Center for Media Innovation and Research

As an out-of-state student, I constantly get asked why I chose UF. Aside from the obvious warm weather, I knew very early on that I wanted to work in communications. When it was time to start thinking about colleges, I did some research on which universities had exceptional communications programs. It seemed that UF wound up on most ranking lists.

Once I actually enrolled, I met with super informative advisors who discussed my future with me and helped me get involved immediately. It seemed like no matter how specific your career aspirations in media were, there was something at UF’s CMIR that could help you. By my second semester I was an on-air broadcaster for WUFT’s radio reading service and was a part of the extracurricular “First At Five” that taught about the workings of a television station.

It was by my sophomore year that I was taking radio classes and learning how to write for broadcast. When I had my first shift in the newsroom, I’ll never forget being told that UF’s newsroom will probably be the nicest one I ever work in. It was full of state-of-the-art equipment and technology and mentors that were enthusiastic to teach. During my radio shifts I learned the process of researching, writing and producing a story. There was a lot of trial and error involved, but that was all part of the experience. Over the summer after my sophomore year, I got involved with ESPN Gainesville. I had always taken an interest in sports but was never too informed about the ones I wasn’t involved in, so it was really cool to learn how to report on baseball and football for online articles and radio stories. I liked working at ESPN Gainesville so much that I continued it throughout the duration of my college experience.

My junior year is when I started taking TV classes. I learned how to use fancy-looking cameras and edit my footage with adobe premiere. By the time TV shifts started, I felt like a real reporter. I dressed like one, interviewed like one, filmed like one, wrote like one ETC. It is so crazy to me to see how my storytelling had improved from my first (what I should really only call) attempt.

There are so many good things to say about UF’s Center for Media Innovation and Research. I especially appreciate how the CJC had its own separate career day to connect student with media employers near and far. The TV and radio shifts, although long and sometimes daunting, really prepared me most for what I will probably doing five days a week for the rest of my life. Probably, though, what I appreciate most about UF’s telecommunications program is its versatility. I thought to be a reporter all you had to do was look pretty and read a script. BOY was I wrong. There is so much more to it! I feel like I now have foundations to work in front and behind the camera and on multiple platforms such as radio, web and TV. The CMIR really sets students up for success for a career in media and I am so grateful to have been able to learn from it.

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The Tipping Point Review

Do you ever stop to think about where fads come from? I feel as though I woke up one day and every one around me was eating avocados, wearing chokers and watching Game of Thrones. While my generation calls things in this category “basic,” Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point explains them through epidemics which are governed by distinct rules and actors.41usQnvp5iL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Gladwell describes his book as the “biography of an idea.” He kicks it off by discussing the resurgence of hush puppies and the crime drop in New York City. The most important thing to make note of in these two separate cases is that both phenomenons were not gradual- they happed dramatically. He observes that humans have trouble processing drastic and exponential change. The three characteristics he attributes two epidemics are 1) contagiousness 2) the fact that little causes can have big effects and 3) that change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment. He refers to that one dramatic moment as the Tipping Point.

Gladwell makes note of three rules that govern the Tipping Point: the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor and the Power of Context. The Law of the Few deals with the nature of the messenger and is explained through Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. A Connector knows a lot of people of a certain kind and is able to initiate a social epidemic. Market Mavens are described as information brokers; someone who has information on products, prices and places that they are enthusiastic to circulate. Lastly there are the Salesmen, who are those skilled enough to persuade someone to join a social epidemic.

The second rules is the Stickiness Factor. As the title suggests, this deals with what makes epidemic ideas or messages stick. Ideas have to be memorable and move us to action. Gladwell pushes the idea that if you package information in the right circumstances, it can trigger a social epidemic. He draws upon Sesame Street and its head of research, Ed Palmer, as a prime example of this. Ed Palmer created the Distracter, which tested which part of the episode kids were most interested in. The show was designed around these captivating elements and caused Sesame Street to persist from 1969 until today.

The last rule is that of the Power of Context. According to Gladwell, “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur.” He continues that we are extremely sensitive to changes in context. Crime is used as the dominant example for this rule. He cites James Q. Wilson and George Kelling’s Broken Windows theory that argues that crime is the inevitable result of disorder.

Gladwell concludes the book by declaring that the underlying element to successful epidemics is a “bedrock belief that change is possible, that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus.”

Overall I very much enjoyed this book. I started off thinking I was on the sidelines of social fads, but am now heightened to my personal behaviors that are influenced or contribute to them. I really appreciate Gladwell’s reliance on examples and case studies as they illustrated his message very clearly. I would recommend this book to all, but especially those who aspire to have a career in communications, business or science.

It’s Who You Know- Continued

If you are up to date on my blog posts, the last one introduced a few of my classmates and their blogs. Here’s three more in case you need some new reading material!

Lauren Cavasinni is another one of my UF CJC peers who has a strong interest in covering sports! Lauren likes sports, and her blog “On the Diamond” follows the gator softball team and their season! I like how many of her posts give you a player to look out for.

Yazmyn Armoni has as blog that is actually quite similar to mine in its emphasis on future career planning! Like me, Yazmyn likes entertainment news and wants to work in media.

And lastly, we have another entertainment news fanatic: Julianna Musumeci! Her blog covers all things Hollywood including Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez’ kidney transplant! It’s a great blog if you love celebrity news!

