California, here we come

What happened since I last posted (it’s been a crazy few weeks) :

I finally made it to San Diego (via driving from Portland, Ore.). I had to cross some mountains in Ashland, but the Soul Train and all my stuff made it. Fun fact: the highest point on the I-5 is in the mountains of Ashland at 4310 feet. My mom ended up taking the wheel for most of California driving after I seriously got freaked out. It’s so true what they say about LA drivers–they do drive fast and crazy. But now that I’ve been in San Diego for two weeks, I’m getting used to the driving style (speed limit is obviously a suggestion — I’m driving 70 in the “slow lane” and I get passed all the time) and getting around and figuring out where everything is. And I had my mom for a week to help get me settled in, which was also fun. My condo also came with a roommate! She seems chill and awesome and I think we’ll work out just fine.

I love the weather in San Diego. It’s sunny, not too hot and just perfect. I think being in places that have not-so-great weather (Portland and Lexington, VA) makes me appreciate it even more. But at the same time, I refuse to freak out over half an inch of rain. We just got some rain (less than an inch) a couple weeks ago, and people kept calling it “a storm” and I kept thinking, “Oh please. Let me bring you to Portland and you can see how we get “mega storms” half the year.” On the day we got some rain, there were also many accidents. Newsflash: you can’t drive as fast when the road has water on it!

I also jumped headfirst into a new gig at a local TV news station that already has me working hard. I will end up writing for both the newscasts and the site, so I’ll be swinging both ways. I just finished up my two weeks of broadcast writing training and now I’m about to start training for the Web. YAY. I’m so amped on that. Web is my main deal — especially multimedia projects (for which there are opportunities). It gets crazy and stressful, but the good news is that it’s never boring.

But not like it was a completely painless transition: some goodbyes never happened. Some weren’t as meaningful as I wanted and some people haven’t quite grown up yet. As much as I love how everything is exciting and new and an adventure, I miss mostly people, but some things like no sales tax, homecooked lumpia, delicious microbrews and evergreen trees.

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MARCH RADNESS

I’ve been absent from a post in a while, but that was because I had the best week in a long time!

Yes kids, I am employed now. In journalism! Therefore, we must doubly rejoice! By the end of the month, I’ll be working at a TV station in San Diego where I will spend most of my time writing stories for their Web site. I’ll also be writing for their newscast and working on some multimedia (hopefully)! This is even more exciting because I have yet to see an SD news site with robust multimedia offerings (other than just video, but more like interactive infographics and such) and we can take the lead. It will be awesome.

So this means I’m packing up and leaving the rainy Northwest for a golden state of mind. But the best part is that I’ll be driving away from my hometown/everything I know and a city full of the finest microbrews in a new car! I just got a 2010 KIA Soul (titanium color) and it’s been fun to drive. It’s cute (according to my grandpa) and has pretty much everything I could need (Sirius, Bluetooth and a sunroof among so many things).

It’s been a whirlwind couple weeks. They’re getting their money’s worth of me in Smoothieland. In other coolness, I’m delighted to see these videos circling my Facebook News Feed:

Now if I can only get my bracket filled out, I’ll be all set.

My life just took a turn for the first

I never had it this busy or this good in so long.

My job situation is looking better than it has in a long time. All I can say is I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful network. Maybe not jumping into a company right after school was actually a good idea. I’ve had time to reevaluate and reflect on what I really truly want in a job and how to get there. Obviously, I want and need a job. Those college loans, though not terrible, are still looming. And until I get one, I know it’s out there.

Jess in time (portfolio/clip repository) has been back in action, reloaded, updated and ready to go: I put it in a grid style (the designer in me LOVES this) with a header and I included more than just j-clips, because I’ve got to market myself as something more than just a journalist. I have the basic journalism skills plus more (in my case, creativity and Web skills). I’ve also tagged my clips for more organization, but lately the tagged posts keep changing and Tumblr seems like it’s acting up.

The creative process never ceases, so I redid my resume yet again and have received great feedback! Most people who have seen it like it, but I did have some corporate HR people that found it confusing and hard to read. I’m blessed to have a career coach as a family friend, so she looked over my cover letter and resume and passed the resume over to one of her friends in HR. He wasn’t impressed. I get that. He does HR for hospitals. He don’t care if your resume looks pretty, he just wants to make sure you’re qualified enough to operate on and stick needles in people. But the newsies somehow get it, which is why I think my life would be unfulfilled if I wasn’t working in news in some way.

I also got a Formspring! I actually think it’s part of a fascinating social experiment. If anonymity was guaranteed, would people be as much more candid in their questions as they are with their words on online forums? Those of you who have to moderate reader comments know what I’m talking about.

Ask me anything and receive fast, timely, relevant and  accurate answers (or if not, a close jess-timate, haha). And go.

Resume redesign, or crisis begets creativity

What does it take to get a good job in news (or media in general)? That’s the $4000 question swimming in my head right now.

I will even make my resume look remotely like a newspaper–complete with flag, skyboxes, sidebars, datelines–designed with copy editing principles in mind (and also inspired by Plaid’s awesome Merry Newsinator, but a bit less merry).

This started out as something to relieve the stress that has been simmering since I finished my internship in September.

Working on it was a delightful break from the monotony of checking emails, reading job boards and mining my address book for any contacts I have not yet exhausted.

As much as I hate being in this situation, I believe crisis begets the best kind of creativity, which is something I learned from this trash artist that we interviewed for our in-depth reporting project on the closing of a county’s landfill. She said that much of the best art she’s seen comes from some trauma that the artist experiences. To me, crisis forces you to stretch yourself and ask questions like “What have I not tried yet? Why not?”

Doing this also made me realize that I want to be doing something creative with my life (and getting paid for it). I know I don’t have any formal design training (i.e., a degree in graphic design or experience other than designing for personal sites and laying out dummy pages) and I don’t want to automatically call myself a designer just because I know how to use Photoshop or InDesign, but I just love it.

Or it could be just that I like big type and I cannot lie. You other type nerds can’t deny that when type is on your screen in all caps and 72 px, you get sprung.

Which leads me to further refine my ideal job: some marriage of reporting/writing and creativity/design, such as an online multimedia producer, marketing specialist, or some publication’s layout editor.

On the upside, I’m still counting my blessings. I saw the sunrise today and I took a picture, but even that doesn’t do it justice. It had  these colors:

Another sunrise is another day to get where I need to go. It’s like the rest of my life is waiting for me to get my act together and start living.