An e-mail entitled "Hi Jessica."

"I just wanted to thank you for your article on the Art Show that is raising money for Autism. As the father of a child with Autism, ANY exposure is greatly appreciated. Thanks again :-)"

I live for stuff like this. It shows that I'm making a tiny bit of difference for someone out there, and that they appreciate it.


More journalism talk.

A continuation from my last post about people talking on the Facebook wall about journalism's future.

Post 4:
Just read robert's post. Thanks for saying we're all young and lovely....appreciate it mate, but i'm in my 40s and worked all over the damn shop for the past 25 years. But i'll take the young and lovely.

As for "journalism is dead, long live journalism".... crickey, let's all do the socrates and pass me the freaking hemlock. i'm with the majority on this one--journalism like anything worth doing right must and will evolve. Not to offend any baptists in the crowd, but it's called evolution, baby. The key is making sure that we, as journos, kick the thing in the right direction--a little mix of information and entertainment with a good helping of skepticism and grunt.

Post 5:
Change or die. It really is that simple. We are changing, not dying. Honestly, if you think that this biz is at death's door, then move on because you're not doing it any good; you're dragging it down with you. I will not allow myself to believe, not even for one second, that I'm the pallbearer of an industry.

Post 6:
People will always want to know what is happening in the world or locally. How they receive that will change as technology evolves. But as a member of the British press I am proud to say that we are very much alive and well.

If anything the changes currently underway in the media will create further opportunities for us all. It's going to be hard, but if you enjoy the job then it's worth sticking around.

Finally, a focus.

So I have been putting off writing this story for weeks now. Literally, weeks, because the press release that first spurned it was sent on July 3.

I've essentially ignored the story, working on other ones and other things since there was never a deadline on it anyway.

And now, I've figured it out. It's a basic pets story, and I was trying to do something that had too narrow of a view that I just couldn't (or more like wouldn't) work on.

It's not going to be this hard-hitting piece that will win me the Pulitzer.

But it's something I'll like working on. I feel less like a lazy bum now.


News judgement.

It's something some people just don't have.

I am not going to elaborate.

Just know that I am fuming right now.



In case you cared.

I thought the book was amazing, and I'm satisfied. Also, because I finished it 18 hours after it was released, I've got no one to talk to about it.

So when you're done, you should tell me, so I can discuss with you.

Also. Wish I wasn't such an idiot and wish I had a certain phone number.

I have it.

I got Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows within 15 minutes of midnight, because my family waited in line to get wrist bands while I was at work.

I will not be logging onto anything until I'm done, and the only reason my phone will be on is because I have to interview someone tomorrow morning.

Also, I met the most amazing guy in line, and talked to him for two and a half hours. Sadly, I don't think I'm ever going to see him again.

Alrighty. I'll probably be on by Sunday at the latest.


Discussions on Facebook walls.

Post 1:
Wow, I just got through the "A's" on the list and you're all young and attractive... Wait, this is for young people and young journalists. Two-thirds of you will flame out in the next two years. The ones that succeed will leave the biz within 5 to 10 years because journalism is dying. If you stay in media, you will be generating content to amuse the masses, not inform them. As our society collapses, people will tire of bummer news. They will be in full denial and will only buy or view what tickles them. And with that, I wish you all the best!

Post 2:
Hey Robert, I don't think journalism is dying - but it is evolving. Yes, large dailies are having major issues and they need to make changes - they need to offer people more than just yesterday's news. Newspaper journalists need to start looking for tomorrow's story, to keep things fresh. More in depth, researched pieces about where society is headed (I'm not talking about advancers for the upcoming ice cream festival either).
Small town papers are not in the same spot, because people will always buy them because little Johnny's home run is on the sports page. But they too have to evolve.
We have 24-hour news stations - it will be interesting to see where that goes in the next few years.
I don't think people only want things to amuse themselves (although that never hurts) - in fact, I'd say people are interested in the hard news and want to be informed.
Journalism is changing but I don't think it's dying. The medium of newspapers might be in trouble though.

