Pat Evans

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Last week I had the fortunate opportunity to land an interview with Pat Evans, co-anchor of KARE 11, for my media profile assignment. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned so much that I decided I'd share what I discovered with you today.

Here's a part of my media profile assignment...

"I never saw myself as a news anchor when I was little," says Evans, "even in college I thought I'd eventually go into government". Evans wanted to be a U.S. Senator. It wasn't until partway through his time at the University of San Francisco did he discover journalism might be his path. He took a broadcast class and immediately began to adore the work. He knew what his new end goal was and would do anything to get there.

Right out of college Evans landed a job with Twin Cities Statement as a column writer. It wasn't exactly what he had wanted, but at least he got his foot in the door.

"I knew I was close," explains Evans, "I knew that once I was in the business it'd be much easier to get to where I wanted to be." Evans was correct. Soon enough he received a job at KOLD-TV CBS as a meteorologist.

"Be open to change," advises Evans, "you never know what life is going to throw at you, so be ready to catch it." Catching is definitely what Evans has done throughout his journey. He's seized every opportunity thrown at him and ran with them.

His time at the University of San Francisco also provided Evans with plenty of opportunities to get ahead. Evans utilized school clubs to gain connections and also constructed close relationships with professors that had pull in his future field. Not only that, but he sought out the school's career center to land a couple internships so he would have the experience necessary to even land an interview in his competitive job market.

"I learned quite quickly that I was not alone," Evans explains. This was true. Every year thousands upon thousands of recent journalism graduates are out looking for their big break. There's simply just not enough space in the dream careers for everyone. Evans needed impeccable timing, a little luck and maybe even some pixie dust.

Evans did get lucky. While working for Twin Cities Statement he kept his ears open for his next opportunity. Evans knew he didn't want to be a column writer forever. His advice to anyone who wants to get their foot in the door is to do two things: remain curious and listen.

"So many people in our 24/7 endless cyber-connected culture forget the importance of merely sitting back and listening," says Evans, "We rely so heavily on being active around the clock. We need to sometimes relax a little and let the good news come to us."

Evans life has been fortunately been full of good news. He's got a career most others would kill for and a loving family to come home to each night. Even with all of this he'd be open to new opportunities, more good news.

"I'd love to try my hand at something a tad more creative," explains Evans, "a talk show or hosting a game show would be a lot of fun and I'm always up for new experiences."

If your dream is to be an anchor, then go for it. As Evans teaches, you can be whatever you want to be. Never give up on your dreams, always be curious and every once in a while take a moment to listen. This is Evans advice to all future reporters and anchors out there. Go for it.

Better Blogging

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In order to learn how to be a better blogger I decided to find two of the best blogs out there and compare/contrast them with each other and critique the. I chose The Bloggess and Maginal Revolution.

The Bloggess would be categorized under the "fun and girly" sort of blog. The homepage is filled with pink, and some of her section titles are "random crap" and "I am totally overrated". It's quite obvious she is going for a little humor in her writing. She frequently posts about her cat, funny things she sees online and stories of her doing stupid or silly things. When you Google "top personal blogs" her blog comes up on the top 5 of most everyone favorites list. The blog itself is very visual appealing; however I wish it were organized a little differently. Instead of an archive by month, maybe an archive by category would be better. This way people could hone in on the posts they can relate to or want to read. She also seems to advertise her new book quite a lot on her blog, which is a probably a really good read.

Marginal Revolution is definitely catered toward the average middle-aged businessman or women. The blog itself tackles many topics currently debated throughout the country or on the news. It sticks to things that are more political or educationally based. The posts are professional and usually pretty short. I like how the posts themselves are organized on the webpage, however when I'm perusing through blogs I tend to enjoy the more relaxed and laid back blogs. These uptight and serious blogs remind me too much of the news.

These two blogs are much different from each other. The Bloggess seems to take advantage of more freedom than Marginal Revolution does. The Bloggess chooses to use vulgar language and clearly state a biased opinion on each topic. Marginal Revolution, however, seems to merely serve as a way for opening discussion. They tend to report the news and then leave it for their followers to have opinions. They are both excellent blogs in different ways and definitely target their preferred audiences really well. I, myself, would probably find myself reading The Bloggess more often than Marginal Revolution, but I guess that's just the ice cream-eating, chick flick-watching woman inside of me.

These blogs have given me loads of ideas to make this blog even better than it actually is. I'm a beginner, but I have a good start. It's only up from here!

Review the Reviews

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In my opinion, fake reviews are not a public relations tool, but a marketing tool. Fake reviews are used to either gain positive feedback and therefore increase the amount of users, viewers or purchasers or in a negative light on a competing product to bring them down in sales, views, etc.

Both of these reasoning's are mischievous and unfair. The media world will never be a completely honest and right place, but this is one area of it that should be changed.

