Lessons learned from my internship at Yahoo!

22 07 2010

Almost as soon as I landed in Australia, I was lucky enough to snag an internship as political news intern at Yahoo!7, Australia’s top internet, television and print media company.

One of the many lounge areas of Yahoo! where I interned.

With a federal election coming full swing, I was pushed into the deep end of Aussie politics and government history. My main duties included researching and sourcing online galleries and story ideas, and working with news assets through Yahoo!’s content management system for their online exclusive campaign package.

As I did with my previous internship, I wrote the most important things I learned from my experience. Below are three from working at Yahoo!7:

  1. I love and miss the process and intricacies of reporting. Sifting through bureaucratic reports, obtaining public documents, interviewing, shoe-leather reporting, researching, multimodal reporting and the list goes on. Although my work involved journalistic qualities, working for an information technology, product and services company was not that same as working for an intrinsically news-oriented organization. Since news content from places like Google and Yahoo! rely on wire services, I worked more with managing news content than producing it. While it allowed me an opportunity to critically analyze more of the theoretical aspects of news dissemination in online platforms, I realized just how much I missed good ol’ shoe leather reporting. I’ve come to realize it’s the interaction, involvement and intimacy related to reportage that I love the most about journalism.
  2. News companies can learn a thing or two from Yahoo and Google. News companies and publishers might hate aggregators like Google, but after working for an internet information company, there are some gems the news industry, who’s shaky internet economy is causing financial strain, can take away. Unlike what many people think, Yahoo! and Google are two very different companies. Mashable Co-Editor, Ben Parr, likens Yahoo! to be a content-driven company while Google focuses on technology. For news companies, it wouldn’t hurt to take a case study of Yahoo! and  learn more about how useful services and engaging content can drive eyeballs to their site (most national news companies understand this, but many smaller to midsize companies are floundering here). News companies could also benefit from Google’s experimental ethos in creating innovative technology and tools that benefit users.
  3. As an intern, you work for your company, but your company should also work for you.  Yes, you’re the fresh-faced, wide-eyed eager intern responsible for duties your boss hands to you, but he/she is also responsible to make sure you get the best experience possible (I’m not talking about lame stuff like your boss assigning you coffee runs). I’m still learning how to be more assertive when it comes to making sure my experience is holistic and rewarding as I can make it. For example, because I was handed a list of tasks to be completed by my last day as soon as I started, I felt I would inconvenience them if I asked to reach out and have experience opportunities. I would have loved to have shadowed with their Seven Media Group partnership, one of Australia’s top network news companies, to see what TV journalism is like outside the states, but in the end, I was to afraid to ask. Simply put, it never hurts to ask.

American vs. Australian coffee: is there a difference?

31 05 2010

Photo credit: Tonx (Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)

Editor’s note: This radio feature aired June 29, 2010 on 2SER 107.3FM.

Seattle may be known as the coffee capital of America, but here in Sydney and Melbourne, American coffee is generally considered nothing more but mediocre and uninspiring. A true blue coffee loving Aussie would never be caught dead holding a caramel Frappuccino–because to them, it’s more milkshake than proper coffee. So why such coffee snobbery? My partner and I talked to a coffee entrepreneur and expert, barista champion, Australian coffee companies and coffee drinkers to learn the difference in coffee tastes and culture.

Listen now.

It’s been both fun and challenging to produce my first radio feature. The experience demands a certain kind of creativity and imagination that’s a little different compared to print and photojournalism. Being able to only use sound forces me to see storytelling through ears. Learning about Australian coffee culture was interesting to learn considering coming from the Seattle area; suffice to say, I may reconsider the next time I ask for a vanilla latte from Starbucks.

This feature was created and produced by Kyle Kim and Mark Williamson. Special thanks goes to Andy Simpkin, Scottie Callaghan and staff at Belaroma, Lauren Gibson from Gloria Jean’s, Pine Tea and Coffee and the Australian Coffee Traders Association.

Getting my toes wet in radio broadcasting

18 04 2010

As a student journalist specializing in multimedia, radio production is one of my least areas of experience. My home university doesn’t offer the best in this area of journalism, which is in part why I decided to study at a university that has the resources and technology to provide deeper knowledge and experience on how to make news in a medium that solely depends on sound.

The audio file below was my first assignment in my radio production unit. A partner and I was given the task to think up of a question and ask it to people on the streets while we capture their responses with a recorder. This bread and butter practice in journalism is known as vox pop.

A reporter interviewing a protester outside Calgary's U.S. consulate. This is one of the pictures by me at the Pan-Canadian Day of Action on Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan put on by the Canadian Peace Alliance in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

Vox pop is from the Latin phrase vox populi meaning “voice of the people.” The method of asking people on the street about their opinions on a particular issue is a common practice in radio, print and TV journalism (The online medium has similar practices such as crowd sourcing and interactive capabilities that allow for comments and dialogue in forums, blogs and news sites).

My vox pop question: If your home was on fire and you only could save one possession, what would it be? With the recent fatal roof insulation program debacle that sparked criticism towards Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, We asked students at Macquarie University what they would save. Most responses were sentimental or purely for practical reasons (and some outright kooky that didn’t make it to post production).

Click on the link below to listen.


Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi

28 02 2010

What do you get when you mix sequin, glitter, costumes, Lady Gaga and the thumpa-thumpa? Sydney’s 2010 Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (see photo gallery).

For an insane 17 hours (yeah, you read that right), I was in Sydney’s Oxford Street where the parade took place. I’ve never attended a Mardi Gras or Gay Pride event but I can definitely understand why Sydney’s is one of the largest and best in the world.

But I’m getting ahead of myself–let’s rewind a week.

Not even an hour after I stepped out of the Sydney International Airport did I, along with other Americans, experience our first anti-US experience. It was purely miscommunication that happened between us and the shuttle driver and it ended up in a “you Americans never listen” lecture. I took it as a kind of battle wound or medal of honor for “fastest time in pissing off an Aussie.”

After the driver grumbly dropped us off our units (that’s apartments for you Americans), I settled in and met my new flat mates: Stephen from Ohio, Vincent from France and Jenny from Sweden. We’re good for each other.

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A Yank soon-to-be Sydneysider

12 02 2010

For the next 11 months, I will be trading in fuzzy little squirrels for kangaroos in Australia (and proof that my dream to ride in the pouch of one is that much more realized).

This saturday, I’ll be enduring a 20-hour flight before I can finally set my feet in Oz. And of course what better way to start the cultural immersion early by flying QantasLonely Planet guide to Australia in tow.

I’ve been practicing my Aussie accent, but I have to say it is not nearly as developed as my queen’s English. But I’ll be the one with an accent for once…a strange realization.

From Seattle, then Los Angeles, to my final destination in Sydney.

I will be studying at Macquarie University under their media studies program.
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