Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let's See How Far We've Come 2016: The Year in Review

Here we've come to my annual tradition here, the year in review as marked by old Matchbox 20 lyrics. I did something similar, but with a lot more links, last year. This marks my fourth year in review post. The trouble with this year was that I didn't write all that much. On record, this is my weakest year since I began blogging in 2009: This is post number 8. Among my resolutions for the new year is to blog more.

So why did I miss so much this year? I was working like crazy in radio, television, print and online. My resume on my shiny new website is incredibly full and I did more work for my career than I did myself. That said I hope to work on some more passion projects moving forward: longforms for NewsNight, work with the Globe, and keeping some semblance of regularity here. So anyway, here goes nothing!

I rang in the new year with some friends and continued to work at the Post-Gazette until school started back midway through the month. I began a rather strange semester that included an art class (taught by an artist who refused to use anything except her own 35mm slide projector) and the dawn of my favorite radio project, On the Horizon. We also started airing Globe Live as a show co-hosted by then-Editor-in-Chief Josh Croup and I wherein we talked about what went in the paper.

February brought upgrades and changes. I interviewed and was subsequently selected as the Editor-Elect for the Globe. I also interviewed for a position as a Resident Educator (and yes it was the same day as the Editor-Elect interview). Later that month I had the opportunity to interview the one and only Rick Sebak after a screening at Point Park. I wrote a blog post about meeting Sebak and explaining the Editor Elect position back in February.

March brought with it a heck of a lot of meetings organizing my life according to my calendar. It also brought the celebration of Pittsburgh's bicentennial - which I am proud to say I covered as a one man band as one of the only college media there. March also began my foray into political coverage when Bernie Sanders came to Pittsburgh March 31. Sanders held a press conference prior to the rally, which I was able to attend. And that was pretty neat. To say that my first political coverage was thrilling is an understatement - for the first time I felt like real live reporter, and for once felt like I was impacting people's everyday.

When it rains, it pours. In April, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump came to Pittsburgh to rally prior to the April 26th primary. Those, too were interesting events - neither held a press conference. Clinton held her event in a gym and Trump held his in the Convention Center. Clinton's felt more like a fight against Donald Trump than Sanders (which was warranted to a degree, seeing as Clinton beat out Sanders in both Pennsylvania and nationwide) while Trump's felt like an odd pep rally. I turned 19 on the 15th in a very quiet weekend spent up north out of cellphone range because frankly that's the way to do it. April also brought along with it my (I think third?) trip to New York City. I rode a train up and wrote while I went. This time it was with Josh Croup for a conference held at the Harvard Club. Impressive, whirlwind tour and I loved most of it other than the Greyhound back in the sleet. And for once I have pictures up on my Flickr account.

May brought with it the end of my first year of college and the start of my first summer job - working as an intern at the Trib's digital trendy website thingy venture upgruv. May was, with little exception, boring. I drove to work, did work, returned. I got paid for what I did - scour the internet for what was #trending and occasionally build some cool dodads. It was too repetitive for my taste, but hey, that's how the "real world" works.

June was much the same as May. I got to go to a Pirates game with Lexus club seats (best seats I've probably ever had... except I prefer section 20. June also brought the Pens' fourth Stanley Cup title and our coverage of the parade. That win forged my miniature legacy at upgruv: the Stanley Cup tracker. I also got my first glimpse of the Center for Media Innovation.
Oh, and this:
I call it the prom picture

July was uneventful with exception to my trip to Westfield New York with family. It was a glorious adventure that involved lighthouses, treks through the woods, beaches, side trips, and some Tim Hortons doughnuts because why not. 

August began my sophomore year adventure. Unrelated to that, I finally got to see Coldplay live at the Consol Energy Center with my mother, aunt, and - strangely enough - Josh Croup. Shortly thereafter I began training to become a Resident Educator, and I took on a wild courseload. It also brought my two-cent clarification in defense of the Carlynton School District. I'm immensely proud of that argument and how it's held up. I'll continue to fight for education with perspective moving forward. Because it's important.

September is, as it usually is, when things started getting crazy. I went in search of the giant rubber duck, found it, watched it deflate and was sad about it. September brought with it also the start of what became Point Park NewsNight and the longform story we did on the Slippery Rock University/APSCUF strike. I have to say I'm immensely proud of the journalistic work we did. We had no guide or rule, we just made it happen. September also held the opening of the Point Park Center for Media Innovation, and I was able to interview Sarah Koenig. 

In October I went to a Penguins game, continued what became the semester from hell, and we debuted Point Park NewsNight. I changed my major from journalism to broadcast production and media management (one major) and declared journalism as my minor. I took a trip to Washington D.C. with some friends who head up Point Park media in an attempt to scope out places for the Inauguration. My October was incredibly busy for no particular reason. In one day I was able to interview both Attorney-General-Elect Josh Shapiro and his then-challenger John Rafferty for WPPJ. The feelings from April covering the election rallies all rushed back. 

November was dedicated to building the Election Show and its aftermath. I hosted what ended up being like 6 hours of live radio and appeared on television when I took a radio break. I did some voiceover work for Josh Croup that ended up being the main theme and intro to U-View's election coverage. So that was fun. I also started interviewing people for positions for the Spring staff of the Globe. November was also when it finally began to hit me just what I was taking on the Globe as its chief executive. November also brought with it an interview with Diane Rehm, perhaps my favorite high-profile conversation to date. 

In December we learned our interview with Sarah Koenig made us finalists for an award from the Intercollegiate Broadcast Service. It brought the end to the semester from hell, a semester I somehow managed a 3.79 GPA. Cumulatively I have a 3.84 - but who's counting? I ever so quietly attended a wonderful Straight No Chaser concert at the Benedum with my mother. December brought some work with the Post-Gazette rounding out the year's basketball tournaments. December was when things started to quiet down and the transition at the Globe began to take its full effect. In December I slowed my 120 miles per hour year to a more manageable 60 or so...

I didn't write a Christmas letter this year - I stayed a week longer than I had last year and this year I had to close down the dorms. It got me thinking a lot about what's next - frankly this whole break has got me thinking about what's next. I know it's kind of ridiculous, even with the body of work and speed with which I've approached everything, but I can't help but look even further. I graduate in two years (which is honestly quite terrifying). 

I'm excited for the future honestly and truly, and what 2017 will bring. It will bring a whole new start to some things (like my reign of terror on the Globe and the start of working towards a new major) and the evolution of others (we're rebooting NewsNight and reinventing On the Horizon as a podcast). Things are exciting and weird and uncomfortable and all at once wonderful. 

People have been complaining that 2016  was a horrid year. And yes, if you only look at political leaders and celebrity deaths it hasn't been the best - but in so many ways it's been a wonderful year. There's a great (albeit corny and sappy) quote floating out there that states an arrow can only be launched by first pulling back. So yeah, this has been a 5 steps forward 3 steps back kind of year. But progress still happens and I can't wait to see what this new year brings. 

So here's to you and yours - have a happy, peaceful and pleasant new year! Go fight win!

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