Fake reviews also destroy the power reviews once had. People used to be able to rely on reviews, as they rely on a friend or family member's opinion. However, now many of us are skeptical when reading reviews if we even give them the time of day to read. I've learned from discussing this topic with several people that user-generated reviews hardly ever sway their decisions. Instead, they look for reliable news sources for good and qualified reviews.

Here's an example of a review I did for Chobani Champion yogurt tubes...

Chobani releases a more portable and kid-friendly yogurt
Company introduces Champions Tubes, a new child oriented product

Remember Go-Gurt? All the kids had them in their lunch boxes. Those little tubes of yogurt though were packed with sugar and lacked the basic nutrients that yogurt should supply. Chobani has now come out with a solution.
The new Chobani Champions Tubes are made from Greek yogurt. This means less sugar, more protein, natural ingredients and REAL fruit. You won't find any unnecessary coloring dye in these 2.5 oz tubes of pure yogurt. The Chobani Champions Tubes come in 5 flavors, which are Strawberry Banana, Strawberry, Blueberry, Cherry and the exotic Dragon Fruit.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Greek yogurt. Except when I tried Champions Tubes I discovered a new love for this hip and healthy yogurt. Specifically, I had the opportunity of trying the Cherry, Strawberry and Dragon Fruit. The Strawberry was tasty, but the Cherry did not really tickle my fancy. Oddly enough, the Dragon Fruit was by far my favorite.
You can expect to find these new healthy treats in your local grocery or supermarket. If you're having a difficult time, Chobani's website provides a store locator for your convenience at http://chobani.com/products/store-locator/?zipcode=zip+code.
This product is for all you parents out there wanting a tasty, yet healthy, addition to your kids' lunch box. But make sure you save some for yourself as well, or even to send out to your children at college, like myself. It's a great snack for those late mornings when you need to grab something quick so you're not tardy to class.
I don't have many complaints about this product, except one that has always been attributed to tubes of yogurt. The opening process, if you don't have a pair of scissors handy, can be tricky. If you don't open it a certain way sharp edges can cut your lip or make it uncomfortable to consume.
So throw out all the old, artificial yogurt tubes and start replacing them with Chobani Champions Tubes. You deserve a healthier snack.

How to Pitch

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By pitch I do not mean baseball. If you're looking to learn how to throw a curveball you've come to the wrong blog. No, in this entry I'd like to run through how to write a media pitch for a certain event or program. As an example I have my pitch to PipJazz.

First, you need an angle. You need to provide the media outlet with your take on the story. You're pitching it to them.

Angle: Arts are a crucial part of any neighborhood or community. PipJazz provides a way for children to be recognized and to gain appreciation for jazz, which will in turn aid in maintaining this timeless art in the future.

Define your media outlets. Make sure they are reachable and feasible. Do your research and choose wisely so you may attract the greatest portion of your target audience.

Media Outlets
• KNOW FM 91.1, public radio for twin cities
• KBEM FM 88.5, A jazz station
• Vita.mn- twin cities arts guide magazine

Finally, write the pitch. Keep it brief, keep it light and easy to read. Most will simply sift through your pitch and if it looks complicated or complex they'll merely skip it. Make it look enticing, use a good leading statement.

Pitch

Vita.mn
Assistant Editor, Jay Boller
jay@vita.mn

PipJazz, a jazz collaborative concert company, is beginning a "Drive 2 Stay Alive" fundraiser. It is crucial we get word out to help keep the programs this company provides thriving.
• The PipJazz Sundays concert series presents kid talents in the area of jazz to the community.
• Jazz is a timeless art culture that should not go extinct.
• The children of the Twin Cities community are the future of music and should be introduced to this vintage style of music.
• I suggest an in-depth on a particular child who benefited from this educational outreach initiative.
• The article should also include their "Drive 2 Stay Alive" in a manner that prompts viewers to donate to the cause.
• Pippi herself is a child prodigy that only developed her passion and talent because the jazz artists of her time took notice of her and her potential. Pippi would like to return that same favor to the children of the Twin Cities.

Pitches are important, because reporters don't always have ears and eyes everywhere. There might be things only you know about that others deserve to know about too. So, let them know, but do it properly. Pitch it.

iPhone Viewpoints

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In this day and age technology has become everything to us. We allow it to run our lives and get excited whenever the newest and latest gadget is available for purchase. This is why the unveiling of the iPhone 5D and 5S is newsworthy. The 5C is especially intriguing because it is the first time Apple has constructed a product with the intention of low costs to appeal to young and price-conscious consumers.

This is the direction The Washington Post took when they announced the new technology. Most of their comments were positive and they point by point listed the new attributes and capabilities of the two new phones. The article itself served as an advertisement promoting these new phones.

