Want to be a journalist?

Want to be a journalist?

  1. A couple times a year I get asked to talk to journalism and communications students at nearby Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M. I say a lot of the same things, talk about what I did in college and some of the biggest stories I’ve covered (so far). 

    One lesson I repeat each time is owning your “brand.” Every person has a different brand. Find out what your passion is and be a point of information for others. Budding journalists have great resources online to do this; Twitter, facebook, instagram, etc. 
    So, I asked some of my online friends to share some advice they’d give to aspiring journos. Those with journalism backgrounds or experience chimed in. First up? A former intern.
  2. @TVsMichaelOder @TAMUSPJ Look at the world around you. Practice writing. Learn photo/video editing. Generate story ideas. Be honest & fair.
  3. @TVsMichaelOder just gave a talk to UT students. Told them about sketchy gas station bathrooms, many stories a day, knowing stations brand
  4. I think this advice is great for students or those just starting their career (myself included). There’s also some pretty good life advice in there as well. 

    What advice would you give to someone starting out in your line of work?

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Huntsville State of Mind

Kevin and Jessica live in Huntsville. It’s their second tour in the prison city. The first time, I lived with them and we were all in college at Sam Houston State University. Each year in October, the city hosts Fair on the Square. The street festival is nearing its third decade in existence, and growing. Kevin, Jessica and I decided we’d spend the morning reliving some college days, drinking the best lemonade in existence* and sweating our collective bits off.

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Kevin was worried about the Sunderland game

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*This is not a proven fact, only one based from previous experience. In my opinion (and Kev & Jess’), Roy’s Fresh Lemonade is the best in the world. Their motto is “If our lemons were any fresher, you’d have to slap’em.”

Whoa…

So, how ya been? Good? Good. I’ll get around to posting here more. I’ve taken a couple neat trips, marked some stuff off the 101 list and worked some cool stories.

Just need to make the time to gather thoughts and write.

So… please stand by.

Why Twitter Rocks (in pictures)

I love Twitter.

It’s simple, clean and efficient. You can spread information (right or wrong) to thousands of people in an instant. I tweet. A lot. Mostly, for my job. Reporters are increasingly being told to focus on social media first, then building for web and broadcast. Massive, confusing events like the Boston Marathon Bombings prove that we have a long way to go in perfecting social media.

The other (non-newsy) side of tweeting is making connections with people you know (or don’t) and celebrities (!!).

It’s no secret that I’m a huge sci-fi nerd. I wear it proudly, like a badge of honor. I’m a Trekkie at heart, but also have room for others. One story that I have a soft spot for is Starship Troopers. The book by Robert A. Heinlein is drastically different from the movies. That doesn’t stop me from loving them, or from following it’s leading actor, Casper Van Dien on twitter.

So when he followed me on Twitter, you can imagine my surprise.

CVD Tweet

My first reaction is “okay, someone at his PR firm is just following people back.” Which is why when I got a response, I didn’t automatically assume it was Casper Van Dien.

CVD response

I was, however, very excited and told my best friend Charlie (who also loves a cheesy sci-fi about killer bugs).

CVD freak out

Then, something crazy happened.

CVD owns his tweets

Casper. Van. Dien. Responded.
Personally.
To my tweet.

I don’t remember my exact response, but it probably involved me squealing like a little girl and jumping up and down. Charlie was pretty psyched, too.

CVD Charlie freaks

Being raised by two awesome parents who taught me respect, I thanked CVD for being awesome and totally making mine and Charlie’s day.

CVD awesome

To which he also responded.

Which is rad.

Lesson? Celebrities have hundreds of thousands (or millions) of followers. We follow to feel like we can relate to them, get a sense of what life might be like. Turns out, some of them sit on Twitter just like us. I was a fan of CVD’s work before, both sci-fi and not, but he’s made a fan for life simply by taking the time to interact. I don’t pester him everyday with requests to “tweet me back” or hang out and have a beer (although that would be awesome). He does good work and seems like a great guy. So, if you’re a fan of someone, follow them. Occasionally, let them know that they do good things that you enjoy watching (or reading).

You never know who might follow you back in the middle of the night.

Want to follow me? Head over to the Be Social page, where I list all the crazy platforms I try and keep up-to-date.

On being a Best Man…

I’m a lucky guy to have so many great friends in my life. I’m even luckier to see two of them fall in love. Being honest, I’ve seen more than just two fall in love, but love only works in pairs (I assume. I don’t know if I have any polygamist friends).

Josh and Breanne are in love. They’re getting married. It’s a huge event. I have to wear a tuxedo (And I look good in a tuxedo). What will make this wedding different is being Josh’s Best Man.

It’s a whole new responsibility. I’ve never been a Best Man before. I’ve officiated weddings, but never been in the wedding party. The responsibilities are vague and assumed. I put together a bachelor party, in New Orleans. Josh, his brother and father, and some close friends all made it.

Swamp Boat Tour

I’ll spare you the details. We had a blast.

My other responsibility is giving a toast at the reception. Normally, I don’t have a problem speaking in front of large crowds of strangers. These aren’t strangers, though. They’re friends. Basically, they’re family. And I have to speak about something extremely personal; one of my best friends. I’ve been writing things down for a week, but still haven’t mapped it all out. I just know that I’m honored to know Josh, to be friends with him.

Michael and Scott My brother had plans to get married this year. Life has a strange way of working things out. Those plans aren’t on the table anymore. Eventually, he’ll find someone that he wants to pop the question to, of that I have no doubt.

My brother is one of the most caring, supportive, independent people I know. I hope that he’ll ask me to be his Best Man. I want him to be my Best Man whenever I find my lifelong match.

There are bonds between all of us. The Universe makes sure that we are connected. It’s the close few we surround ourselves with that help navigate our lives.

Who helps navigate your life?

Travel update: Waco Training

Just an update on how the travel year is going. I was in Waco this past weekend for work training. Not an exciting trip, but got to see more of our sister TV station, KWTX.

Waco Editor Training

This was my view for 8 hours. We’re getting a new video editing system. Thankfully, the instructor was fun to listen to and knew what he was doing. The journey continues!