#Adulting: One Step At a Time

Since my last post in November, I have

  • quit my part-time job as a barista
  • completed my internship
  • moved to a new city
  • started a new job

And in case you’re wondering what place finally took me on…

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A M Montgomery 2017

You’re looking at the most recent Executive Fellow for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or CPB for short. Never heard of them? But you have.

Pretty much every program you watch on public television or when you listen to public radio, do you know who that’s funded by? Support Provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Viewers Like You. Thank You.

cpb

 

 

viewers-like-you

 

 

thank-you

 

 

 

I won’t say much about my new position except that yes, I did move for it since it’s in D.C. and yes, it’s a paid, full-time fellowship. And that’s all I will say about that.

I will say that I am in a new chapter of my adulthood. It’s weird.

Suddenly, I’m fully responsible for paying rent and utilities, dressing as a working adult everyday (which means dressing appropriately AND dressing fashionably), living harmoniously with three housemates who also happen to be strangers to me, shopping for groceries, maintaining relationships with both family AND friends (which is tough because I’m now near neither), figuring out what to do on the weekends or decorating my room, and the hardest part? Cooking for myself. Every single day. (but that’s another story for another time)

Truth be told, I’m grateful for these preoccupations as they are so different from what I was worried about pre-move (How will I get anyone to take me seriously?) and they distract me from the big worries I try not to think about (What will I do with the rest of my life? Specifically? Truly?) and the even bigger worries I can’t really ignore (How do we evaluate the state of our union with all of these changes?). As you can see, there’s a lot to think about.

But there’s a lot to be excited about as well.

I’m employed!

I live in the capital! (Where there are tons of free museums! Free!)

My friends are only a bus or train ride away!

My mother is proud of me!

 

I hope to blog more this year, about my trials of adulting, of navigating a new space with its own rules and customs, of figuring out my next steps beyond where I am now. Though, given how unexpected my life has turned out so far, I’m willing to keep an open mind.

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What I’m Listening To: (Podcast/Radio Talk Show) 1A on NPR (B/N: Thoughtful yet 1aapproachable way of staying informed about all the changes in the U.S., the precedent behind them, and their effect on people’s daily lives)

What I’m Reading: (Fiction) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales; (B/N: Interesting take on a YA protagonist going from suicidal to becoming a DJ, but sometimes unclear characterization and cliched writing; trigger warning: suicide attempt, cutting)

(Fiction) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell; (B/N: You guys know how I feel about this author, but this is the first book of hers for adults that I’d read; Despite the tangle of misunderstandings and unrealistic mess it creates, the story is surprisingly heart-wrenching and the ending is surprisingly cute)

What I’m Watching Now: (DVD) Seasons 1 and 2 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (B/N: This show is hilarious, usually without being offensive, and stars a Jewish man, two Latina leads, and two Black men, one of whom is gay in the show, and the best part? The show focuses on these detectives doing their jobs, not their diversity as tokens in the plotline! I love every character, but would pay money to hear Captain Holt say “Velvet Thunder” in person)

Trends in Journalism: Social Media Coverage

This past week was huge in terms of updates in media. Lately, the U.S. has been concerned with events in Syria, Gaza, Palestine, Ukraine, and other overseas locations, but there were some pretty big shake-ups on the home front too. In terms of coverage, generations of Americans are grieving the loss of comedian and award-winning actor, Robin Williams. Traditional media sources such as cable news networks, newspapers, and radio stations, have been updating facts surrounding the star’s death on a daily basis.

There were other events that deserved more attention than they actually received this week as well. Last Saturday, in Ferguson, Missouri, an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a police officer. I’m not here to discuss the rights and wrongs and morality of the incident–that is up to each individual person to decide for him or herself. Instead, I wish to discuss how powerful the tool of media was (or could have been) during such an event.

If you’re not familiar with the event, educate yourself. Outrage over the shooting and handling of the late Michael Brown’s body prompted protesting from Ferguson citizens as well as increased police force, involving restricting the limits of the town, military-grade weapons and tear gas as a means of crowd control. Citizens began looting overnight. It was pure chaos. And yet no one knew.

The police even restricted journalism outlets from reporting there, and in some cases, arrested journalists. Most of the news of the Ferguson situation came from social media. As a journalist, I often hear from more experienced reporters that the advent of online technology, social media, and the blogosphere makes for a decline in real journalism as well as increase the struggle of actually getting paid. When I think of the dwindling newspaper industry, I can’t help but agree. Coverage in Ferguson, however, renewed my belief of journalism.

The sole goal of journalism is not “How can I get paid for this story?” The goal of journalism is to inform the public of what is happening in their world. Period.

Events from Ferguson gave us powerful informative reports by the people who were there. Forget about trying to make the words sound pretty. Just tell us what is happening. That is real journalism.

A range of emotions captured in a single image.

 

The parallels drawn between now and the history we seem doomed to repeat.

Updates on a dynamic situation.

 

That is real journalism.

I am not looking forward to the job hunt after college in my chosen field. At times, it seems only to favor those with money to spare. But as far as being concerned about the state of journalism, the problem isn’t that it is dying; the problem is being overwhelmed with the possibility that is growing bigger. And believe me, there are worse problems to have.

Making the Most of Summer? Tips Here

July is almost here! Sorry for the delay. I’ve had this post typed for a while but getting sent to the ER and recovering definitely set me back a bit on posting (more on that on Monty’s Mayhem). I’ve had a whirlwind of a summer so far, but still not much to put in my portfolio, which, for some odd reason, in my generation means I’m wasting my summer? Well, summer’s not over yet. There are tons of tricks of the trade to do during the summer that not only can help you get ahead as a journalist and go on your resume, but for some of them, you don’t have to leave your house!

