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7.8 Kelly in fieldThis past week I had the opportunity to go on my first “business trip” which fortunately felt more like a vacation. The Ulman Cancer Fund has a program called the 4k for Cancer, that has college students run or bike across the country with the goal of offering hope, inspiration and support to cancer communities along the way.

I had the pleasure of traveling out to Missouri to meet with the Run team to see how they were doing, record video and take pictures. Thankfully, I have had some practice at High Point University with shooting on site, in less than optimal conditions and I have learned how to make the most of the opportunities presented to get the best shot possible.

7.8 FieldI spent a large portion of each day hanging out the window of a van as it drove down the rural back roads where the participants were running. I even had the chance to do a little running myself, though I was definitely not capable of running as much as those people did every day. We were also able to cook dinner for cancer patients and their caregivers at the Kansas City Hope Lodge. It doesn’t feel much like work when it so gratifying! I enjoyed supporting these runners as they made their way closer to their end destination of Baltimore.

This trip was a great break in the normal routine, although I am looking forward to getting back into the office and catching up on work!

 
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TylerThis summer I was fortunate enough to be chosen for a 9-week internship with Wawa, Inc. They are mostly known for their success in the retail industry and rapid expansion throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and Florida. Throughout the Summer I will be reporting to the Risk Management department located at Wawa’s corporate office. Risk Management falls under the Quality Assurance, Risk and Safety team.

The first couple of weeks of the internship have been very eventful. Almost daily, I have been brought in on various meetings with others teams at Wawa and even some outside companies who do business with them. Just last week, I had the privilege of meeting with Wawa’s Risk Consulting group who specializes in making sure that all of the lines of insurance for the company are up-to-date for and in good working order. The meeting was held at a local country club and we had catered breakfast and lunch on the house (there are definitely some perks to interning at a corporate office!). Through that meeting and other meetings, I have learned a lot more about how to fine-tune my networking skills. Today, we have websites similar to LinkedIn which enable us to network with others who might have similar career goals or those who might already be working for that dream company of yours. Wawa has taught me that you can never have too many copies of your business card and they have shown this through how rapidly they distribute them with their vendors and other business partners.

This week they had me working on a claim that was filed towards the end of last year as a result of Hurricane Sandy. I was responsible for completing Excel files that were missing invoice numbers and then posting all of the numbers to separate journal entries. Yesterday, I completed the claim and sent it off to the insurance company so that they could review it.

Since I have started, they have bombarded me with tons of Wawa gear. So far, I have been given three shirts, four hats, two water bottles, two coffee mugs, a wind breaker and an umbrella all covered in Wawa’s logo. If they keep this up, I may need to purchase a storage locker just to be able to hold onto all of the free Wawa gear.

I am definitely looking forward to the next 6 weeks with Wawa and stay tuned for weekly updates from my internship experience.

 
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7.8 Paleo Diet PostAfter last week being so eventful, the slow pace of this week is kind of difficult to adjust too. I’m just thankful it did slow down long enough for me to enjoy a few days of relaxation for the Fourth of July.

I spent the remainder of last week researching an article on the Paleo Diet. I’ve never been one to really understand the “fad” diets, but after my research, I can see why it’s become a new craze. If you want to learn more about the paleo diet you can read my article on it here: http://thedailyquirk.com/2013/07/03/paleo-diet/

This week I have been working on the transcript for my second interview who I can now reveal as Tara Summers. Once the article goes live, I’ll explain a little more about the experience (which turned out to be more difficult than I thought), but in this post I want to discuss the importance of social media to the journalism career.

Last time I wrote a blog, I took a screen shot of a conversation between a “Whodunnit?” contestant Ulysses and myself. He hit “favorite” on a post by The Daily Quirk that linked to my interview with Gildart Jackson on Twitter. This was my first real taste of “everywhereness” for my articles, as well as a taste of having a “fan.”