It’s Who You Know

So flashback to my post about connections. Like I said, connections are your lifeline and can have a huge impact on your career growth. College is cool because you have a ton of other students in the same boat as you. Going to school as big as the University of Florida, I can only wonder how many thousands of kids share a major with me. That being said, throughout my four years in Gainesville I was able to make many new friends in the college of journalism and we all want to see each other grow and succeed. Conveniently they all have blogs too! I’ll introduce and link to a few of them in case you want some new reading material. I met Isabella Pico when we took the Radio 1 class together my sophomore year. Her blog “Gainesville Explorer” discusses the history and hidden gems of Gainesville, and I found it at a good time considering I only have a month left to get my fill of this cute North Central Florida city. Isabella will tell you all about fun destinations like the Butterfly Rainforest and Carson Springs!

I met Nicolette Jennings when we took UF’s TV 2 course together, which entailed weekly eight-hour shifts. Nicolette aspires to be a sportscaster, so it’s not too unpredictable that she blogged about Gator basketball teams! She provides updates on all of the games and more recently March Madness!(Congrats Villanova!)

Amanda Grohowski also participated in TV 2 with me this past fall! Her blog is a little bit more vague, but encompasses her interests in travel, violin, health and fitness and more! I particularly took interest to her post on traveling on a tight budget, as graduation trip planning is in its beginning phases for me!

I hope you enjoy these three exciting blogs! My next post will have a few more for you to enjoy!

Some More Backstory for You

Just a note on March for our Lives: I am so overwhelmingly proud to be part of a generation that is so fueled by activism. I have many friends who are Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumni and traveled up to Washington D.C. this passed weekend to be a part of history. I forget who wrote it, but I saw a tweet a few weeks back that said “when you’re children act like leaders and you leaders act like children, that’s when you know change is coming.”

 

I’m going to use this post to expand upon my brief “about your blogger” portion in my inaugural post. I was born in(not on, if you’re a local) Long Island, New York to a family of extremely diverse background. My mom spent the better part of her childhood in Italy. My dad’s side is of Jewish Eastern European descent, but have been in New York for generations. Yes, that does mean I get double the holidays. And yes, it is freaking awesome. I have an older sister named Ashley who is my polar opposite, but still manages to be my best friend. She’s in medical school. My family consensus is that she is the perfect child while I am the fun one. I had a dog name Honey that we literally adopted off of the street. Honey was a huge influence on my life and ever since I have been head-over-heels in love with dogs. I spent a lot of my pre-college years playing tennis and lacrosse, performing in musicals, making a mess in my art room and at sleepaway camp in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. I became a college freshman in 2014 and have been asked “if you’re from New York then why are you here?” at least four times a day since. Well, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. If I was going to college, I was going to do it all the way. UF is the most stereotypical American college experience I could’ve asked for. I’ve got the massive football program and 200 sorority sisters who I adore. Not to mention it doesn’t hurt to take a break from those long northeast winters. I should also probably touch upon the fact that I’m getting in invaluable education here, full of hands-on experiences and resume builders.

I spent the second semester of my junior year in Sydney, Australia and it was the best decision of my life. I got to scuba dive, hold out of koalas, jump out of planes and give my parents heart attacks in about 32 other ways. I also got to explore New Zealand and Thailand and that semester will forever be one of the highlights of my life.

So that’s a little more context about me. See you next week!

RIP United Airlines Puppy :( Social Media & Keeping it Clean

Moment of silence for the French Bulldog that was killed on a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York and for the IQ of the flight attendant who thought any being could survive being stowed in an overhead bin!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about social media! Ah yes, another catch 22 of being a millenial! But don’t you just LOVE snapchatting your friends, and LOVE posting instagrams and LOVE writing tweets about your ~daily struggles~? Well, yes. But you need to be smart about doing so. My friends used to make fun of me because my parents are connected to me on ALL forms of social media(and yes, I had to teach them how to use all platforms.) They didn’t give me a choice- if they were paying for my computer and cell-phone, they were monitoring how I used them. And every once in a while they would demand I delete a tweet or modify an instagram caption. In the moment it was extremely annoying. But now that I am a mature young lady(at least I’d like to think so), I value the attention they paid to filtering my social media activity. Once you enter the social media sphere, there is absolutely no covering your tracks. Ever. Period. If it’s on the internet, it’s out there forever. It doesn’t matter if you delete your post. Or delete your account. Or even if you die. It never goes away. If someone wants to screenshot and archive an incriminating post, they have the capacity to blackmail you. This is a term that I had to look up initially- have you heard of a “finsta”? It’s essentially an private alternate instagram account designated for trusted friends that is crawling with illegal and embarrassing content of its user(belligerent drunk and sexual videos for example.) I follow a few of my friends’ finstas and while I enjoy them, I can confidently say it is one of the stupidest ideas and I will never have one. Can you actually trust these followers with photos and videos of you that can end your relationships and career and ultimately ruin your life? Take Harley Barber for example. She was a University of Alabama freshman who took to her finsta to express some pretty disgusting and racist feelings toward African Americans. Well one of her “trusted followers” exposed the video, getting her kicked out of her sorority and ultimately expelled from school(not to mention making her hated across America and probably blacklisting her from any job, ever.)

So does this mean you’re not allowed to have fun on your social media accounts? Not at all! A good rule of thumb is to not post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. Pretty much, keep your clothes on and keep it legal and appropriate. If you’re 21, posing with a casual glass of wine is okay. Drinking beer out of a funnel? Not the best look. It’s 2018 and future employers WILL search for your social media accounts and use them to make decisions in hiring. Don’t think you’re clever by omitting your last name in your username. If you want to play it really safe, make your accounts private. They still might ask to see them, but at least you can do an extra spring cleaning before judgement day.