My Multimedia Takeaway

My multimedia class at Sierra Nevada College has been a great experience for my development as a student and contributed in making me an  up-to-date employee who is entering the workforce soon.

I got to see different faces of journalism that I didn’t know existed. I grew up with the daily newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, on the breakfast table every morning (and it’s still like that at my parent’s house). I found out how much more there is than the paper edition of the news or the television breaking news. From the three traditional mass media, radio, television and newspaper, I got to work with Twitter, WordPress, video editing, slideshow presentation, audio story. This thought me how easy it can be to reach audiences, if you only pick the right media. Depending on the situation, each media is more appropriate than others and knowing a little bit about each gives the journalist the tool for a greater success.

The saying that “a picture tells more than a thousand words” is true in many cases and through multimedia you can apply this concept thoroughly and make stories very appealing to a reader. Moreover, nowadays people read and work on their devices so technology can really make the process more fun by being interactive and eye-catching more than a newspaper.

I am still a big fan and supporter of papers- yes, I am very romantic and nostalgic- and I don’t mean to substitute them with exclusively multimedia materials. My opinion is that in some cases they are more appropriate to the subject and they can give a better and multi-sided view than having the paper as only source. The article by the New York Time, An Avalanche at Tunnel Creek is the milestone of a well-crafted multimedia piece. It is richer and gives much more information than anything could be written on paper. I am glad I opened my eyes on the multimedia world and I will benefit from it.

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Blogging- my good start

blogging-quotes-66

My first experience with blogging was here, with AmericaniseMe. I was really new to the world of blogging; crazy to say in the XXI century but I have never followed a blog or even consider blogging as something fun, manageable and easy.

I won’t hide that it has been a little bit hard for me at the beginning. First of all, I was not familiar with the website WordPress and although pretty simple, it still needs some practice in order to produce some nice output and make the blog pleasant to the eyes of the reader. The first stage was also exciting for me because I got to choose an area of interest, or better, a slant for my blog and that made me think a lot. What do I have to say that is worth to share and is of importance? And more, what do I really know? I reflected a lot and I concluded that what I know the most is ski racing, which is what I have been doing for the past 18 years. But then my business spirit came up and I started to consider my target, in this context called audience. I realized how ski racing is such a small world made of experts and professional figures and I did not feel ready to share what I got yet. Moreover, ski racing means to me more than a hobby and my attachment to it is very strong and serious, and I wanted to have a more humorous.

Therefore, I decided to go with a broader topic which is supposed to look at my American experience in a funny way while still being hopefully insightful for people that found themselves in my same shoes, and I am not only talking about Italians studying in the United Stated but those who are dealing with a new culture and feel “different” or “weirdo.”

It is fun to have the freedom of matching written content with visual parts or interactive tasks such as my Google Maps.

I can now see and understand the potentials of blogging and I believe it will be useful for my future career as well as for my personal enjoyment.

Finals – the end of the school/diet

The American school system is quite different from the European’s, and this is no news so far. But how different is it, really? Well, in my experience I can say it is quite different. If I would bullet point you all the reasons my 300 words assignment would become a research paper; so I will focus only on the calendar of the year and the final exams. At Sierra Nevada College,  students are done with the academic year and ready for summer on May 11th. Though, early end, early start, on mid-August. But before this three months break there are FINALS. Forget the Monday and Wednesday’s exams at 11 like they do in Italy- boring. To make them interesting, the school has a system that plans a schedule that keeps you busy on the weekends- I case you didn’t have anything to do. With my six classes, I have personally experienced the most bizarre schedule for finals. My first meeting was on Friday, at three p.m., followed by a three hours-long finance exam starting at six. In between, I managed to run to Alibi, the local brewery, for a fun end-of-year journalism event. (And no, I didn’t have the guts of having a beer before crunching finance numbers. I limited myself to a delicious Kombucha). Exhausted, at nine p.m., I run to my bed and (try to) sleep; the following day, on Saturday, I will have an early start- eight o’clock, same room of the night before, same finance teacher, but this time is the turn of Economic Theory. I wonder if I should have just arranged a tent in the classroom.

Despite the rough start, here is the fun part. Final exams mark not only the end of the semester, but mostly, the end of your diet. There is a very pleasant culture of ending the class not only testing but also sharing food and beverages with the class. I started on a very good note, with homemade corn bread and chili, still warm. I moved on to tasty sandwiches with plenty of avocado, and a lot, a lot of cookies, sweets and popcorn. Not only professors brought goods, but also the Student Government Association held an ice cream study break, on Monday night, where they served ice cream with any topping you possibly wished. That was my dinner.

I have to admit that this made finals sweeter and less stressful, and I officially finished my second year on a good note.

PS: Look what I did on my first summer break day IMG_2332 (1)

#Twitter – Why not?

twitter-evolve

Yes, even  the stone-age, tech (not very) savvy Italian joined another social network-this time is the turn of Twitter. For a Facebook-only user, Twitter was great add among the Apps, and of much more value than Facebook. I mean, they don’t compete in the same race, so it is unjust to announce a winner and a losers. The way I see Facebook at this point, after more than six years that my name is on that platform, is of something that helps me finding people that I lost touched with, or maybe that I have met in a specific situation or I don’t see every day and with whom I would like to keep in touch but I am not too close to text or call, or I simply don’t have the time to do so. For this purpose Facebook helps, although it’s tricky because it leaves you with the feeling of knowing about you friends’ life when in fact you don’t know anything. And this is frustrating. Plus, how much do you want to share about your life with your alleged friends? Sounds like a moral questions. And, realistically, you can’t be too serious on Facebook either, or trying to give the lesson of the day, every day. You don’t want to be that guy we all have on Facebook.

