Tips for entering the career world

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We’ve been talking about thank you notes recently, and the more I think about it, the more it sounds like a good idea.

I found an article by Fox Business (posted by Dr. Rodgers) that said one of the single most important things to do when applying for a job is to make sure to follow up with the employer. It shows determination and attentiveness. The article even suggests a hand-written note to set yourself apart from others.

Besides making contact directly after the initial interview, it is good to also follow up two or three times within the first 10 days after talking with a prospective employer. The value of conversation goes a long way at this point. Instead of just continuing to check up on the status of your application, bring up good talking points that allows the company to see how interested you are in its work.

In today’s world, where the job market it not at it’s best, Fox was able to provide some very good tips for students starting the interview process. I was surprised about how much of the information I had heard and talked about in previous classes. The closer I get to graduating, the more nervous I become that I won’t be able to find and start a career. Reading this and hearing Kelsey’s story in class has boosted my confidence that finding work is possible. It just takes a some hard work and creativity.

The end of the article goes into how new graduates should not give up if a couple of companies flat out don’t reply. I agree with this, but I also think that it is just as rude for companies to not respond to applicants as it is for applicants to not follow up with companies. If I’m going out of my way to be polite and respectful, I expect the same decency. Bigger companies may have thousands of applicants, making this process a little harder, but in my opinion, not responding to applicants is not professional in any way, shape or form.

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Lucas and Spielberg discuss the future of movies at USC

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George Lucas and Steve Spielberg sat down at the University of Southern California to discuss the future of the entertainment industry and movies. Their outlook for the future is something much different than to what we are used to now.

The pair said that in a world where we have an overload of options, the Internet will become the dominant way of viewing cable television. Movies will become more like sporting events or Broadway plays, costing extravagantly more than ticket prices today. There will be a complete shift in the way movies are made and marketed — leaning toward more conservative films that are sure to bring in big bucks instead of  “interesting, deeply personal projects.” Spielberg even goes to say that movies will be available in homes on the same day that they are released in theaters.

While they suggest the movie industry is heading toward a cliff, they say that this change will spur newfound creativity and that we will eventually bounce back.

“But out of that chaos will come some really amazing things. And right now there are amazing opportunities for young people coming into the industry to say, ‘Hey, I think I’m going to do this and there’s nobody to stop me,'” Lucas was quoted in an article by Bryan Bishop on The Verge. “It’s because all the gatekeepers have been killed!”

As journalists, we think of ourselves as the gatekeepers of news. But in the movie industry, gatekeepers are the people who decide what goes into production and what doesn’t. Sometimes this method filters out abundant amounts of creativity. If the movie industry does bounce back, will there be new gatekeepers to decide what movies will be shown nationwide? If we do see a new set of gatekeepers to Hollywood, I hope to see a drastic change in the selection of movies that are presented to the public.

Today, there are too many generic action movies that follow the same plot. It’s almost as if the movie industry has hit a speed bump for producing quality and compelling movies. Yes, there are still a few directors and producers that know what they’re doing, but for the most part I feel like Hollywood is in a slump when it comes to storytelling.

When it comes to reading, it doesn’t take too much effort or digging to find well-written and gripping article or piece of literature. That’s why I think that reading will always supersede movies. “Schindler’s List,” “The Godfather” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy were all books before they were movies. It might be a good idea to let our creative writers be the new gatekeepers of Hollywood instead of the business executives.

Text Mania

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I think banning texting while driving is a good idea.

But, this new law is just ridiculous. The governor had good intentions, but there are too many loopholes that allow anyone with a brian to get out of a ticket for texting while driving. You can still use radio-listening apps, some of which require you to type. The punishment for violating the law is too lenient for any high-schooler to care.

The University of Wisconsin study makes complete and total sense. An outright ban of handheld devices while driving is more intimidating, and it seems like it would be easier to get caught. The punishment should also be a primary offense if the state really means business.

I don’t think that easing into this law is an option, and it seems like Florida is a little behind on the bandwagon, considering it was the 41st state to do something like this. Studies have shown that texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving. Why were efforts “thwarted by Republican House leaders” and delayed for so long?

I believe this has to tie in with Foer’s article about how technology has led humans to become more reclusive and not care about their immediate surroundings. We have become so emotionless that we don’t care if we put not only ourselves, but also others in fatal danger by not paying attention to the road.

Thank God for people like Jonathan Safran Foer

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/how-not-to-be-alone.html?_r=0

What a refreshing read!