 

  • Get an internship. It doesn’t have to be paid. It doesn’t have to be in-person. Internships are great ways to improve/learn skills such as AP Style, finding stories, etc. while getting experience in different types of journalism. Good places to search them include sites like mediabistro or, if you’re in school, check out your college’s career center. As always, there’s no better place to look than the place you’re interested in. If you already have a place in mind, check out their website for info or call proving their worth and potentially create your own position!
  • Volunteer. Most news places, especially local ones, are in need of free labor. You can learn some tricks of the trade, get your face in people’s heads, and it’s no pressure. Most volunteering is done on your own schedule, unlike an unpaid internship. In fact, volunteering may be better for you personally than an unpaid internship and before you accept an internship, look at these guidelines first to make sure it’s right for you
  • Start a blog. Yes, you can put blogging on your resume. It’s a great way to keep an online portfolio and keep your writing skills up-to-date with opportunity for feedback. But what should you write about? It depends on what you’re interested in. If you have a lot of authority on a subject like anime or digital photography, recap shows or examine new techniques and products. If you want to try something new this summer, like cooking or skateboarding, start a blog to keep yourself on track and meet others who are experts or novices like you. Whatever you decide, your blog should stay within its theme and a lot of places like wordpress and blogger let you host them for free.
  • Prepare for next summer. If your current summer is not all that you hoped it would be, get determined to make the next one even better. Look at applications for jobs and internships you missed out on due to poor scheduling or lack of seniority and start drafting your responses. If you’re not in school this summer, you have a better chance of not getting distracted and finishing your applications early.
  • Take some classes. You can enroll in courses for credit or no credit at local schools, but also keep in mind, there are some courses online. They range from expensive to free, lasting weeks or lasting minutes, and are on a wide array of subjects. It’s pretty easy to search for them online (Poynter offers a lot in journalism).
  • Learn some skills. Have you ever wanted to add a skill to your resume but never had time to learn it? Well, now’s the time! If it’s a foreign language, get your Rosetta Stone/Pimsleur/Duolingo kits and practice everyday. Practice AP Style with mini-guides online. Get some coding basics under your belt. Learn how to use your devices (computer, smartphone, mp3 player, etc.) to their fullest potential by looking up tips and making your life easier. If you want to become an expert on anything, now’s the time to do it.
  • Get a job. If you can’t find any work in journalism, there’s no shame in getting a job outside your field. It’s still work experience and you can use the money to save up for a new computer that can handle video and photo editing software, that crazy expensive video and photo editing software, kits, tape recorders, cameras, or journalism conference fees. In other words, use your non-journalism job to further your journalism career.

There are tons of ways to get ahead in your career, some you don’t even have to leave your house for! Let me know if you end up starting a blog by leaving the url in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

An Explanation for My Absence and Other Tips From a Public Radio Internship

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been updating as of late. For those of you who don’t know, I am a college student, and have just completed my sophomore year at Amherst College. This semester was also filled with assignments from my internship at New England Public Radio. At the risk of possible conflict of interest, I refrained from my usual media blogging.

However, with the end of a school year also brings the end of my internship. This, however, is the beginning of tips from my first journalism internship.

  • Do keep up with schoolwork If you happen to have an internship during the school year, wanting to prove yourself as vital member of the news team, not just a college intern, is natural. But letting your schoolwork slip is not the way to do it. When I’ve had too many assignments and just under so much stress, I have taken off time off from work. Your bosses will understand as long as you give them enough notice and make up your hours.
  • You don’t have to know everything before you start. Internships are learning experiences, and for someone who goes to a school with no journalism program, I’m super grateful for all that I learned on the job. Just try to pick up skills and get the office’s routine down and you should be fine.
  • In broadcast, tape is key. A hard lesson I learned while working in radio was you could do all the research you wanted and do some rockin’ interviews, but unless you get it on tape and find some suitable sound bites for your story, you don’t really have anything. I was quick to learn this even though it’s such a stark contrast to the print journalism I did prior to my internship. There are always possible derailments to getting tape in radio–the subject doesn’t call back before your deadline, they call back but they don’t want to talk to you, or, they are willing to talk but they don’t want to be recorded. In radio, you have to find ways around these mishaps, most of the time, depending on the story.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. I feel like this statement is true in life, but especially in radio. Yes, be serious when conducting interviews by staying on topic or when writing up your script (I have made a few mistakes myself). But also be yourself and relax. You get some of your best tape from interviewees when they feel you’re having a conversation, not interrogation. The best stories don’t necessarily sound like straight-up news reports, but more like the voice of the story is talking to you, explaining something like a friend would (this took me a long time to learn as well). Also, while dress code ranges from workplace to workplace, as you continue to work, you’ll learn what you may be able to get away with.

Take it from me. My first day, I was dressed like this:

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

 

And by my last day, I was more laid-back.

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

 

  • Lastly, keep in touch. Okay, so remember how I said “Don’t take yourself too seriously”? While that’s still important to keep in mind, it’s very possible to not take yourself seriously and maintain competency. This is important. Take your job seriously–do a great job, have a good attitude and respect your co-workers. It could pay off in the long run, in terms of asking for advice or other tasks that could open up at the office after your internship is long over.

For the final assignment of my internship, I completed a feature about the recent changes to College Board’s SAT. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the program because I got to pitch the topic, traveled across western Massachusetts to do interviews, and voiced a longer piece than my usual cut-and-scripts and spots. But don’t take my word for it. You can listen/read all my assignments from the links on my Resume page.

Are there any tips you have journalism internships or working in general? Share in the comments below!