On the other hand, Twitter is much less of a life intruder and more of a life promoter. It informs you on news, and happenings around the world or in your community, and it’s extremely responsive to time. And the cool part about that is that it brings together a lot of different point of view about each topic or event through the use of #hashtags. I was amused by the GOP debates much more for what was going on Twitter than for the (repetitive at some point) debate.

The business side of Twitter is very interesting too.  It is a very powerful tool to reach specific segment. Through the use of @, you can address any account and your Tweet will appear in their page, along with the hashtags that, if wisely used, will bring viewers to your Tweet.

So, give it a try and Tweet what you are passionate about! And remember, get rid of the superfluous or Twitter will do it for you after the 140th character.

10 Things you Should Know Before Living in America

Moving to America has been a fun experience for me, but has sure taken some adjustments.
long road

  1. Don’t try to kiss on the chick everyone you meet- people think “What the heck does she want?”
  2. Give hugs, but not real hugs.
  3. When they ask you go for dinner at 6 p.m., yes, you didn’t misunderstand.
  4. You gotta love camping.
  5. You gotta love road trip- (hard not to love in this beautiful country!)
  6. When you see a dog, say “Good boy” with a honey voice
  7. The DMV is your worst enemy.
  8. Be friendly, very friendly, and nice to strangers.                                                8 Bis. And make sure you open the door for others.
  9. Use your honk moderately- Italian drivers are not appreciated.
  10. Don’t get weird when someone ask you on a date, although that word still sounds terrifying to me.

BTW, I am still working on some of these. (Number 9 still gets me..)

Summer Break in College

savannaAs most of the colleges around the United States have already entered in the second half of the spring semester, students start to be concern about their grades and spend more time in the libraries. The energy to do so comes from the knowledge of having 6 to 7 weeks left and then it’s time for summer. But what does summer mean for students overseas?

Few things to point out beforehand. Summer break is a relatively long period off from school, that usually starts at the end of May and last till mid/late August, being therefore shifted earlier compared to the classic European “August holidays”.

It is a time where school is off in all its implications: no classes, no studying, no research paper. Nada de nada, unless you decide to take on some summer school. Unlike European summer break, the American break doesn’t trick you with tests or exams or deadline right after the break, and this give student an open three months to dedicate to their best passion or need or adventure that more often spice up the resume, outlining the personality of the self.

Steve, sophomore, decided to spend two months of his upcoming break far from the motherland, in South Africa, where he will be teaching English and Math to orphans. He will also spend time exploring the savanna and learning about the behavior of elephants, his favorite animals. “I couldn’t imagine not having a long summer break, or having to spend it studying for some exams. I always tried to do something productive with my two months and a half I have for break; I also worked a lot during summers and I was able to buy my Subi [very proud Subaru driver], but this year I want to do something different. I want to be useful for people that have less than us and explore a new continent,” says Steve. If not during college, when else will you be able to have three months off? Don’t try ask your boss or you will get a loud laugh.

So, Italian students, forget the Vacanze Romane and get involved in new experiences.

Tips from Ira Glass, an American Public radio personality and producer of This American Life, on audio and video making.

Video I

  • Start with an anecdote, a story in its pure essence, a momentum that helps even the most boring facts becoming compelling.
  • Raise question and answer them.
  • Moment of reflection, the “bigger something” why you are listening to the story, and flip back and forth among facts and moment of reflection that support them.

ira glass

Video II

  • It’s hard to find a creative, interesting stories, and it takes a lot of time- don’t give up!
  • Kill, abandon crap if what you are doing is boring or not interesting- Be ruthless!

 

Video III and IV

  • Good taste, helps you recognize if you are doing good.
  • Don’t stress every other word, talk normally like yourself, don’t try to imitate anybody you hear on TV or radio.
  • Interact with other people you are interviewing and leave the others space, don’t have too much of you talking and nothing on the other person or vice versa.

 

The Spring Break Dilemma

spring break

With more than 7 weeks behind, students in America start feeling the pressure of assignments that have been accumulated and built up as massive pile of chaotic papers, books and notes  in the desk. There is no time for procrastination anymore, midterm exams are coming soon. What midterm means for many student is long nights in the library, smocking (awful) 7 Eleven coffee at any time of the day and burrito on-the-go. But for all students, midterms means SPRING BREAK, which turns out into SPRING BROKE!!!

For American students, the spring break is a lot more than a week off from school. It usually happens between the central weeks of March, following midterms week. Although also in Europe we have weeks off from school throughout the year, there is no such thing as the American Spring Break, a legitimate week where partying in exotic locations is almost a must. The question of these days in the library is “What are u doing for spring break, bud?” When asking this question you can either bump into the ultra-organized, full booked and planned kind of guy that makes you questioning  what you have been doing this whole time if you didn’t plan your spring break, or you can get an answer which repeat your question-and you feel much better than with the first guy.

During my long nights at the library (right? It’s midterm!), I have done a little investigation and found out that the clique of Spring Break in Cancun is real. People do go to Cancun, Mexico, as those from Jersey Shore-and maybe because they want to meet them. Cancun seems a fit for almost everyone: from the couple with the all-inclusive to the two guys looking for crazy party, to the Norwegian blond crew worried to get sunburn.

As far as I am concerned, I am still trying to break with the Cancun clique but…May 15th is coming soon and for sure you don’t want to be the only soul stuck in the mountains.