Friday, April 29, 2011

Rise and shout! But will you tweet it out?

Oh! Hey! I have a story in The Daily Universe today!

Rise and shout, but will you tweet it out?

This was the last story I did for COMMS 420. Should be pretty interesting to all o' yas (I'm working on my New York accent).

That said, I actually love New York.

That said, I actually love New York.

The greatest city in the world can be a little intimidating. I've had some big city experience, most recently a brief Daily Universe excursion to New Orleans. But there's something about New York that makes it different. It's unique, even among other giant cities. So much has happened and does happen here, and the rest of the world knows so much about it. Anyone who doesn't live under a rock feels like they've been here, but that's definitely just a feeling. Being here is something else. And it's great.

I still can't believe sometimes that I'm here. The Empire State Building is out my window, I spied the Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn shore the other day, my family and I perused Times Square, I even walked by Rockefeller Center after I got a little lost this morning on my way to a story assignment (an assignment that, by the way, was under the Manhattan Bridge). And there's tons more that's just waiting to be seen. And, despite the fact that I did get lost this morning, I'm actually very comfortable with the subway system here. With a monthly unlimited pass, I can go anywhere I want in the city. It's amazing.

Another amazing aspect of the city has been the people. New Yorkers might have been the part of New York I was the most worried about. There's a reputation for rudeness from this town. I expected that as a country hick from Utah, and with a wife and baby even though I'm not even 25, I would just get in the way of these people. But mostly I've seen the exact opposite. The whole city loves Allisyn, and everyone has been super nice and helpful. I think the people here know their city is special, and they're happy to show it off and welcome others to it. They take pride in being hosts to newcomers like us.

Also, I really like Brooklyn. My first assignment was to go down to a new commercial building by a new park to take some photos, and on the way back our editor told us to pick up lunch at a small neighborhood place called Iris Cafe. Iris Cafe was so flowery and idealistic. People coming in with their kids and strollers, Rachel the owner knowing everybody's was like the Sesame Street kind of New York. I loved it.

It was also really cool to be at the royal wedding viewing party in Brooklyn this morning. It seemed like the sort of thing that could only happen in Brooklyn. And, even though the royal wedding wasn't a huge deal to me, now I have a unique story about how I watched it.

Before I came here, I thought I'd love working in New York but wouldn't necessarily want to live here. What's funny is now, I love living here too.

Two and a Half Days in Brooklyn

It's definitely a different style here that I'm not very used to. There are many words to describe it: sarcastic, snarky (that's my favorite) and maybe a little irreverent. I know every newspaper should have a little bit of that, but I haven't actually had much personal experience with it. (I guess some of my op-ed pieces last summer were snarky. But that's why they are op-ed pieces.)

For instance, take a look at this short paragraph on the paper's website, introducing us as the new interns:

They say that youth is wasted on the young, but that’s not the case here at The Brooklyn Paper, where we’ve just welcomed our Class of ‘11 interns, Daniel Ng and J.J. Despain — all the way from Salt Lake City (no, they’re not moonlighting in “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway). These kids have got gumption, they’ve got drive and, best of all, they’ve got moxie. You’re going to fall in love with them, Brooklyn. And if not, don’t worry — they’ll be gone in two months, and we’ll just be a smile on their face that their professors back home can’t understand.

It's actually pretty funny sometimes (I liked their way of introducing me.) But I'm more used to that in a magazine, not really in a newspaper. But I guess every newspaper has to find their voice, their identity.

Another example: I wrote a story about a royal wedding viewing party under the Manhattan Bridge, which was a pretty cool event to be a part of. I tried to add a little bit of that snarkiness, using a theme of royal wedding "fever," to make it more Brooklyn Paper friendly. But my editor added a lot more, including a reference to "crown jewels" that isn't really my type of humor.

And, I'm not used to so many edits and changes in what I write. Maybe I took for granted the freedom I was given at The Daily Universe. Sure, editors gave me suggestions or asked me to change things, but I think in general the writing style I already had was a perfect match for BYU. It sounds too dramatic to say that I didn't know I was such a bad writer until I got here, but I am back at the bottom of the totem pole. I mean, of course I am, I'm an intern in New York. But maybe no matter how well I knew that beforehand, it's just different to actually face it.

Working here isn't the end of the world. And working in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar place is the way a human being grows. (Working here actually reminds me of my first few days in Argentina as an LDS Church missionary, in terms of being a fish out of water.) I'm sure things will only get better.

