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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts on Travel Journalism


April 24th, 2012 - I had the honor of being asked to be on the review panel of Loyola School of Mass Communication for the 2012 graduates by Valerie Andrews, the Internship Coordinator. These students have spent countless hours in building their portfolio and I have to say that I was very impressed by Loyola's Mass Comm program. Though pleasantly surprise, I am no stranger to the caliber of Loyola Mass Comm Students. During the initial days of publishing Amelie G approximately 2 years ago, 2 interns of Amelie G were from Loyola, Angie Hernandez and Delia Howe. Both were innovative and intuitive to the fashion and publishing world, which are the key factors of Amelie G. Hernandez later assumed the role of Editor-In-Chief for The Wolf, Loyola's very own Student Periodical. 

During the panel review, I had the privilege to review 4 senior's portfolio. Each port were special in their own ways. In this post, I would like to focus in on Travel Journalism:
Travel Journalism appears to be a favorite subject amongst Journalism Majors. As data have proven, this is a very competitive area of journalism. 2 of my students were trying to figure out the best way to reach their goal of working for a Travel Magazine. Consider this: besides blogging about the recent vacation trip that you took with your parents, what makes your port stand out from others? As a publisher, when I think about port, I am not looking for just the assignment results of writing about your experience in your recent travel. Rather, I am looking for the overall travel experience that you have. Yes, you love to travel and write about the passion of your life, but the question that beckons to be answered is how do you achieve the edge in your experience? As I was pondering on this today, I drew a parallelism to my personal area of interest, fashion and design. Your experience and expertise grow over time. Perhaps it's not the easiest to land a job in Conde Nast's Traveler or Afar. What is your next option besides applying for ALL travel publications that pays your bills but yet moves you 1 step closer to your dream? 
1) Work for a vacation planning agency
Agency such as TravelCorp provide the right amount of experience for you to gain industry insiders knowledge that most journalist won't get their hands on
2) Work for an Airline or Cruise company
Sure, you went to school for Mass Comm, not Hospitality. But this viable option provides the opportunity to travel to destinations that most of your peers only wish they can afford, without breaking into your own budget
3) Work for a world-renown Hotel
Again, I understand you don't think you will do well in serving hands and feet of the annoying hotel guests, but in the big scheme of things, these are ultimately your audience. Working in a hotel will not only provide you the opportunity to move and live in another city, but it will also allow you to interact with your audience directly. The first 2 options touches on this but this option will expose you to the international crowd that will pass through your hotel. 

Note that these are not proven methods, nor will I claim that I am a travel journalism expert. But like my favorite travel journalist/broadcaster, Anthony Bourdain, he mastered his skills in culinary and has done his time to appreciate the culinary world, before traveling to see other culinary of the world. The key factor here is to become well-adverse in your area of interest that your audience look at you as the expert. Travel Journalism is a result of your experience, not the reason that you get to Travel. 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The danger of snapshot impression

I'm an advocate for data analysis. A big one at that. I don't believe in making a decision based on the current view. I always asked to go back, forward, current, and proceed to give my employees the benefit of the doubt, unless data shows otherwise.

Data don't lie, if collected accurately. For some odd reason, when it comes to managing people, I often find it hard to truly evaluate someone because proper data are still subjective feelings and emotions, even if they try to maintain professionalism and objectivity.

Regardless of my journey in managing people, I have find myself today to question the objectivity of how I'm being managed. HR law these days are pro "proven guilty until innocent". So needless to say, if you are being framed, you need to have an alibi to get you out of accusation that are incorrect.

2011, I found myself being caught in that for the first time ever supervising my group. I will spare the details of the event but the results were disappointing. I have since lost my reputation and it almost feels like the "favor" has left me. All because someone said something that was not true. Today I received my performance review and I am quite teed off by it. It seems as though that the negative incident was the main focus.

My question to the HR buffs out there, is it right to provide a PERFORMANCE evaluation based on a 1-time event? What about all the other positives and home runs that took place? Certainly someone should consider stopping the management and ask "what happened?" or "what were his obstacles?" since past data proved otherwise?

However it goes, I'm shaking this off. I thanked them for the feedback and I will work to prove, and prove to them that the snapshot impression is extremely skewed. I need to let my action speak louder than words. But quite frankly, if I could encourage any managers/bosses out there, please bat for your employees. They are your workforce that gets you to your organization's goal. Don't demasculate them based on a one-sided, one-time event, it's proposterous!

Friday, January 01, 2010

End of Chapter 28, Start of Chapter 29

1981 seems like an era ago. We're speaking in terms of the 21st century now. Just when I thought 1 Tim 4:12 still applies to me, I find myself using it yesterday to encourage someone else who's in their early twenties. One can argue that 29 is still young but it's relative. Regardless of where I categorize my age in the spectrum of the lifespan, my critical concern lies in the same verse: 1 Tim 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

10 years ago the first part of the verse had the majority of my focus. Being the youngest of 3, the days of growing up was always defined by means of competition...fight to get into the bathroom first, fight to get the last piece of candy, fight for the affection of our parents, alas, life would not be as fun with my siblings if I never had these competitions. I love it. The drive to succeed and achieve the same platform in life as my siblings was always fueled by the first part of that verse.