7.8 Melina TweetFrom this same post, another contestant, Melina, re-tweeted and made sure to favorite the article. Later that day, my managing editor emails me to let me know Melina was available for an interview, and no more than thirty minutes later I had an interview set up for July 8. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

So this leads me to my point about social media. While some people may view the growing dependence of social media a flaw, there are some positives to the craze. Journalists not only network through Facebook and Twitter, but can also stumble on leads to stories and even possible interviews. To know that after a tweet and a favorite of a single post on Twitter I have an interview with a contestant of a reality show is really amazing.

If it weren’t for Twitter, setting up an interview with a contestant of “Whodunnit?” might have taken weeks or even months. In the course of about three hours I had reached out via Twitter, been contacted by my managing editor and then had the interview scheduled.

But it is always good to remember that while social media helps us find leads and interviews, it can also get us into trouble when we over step the boundaries and abuse the “instant contact” policy.

I had probably used Twitter three times since it’s beginning, and in the past few days I’ve been checking it pretty much nonstop. While I would typically shy away from Twitter since I have a Facebook, moral of this story is: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Having a variety of ways to make connections on social media is a must for budding journalists, and it’s a lesson well learned through the interview and writing process.

 
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6.19 AmyStep 3: Choose the newspaper and reporter by reading articles and noticing topic trends.

The third step in my Hometown Stories project is deciding who to send each pitch to. The first and most obvious thing to do is figure out which newspapers cover news about the area each intern is from. This is the easy part—it just involves asking the intern or a quick Google search. Then you have to figure out to which reporter it would be best to send each particular pitch. This involves visiting the Contact Us section of the newspaper’s website. Sometimes, the only email address available is new@ or the editor, but frequently you can find contact information for a number of reporters either listed all in one place, on the reporter’s information page or on an article the reporter has written. In some instances choosing the reporter is easy—especially if it’s a paper that reports on a number of different towns and therefore has reporter assigned to specific geographical beats (e.g. my newspaper has a specific reporter who covers the Poolesville/Boyds/Germantown area).

In other instances, especially when the newspaper only covers one town, it is a bit more complicated. To narrow down the reporter pool, I search key phrases like “internship” or town names to read sample articles from a variety of different journalists and choose the one whose work most reflects the type of story I plan to pitch, because even if a reporter isn’t assigned a specific beat, it’s likely that they tend to favor a specific type of story topic. If the pitch I plan to write has a heavy emphasis of what an educational opportunity the internship is, I’ll want to focus on Education reporters. If my angle focuses more on “Look at what a local student has accomplished,” I’ll focus more on community reporters. I may even change my story angle if I realize it wouldn’t fit the publication or if I locate a reporter I think would be drawn to an alternate angle. In this way, Steps 2 and 3 are intertwined and therefore cannot be completed in an entirely linear manner.

I was surprised with how much I have enjoyed this portion of the project. I was dreading compiling media lists because it seems so daunting, but being able to get this experience of compiling a media list on a much smaller scale has been a great way to introduce me to the things that should be considered and the way it should be handled.

 
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StephanieAll summer I have been developing a quarterly campaign plan. Mine revolves around teachers, parents and students during the holiday gifting time. After seven weeks of editing facts, massaging language and selecting perfect images, my managers believed it was time for me to present my plan to the VP of Marketing. Earlier in the morning, one of my managers and I sat down to go over my presentation and went through some tips for giving a great presentation. I wasn’t really nervous until about ten minutes before my presentation. Although the team has many meetings weekly with the VP, this was the first time that all eyes were on me. I took a deep breath, hoped for the best and dove into my presentation.

Overall, I think I did a really great job presenting. I tripped over a few of my sentences and maybe said “uhh” or “umm” once or twice but aside from the little things, I was really happy with my presentation. The VP mentioned that during the first time I presented to him (about the gift cards) I seemed a bit nervous and did not seem very confident. This time, however, he said that I had an air of confidence, which translated into a more fluid presentation. We went through the presentation afterwards to address any questions and I am now working on changes because the next step is to present to the Senior VP of Marketing and then the Executive VP of Marketing. It’s pretty crazy that my ideas and suggestions very well could be carried out into successful marketing plans in just a few short months. I really do feel like all of my hard work and efforts have been noted and that my work really does matter here.