If you are curious to see what I've written, here's what's up so far:

Maybe they should call it 'Men in THE Black'

Brooklyn catches royal wedding fever - and DUMBO is the center of the plague!

And then, I took the photo that's attached to this story:

New retail - dogs, wine! - comes to Brooklyn Bridge Park

I'll admit, it is nice to see my work published, even if it is work after the effects of snarkization.

And, I do get this view from my desk:



More than two weeks later there are still people who are finding this blog post, and I'm realizing that what I wrote might be causing some problems. I just wrote a new post that I hope will clarify what I meant to say.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Tomorrow begins the next phase of my journalism career.

After wrapping up Winter Semester 2011, I packed up Erin, Allisyn and as much of our apartment as I could and we left on a Great American Road Trip to New York City.

The road trip was actually tons of fun. Somehow, I must have been boosted by some Mario Bros. invincibility and was able to drive the entire time, even though usually when we drive to Oregon I have to give Erin a turn. I honestly think I was riding high on the excitement of coming to New York.

Erin did a great job (with only a little help from me) of blogging on the road. Here's where you can find our travel log:

Day 1 (Provo, UT, to Kearney, NE)
Day 2 (Kearney, NE, to South Bend, IN)
Day 3 (South Bend, IN, to Somerset, PA)
Day 4 (Somerset, PA, to Hatfield, PA)
Day 5 (Hatfield, PA to NYC!)

And here are just a few photos (go to our family blog to see all of them):

Somewhere in Wyoming

Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple

Notre Dame

I give BP's mere presence a thumbs down. (Read a buncha my blog posts from last summer to find out more.)
Sandusky, Ohio! Home of Callahan Auto Parts!

Cleveland skyline

Allisyn in front of the Newel K. Whitney Store in Kirtland, OH

Newel K. Whitney Store, Kirtland, OH

Kirtland Temple

The Phillie Phanatic!

Liberty Bell

Philly cheese steaks! Where have you been all my life?!

Independence Hall

New York City coming up!
For our stay in New York City, we are living in the International House, a part of Columbia University especially meant for international students. The building was built in 1924, and it's got a lot of character, as my mom would say. It's actually two buildings, and the two together make quite a labyrinth.

(Click here to scroll to the bottom to find a video tour of our apartment.)

But, Erin, Allisyn and I did escape from the maze enough to explore Times Square today. Erin wrote about it on our family blog: Exploring the subway/Times Square

Anyway, the ultimate purpose of moving to this amazing city is for my internship at The Brooklyn Paper, which starts tomorrow. I'm not really sure what to expect. But I know that the editor is really excited to work with us (Dan Ng, a fellow BYU print journalism student, will be working there too), and I think it will be a comfortable environment. I expressed interest in writing about sports, especially the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team, but I also think this would be a good opportunity to branch out. Branching out means doing something I've never done before, which makes me a little nervous. But, I'll just do what I did when I first became a reporter: jump right in and do my best, and I'll surprise myself.

I'll tell you all how it goes tomorrow!

Also, be sure to follow my family blog. I'll keep this one updated, but Erin's good about sharing our travels and adventures on there, which very well could be more exciting than whatever I do at the paper. So check that one often.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Quick One-Two of Basketball Stories

I wrote two basketball stories in two days this week. The first one was the most exciting, I got to go to the press conference announcing coach Dave Rose's new contract with BYU.

BYU keeps coach Rose for basketball future

There weren't too many surprises. But I did really like this quote from President Cecil O. Samuelson:

“Since we believe that he is the finest coach at any level in the country, whatever he’s paid he will be underpaid economically,” Samuelson said. “We also believe that BYU’s a very special place, and the coach recognizes that.”

It was a really nice compliment. Plus it shut up reporters like me who wanted to get clues to the actual dollar amounts, haha.

Then, the next day, I wrote this quick blurb about Jimmer being up for the Wooden Award:

Will Jimmer win the Wooden Award tonight?

I also mentioned the appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, before I had actually seen it since it didn't air until about ten hours after I wrote the story. The Jimmer cameo was kind of lame, but Jimmer handled it well. He was a lot more talkative than Kemba was. (And I appreciated that Jimmy Kimmel's show was pretty appropriate...until after the conversation with Jimmer.)

(The screen shot shows Vin Diesel, Jimmy Kimmel's first guest. But I promise that if you play the video, it will show the Jimmer cameo.)
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