As I begin this new chapter of my life, I am challenged to shift my focus to the second part of the verse: "..set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity". These are the words that the mentor exhorts young Timothy. My reflection of this verse quickly brings up active actions in my life, in Vintage Church, as a Senior Engineer at Entergy, to my band members, to my parents and family, to my girlfriend, in Valedictorian, and to my neighbors along Perrier St in Uptown, NOLA.
Paul says - "My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest." As my intellectual mentor, Oswald Chambers best put it "To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An overweening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others."
Regardless of the way I act to the people around me, my main focus shall be to fear only God, and to absolutely surrender any sense of shame to Him, because Christ was not ashamed of me when He was nailed on the Cross. It is so common to think that we can package Christianity into little cool packets as though Christ needs that.

My thirst for 2010 is to see the Holy Spirit move in my life and around me; that my life may be a worship unto Him, in all that I do and all that I have.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Loves like a Hurricane

Hurricane season is fast approaching. I noticed my last blog few blogs were surrounding this phenomenon that my city of New Orleans is so familiar with. Hurricanes are deemed to be a very destructive force of nature, more often than not brings panic to the city...kind of like the word "bomb" in airports. The only time I hear this word being used positively is when the denizens of the city throw what you would call "Hurricane Parties".

This word is sometimes used in songs to express overwhelming power. Today was just that. A sense of overwhelming power that swept across the floors of Vintage Church, particularly the spot where I was standing. These past few months have been living hell at work as usual for all spring outages in the power plant industry. Back to back projects were not designed for 1 person to handle. Working more than 70 hours a week has been a common theme since 2008 at this plant for me. Nuff said.

Bottomline: Where does God rank when life demands your assumingly multiple attention? Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Self?

The latter question was posed by my good friend and pastor, Rob Wilton, today at service. It was a moment of self searching again. After the message, Andrew our worship leader sand the song by John Mark McMillan that many of us have come to love (How He Loves). But somehow today, the words pierced deeper than I have ever felt.

"He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died,
And You met me between my breaking.
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony.
...They want to tell me You're cruel,
But if Stephen could sing, he'd say it's not true, cause..."

Now the last verse about Stephen... was the whole reason behind McMillan writing the song. One night during a prayer meeting, one of his best friend, a youth pastor was praying and said, "Lord, I would give my life today if it would shake the youth of the nation. " Later that night, he died in a car accident. Nearly three years later, McMillian wrote this song. McMillian believes that God's will use this song and this story to shake the youth of the nation.

God is not contained by time. We may never see what we picture as "shake the youth of the nation", but the Spirit of God will never be bound by our mere human expectations. He is ALWAYS sovereign. "If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss, And my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don’t have time to maintain these regrets, When I think about, the way…He loves us!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

With Everything

I find myself in the same place again, the familiar scent and taste of the rough, the funk. Listening to “With Everything” by Hillsong and reading an article on Relevantmagazine.com, I have reached this place of needing God to do the supernatural in my life. Much of my life story revolves around His faithfulness in delivering me from nonsense that honestly can’t be explained how it even got there. Approximately 5 years ago, my heart was torn and my life turned upside-down. I asked God to tear me apart, to break me down and make me the person that He wants me to be. He did exactly that. But I asked for more than I could handle. I didn’t understand why Christ would allow me to go through what I went through. In fact, I still don’t. But I have rest in the peace that through those turn of events, He has led me to where I need to be today. Today is just a regular day so the previous statement isn’t followed up by a great testimony. However, in my head, my heart, I know there’s a testimony being written, one that I may not comprehend or read until I meet my Savior.

Through these years, Christmas has been the hardest. It’s the season that everyone is supposed to be joyous because of the gifts, love and laughter. I’m not a scrooge in any sense but it is definitely a hard season to go through once again in emotional unease. The year of 2009 could be described by several distinguishable events; Huge Turbine Outage that cost well over $10Mil, New Church Plant, Traveling band, a new old house in the heart of Uptown New Orleans and 3 relationships that did not quite work out. Somehow, reflecting upon these, the obvious is that the positives outweigh the negatives. But 3 relationships? Ones that no one knows of because I’m not the type of person who likes to share a good news unless I know for sure that it’s a definite. Call it guarding my privacy, but I rather shed the light of Christ that it’s the centrality of my pride. It’s humiliating. Granted these relationships still mean a lot to me and they each dwell under my friends list on Facebook. But for the most part, the most significant downturn is the unchangeable, undeniable reason that I am who I am. So the question then leads to who am I? Is being a child of God not enough in this society? Is being a professional Engineer in a well-renown utility plant not enough? Is being a “father” to many under my leadership in Lifegroup not enough? How much more can the world ask for?

Sitting here again, I’m embracing the thought of going through yet another wintery Christmas by myself. Not physically since I do have some friends and family but thoroughly emotionally and mentally. I honestly don't give a damn because it's not about me anyway. This year has been draining for those 2 aspects of my life. But I am reminded greatly that Jesus is my God and His majesty deserves ALL my praise despite how drained or poured out I am. Life is unfair. It treated Christ the same way with it’s cruelty. In the words of Misty Edwards on how the world has tagged her, I found an inspiration, a motivation to keep crawling on these bloody knees.
“My focus is to go deep in the Word of God; live in the First Commandment, which leads to the Second; stay faithful in the place of prayer; fast more; give more; and live the Sermon-on-the-Mount lifestyle to the highest degree, even in my weakness. I know I am going to die one day, and the only real definition of who I am will come from the lips of Him who searches my heart.”

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