Post 3:
I completely agree with Kate. Journalism is going through an evolution right now, just as it did when radio and television arrived. It goes too far to say it's dying.
The online medium of journalism is just another way for the news to get out there in a different form. Rather than shunning that possibility, as I've seen many older journalists do, it needs to be embraced. The interactivity lets us use not just words, but images and sounds through photos, videos, podcasts. The story still needs to be told - it's just going to be done in a slightly different way. It's an exciting advent that I look forward to working with.
Also, I intern for a group of weekly community newspapers right now, and their circulation has actually gone up in recent years. So newspapers aren't dying - they just need to learn how to adapt their content to fit their particular audience.
And with that, I am going back to writing my story and finishing my briefs - something I plan on doing for years to come.

I'm post 3, in case you were wondering or hadn't figured it out. These are pulled from the Trust me. I'm a journalist Facebook group's wall.


I think I just pissed off an artist.

So I'm writing this story on this nonprofit group working with this gallery to raise funds, and I thought it'd be a good idea to talk to the featured artists who'll have work up at the event.

Apparently not.

I thought this artist had an idea of what event he was going to be working at, but he didn't. And when I said my primary focus was the program and that I didn't have anything else to ask him at the moment, he sounded all huffy when he said, "I thought you were going to ask how we became artists, why we did this for the living, why we love art."

After telling him what the story was about, I didn't want to waste his time or mine so i said that wasn't the case, and I'm sorry if he misunderstood. Then he was like, okay, call if you have anything else, and then he hung up up before I could respond.

Ah well. You can't make everyone happy.


J.K. Rowling on the NY Times.

J.K. Rowling's response to the early review that the New York Times published two days before the official release date:

"I am staggered that American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time. I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry’s last adventure for fans."

Yes, I read the review, I couldn't help myself. And if you don't want to know the one main point (yes, only one) that I got out of it, don't read it.

So here's the question:

Did the Times cross the line when they decided to publish an early review on a book that was not to be released until July 21 at midnight, as agreed by publishers, booksellers and the author? Was this the wrong move by an overzealous editor?

Or was this the right way to approach the situation, with all the secrecy that has surrounded Rowling's final tale in a series that's held a lot of the world captivated for the past ten years?

I understand where Rowling is coming from, because it's her story to tell and it wasn't done the way she liked it. It revealed a couple of key things to the story, things that I'm not sure I really wanted to know.

And because it was from a legitimate source and not from a random Web site claiming to have spoilers, I'm sure she's all the more livid at their apparent disregard for her fans.

Personally, yeah, I could have done without the review. But at the same time, I think they're making a bigger deal out of it than it is. And this is coming from someone's who's loved this series for seven years, has gone to midnight premieres, visited the fan Web sites and eagerly watched the movies (yeah, I'm a Harry Potter geek, get over it).

So I know what the Deathly Hallows are. So what? All the other references in that review were inferences I made long before I read it anyway.

The way I look at is, it's like a movie trailer. You get a few bits and pieces, and you know it's coming, but you don't know why it's coming or how it happens.

There's still the anticipation. And now that I have a glimpse of what's to come, I want more.

I don't know if that was the Times's intention, but it works for me.

Update: As clarification, I'm not condoning what the Times did. I don't agree with it, and I think they should have waited. But it doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother a lot of other people.

And the Times wrote an op-ed piece in response to the fans' outcry.


Cleaning out my closet.

Looking at stuff I haven't seen in nearly a year.

I kinda just wanna throw it all away and be done with it.

But I'm sentimental, so I have to go through it all, piece by piece.

This is going to be at least a two-week project and trip down memory lane.

I wonder what I'll find.

Update: Here's what I've found already - the news story I wrote for a Journalism Education Association write off nearly three years ago.

I don't want to read it because I'm sure it's horrid, seeing as how I'd never done a news writing thing in my life beforehand. I thought news writing was boring and that it was all about the inverted pyramid. And I had a rather skewed view of what the inverted pyramid was. But then, I did win an award for it, so maybe it's not that bad...

It's going to be a long day.

Had three people say my name one after the other in two minutes.

Am not getting coffee because I am trying to cut back on it.

Am writing a brief on Harry Potter. Though that's not a bad thing.

Need to do my pets story already.

Have at least two other stories to follow up on.

