Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I got a job!

After biting my nails since graduation about getting a job, I finally got a paid internship. Ok, so finally is kind of a strong word considering I've been here less than a month.

I'm not going to jinx the new job by saying the name of the magazine I'm working for, but it has a pretty prestigious, if small, readership.

So how did I find out about the position? Craigslist. It's a pretty valuable resource for journalists, along with Media Bistro, Journalism Jobs, and, my favorite, ED2010. When I first started looking for a job in NYC (before I moved), it seemed impossible to find out about job openings and to get myself noticed amongst the thousands of aspiring journalists competing for entry-level jobs. The big publishing houses like Hearst and Conde Nast have generic form applications, but I knew I probably wasn't going to get an interview that way anytime soon. So I googled the best job sites for journalists and sent out tons of resumes and cover letters until finally I got a call (well, email) for an interview.

As much as I know I deserve this job, it still feels like dumb luck that I actually got it. Next step, apartment-hunting in Brooklyn.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Back in Black

I'm back in NYC, the media capital of the USA. It's just as wonderful as I remember, and just as overwhelming. Last year, the marketing firm Yankelovich reported that Americans living in cities saw an average of 5,000 ad messages per day. I'm willling to be that's more than double in a place like NYC. Heck, just walk around Times Square for an hour and you've got your daily quota.

Speaking of Times Square, I've spent part of each day there since I moved on Saturday. I try not to see the Times building as a metaphor-- an empty shell that was once the center of journalism, now plastered by advertising-- but it's hard. At least magazines seem to be doing OK. Here's where I want to be working in 5 years:

The Hearst Tower is home to Good Housekeeping, one of the most awesome magazines in existence, and on the the most often underestimated. As you can see in my last post, they have a variety of labs and test kitchens to ensure that they recommend only the best to their readers.

Other than Times Square, I've been a lot of places in the past 4 days, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown, Harlem, the Rockerfeller Center, Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum, and the Museum of Natural History, where I posed with a T-Rex (top right).

For the time being, I'm living in NYU housing in a tiny apartment that currently holds five people. I'm still searching for a job as an editorial assistat/intern at a magazine, so cross your fingers and hope that I find something!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In a New York State of Mind

It's funny how you can grow up thinking you hate big cities, then go to a place like New York and feel right at home. Well, almost at home. After a week of sightseeing and media touring, I'm seriously considering trying to intern there next year.

Here's some of my favorite media places we visited:


They set the standard pretty high for the other media organizations, greeting us with coffee, donuts, and free magazines. They had also planned a great presentation for us, with representatives from many of their affiliates taking time to explain the business to us. Notably, we got to meet Jack Cafferty of CNN, who gave us some no-nonsense advice on how to get ahead in the world of journalism. He should know.

New York Times

We got a little less of a warm welcome here, but the peek we got at the inside of this place was priceless. We got to see the front page newsroom where some of the most important stories in the world are put together. We also watched a slide show of photographs taken for the NY Times, the quality of which was breathtaking. I even noticed a few of the photojournalism majors tearing up a bit.

Good Housekeeping

I was pleasantly surprised by this magazine, which I had previously thought to be somewhat of a fluff magazine for bored housewives. Turns out they do all of their own product testing in a series of labs in-house. You can see the kitchen lab where they test blenders, fridges, and any other cooking appliances. Good Housekeeping's attitude towards serving their readers, as well as their policy on ads (they won't take ones that don't live up to their claims) makes them the kind of magazine I'd like to work for in the future.

Rolling Stone

Definately wins for the cool factor. Their "Wall of Covers" is a sight to behold (left). Every single cover they've ever made since 1967 is on display here. We also got a behind-the-scenes look at how celebrities are photoshopped to get rid of any unsightly wrinkes or other imperfections. Boy, those before and after pics are scary!


This PR firm knocked our socks off. They went above and beyond any other place we visited to make us comfortable and had obviously put a lot of preparation into their presentation for us. We walked in to the sound of "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and found goodie bags at our seats. After hearing what they do and getting a sense for how well they take care of their employees, I was just about ready to switch my major to public relations. I plan on applying to their training program next summer.

Some folks like to get away
Take a holiday from the neighborhood
Hop a flight to Miami Beach
Or to Hollywood
But I'm taking a Greyhound
On the Hudson River Line
I'm in a New York state of mind

Monday, April 02, 2007

New York, New York

I've never been one to plan big trips over spring break. It's only a week long, after all, and right in the middle of the spring semester.

This year, however, I decided to spend my break in NYC, touring the major media companies in the Big Apple as part of a school-organized trip for mass communications students. And I have to say, it's the best spring break I've ever had.

