Tag Archives: People

Modern mediocrity is unappealing, part one

My greatest take-away from my wonderful trip to Universal Studios this weekend with my family had little to do with awe-inspiring attractions.

Actually, the prevalence of video-based rides as opposed to de facto rollercoasters wasn’t much to my liking.

What I did notice, however, was how unappealing modern mediocrity is.

Continue reading Modern mediocrity is unappealing, part one

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TRAILER for “Dogs”

My friend Andrea suggested I mosey on down to my local dog park and talk to people about their dogs. An unassuming suggestion – but man, what a journey she sent me on. So far, anyway, it’s been nothing but smiles and confessions of true love talking to dog owners about their best friends.

Here’s a very quick wrapup of the conversations I’ve had so far. Not sure what direction this story will take just yet, but given my experience, it’ll certainly be an interesting one!

On meeting new people

As we strolled through an unusually hot and humid Downtown, my friend uncharacteristically verbalized some of the wisest words I’d heard in a while. We were on the topic of meeting new people when I confessed my lack of prowess in that department, especially as of late.

I conveyed a degree of frustration with it, saying I wished things weren’t that way. My friend told me not to stress it, that the key to meeting and charming new people is to work as ardently as possible on myself and letting the universe throw worthwhile people my way.

This fascinated me, if at least for the few hours thereafter. I’ve been told countless times that the key to getting better at something is practice, is to work harder and harder at it. That anything worth accomplishing is difficult. That if you dedicate yourself to something a hundred and ten percent; it will most definitely come true.

This is the reason why students spend sleepless nights mulling over the course material for their bachelor’s; the reason why people spend years crafting their careers in search of ever-higher salaries and positions. For some reason, though, the same procedure cannot be applied to the goal of meeting new people and crafting good relationships.

You can attempt to expedite the process by going where the people go – bars, nightclubs, libraries, coffee shops and shopping centers – and increasing your odds by talking to as many people as possible, hoping that one or two or three of those possibilities becomes a worthwhile relationship. But the reality of the matter is – at least in my experience – that this strategy yields little but inconsequential affinities that you might as well do without.

You end up befriending people that won’t fan your flames, that won’t lift you higher and that represent fledgling affinities that stick around only when given a fun event or excuse to spend time together.

On the other hand, an arduous investment in self-development – as my friend prescribed – appears to bring the best of new people to your door. You inadvertently – but thankfully – create a screening process in which only the best of people are kept on the list. These are people that are attracted to your hustle, that will help you professionally and spiritually and creatively. They’re more than your average bar hopper or EDM junkie that’s just with you when the music gets loud or the drinks start flowing.

Meeting new and worthwhile people, then, appears to be one of the things in life where mastery involves anything but dedication and hard work. The less you think about meeting and pleasing others and the more you think about working on yourself and your career, the more new and worthwhile people you meet. It’s the antithesis of what I’ve been told about success for years, but like my friend said, that’s the way of the universe.

Independent journalists struggle to find revenue

Despite her best efforts, former journalist Maria Padilla struggled to monetize OrlandoLatino.com, a news website about the Puerto Rican community in Orlando that shutdown in August 2015 after approximately 6 years.

“Monetizing the blog is a selling job, which as a journalist I’m not completely comfortable with,” Padilla said. “Call me old school. So I need to earn a living doing something else.”

Padilla’s struggle to cope with the demands of a changing media landscape is not unique. Journalists across Florida have dealt with its impacts in various ways.

Frank Torres, an Army military veteran who became involved in veterans’ affairs and political analysis after being discharged, runs a website called The Orlando Political Observer that he claims attracts several thousand readers a day. Although he did not provide exact figures, Torres says his ad revenue greatly from election to non-election season as advertisers take note of his increased traffic.

“I’m not wealthy,” Torres confessed. “I wish I could tell you I was, it is definitely a struggle. I can echo [Padilla’s] challenges in trying to monetize the blog.”

Torres attributes his success to being able to maintain multiple sources of revenue. Besides his site and the advertising revenue it brings, Torres’ work is syndicated across multiple outlets, which he refused to name over web traffic concerns. Additionally, Torres has monetized his speaking gigs, varying his price based on travel expenses and the nature of the engagement.

“Journalists have to do everything,” Torres explained, “They have to market, sell … blog, take video, produce quality audio. It’s a tricky operation to get going.”

Padilla has a different take on the situation.

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“I think it might be easier to monetize the blog if you set up a certain apparatus,” she explained. “You have somebody else who takes care of that end of it, the money-generating end of it.”

Torres also feels that up-and-coming journalists are not being taught the right skills by “old-school” journalism school faculty that spend more time on writing skills and less so on the concepts of syndication and entrepreneurship.

Victor Hernandez, director of media innovation for media outlet Banjo, agrees with Torres’ assessment.

“Very few [schools] are hitting the nail on the head,” Victor explained as he got ready to helm a workshop for Society of Professional Journalists students. “It doesn’t mean that over time, that won’t begin to swing in the right direction, but not enough truly are able to embrace this or are even anywhere.”

The University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information, for example, does not currently require student journalists to take entrepreneurship courses according to a representative from the school.

Ashley Cisneros, a former Florida journalist whose job was cut during the 2008 recession, started her own digital marketing and advertising agency that helps businesses maximize their reach through social media and content.

“[Companies] need content,” Cisneros explained. “My agency has specific writers on staff [and] my customers use that content – the newsgathering, the writing, the research, all of the things that journalists do. They’re paying for that so that they can meet their goal.”

Though skills overlap, the purpose of an effort like Cisneros’ is still different from that of a site with a purely journalistic goal.

Padilla was recently chosen as one of the Orlando Sentinel’s 100 most influential people in Central Florida.  She is considering re-opening her blog despite her continued financial concerns.

“I still get asked about it all the time … I’m convinced that there is a market,” Padilla said.