Need to write a research paper for the political science class I'm taking.

Need to sleep more. I cannot emphasize this one enough.

In other news:
Finally saw Harry Potter last night. It wasn't the most amazing movie in the entire [world, but it was good. Really good. I loved how they integrated the Daily Prophet into the scenes to move the story along (of course, I would love something like that). I think it remained true to the heart of the story.

I can't wait until the last book comes out...but I will save my Harry Potter rant for later. I will just sit here at my desk until this public information officer calls me back.

Also, I absolutely love the guys I work with.

Here's a bit of an e-mail conversation to give you an idea.

Guy 1: "Stop the presses. Here's the most important thing we will cover all year.
Who wants it?

[From the beginning of a press release]
LAS VEGAS, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- From legendary headliners to up-and-
coming superstars, Las Vegas has been host to the best in comic talent for
decades, drawing visitors to The Strip to enjoy a good belly laugh."

Guy 2: "DIBS - And I promise I won't use any cheesy 'what happens in Vegas may not
stay in Vegas' lines."

And they buy donuts too. Doughnuts, donuts...I hate that style. Why does it matter?



So I was glancing through the Nevada News link on the university's Web site, and this story popped up.

And I wouldn't have mentioned it at all, except for the fact that while I was reading through said story, it read very similarly to one that I wrote on the same topic. Not word for word, mind you, but pretty close. Mine was printed about a week before this particular story came out.

The only difference that I could really see was the quotes. And even then, they sounded alike too.

Maybe there are only so many ways to write a story, but it felt a little fishy to me.

Whatever. I guess it doesn't matter four months later. But it still bugs me. Just a bit.


Went to the bookstore today.

Bought five books and two magazines.

- The Historian
- Love Walked In
- Suite Francaise
- Happiness Sold Separately
- Queen of Babble
- Cosmo
- Time

My pile of books to read has grown once more.

I should make more time to read these books, but I never seem to get around to it.

I'm still only a few chapters into "Middlesex" even though I got it a month ago.

I remember the days when I would just read and read and read, getting lost in the plots and becoming involved with the characters. I guess I didn't have much else to do.

And now, picking up a book is a luxury, one that I don't get to indulge in all that often anymore. I wonder why.

Maybe I've become too busy for my own good.

Well, at the very least, I'll have the seventh Harry Potter book done in a week's time. I can promise myself that much.


Briefs and other revelations.

I can't wait until school starts again, when the max amount of briefs I write will be four briefs a week, maybe 15 inches long at most.

Until then, it's been more like 80 inches each week because of the various editions.

At least I'm getting better at writing tighter and finding the most important information in the five billion press releases I read each week.


Every time I am all set to go, "I hate doing this," I realize how everything they have me do is to help me get better. Yes, I get headaches from talking to the copy editor. Yes, I am tired of writing briefs nearly every single day.

But the copy editor forces me to double check what I do, learn from my mistakes and get better at AP style.

The briefs do exactly what I said earlier, and they also make me learn how to deal with PR people and understand why length is so important.

So with that nice epiphany, I am not going to complain. I am just going to go back writing my 80 inches of briefs and remind myself that it does matter after all.

Random note: The 2007 AP stylebooks have pretty covers. I want one, but it doesn't make any sense to buy another one when I already have three (2002, 2004 and 2006). I am such a nerd.


A tribute.

To the man who read newspapers every day, magazines every week and books all summer long.

To the man who continued teaching government despite kids not caring about the class.

To the man who cared about what was happening in the world.

To the man who could tell me all I wanted to know about current events in five minutes.

To the man who thought I would pass my AP test.

To the man who said Joe Biden had the mind of a ferret.

To the man who let me out of class to work on the newspaper.

To the man who didn't bother me when I ended up falling asleep in his class.

To the man who ordered venti plain black coffee from Starbucks.

To the man who stopped and talked to me for ten minutes when I visited LVA in May, starting with, "How are you, dear?"

To the man who discussed Time Magazine for the last half hour of class.

To the man who wore a Hawaiian shirt to prom.

To the man who never counted me tardy.

To the man who gave the newspaper money to be published when we didn't have anything left in our account.