Read about it here:

Another newspaper, The Guardian, from the United Kingdom also decided to write about this latest Apple technology. This article is divided by different key qualities users of these phones might want to be updated, such as the camera, speed and battery life. Unlike The Washington Post, though, this British paper had mostly a negative view of the new phones. According to the article, the iPhone 5C is merely a recycled iPhone 5 covered in plastic.

Read about it here:

It's incredible how different viewpoints can be from different news sources on the same subject. Newspapers do their best to be as bias free as possible, but it's nearly impossible when the articles are written by human beings.

One other viewpoint could be a relative comparison of these new phones to their most recent versions they are replacing. It could discuss the worth of purchasing one of these iPhones immediately. And it would provide advice to readers as to how to get the best out of their purchase.

There are so many different takes you can have on just a single subject. Most news sources tailor to their audiences needs and beliefs; however sometimes a news source can even sway a person's steadfast values and choices based on a single review.There is still much power in the printed word.

Thank You Notes

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I hear about it all the time. An employer gives someone a job based on a small card they received in the mail. In our day and age many of us have lost the conceptual importance of physical thank you cards. Why pay to mail when everyone has email? Because it shows effort, it shows diligence and creativity. Employers still, even in our digital world, love to receive them and in many cases expect to.

It is true that emailing is always a good option too. In my opinion, when applying for a job I would do both. Once you have completed the interview wait a few hours and then send out a thank you email. Then, the next mail out a thank you card that is a little more personal. Make sure in both versions you refer to something specific and unique that happened within your personal interview. Employers often get dozens and dozens of applications and thank you notes and emails. They will not remember just your name. So help them out and provide them a memory.

Here's an example of a recent thank you note I wrote to an internship employer...

Dear Julie Cinders,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me for this marketing communication intern position. It was wonderful meeting you and getting a little snapshot of how your company functions.

You seemed to take great interest in my activities as the head choreographer for the Gold Standard Show Choir. If you'd like to see my creative projects at work we have a show coming up this weekend. It's this Saturday, December 7th at 7pm on the Proscenium stage in the Rarig Center at the University of Minnesota.

I become quite passionate for things I care about and I care about this internship. I hope you can allow me this opportunity.

Thank you,
Jeremy Huff

Guess what? She emailed me back a few days before my performance apologizing for not being able to make it, but wished me the best of luck. I formed a relationship with this woman. I might not get the job, but she will remember me and that is worth all of the effort I put in.

Careers nowadays are all about relationships. It's about who you know and not as much what you can do or where you have been. People want people they can trust. Build that trust, write a thank you note.

Bad Website

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Have you ever come across an awful website that you just want to fix?
If you haven't then you've been spending too much time merely refreshing your feed on Facebook. A few weeks ago I was perusing through other colleges (a form of procrastination) when I stumbled upon the arts page of Yale University.

Here's what it looked like...

Yale Arts Homepage

The fonts were boring, the colors were random and it was far too difficult to navigate, let alone even read. There's also not a whole lot of consistency to the webpage.

Here's what it looks like now...

http://art.yale.edu/

Now there's all this open space that serves no purpose. It seems the designer chose a two column format, except if there isn't any information in the second column then the columns become highly unnecessary. When I first loaded the page I waited a little while, but then realized that it had loaded completely, it just looked incomplete because it was. There are text boxes that are blank or misaligned. The fonts do not always match up. The design is no where near cohesive.

I tried to think of ways to fix it, however I honestly believe it'd be better to start the website from scratch. I'm not usually this tough of a critic, but if I were an arts school that wanted students to join and apply, then I would put the time and effort to making a good website. It really is a lot of the time the very first appearance of places now. It's the first thing people do, Google it and look at their webpage. You want that first impression to be spot on every time. You have to.

Chipotle Complaint

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Last week I decided to stop by Chipotle in between two of my classes since I was let out pretty early. I work for Radio Disney and we did an event a while ago at Como Zoo and Chipotle was running a tent right next to us. At the end of the event one of the representatives from the Chipotle tent approached us and handed each of us a couple of coupons for a free kids meal. That is why I went to Chipotle, to get a free kids meal, however when I got through the line the manager working there declined my coupon. You're not a kid he told me, but I argued that no where on the card did it say a certain age requirement and why would a Chipotle representative give us the coupons in the first place if we couldn't us them? It didn't work.

So, I decided to complain. Here's what I wrote to them...

To whom it may concern,

On Monday, November 18th, I entered your store and presented a coupon for a free kid's meal that I had received from a representative of the Chipotle Company while working the Zoo Boo event at the Como Zoo with Radio Disney. This representative, who had a station advertising Chipotle, at the event handed out coupons to each of us on the Radio Disney Road Crew and told us they were valid at any Chipotle in Minnesota.

