Archives for September, 2011

New perspectives on news media

Whenever I travel, it gives me a fresh perspective not only on the place I’m visiting, but on my life and the world at large.

My recent trip to Washington, DC, was particularly eye-opening, and I found myself drawn to sites that centered on news and the media.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, so I am already well-informed on the media’s influence. But at the excellent Newseum, I was struck by the fact that although the mediums through which we receive news have changed dramatically, the impact of the news media has been an acknowledged force in decision-making – for better or worse – since before our country was founded.

This was reinforced by a new exhibit at the National Gallery of Art that focused largely on Andy Warhol’s art based on newspaper and tabloid headlines. The many ways he re-imagined these printed pieces, which were an obsession for him, underscored how each of us interprets what we read.

No question, the media has the power to influence what we think. But, as my parents taught me, “Don’t believe everything you read.” Check your sources. Be a little skeptical and dig deeper. And then decide what’s true.

More than ever, I’ll revere the journalists who are committed to solid, factual reporting. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.”

Confessions of a Procrastinator: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying + Love the Blog

The moment my web design team said, “Your website absolutely has to have a blog,” I knew this would happen: I’d struggle to keep up with a regular schedule of blog posts.

It’s not that I can’t keep to a schedule. That’s something I do very well, every day. But keeping up with a daily or even semi-regular blog seemed daunting. When would I find time? There are plenty of subjects that interest me, but would they be of value to anyone else?

Not to mention that I am a procrastinator. Not about the things that matter. Give me a deadline and I’ll meet it. But without a deadline, I’m sunk.

So although I won’t promise to blog every day, I am going to set aside a few minutes every day to write, just for me. Hopefully what I write will have merit for this blog. Some of it may not. But sharing my opinions and expertise on writing, communications, creativity and life in general will be another way to flex my writing muscles and, I hope, result in content that will appeal to others.

I’ll have the chance to ponder topics during some time off I’ve scheduled. My blog is a new exploration and I’m excited about digging deeper.

Right after my vacation.

How will you use what you know?

Many students return to school this week. And this time of year will always seem like back-to-school time, no matter how many years it’s been since I graduated.

To me, autumn feels like the time for a fresh start, more than New Year’s Day ever has. Maybe it’s the memory of buying new school clothes and school supplies (I still have great fondness for binders and notebooks, not to mention fall fashions). Perhaps it’s a rekindling of the anticipation of what might lie ahead in a new school year. Or maybe it’s the innate appeal of the chance to try again, to try something new, to try to achieve more than I did the year before.

I often apply these kinds of thoughts to my life and work as the first leaves begin to fall. It’s a time to reflect and plan for what’s next. A time to assess what works and what doesn’t. An opportunity for reinvention and new beginnings.

Above all, it’s an excellent time to ask the question posed by Wendy Wasserstein in The Heidi Chronicles: “How will you use what you know?”

What about you? Does this time of year motivate you or inspire you? How will you use what you know?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. My own personal lesson plan can only be improved by what I learn from others.

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