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Archive for December 12th, 2006

Sen. Obama’s “announcement”

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Can I please just say how hilarious this video of Barak Obama is

Good evening. I’m Senator Barack Obama.

I’m here tonight to answer some questions about a very important contest that has been weighing on the minds of the American people.

This is a contest about the future, a contest between two very different philosophies, a contest that will ultimately be decided in America’s heartland.

In Chicago, they’re asking, “Does the new guy have enough experience to lead us to victory?” In St. Louis, they’re wondering, “Are we facing a record that is really so formidable, or is it all just a bunch of hype?”

Let me tell you, I’m all too familiar with these questions. So tonight I’d like to put all the doubts to rest. I’d like to announce to my hometown of Chicago and to all of America that I am ready…

For the Bears to go all the way, baby.

You have to admit, that’s a pretty gutsy campign. And you KNOW it’s going to get a lot of attention. Definitely made me laugh.

The countdown begins

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

The only thing standing between me and a college degree is one cultural anthropology exam. By about 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, nothing will.

After I walk out of that exam, I’ll begin my time-honored tradition of checking Web for Students every half hour to see who has posted my grades. (So far only one grade is posted, but it’s an A.) My predictions this semester include mostly A’s and possibly a C (?!?! yeah, I haven’t had a C since freshman year of high school) in piano after my awful performance on today’s exam. What can you do?

There was a time when not having a 4.0 could make me freak out, but after last spring when my GPA dropped below summa cum laude, I quit caring. I don’t care what GPA I graduate with anymore. I’m graduating with a ton of experience and practical skills that should matter way more than some number that does little but prove I went to class and took the exams.

The point is, short of not taking the anthropology final, I’m definitely graduating. That is what matters. Then, it’s all about finding a job I want to do in a city where I won’t mind spending the next few years of my life. Forunately, I’m pretty much open to anything/anywhere, which helps explain why I’m breathing a little easier these days and smiling a lot more.

Managing your online identity

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

You can learn a lot about me if you Google me.

Among the tid-bits you will learn: I wrote for the Stater and The Courier; the Ohio Newspaper Association awarded me its women’s scholarship; I want to visit Africa, join the Peace Corps, write a book and take my mom back to her birth place; several accomplishments have been noted on Kent JMC’s Web site; I narrowly missed the Dow Jones cut off last year but was a top prospect anyway… A lot. Most of it good. Some of it funny or embarassing. But nothing I’d be ashamed to have someone else know about me. (OK, the whole HTML for the Common Human thing is pretty embarassing, but I’d like to point out it was created in April 1998 — I was only 13!)

I decided to investigate this after reading an article from the Christian Science Monitor (Do you need a Web publicist?) that discusses such things. Interesting to note as I search for a job:

A June survey by ExecuNet, which studies recruiting trends, says that 77 percent of executive recruiters run background checks on candidates by using search engines. One-third of them (a slight increase from 2005) said they eliminated applicants based on what they found.

A survey by CareerBuilder.com found that 1 in 4 hiring managers used search engines to screen candidates. One in 10 also checked candidates’ profiles on social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook.

Hrm. Well, I have no skeletons to hide. Even my Facebook profile — where you can learn that “When I grow up, I want to write the sayings on Taco Bell Sauce packets or select the quotes for Starbucks cups…” and that my interests include being right, journalism, scrabble, scrapbooking and walks in the park and that I think people falling down is hilarious, hate smelling like smoke and spent more time in the Stater than I did in class — isn’t a gold mine of disqualifying information or photos. (I don’t have a MySpace account, which should save any job recruiters who come across this some time. I think they’re creepy and the music videos, obnoxious color schemes and photo overload drive my Web designer brain crazy.)

Still, this is an interesting concept. As more and more information is put online, including some of it by children or teens too young to care or know better, how will this impact hiring practices? Could that angsty LiveJournal post disqualify a potential candidate or could the Facebook photo of someone doing a shot bar them from getting a shot? Should it? I don’t know.

Honestly, I don’t see the problem with potential employers checking you out online. Why shouldn’t they use every tool available to screen potential candidates and prevent potential problems? Shouldn’t the job-hunter know better. According to this article, most of my peers disagree.

They found that 40 percent of employers say it’s OK to use Facebook when making a hiring decision; only 19 percent of the students agreed. Sixty percent of the students said employers should not consider a Facebook entry.

But, honestly, once/if you are hired, you represent the company, especially in a field such as journalism. You are the face of the organization to the community. Yeah, it’s not a responsibility you asked for, but it comes with the territory. The best prediction for future actions is based on past. The Internet, much like references, allows potential bosses to know where you’ve been.

Here’s to hoping there’s nothing to hide.

3 a.m. wake-up call

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Why, my friends, is it 3:30 a.m. on a Tuesday and I am awake? I’m not pulling an all-nighter. Instead, I’m awake because of the 3 a.m. wake-up call from one of my reporters telling me, “So, I’ve been outside my dorm for like half an hour and there’s fire trucks, and they’ve been in there awhile.” Normally when we have fires alarms they’re actually just someone pulling an alarm or being an idiot (such as my sophomore year when I was woken up and forced to stand in the cold for 20 minutes at 4:30 a.m. because someone never mastered the art of popping popcorn). But then, there’s also the case of Allyn Hall last fall, which literally burnt out the top floor of the dorm. So it’s always worth checking out, especially if it seems longer than normal and nobody was in the office to hear the scanner traffic.

Me: Do you have a notebook?
Her: No.
Me: Does anyone around you have a notebook?
Her: No.
Me: You don’t have a pen or anything?
Her: There’s no possible way I can get notes except maybe on my phone.
Me: OK, I’ll get someone there.

Three calls later and I finally find someone awake enough/close enough to get out there ASAP. And now, the firetrucks seem to have dispersed. My safety reporter tells me it’s just someone taking the fire extinguisher out of its case and setting off the alarm. Blah. It’s a brief for now for the curious students inconvenienced, nothing major. The only major thing is a) my annoyance that the on-scene reporter didn’t think to grab a writing instrument or notebook (to her credit, she just called and said she has photos of the students outside, which we could potentially package with the brief) and b) that I am glad, in a week, 3 a.m. wake-up calls will no longer be part of my normal job description. lol.

Still, I don’t mind the past-midnight calls. (It could be for instance that a man was run over by a tow truck after being pushed into the road on Halloween… a major ongoing story that I heard about at 12:30/1 a.m.) I guess I’d rather people have their eyes peeled for news than just say, well it’s getting late, and we don’t have a paper tomorrow. Ah, how I’ve trained them to think for Web. Took all semester, but they caught on.

For now, it’ll take me all night to get back to sleep.