To the man who challenged me to form my own opinions about the political scope and not believe what I was told at face value.

To Mr. Jim Akins...

This one's for you.

I know that if there is something that comes after death, you're right there, asking the world what's going on, why it's going on and hoping people wake up and finally see reality.

Thanks for everything.

I miss college.

I miss nicer weather.
I miss the river.
I miss the trees.
I miss walking to the movie theaters.
I miss sleeping until 9 a.m. (sometimes later).
I miss shopping/talking/laughing/dancing/singing with the roomie/best friend.
I miss Jimmy John’s.
I miss Italian sodas with Amy L. after choir.
I miss the Sagebrush.
I miss the boys’ stupid, crazy antics.
I miss production nights.
I miss feeling useful.
I miss being around people who are mostly my age.
I miss free copies of The New York Times.
I miss lying on the grass by the quad.
I miss my chair.
I miss my duckies.
I miss Dreamer’s.
I miss the pretty campus.
I miss his laugh.
I miss playing around on InDesign and Photoshop.
I miss wearing jeans and t-shirts and flip flops all the time.
I miss 3 a.m. Denny’s trips.
I miss going for walks whenever I felt like it.
I miss seeing people at meals.
I miss knowing where everything within walking distance is.
I miss Sushi Pier.
I miss random happenings.
I miss you.


Best story assignment ever.

Well. At least for this summer.

Looks like I'll be spending my entire day at UNLV tomorrow.


A request.

If you are writing a hard news story, get to the point.

Please. Please. Please. Please.

I do not care what the neighbor thought was going on if he didn't even know that the event was taking place. That should not be your damn lede.

And I shouldn't have to reread a story over and over again to piece together the facts. They should be presented in a way where I can pick them out almost instantly.

It's not that it's bad writing. It's just that it's annoying. You're a journalist and a storyteller. Don't give me fluff. Give me facts.

Note to self: pay closer attention to writing to avoid doing exactly what I'm complaining about.


Writing to my senator.

That's right, I am becoming involved in the political process.

"What's this?" you ask. "Jessica cares about what's going on in the world around her?"

Of course I do.

Sort of.

For the political science class I'm taking online, I'm required to write a letter to one of my congressmen about an issue that concerns me.

I racked my brain for ideas, because I wanted the issue to be something I personally had a problem with, not something I just pulled out of my current events hat.

I mean, I could do something generic like rising college costs, the health system, Iraq...but there are 60 other people in this class, all of whom have to write to the same congressmen. I'm sure the topics I named above have already been addressed by one of them.

Besides, I like being original.

So I'm writing to the senator about the Freedom of Information Act and the latest thing around that (basically, that there are still requests from years ago, one before I was born, that still haven't been fulfilled). I feel as a journalist, and as a citizen, that the violation must be addressed, and according to what I've read, the process has been stalled in, lo and behold, the senate (thank you weekly SPJ newsletter for keeping me informed on stuff like this).

I'm trying to make myself not sound like an ass as I write it...more research is inevitable, I think. It's due in about three hours, so I should get on it.

In other news:
My mother's making me watch Oprah. This man is psychologically analyzing why people have clutter (like me). And seriously? I really don't think that it's as deep as they're making it sound. I really don't think that my messiness as a person mean that I have some dark, underlying secret about not being able to let go of my past, etc., etc. But that's just me.

Final draft of the letter

In the latest newsletter from the Society of Professional Journalists, the lead headline read, “FOIA Foibles.” It went on to detail the survey done by the National Security Archive, revealing that requests made because of the Freedom of Information Act are still pending, the oldest from 1987.

Out of the 87 agencies that were reviewed, five of them – the State Department, Air Force, CIA and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and FBI – reported having pending requests from the last 15 years. Ten agencies misreported their oldest pending requests in their fiscal 2006 Annual Freedom of Information Acts Requests.

The text of the Freedom of Information Act, which went into effect in 1967, reads clearly that “failure by an agency to respond in a timely manner to such a request shall be subject to judicial review.”