Here are some highlights:

Time Square

A tourist trap for sure, but one of the funnest places to be at night. Our hotel was just a few blocks from everything: the giant TV screens, Broadway theaters, great restaurants, and more. We learned quickly to look at menu pricing before sitting down to eat. The street vendors were usually a safe bet for good cheap food (and accessories!). Day or night, there was always something to do in Time Square.


I was able to get half price tickets the night before and still sit in the 7th row. This was an awesome show. Chicago (the other show I saw in NYC) paled in comparison.


Forget buying trinkets in Time Square. Chinatown has all tourist junk you'll ever need, and for half the price! My hotel roommie got her favorite designer perfume here for $30.

Battery Park

I knew that I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty while I was there, but I didn't want to have to wait in line to get on the boat. Here I could look out and see the statue, as well as the Manhattan and Broklyn Bridges. There are also guys in the park dressed up as the Statue of Liberty who you can get your picture taken with. Silly, but fun.

Frim Fram and Dance Manhattan

These are two places I went swing dancing in the city. I lost my camera at one of them but some of the dancers helped me find out where it was the next evening and offered to mail it to me in California. Just goes to show what a friendly bunch swing dancers are! I also made almost as many media connections here as I did while touring the major corporations during the day.

To be continued...(with pictures!)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Vernon God Little: Not for Everyone

One of the books being considered for next school year's Campus Reading Program at SJSU is Vernon God Little, a satire of American materialism, conformism, and obsession with the media. It's also a dark comedy involving a school shooting. In my opinion, it's a good book, and a worthwhile read, if you like a certain kind of satire. Still, I don't think it should be chosen for the program.

In general, I'm not quite sure that SJSU should choose a comedy (however dark) for the reading program. Everyone has a different sense of humor, and I'm guessing that Vernon God Little is not everyone's cup of tea. The jokes are often crude, with a sarcastic edge. I don't think that most students would appreciate the satire of VGL, either. Satire is a slippery thing, and it took me 2 years as an English major to kind of get it.

I also think a lot of people would have a hard time relating to the narrator: a dirty-minded 15-year old boy given to frequent profanity. The vulgar language added to the graphic sexual content of the book might be off-putting for some. Sure, in The Kite Runner (last year's choice), Hassan gets raped. But this event was treated more seriously, and with less graphic description.

I imagine that the goal of the SJSU Campus Reading Program is to introduce students to a book they might not otherwise pick up; one that they'll like, that also happens to have redeeming social value and make for a good discussion topic. Vernon God Little can be a good book to pick up in your spare time, when you're in the mood for something with a darker edge. It's funny, and it does have redeeming social value. Still, when in comes to a campus-wide reading program, I think it's best to choose something with a more universal appeal.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Media and Me, Part 2

We were asked for our last post to write about how we have changed as media consumers since the beginning of the semester.

First of all, I'm more cautious about where I get my news. I've known for some time that network news stations each have their own bias, depending on which huge corporation owns them. But it wasn't until I did an exercise for my Media and Diversity class that it really sunk in how skewed network news can really be. Now I'm more likely to turn to BBC when I want to see what's going on in the world.

I've also become a more savvy online media consumer. After learning about Bloglines, I started subscribing to blogs I found interesting. I'm now up to 25 feeds, ranging from Dilbert to Wired. Wired in particular has been a great source of topics for my blog, as well as just a great place to get tech news. And I can't leave out YouTube. The lonelygirl15 story, plus its takeover by Google, has convinced me that this new media outlet will become/has become important to our society.

Overall, I'd say that learning about the media this semester has allowed me to look more critically at the media I consume, and find new ways to get the kind of media I'm interested in.

And for those of you that are wondering, this won't be my last last post, just the final one for MCOM 72.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Borat: a Success?

After seeing Borat last weekend, I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong: I thought it was very funny. But I just don't think that a lot of people will "get" the satirical humor of the movie.

For the record, Borat has it's good moments that I think were clearly poking fun at the right people. The rodeo scene and the part with the frat boys had me in stitches. This was partly because the bigoted people targeted deserved every bit of embarrassment they must now be feeling.

Yet even knowing the premise, there were parts of the movie that totally baffled me. Like, why the antique store owners? There was no obvious satire in this part of the movie, where Borat destroys over $400 worth of civil war memorabilia. The couple that owned the store seemed equally perplexed, and was not fairly compensated.

I also didn't see the necessity of interrupting someone's business conference by charging in naked for a wrestling match. Sure, it got some laughs, but you just wonder, why? Did Sacha Baron Cohen feel the need to be so outrageous just for the sake of shock value? Parts of Borat felt more like watching an episode of Jackass than anything else. The Internet Movie Database claims that the police were called on Cohen 91 times during the production of the film. Personally, I think the needless mayhem that Borat creates takes away from the more meaningful satire of the movie.

But then again, I still laughed.