Deadly Train Crash in Bronx

When I went onto the New York Times website this weekend and saw the breaking news that a train had derailed in the Bronx, I had to read the article. After writing about a fictional train derailment in Stoughton for the entire semester, I decided to take a deeper look into how the breaking news story was covered.

I noticed the inverted pyramid structure right away. The lead produced the most newsworthy information, detailing how many people had died and were injured, and the suspected cause of the crash. Following the lead was the nut graf, which featured the following quote from Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo:

“I think it is going to be speed-related,” he said on NBC’s “Today” show. “It was a tricky turn on the system, but it is a turn that has been there for decades.”

Following the nut graf was more background information on the trains engineer and three possible causes of the accident: The condition of the tracks, an equipment failure or human error. The story concluded with other general information about how the accident affected residents and the plan of investigation for the National Transportation Safety Board.

This crash was tragic, but it was certainly interesting to see how a topic that we have written hypothetical stories about for so long was covered in the actual news. 


Her Campus Involvement

I recently added a new widget to my WordPress site; it’s a widget of the Her Campus Wisconsin Twitter feed. The reason I wanted to implement this into my personal blog is because this student organization has become such a big part of my life.

I’ve been involved with Her Campus since my freshman year of college, but this year our UW-Madison chapter has really taken off and gotten more successful. This year we have been in the top 10 or top 5 for most viewed pages nation-wide which is something that hadn’t been achieved in past years.

I write articles for the online magazine on a weekly basis, and Her Campus always posts links to the new articles in their Twitter feed each week. Some of my fellow j-school classmates are also in the organization, so I like to see what they have written and have grown to notice everyone’s individual writing style and been able to implement some of their techniques into my own.

The articles on Her Campus range from serious to goofy. Categories include Campus Cutie, Healthy Eating, Fashion, Entertainment, Study Abroad Blogs, Events on Campus and so much more. My involvement in Her Campus combined with the strategic communications aspects of J202 have made me realize that writing for a magazine may be something that I want to pursue one day.

A Quote that Drives Me

There is one particular woman of history who continuously inspires me, not necessarily just as a communicator, but in every aspect of my daily life. I find myself reciting her quotes over and over in my head in various situations that I face throughout a typical week. This person is Eleanor Roosevelt.

It all began when I was in elementary school and became obsessed with the movie The Princess Diaries. Actually, saying I was obsessed is an understatement. I can honestly say that I have probably seen that movie over 200 times to date. There is one point in the movie when everybody at school finds out that the main character, Mia, is actually a princess, and she gets very upset about it. Mia’s best friend, Lily, says to her: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” to which Mia replies, “Eleanor Roosevelt said that.

At the time, I didn’t really understand the meaning behind this quote, I just knew that I liked it because I loved these two characters, so I decided to ask my mom what it meant. She put it into simpler terms by saying, “Sometimes in life people are going to bring you down. You have the choice to let what they say affect you, or to stay true to yourself.” As most girls learn, middle and high school are both times where at some point it is likely another girl will make you feel inferior or excluded in some way.

After coming to college, I quickly learned that you are still faced with situations in which you have to keep your head held high and not take anything people say too personally, which is certainly something that I had to learn the hard way. I know that this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt will continue to influence me as I venture out into the “real world,” and adjust to my first job, an unfamiliar city, and new co-workers. It is crucial to remember that feeling inferior in any aspect of life is subjective.

Half the Sky Documentary

In my sociology 170 class, we watched a documentary entitled “Half the Sky,” based on the best-selling book that was written by two New York Times journalists, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The story sheds light on the various oppression that women face across the globe, such as sex trafficking, lack of education and gender-based violence. The film uses celebrity activists to draw attention to the various issues. 

After watching the film, one quote from journalist Sheryl WuDunn really stuck with me:

“The moral challenge of the century is to talk about the issues that women face around the world.”

It sounds so obvious and so simple, but it really is a challenge that so many countries in the world need to overcome, including the United States.

The film focused on three particular areas of the world: Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Vietnam. In each country, the journalists revealed the stories of individuals who were suffering from oppression, and those who were courageous and fighting to make a difference.

If it is not a film you have seen, I highly recommend watching it because it is easily available on Netflix and at College Library. Watching the film inspired me to order the book. It puts into perspective how much of an impact one individual can have in the world, and raises questions and issues that every citizen should be aware of. I think it’s often easy to skip over stories that we don’t want to read, whether it be in print or online. While this film is psychologically a lot to handle, it will have you hooked from the beginning and watching it has reinstated my opinion that journalists have the power to make a change in the world. 