As a journalism student and a citizen, I feel that a violation of the act inhibits my personal ability to learn more about what happens in the government. With the recent release of the “family jewels,” the CIA files that detail the agency’s secret dealings during the 1960’s and 1970’s, citizens are left to question what could be going on in today’s government. In order for people to make informed decisions when voting during elections and when lobbying the government, they need to understand the entire situation, not just parts of it – which is where the Freedom of Information Act plays its important role.

I am aware that there are bipartisan efforts in Congress to solve some of the problems revealed in the survey, and that these efforts have been stalled in the U.S. Senate, with Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona holding the bill S. 849, which is “to promote accessibility, accountability, and openness in Government.” The U.S. House of Representatives passed its amendments to the Freedom of Information Act with a bipartisan majority. I hope that the Senate will soon be able to do the same, and that you as the Senate Majority Leader will continue to push for the bill’s passage.

In a press release from the National Security Archive, Eric Newton, vice president of the journalism program at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, asked, "Americans once said they had the best open government laws in the world. Is that still true?"

I hope that you will be able to prove it is.


Sagebrush = Sex and the City

At least, according to one columnist from the University of Utah, anyway.

Who would have thought?

I randomly found this column on UNR newspapers printed in the Daily Utah Chronicle months ago (so this is dated, but bear with me).

I read two issues of The Sagebrush and was surprised to see that it makes Salt Lake City Weekly look like The Church News. No doubt the animosity is mutual.


If you were a student in Reno, which paper would you read: Sex and the City, Savage Nation or ObamaRama? The campus has three student papers and absolutely nothing for moderates to read.

I am sure you can figure out on your own who "Savage Nation" and "ObamaRama" are referring to.

I would never consider the Sagebrush "racy." Just college material. Sometimes, too boring for students to bother reading, truth be told.

My bet is he probably stumbled across the sex column and Booze Hounds.

He also referenced the time Michael Moore came to campus (before my time) and the creation of the Pack Patriot and Nevada Blue.

So his conclusion?

The apathy of U students now gives me hope for the future. I don't want to live in a country where everyone believes his or her political opponents aren't worth working with. I don't want to attend a campus where everyone is screaming at everyone else -- even if it is on the print-soaked rags I love so much.

His embrace of apathy makes me shake my head at his apparent ignorance. Only the people who are willing to take a stand and state their opinions - liberal, conservative, moderate, whatever - are going to make any difference in this world.

Best to realize that in college, not when you're sitting at your desk job at the age of 45, wondering what the hell happened to your life.

For the rest of the article, click here.


Wrote a story in less than an hour.

I must say, not to sound arrogant or anything, I'm proud of me.


With an advertising guy this morning.

I know, I know. Of all the people, someone in advertising...

What can I say? He was cute, and it was early.

In other news:
Am writing story about Mormons. From Norwegians to Mormons in two days. Huh.

Also, I cannot log on to the server, and thus, cannot access a lot of my work. Meh.

Nevermind. Yay help desk.


This would be a dealbreaker for me.

So I was reading the comments on this article on Yahoo, and apparently, this is what this man thinks is ideal in the perfect woman:

"Ladies - be a go-getter! Girlfriends with which I've fallen in love have all been go-getters. The first time my current gf spent the night she woke up early, cleaned my house and made me breakfast in bed. Since we’ve moved in I enjoy breakfast almost every morning without even having to tell her to cook it! She ALWAYS has dinner ready when I get home. I work long hours and I never hear her complain when I come home late and ask her to reheat my meal. She also goes to the gym on a regular basis (sometimes it takes some strong words to make sure she complies) and always completes the chores I assign her. She isn’t as pretty as a lot of girls, but with her great body (thanks to the diet I’ve assigned her) and her go-get’em attitude she definitely makes up for it. Men: If you find an old fashioned girl like my HOLD ON TO HER. They don’t come along that often!"

Okay. I have no problem with being old-fashioned. I like old-fashioned. And I agree girls should be go-getters.

However, I do not agree with this guy's definition of old-fashioned and go-getter. And if a guy ever "assigned" me anything (unless it was in a professional setting, of course), I'd slap him (or kick him, punch him, etc.) and then it'd be over.

A guy in a relationship isn't supposed to tell me how to run my life or how to do things like an editor or a boss would. A guy in a relationship is supposed to be a partner, who's willing to make compromises. Does the above sound like compromise to you?

