Yes, I Can Name All the Countries of the World

Extracurricular

A few years ago, I was considering applying to the Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism for my master’s. Part of their application process includes a news quiz, with a geography test. I have to admit, I was worried. At the time, my knowledge of geography was shaky at best. Sure, I knew the big countries on each continent, but ask me about Africa, the Caribbean or Oceania, I was a deer in headlights. So, I started taking geography quizzes online. And once I started to feel more confident about passing the test, I decided not to apply.

I would still occasionally do geography quizzes, because I’m that kind of person, but it wasn’t until I discovered Sporcle that I really got serious about challenging myself. If you’ve never visited Sporcle, you’re missing out. Want to test your knowledge of Harry Potter? Do a quiz on Sporcle. Think you can name the top 100 books on the BBC’s literature list? Give the quiz a try. Essentially, it is an entire website devoted to wasting time on random quizzes. For some reason though, I was drawn to the countries of the world.

I couldn’t tell you how long it took before I could name all the countries of the world. I will say I’ve done to quiz dozens of times and every time, there’s always that one country that slips my mind. As I get close to the end, I realize I’ve missed something in Europe and an island in Oceania and at least two of the G countries in Africa. Today, it was Liechtenstein. But in the last moment, with 2:22 to spare, I realized I had gotten all the other small European countries; Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and the Vatican. Liechtenstein had slipped through the cracks.

Is it a skill that will come in handy? Maybe. But for now, I’ll take the bragging rights.

Pacific Northwest Baseball and Photos

School, Updates, Work

As promised, I’ve been adding more to the work samples page and I’ve added a page of photos. The most recent addition to the work samples is my two-part series on baseball in the Pacific Northwest. I wrote and produced both parts back in 2007. I had planned a trip to Seattle to visit a friend and found that she’d be unavailable the first three days of my trip because of work. So I pitched an idea to the head of the multimedia department at MLB.com. I emphasized the rich history of baseball in the area from the Pacific Northwest League to the Pilots to the Mariners. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised when she said yes! I was working as an AP at the time and hadn’t done anything this big independently before. I spent two straight days at Safeco Field, getting sunburnt and learning more about the history of baseball in the region. The highlight, without question, was interviewing the late Dave Niehaus. He had so many stories about the team and especially Ken Griffey Jr. It was clear that the Mariners were his life. Had I spent more time working at MLB.com, I think I would have liked to interview more of the old school sportscasters.

I also added a few photos from working at Major League Baseball and from my time at New York University. At NYU, my favorite class, by far, was TV Newscast with Michael Ludlum. Together with my fellow classmates, I produced, wrote, edited, technical directed and directed a 30-minute newscast live on NYU cable. Sure, only 4 people were watching, but we took it very seriously. It was probably the most fun I had in my entire college career. Many of my classmates have gone on to do very impressive work at Good Morning America, on Capitol Hill and more.

Taking a moment to live my CJ Cregg dream

Also on the photos page are some of the adventures I had while at MLB.com. As a Red Sox fan, covering the team was incredibly exciting, especially during their 2007 World Series run. At the last series against the Yankees, I went up to the stadium to collect sound from the Red Sox locker room. Then I was able to cover the parade after the Sox won the series and got to hang out on the field at Fenway. It was exciting and the people of Boston were excited too. Finally, there are photos of my very first time in the White House press office (and only time to do date). It was a lot smaller than I expected it to be. Interestingly, the most helpful people there were from the ABC News camera crew.

Winter Allergies and Missed Connections

School, Updates, Work

The segment I produced today at work was extremely timely for me. I spent the Thanksgiving weekend trying to figure out whether I had caught a cold or if my sniffling and sneezing was just allergies. I am incredibly allergic to cats and my mother-in-law has four. Based on the information Dr. Neeta Ogden gave us today, I’m pretty sure it was just allergies. Bullet dodged! Dr. Ogden explained some of the most common causes for winter allergies; dust mites, pet dander and mold. She also cleared up a mystery from my childhood. That chronic cough my brother had during the winter growing up was most likely allergies. I’m sure he’ll be glad to know that now. Take a look at the segment here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I also developed a plan for my final project for my Visual Storytelling class. Using my sister and my friend, Jordan, I’m planning to put together a story of missed connections. A search on Craiglist will bring up hundreds of missed connection stories in the city, some very romantic, some not so much. But if I can get the pictures I’m thinking of, I’m hoping I can put together an interesting story in 12 photos.

The holiday weekend was particularly busy, filled with family and friends and a lot of traveling. We didn’t get much of a break and, at this point, I won’t get much of a break next weekend either. Right now, I’m signed up to take an intensive on-the-go French course over the weekend. It’ll be 14 hours over three days. When I signed up for the class, I had just bought tickets to head over to Europe with my husband in January and we were considering spending time in France. Though I have experience with Spanish, but the most I know about French is “merci” and “s’il vous plait” and how to say I don’t speak French. I decided that even a rudimentary understanding of the language would be helpful. Since then, we changed our plans and we’re probably sticking to English speaking countries. But you can’t go wrong knowing how to get by in another language, right?

Here We Go!

School, Updates, Work

Thanks for stopping by to visit my new website. This site will be a compilation of my work, both professional and academic, as well as comments and observations on the news and the world.  Over the next few days, I hope to upload more of my videos to the works samples page, so please check back regularly.

At the moment, I am working at ABC News Now, primarily with Healthy Living. Today we had Dr. Ryan Fuller in studio talking about avoiding holiday stress. I thought Dr. Fuller provided some great tips about preparing yourself before heading into stressful situations. In our pre-interview, Dr. Fuller suggested having an answer ready ahead of time for those tricky questions like, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” or “Are you ever going to get a job?” And if you do get angry, step away and calm down before you reengage. Watch the video here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In addition to work, I’m also taking a class online called Visual Storytelling. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be taking photos for my final project. The assignment is to take 12 photos that tell a story. I am wracking my brain right now to figure out what story I want to tell. The holiday season definitely presents a great opportunity, but I worry that it may be a bit too cliche. We’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned!