Reporting from New Hampshire

Right now I’m sitting in my hotel room in Concord, NH, decompressing from covering the ABC/WMUR Republican debate for the 2012 New Hampshire Primary.    After a whirlwind night, where I sat amongst my classmates and hundreds of media outlets, it’s time to find the next story.

I’m with 11 other Emerson College students reporting on behalf of WEBN-TV, one of Emerson’s news stations.  Crazy, right?  This isn’t some insignificant event I’m covering for class.  This is history in the making with some of the nation’s top media outlets flocking to events and digging for stories in New Hampshire.  This is a taste of reality and boy does it taste good!

Last night around 7:30 p.m. we arrived at St. Anselm’s College to set up for the ABC/WMUR debate.  We got our press credentials earlier on in the day and entered the room with poise and grace (although I really had to channel my energy to keep it together because I was a bit over excited).  There were hundreds of media outlets assigned to different tables in front of two large projection screens and scattered HD TVs.  We were provided with reporter’s notebooks and power outlets for our gear (I only had my laptop, SD audio recorder and camera).  There was also a table of food, coffee and other beverages for us to dig into when we wanted.

The energy in the room was intoxicating.  Reporters from all over the world concentrated on the event, fixing any last-minute technological glitches and tweeted their little hearts out.

I opened my computer, logged onto Twitter, started up my audio recorder, and joined the social media conversation on what the Republican candidates had to say.

When the debate came to an end we packed up our stuff and headed across the way to what is called the “Spin Room.”  This is where the candidate’s reps answer any and every question the media has to ask.  This was bonkers.  The reporters, or hawks, should I say, barraged the reps to get those few great soundbites or action photos.  I became more and more thrilled as each second went be.  Could this be my potential career?  How lucky am I?

Once we wrapped up in the “Spin Room” we went back to the hotel where I started my first real deadline piece.  I finished at 2:30 a.m., sent my article to my executive producer and closed my lap top.  With adrenaline streaming through my veins I laid in bed recalling the intense experience.  Shortly after I closed my computer, I received an email saying my article was live.

Below is the link to my article, along with a photo from the event:




And thus, the morning show was born

A couple months ago my friend Garrett and I had a brilliant idea to start our own morning show.  We wanted to be unique and different so we created a show that has original content.  We also added some spice with a bit of humor and the chemistry of our somewhat eccentric personalities (Garrett and I are the hosts).  Thus, WEBN’s Morning Window Into Boston was born.

We have only done three shows but our little baby sure has come a long way.  It was frustrating at the beginning, because the three producers and myself are still new to broadcast, but patience is a virtue and we have seen this show grow.  I have faith that this could truly be something great, and I’m excited to stick around to see it evolve.  Below is a link to a bloopers video that Garrett created a couple days ago.  ENJOY

WEBN’s Morning Window Into Boston Bloopers Video!

Mid-Semester Chaos

Each day that goes by I have to remember to stop and breathe deep.  I have so much under my belt that I move with the motions, sometimes too fast, and don’t even fully acknowledge what I’m doing.  I am at an amazing institution, learning about the deeply complex and exciting world of journalism, from the absolute best in the industry.  I am lucky.

My classes are going exceptionally well and my professors are fantastic.  I learn new things everyday, challenging myself to gain experience in things that I never thought I would do, or that seemed daunting in the past.  Daunting?  Not this time.  I was so excited when I came to school that I got involved in too much!  My bandwidth was stretched too thin and I had to take a step make and realize that I’m not superwoman and I need to eat, sleep, and breathe just like every other human on earth.

Besides classes I am a journalism faculty assistant to two professors with careers that someone like me could only dream of achieving.  Tim Riley is a highly successful music journalist and Beatles fanatic.  He just released his fifth book entitled “Lennon: The Man, the Myth the Music – the Definition.”  Tim is genius and his love for the Beatles is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  Kudos to him for going on a promotional book tour and upholding his duties as a professor at Emerson.  I don’t know how he does it.  The lovely Cindy Rodriguez is Emerson’s newest Journalist-in-Residence with articles that have appeared in the Boston Globe, Detroit News and the Denver Post.  She has also taught at Fordham University and NYU.  At orientation she told my class about an assignment she went on in Israel to report on homosexual orthodox Jews.  Now that is serious journalism.  I envy her intelligence, grace, creativity and successful career!

As for Media Ethics Magazine, I was recently named their new production assistant.  Basically my role entails uploading articles onto their website.  It seems pretty simple, but it can be quite complicated sometimes especially because I’m still learning about online publishing.  What I love about this job is that I get to work with the amazing Manny Paraschos.  Manny is the program director in the journalism department and probably one of the smartest and funniest people I’ve met in my life.  He reminds me of the Greek grandfather I never had.  He’s a joy to work with and I’m learning a lot from him.