No, he's just a controlling bastard who sounds like he has no RESPECT for her (also key). In my opinion, anyway.

Bah. I just had to get that out there, that really made me grumpy.

How random.

Someone called the newsroom, asking how to spell my last name.


Didn't ask to speak to me or anything like that.

Wonder what that was about.


I've decided.

I'm going to figure out how to do Web design even if it drives me crazy.

It's one of those skills that'll probably prove necessary soon enough.


No more Norwegian story.


Oh well.

The list.

Stole the idea from Rachel, figured I would update my to-do list from March too.

12-month to-do list (as of March 2007):

--Get a tattoo on my 19th birthday (since that plan failed me on my 18th). Am now unsure if I actually want one. Or, for that matter, what it would be of. Indecision has gotten the best of me.
--Some sort of internship would be nice.
--Save enough money to go to Italy and England next summer. Not happening. Why? Because despite all of my best plans, I am (1) incapable of not shopping and (2) even if I was, there is no way I will be able to save $15,000 (the approximate cost I've come up with). Hello, student loans.
--Another job would probably be my best bet to make the above come true. Except...well, when do I have time for another job? Must look into part time possibilities on campus.
--Road trip. Preferably, to San Francisco, but whatever happens, happens.
--Learn how to play the piano (well).
--Take ballroom dancing classes.
--Learn how to snowboard/ski.
--Read the entirety of the 7th Harry Potter book (and turn off my phone while doing this so people like Robert can't call me and ruin the ending). Still waiting...18 days!

New to the list:
--Create my own Web site.
--Learn enough HTML to do the above.
--Karaoke night.
--Go see "Phantom" in Las Vegas. I have waited a year for this, it's ridiculous. Will by my own ticket if necessary.
--Figure out exactly what I am doing next summer. Must stop being indecisive about Europe.
--Get nothing lower than a C in my classes (preferably, higher than that).
--Officially become a journalism major already.
--Pick a minor.
--Stop obsessing over stupid stuff.
--Get new glasses. Absolutely necessary, only wearing contacts is driving me crazy.

List shall expand. Am considering just making a long list of stuff I need to do in my life in a blog. A few of these things can currently be found on the right part of the screen.


It seems that a lot of journalists use big words and long sentences to make their story sound better.

No, no, no.

It doesn't sound better. It just makes it all clunky and disrupts the flow of the story, making me not want to finish reading said story.

And I would like to know the point of the story sooner. Especially if the lead isn't all that enticing to begin with.

It's amazing what you can learn about yourself and your own habits from reading other people's work.



So I'm trying to think of ideas for the Weekly Update page...and I've basically nixed the How To, mainly because I think it's a pain to think of a new How To every week. There are only so many things that you can explain of how to do it.

Besides, if necessary, How To can become some feature that shows up every once in a while.

Anyway, I am searching for ideas for that page. I have a few I'm toying around with that I've sent to Mike, but I'm open for suggestions. As I told him, I want a page that bursts with nicely and prettily organized information.

Also, tell me if you agree with me that Quote of the Week stays. I personally like Quote of the Week, but it seems Mr. Designer does not.

P.S. Am over last post, the asshole redeemed himself.

I have officially decided.

There's this guy, and he's a total asshole who thinks he knows everything.

Obviously, I'm the most incompetent person if it's not done exactly to his liking.



MySpace News.

Currently trying to figure out how it works.

Appears to be a giant news blog. Cannot figure out who decides what's worthy of being posted - the MySpace admins or the MySpace users. There is a feature that allows the readers to rate the story and comment on it, always good.

Suppose this is a rather good idea, because with this, the news will reach the people who use MySpace and don't bother going to other sites very often...mainly a bunch of high schoolers, but still.

Am unsure of whether I like this or not.

My philosophies on life.

I just spent a few hours telling my brother all of my philosophies on life, from coincidence vs. "everything happens for a reason" to love and soul mates to journalism and its meaning to everyone having stories to religion to life in general.'

I think I've totally thrown the kid for a loop.

Ah well. Something's gotta make him start thinking.