Five lessons I learned from the L.A. Daily News

13 08 2009

I had the privilege to intern for the Los Angeles Daily News this summer. Here are five lessons I learned over the course of my time there:
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Web tools every journalist and web-savvy should know and use

31 07 2009

I’m all about technology that saves time, money and work.

With that being said, here are a few tools that I use daily (and that journos and non alike can use) that makes life easier: Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Jackson – the king of pop and the king of weird

8 07 2009

Michael Jackson’s death did quite a number on people.

There was crying, shock, unbelief, hysteria, gnashing of teeth (okay, maybe not the last one). But I was quite unfazed when I first heard the news while in the LADN newsroom.

Michael Jackson's star on Holleywood Boulevard

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m a cold person and don’t care about humanity (though people around the world die all the time), it’s just I didn’t grow up with the whole Michael Jackson phenomenon. What I knew of Michael Jackson was who he was the last 10 to 15 years – an eccentric guy who did eccentric things. From the  child sex abuse controversies to his nose that looked scarier and scarier as the years passed, I came to see him as just plain weird.
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Iran and social media: a case study on the role of social networking tools

23 06 2009

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you know that young and old (mostly young) Iranians have been on the streets of Tehran over the recent dispute over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s “landslide” victory in Iran‘s presidential election.

Photo Credit: Ben Curtis, Associated Press

Photo Credit: Ben Curtis, Associated Press

Since this post, at least a dozen deaths have been reported since the peaceful-protest-gone-violent started. This has been the biggest protest since Iran’s similar revolution in 1979 and has been one for the history books.

It seems like all the world is watching – many protesting in their own neighborhoods for Iranian’s democracy. But what makes this particular event in time even more intriguing is the pivotal role social media sites have served.

The vast majority of the videos and reports shown in news outlets have been made available not by professional journalists but by the people of Iran.

Because of the Iranian government‘s barring and outright censorship of news media to cover the riots in Tehran, Americans and others in much of the world are allowed on-the-streets access of what’s going on inside Iran’s political upheaval thanks to social media.

More cases than not, news outlets have been using social media sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to report the news on the protests. Social media tools like these – which traditionally have not been considered reputable sources – are now on the forefront for coverage on the Iranian elections and protests.

Citizen journalists in Iran are shooting their own video, writing their own headlines, and reporting their story – all with readily available technology. Although that is not to say the Iranian government having been reported to use the very same tools for their purposes.

As the protests continue, social media and citizen journalism will undoubtedly playing an important role in news coverage.

Not only have social media shaped how the events in Iran are covered, but the events in Iran are also shaping the role of social media in journalism.

Notes from a L.A. Daily News intern

16 06 2009

A week has passed since my first day at the Daily News, and I’ve been having a great time learning and practicing online journalism.

I broke an online, shot and produced a video about  Los Angeles’ rising gas prices (with a few gas station owners kicking me off their property) and have been assigned to cover the $2 million Laker Parade this Wednesday after their NBA Championship win last Sunday (though I hope the crowd won’t be as dangerous).

I will be taking photos and audio during the 11 a.m. parade in downtown L.A. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not sports nut – I don’t watch ESPN SportsCenter or read the latest points in the paper. However, taking photos for it is another story – especially for an action-packed sport like basketball. And I hear Laker fans are one of the most intense.Laker Parade Route

I will be Tweeting live through the L.A. Daily News’ Twitter account along with my partner. Follow them if you’d like to receive the insider’s coverage of the parade.

Dog maestro, space travel, search for the best espresso and other adventures

9 06 2009

I have a growing appreciation for classical music. I like concerts that feel big, yet have an intimate feel to it. Most of all, I’m a sucker for anything free.

So when a family member of whom I’m staying with took me to Music Under the Stars in Pasadena that offered all of the above, it was nothing short of wonderful (more pictures of the event can be seen on my Flickr).

Hispanic-flavored entertainment were plentiful during the preshow leading up to Music Under the Stars, which took place on the steps of Pasadena's city hall, June 7.

The free concert took place right on the steps to Pasadena’s City Hall (which is beautiful in sunset), with Pasadena POPS and other bands, choirs and musical talent.

Aside from a few classical pieces, the Pasadena POPS played a variety of selections ranging from West Side Story, Louis Armstrong, Schindler’s List and Superman.

Music Director Rachael Worby was a mixture of seriousness and fun (she even let Target’s mascot direct the orchestra in one of the songs). They played through the evening just as the sun was shining its last golden rays over the hall steps.

It was a great way to finish of my first weekend in L.A.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve explored the Griffith Observatory (excellent museum inside about space), Hollywood (where I had my first star sighting), UCLA, several coffee shops, great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and Silver Lake, to name a few.

There are still countless places I need to explore but L.A. and SoCal is a pretty cool place (minus its overpopulated, overcongested, highly disproportionate amount of wealth/access issues, to also name a few).

To change subjects, today was my first day working at the L.A. Daily News – I had a great time.

After finishing my last bit of paperwork, getting by I.D. badge (I have to say, I look pretty official now) and some crash course on their content managing system and other online related work, I was able to get my first byline in – which happened to be a breaker for their Web site (yeah, pretty sweet).

I met a few of the other interns, though I didn’t get too much of a chance to talk to them – I get to officially meet my partner this Friday.

It’s interesting to see how a mid-size paper company – who covers around half of L.A. County – is adapting to the current state of the news industry.

As one of the staff members from the Daily News half-jokingly asked me after a budget meeting, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

I was sure then and now after my first day of working for a newspaper, I couldn’t be more sure of it.

My first celebrity sighting in L.A.

4 06 2009

It wasn’t more than three hours since arriving to my new home in L.A. that I saw a celebrity sighting.

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds were on Hollywood Blvd. at the Kodak Theatre attending their new movie premiere for The Proposal (I apologize for the poor photo quality, they were uber cropped and had camera shake).

A family member with whom I’m staying with joked that it was unfortunate I didn’t have my press pass with me to get access on the red carpet (though I believe the red carpet might require stricter credentials).

I finished last-minute paper work at the L.A. Daily News (allegedly the L.A. Times‘ rival). and had a very brief orientation there. A formal orientation with all the interns will start early next week (Monday?). Very excited to meet the rest. They are all from Southern California, so I am the anomaly.

Will keep you guys posted with further development.

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