In addition to the above jobs I’m still writing for Caught in Southie and North Shore Magazine.  These assignments are light, fun and opportunities I take to get some creative relief.  My latest articles appeared in the October/November issue.  I’m working on a light piece about a personal shopper and stylist from Andover, MA.  It’s coming out in December.  Keep your eyes peeled!

I Heart Emerson

Week 6:  Lots of sleepless nights, chronic panic attacks, over-excitement, am I bi-polar?  Nope, I’m just in grad school.

It’s currently 7:41 p.m. and I couldn’t be happier that my work is done for the night.  I’m contemplating getting into bed, although if I do, I’ll be wide awake at 11 p.m. and that will just mess up my entire chi.

Yes I’m exhausted, but it’s well worth it.  The amount of information that I’ve absorbed in the last few weeks, might be more than what I obtained throughout my years at UNH.  OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m learning more than I thought I would in the first month of school.  How to write broadcast stories, how to interview a widow or widower, how to find news sources via Twitter, my goodness the list is endless.  My professors are the cat’s pajamas and I can’t get enough of the news.  I guess I made the right decision to empty my savings and come to grad school.

On top of learning so much, I am truly impressed by the undergraduates and how much experience they’ve had in the industry. They’ve had multiple internships at some of the most prestigious news publications and broadcast networks in the business.  One senior I met is a weekend correspondent at the Globe Metro Desk.  They know any and every news and journalism resource that exists on the Web.  It’s quite impressive.  I just have to keep telling myself I’m learning, which I am, and I’m a student.  I will come out of this program ready to take on any news that comes my way, in any country, in any medium.

At the moment, I’ll stick with my courses, WEBN and my latest endeavor, Emerson’s Weekly Wrap Up.  Don’t make fun of the name, it’s a working title.  My friend Garrett had a brilliant idea: All of the undergrads run the broadcast shows at Emerson, so it’s time that us grad students start our own gig.  Thus, Emerson’s Weekly Wrap Up was born.  It’s going to be a charismatic morning show filled with humor, fun, and lots of Emerson news, hosted by yours truly, along with my buddy Garrett.  My other friend Liz will man the news desk, and our other friend Pat will hit the streets to get the latest Emerson sports news.  We’re still working on the logistics, e.g., when it will air, a unique focus, and the name, of course.  But it’s going to be great.  Stay tuned!  It’s time to hit the couch.

From May 2009 Until Now: Be Patient. It’s just a quick synopsis.

I graduated from college in 2009.  I lived at home in Marblehead for six months.  I left Marblehead and moved to Brighton.  I interned at the oh-so-awesome CerconeBrownCompany for four months, unpaid, part-time, while hostessing at the Regal Beagle in Brookline.  I got hired as a full-time employee in April and quickly transitioned from a “what on earth am I doing with my life” college graduate to a young professional.   A young professional?  OK, time to grow up.  I dove right into the nine-to-five grind, working long hours and absorbing as much information as I could.

My experience at CBC was invaluable.  The people there are creative geniuses, brilliant, innovative, and will make a difference in the ever-changing world of public relations.  About eight months after I was hired, my relationship with CBC got rocky.  I know this seems a bit odd, but I compare my employment at CBC to a monogamous relationship.  After eight months with CBC we hit a rough patch.  I wanted more responsibilities, but I felt like people doubted me.  There were instances where I let my nerves get the best of me.  One week things would be great and I was confident.  Other weeks I felt  like I was incompetent.  Somewhere in the mix I had an epiphany and realized that my future did not include PR and I wanted to get my Master’s degree in journalism, like I had initially planned right after I graduated from UNH.  Shortly after that I mentally checked out.  Yes, I showed up for work and yes, I got my work done.  But it wasn’t enough.  I had a talk with my boss one Friday afternoon and he said either things change five minutes ago or I say goodbye.

I went home thinking that was it and I was a complete failure. I was 23-years-old and failed my first job, wonderful. I’m an Ogan, and I am certainly not a failure. I went into work Monday and decided to prove not only to my co-workers, but most importantly to myself that I am capable of succeeding.  Surely enough, I made a complete 180 and about six weeks later was named Employee of the Month.

Next step: Make ake my goal of getting into grad school a reality.  All I needed was that extra leap and boy, did I leap far.

At this point it was March 2010 and I had to have my grad school application in by June 1.  I came home from work and studied for the GREs until my eyes succombed to exhaustion.  I poured my heart and soul into my application essay and clicked and finally clicked “submit.”  A month later, I received my acceptance letter and embraced the adventure that was to come

So here I am.  Sitting in the office of journalism at the totally hot, Emerson College.   I’m overcome with excitement.  I’m ambitions, I have big kahunas and I’m going to be a fantastic journalist some day.  So that’s basically my post-grad life thus far.  Stay tuned for more about the life of a semi-clueless grad student with [too] big plans.