, writing blog entries, studying, and running around campus, I need a childhood outlet. Since I’ve been watching this channel, I have noticed they are making a terrific effort to promote not only physical activity, but also getting kids off the computer and outdoors. For example, they have one particular commercial that reminds kids that the internet isn’t the real world and that interacting in person is much more fulfilling than through technology.

This sort of thing is very important to kids today who are bombarded daily with new forms of technology. Between the new video games to the many online social networks, kids are drifting farther and farther away from real world experiences, and more towards those online. Second Life is a great example of how the virtual world can easily be substituted for the real one. People in this second life have their own “avatars” which are basically virtual versions of themselves. Much like any usual online social realm, most portray their avatars to be much more glamorous than they really are. In this virtual world, people can be whatever they want to be and often, many choose to be much more successful versions of themselves. Avatars aren’t just restricted to the world of Second Life, though. They can be used on sites like Yahoo, as seen to the right.

Either way, Second Life can be a fun way for people to interact, but it can also be dangerous to those who aren’t mature enough to understand the complexity of the online application itself. In fact, there have been reports in the past of teens “dating” on Second Life and being emotionally damaged after the relationships end. Although this probably isn’t something that is going to happen with a 10 or eleven-year-old, it is still important to teach children and teens for that matter, the responsibilities of online browsing.

Kudos to Disney for making an effort to get kids off their computers and into the real world!