Unfortunately, my coupon was denied because I did not meet the age requirements for a kid's meal. One of my co-workers used the same coupon at the Chipotle location on Cedar Avenue and it was accepted. I am disappointed by the inconsistencies between the employees of Chipotle. Nowhere on the actual coupon does it say that it is only valid for children under a certain age. Also, if the coupon was invalid for adult use, then a representative of your company should not have been passing them out to a group of predominantly college students.

To resolve the problem, I would appreciate more clarity between stores and on coupons distributed by your company in the future.

Please contact me at huffx108@umn.edu if you have any questions regarding my experience.

Sincerely,
Jeremy Huff


I received an email back the next day. They stated they were sorry and that they will do better to ensure my satisfaction. They attached to the email a buy one burrito, get one free coupon. It was nice of them to reply, but I don't want to pay for a burrito and then get two. I'm a college student and I want a free meal.

Whole Foods

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I know I've been writing a lot tonight, but I just need to get one more topic out before I hit the hay.

This last weekend I went to Whole Foods for the first time. It was quite the experience and I enjoyed shopping there even if I don't see myself going a whole lot in the future. I also recently saw an advertisement for Whole Foods. What I want to do in this post is propose a possible audience that isn't really being targeted that I think should be and an angle I think would work well in a campaign.

There are many different kinds of people that Whole foods might want to advertise their organic products to. The stigma of organic foods is that they are not only healthier for you but also more expensive. Therefore, Whole foods will want to advertise to those people who are both interested in maintaining good health and earning enough to purchase the means to do so. For instance, women of the upper class with children beyond the infant age would be inclined to try organic foods in order to restore themselves to the shape they were in prior to pregnancy. Or maybe organic foods would interest celebrities doing anything they can to maintain their Hollywood body.

I would say a good "target audience" would be middle-aged women of the upper class or higher middle class. In an attempt to be a little more specific, maybe women between the ages of thirty and fifty that are earning a combined household income of at least six figures. I would guess that the majority of these women will be married and living in a ritzy suburban area or very successful single business women living in the big city. These are the audiences I would focus the most on targeting in the Whole foods campaign.

Obviously Whole foods would need some intriguing selling propositions and appeals to grab the attention of our targeted audience. These women will be very picky, critical and probably regard themselves as experts in the subject of staying healthy. They won't have any tolerance for being ripped off and therefore will be quite cautious.

One idea might be to offer comparative statistics between the Whole foods organic products and their non-organic competitors. This way the buyers can see for themselves the benefits. Whole foods might also want to consider finding a way for potential buyers to try their products. Then, the company can prove to their target audience that the taste is either the same or better than the non-organic foods. Going back to statistics, Whole foods could research the benefits of organic foods for children and release that information to their audiences.

Another appeal would be the freshness of organic products. Whole foods would need to make sure they're advertising the difference in how their organic foods are raised and produced. By showing the path of how their products are created, their potential buyers can be sure of what they're eating. Finally, maybe a unique selling proposition would be to try to gain a sponsorship from a bulk, nationwide grocery store, such as Costco or Sam's Club. These places require a paid membership in order to shop their products. This way Whole foods can better target those willing to pay a little extra for their food.

I am recommending that the Whole foods market be addressed to middle aged women of a higher socioeconomic status. This audience is of value to Whole foods because they will be the people most likely inclined to purchase a healthier way of eating. Hopefully, the next ad I see for Whole Foods targets this audience or at least a portion of it. I really believe these are the people they should be after.

Those Little Blessings

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I know Thanksgiving has passed, but I decided I wanted to write a little about it now that I have some time.

So, what am I thankful for?
This is a rather large question with a limitless amount of answers.
You go around in a circle of people and every once in a while someone will say this...
"I am thankful for all the little things in life."
Yet, what the person usually forgets to do is explain what these 'little things' are! Maybe because to elaborate would take a very long time, given that there are so many of these 'little things' in life. In my own opinion, I think that the list of 'little things' will depend upon the person. Everyone has their own unique list. So then to answer the question of what I am thankful for I will provide my own list of the little blessings in my life.
My little blessings lately include...
- The teachings from my parents
- The support given to inspire my talents
- Cookie dough ice cream
- August 15th, 2010
- The ability to see, hear, comprehend and speak
- Penguins
- Acceptance to an excellent university
- Glee, Modern Family and other shows to provide procrastination
- Frozen yogurt
- American freedom
- Sweatpants
- Carpet and indoor heating
- Disney World
- Poetry
- Books like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games
- Dreams
- Journals
- The stars in the sky
- The love given by those closest to me

...and so much more. I sort of dislike making this list for the same reason the Federalists didn't want to have a Bill of Rights. Sometimes if you make a list then what is on the list is thought to be of more importance then what is not. Remember what I said earlier: the answer is limitless. This is merely a list of the things I am grateful for that crossed my mind while typing this post. There will always be more bullet points to add to it.
I love this holiday, not only because of the family and the food, but also because it means Christmas is just around the corner.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!