Personal Career Path

Upon coming to college, one thing I learned quickly is that with each semester comes the need to make more decisions, each one more important than the last. I’ve never been good at making decisions. I’m a rather passive person, and have lived the majority of my life letting other people make decisions for me because when faced with options my response is usually, “It’s up to you.” Deciding that I wanted to apply to the journalism school, and then to proceed with it after being accepted, was the first real decision I made entirely on my own, and it felt empowering.

I’ve come to realize that at this point in my life, the decisions I make can, and most of the time will, actually impact my future. I’ve always admired people who have a set career path, because those people are working towards one dream job and can already make the decisions that it takes to get there. I, on the other hand, have always seen myself in a variety of positions in a wide array of job fields, so at times I wonder what I am working toward exactly.

On a whim, I decided to check out the website last week, because one of my friends told me that she had applied for a virtual internship off of the site. Lately, I have found myself interested in the entertainment industry, and a virtual internship with a company called Kismet TV caught my eye. I had never heard of Kismet, but after some research I found out that it is a successful television production company started by two driven women. I applied for an internship as a social media coordinator for the company.

After two phone interviews, I landed my first internship, with the company Kismet TV. This past weekend I began curating content for it, and I am already feeling like I may have actually found my niche. Having this internship, with the combination of being in J202, makes me feel like I am finally involved in things that will influence my career path for the better. I am excited to see where it takes me, and for once I am not dreading the decisions to be made at the end of fall semester.

An Issue Overlooked

It seems as if every week there is a new topic that takes up the majority of news coverage. From Syria to Miley Cyrus, and now the government shutdown, it can be hard to focus on any issues besides the ones that repeatedly make headlines each week. Yesterday, one of my friends posted a link on her Facebook page to a New York Times article entitled, “From the Streets to the World’s Best Mom.” This article raised awareness for me on an issue that does not get enough media coverage.

The article focuses on the increasing prevalence of sex trafficking in the U.S., and tells the story of one woman, Sheila Simpkins who was raised in Nashville and taught to be a prostitute when she was just six years old. Her story is both horrifying and moving. Simpkins was raised by a pimp, beaten and sold for sex countless times throughout her life. She is now married with two children, and has made it her goal to be the “world’s best mom” for her children.

I have heard about sex trafficking happening in America, but honestly thought it was more common in the past, when in fact it is becoming a huge problem throughout cities across the nation. One phrase from the article really stuck in my mind:

“Sex trafficking is one of the most severe human rights violations in America today. In some cases, it amounts to a modern form of slavery.”

This really put into perspective the seriousness of the issue, and the importance of citizens being aware so that action can be taken.

I want to emphasize that I’m not saying the re-occurring issues we see in the media each week are not important, but I do believe that something as serious and relevant as sex trafficking should be making more headlines on a daily basis. If awareness is spread, then the citizens of cities across the country can work to put an end to the horrific crime of sex trafficking, an issue overlooked.

Every Girl’s Dream

I think often about what “the next big thing” could possibly be in the world of social media. When trying to think creatively, I can’t help but feel as if everything has already been done. I tell myself I’m just not as innovative as Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, or Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, and that I would prefer to utilize the new forms of social media as they happen, as opposed to creating my own.

In a world where technology is constantly changing and improving, people are not satisfied with the current forms of social media for long. We are always longing for something even more efficient and fun than the last. Before Instagram, I was content with the quality of pictures that my phone would take. Now, I cannot imagine not editing my photos using Instagram on a regular basis.

The type of app that I think needs to be created encompasses the idea of “closet shopping,” something my friends and I enjoy doing frequently. For the past two years, I have had multiple roommates, and we constantly trade clothes or look in each other’s closets for inspiration. I know we are not alone, and  a lot of female roommates do the same thing. So an app that would allow for girls to view each other’s closets, and then meet up and swap outfits, has the potential to be hugely successful.

I like the idea of creating the app and making it exclusive. When Facebook originated, only Ivy League students could use it. When Instagram first came out, it was only for iPhones. I think to be successful an app needs to start out with some sort of exclusivity so that people long for it, and I would like for it to originate right here at UW-Madison. Maybe it could be limited to just big 10 or midwest schools at first. The possibilities are truly endless.

I’m not sure whether or not I will be able to follow-up with this idea one day. I’m afraid a lot of research would need to go into how one even starts up an app of their own, but with technology being so widespread these days, I know it is feasible.