This opinion piece probes into the psychology behind technology and how it is changing human beings. Written by Jonathan Safran Foer, the article goes into deep detail about how he believes technology has changed our methods of communication and how changing those methods has inevitably made humans more distracted and less emotional.

Foer goes to explain how each step in technology has become a diminished substitute for the previous technology, each step making us more and more reclusive. As we accept these diminished substitutes, we too become diminished substitutes. He says that moving “forward” may mean avoiding emotional efforts between humans and that our new technology makes us forget about our decision to avoid this connection.

I couldn’t agree more. This subjet has been on my mind lately as I lose contact with more and more friends as they leave Gainesville. Why do I communicate solely online with some people and not with others? I have no face-to-face interactions with some of my friends, and sometimes I find that very strange.

I agree with Foer when he says that we have decided to not fully pay attention anymore, even when it comes to family and friends. However, I believe that if someone really meant that much to you, you would make sure to have some sort of meaningful and attentive face-to-face conversation, whether it be through Skype or over a cup of coffee.

Being attentive isn’t as hard as Foer puts it out to be. Putting the phone in your pocket, observing your surroundings and interacting with them as a form of communication is just as easy as sending a text or an email. Technology has made us forget how to communicate in this way, making it easier for us to indulge in our digital worlds and fantasies without any regret.

Think twice before you make that call

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Time Magazine did a good job of breaking down what you should know about the NSA collecting phone records. They give you seven quick and understandable facts about the recent cellphone data mining, and even provides you with information that you may not have known.

For example, the order forbids informing anyone that their data is being collected. Also, the US has done this before with AT&T and Bell South as security measures after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In fact, other carriers may be subject to this database. For years, service providers have been giving law enforcement agencies subscriber information on request.

I understand that this is for national security, but why is everything about this issue so secret? Something doesn’t seem right. While Verizon is required to provide “the ingoing and outgoing phone numbers, unique identifiers for individual phones, the time of the call and its duration,” they do not have to provide names, addresses or contact information. Then again, if you were in the FBI or NSA, you probably wouldn’t have a hard time finding that information.

The article mentions that Glenn Greenwald has accused Obama for infringing on civil liberties, and come to think of it, there have been many debates on the subject of violating rights throughout Obama’s presidency. Conspiracy theories are far-fetched and exaggerated, but this situation almost sounds like the government is doing something it’s not supposed to be doing.

So, the next time you pick up that phone to make a call, keep in mind that that call could end up in the NSA database.

Obama forces himself into the Iran situation

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Yesterday, in an executive order, President Obama made a daring move to take a jab at the Iranian economy to render it useless.

The Obama administration approved new sanctions on Iran’s currency and the automobile industry in order to force Iran to cooperate with international demands. International nations, including the United States, want Iran to prove that their nuclear program is not dangerous.

I believe that it is important to determine whether a country is peaceful or not, but it is not the job of the U.S. or Obama to force that to happen. Iranians are saying that the efforts from the U.S. are ineffective, but the Obama administration says that they are devastating. By making this move, Obama may be targeting certain pockets of the government, but he is essentially hurting the nation as a whole.

What is the general population supposed to do if their economy was purposefully ruined by another country? I would be upset and take it as a malicious attack, not against the country, but the people.

As a journalist, should I blindly believe the hard numbers and information given out by the White House? I think that not only journalists should question these numbers given out by state and national agencies, but everyone should, especially when the sources remain anonymous.

Churnalism

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As mentioned before, technology and the way we consume information has dramatically changed. But do we really need to scrutinize and question every bit information that we come across?

It is possible for major publications to regurgitate information from elsewhere on the Internet. It’s a new term called “churnalism,” and probably every publication is guilty of it. In the journalism world, whenever we use a piece of information, no matter how basic or simple it is, we must credit where we got it from or back it up with evidence. With the ease of information flowing freely, it is hard to remember to check out information that seems obvious.

An article in The Atlantic suggests that a new and open-source method of detecting plagiarism created by the Sunlight Foundation will help readers determine where information is coming from by scanning the articles and comparing them with a plethora of press releases, Wikipedia entries and even quotes from speeches. In the future, they hope to expand this plagiarism project into not just journalism, but also legislation.

In  a world where anyone will believe anything they read on the Internet, a tool like this is necessary for readers to determine what is credible and what is not. The Internet has made people more gullible and lazy, and I’m not sure if this tool will be used widely among readers due to their need for immediacy of information.

If the program is used to detect what information was taken from press releases, how will this apply to Associated Press releases that are widely published? I believe that this tool will be quiet useful for those who use it, but it needs to be more strongly developed at this point.