Waking up early in the morning is bound to draw ire from me towards most things, not to mention getting lost in UF's labyrinth (albeit scenic) campus and showing up late to the opening address. As I sat down and stirred I suddenly came to realize that the stories and mantras coming from Student Experiences Coordinator Renee Gork were not only relatable, but compelling. She told us about her experiences in the field of multimedia production post-graduation as a sportscaster and her success and ambition outside of the classroom revealed a passion for reporting and for the campus that resonated soundly with me. She left us in the capable hands of our supervisors, myself with the friendly and distinguished journalism teacher, Jeff Riley.
Sorted into our groups, I was assigned to log my trip today through a dedicated Twitter account. This surprised and excited me, being an avid tweet freak I reveled at the chance to effectively bite-size my tour through Weimer Hall. Filing into the Innovation News Center building, our first speakers came in the form of Monivette Corderio and Sarah Preciado, who uphold the Noticias WUFT program. A Spanish-speaking newscast, these two eloquently described the language barriers and specialized stories associated with their reporting. Later, they managed to draw the distinction between radio reporting versus television reporting. It was fascinating for me to see that UF's news reporters cover such a broad spectrum of interests and racial backgrounds. Next up was a fine presentation from Weimer Hall alum Chris Peralta and doctoral student Christine Eschenfelder about the daily trials and tribulations associated with reporting.
From conducting interviews, to preparing news packages, to meeting strict deadlines, their lively session showed us that the profession is not without stress, that their is a constant, daily pressure that newscasters have to become accustomed to. They promised that the labor and sleep deprivation are worth it when you see the final production come to fruition however, and their sincerity was reassuring.
Last but not least, Andy Selapak drove home the recurring notion that the journalism industry is a changing beast with his emphasis on social media and its role in the sphere of reporting. He cut right to the chase and asked "How many of you read the paper everyday?" Nobody moves. Without missing a beat, he followed with "How many of you check your Twitter feed on a daily basis?" Hands start to reluctantly raise. I live tweeted a picture of him motioning animatedly with his phone and realized I was the vast majority he was directly speaking to. Showing the site of a past student who has received job offers from her sleek, well-designed blog, he stressed that initiative will decide if we as high school students will become a rising force in reporting or merely twitchy bloggers of a fledgling social media era. By the end of today's session, as I finish this lengthy summary, I've got to hand it to these presenters and this established college for impressing me and showing me the basics of something I'd like to pursue closely and with great ambition in my fast-approaching college years.