Semester Project: Digication Site

Why I chose to build a digication site for my semester project?

Since October, I have been interning in Corporate Communications at a research-intensive pharmaceutical company. As an intern, I have learned the need to set yourself apart from others and have recently participated in interviews for a department coordinator. While interviewing potential candidates, I learned the importance of interviewing with a unique presentation in order to find placement in jobs that go beyond the office and far beyond each individual project. This experience made me look back at how I had interviewed for my internship, in an effort to enhance that presentation for future job interviews. I had brought my portfolio with me to the interview filled with the newspaper and other representations of my work. The major problem with this presentation even though I got the job: the presentation was made of paper materials and truthfully lacked innovation.

A digication site was not my initial idea for my semester project. I was going to write a blog about corporate life as both an intern and a student, but I was already doing something similar for an independent study and I wanted to do something different, where I could expand my technological skills and my professional presence. Digication was my outlet for this need, so I consulted with my academic advisor and mentor, Professor Zoffel. After consulting with him, I decided that I would get more out of this semester project if I created my own digication site from beginning to end using IWeb instead of creating a page using the Manhattanville digication system.

For my semester project, I created a digication site including the following pages: welcome, about, resume, publications, presentations, community, blog (entries and archive), and contact. This site will be launched onto the Internet using the domain name http://www.oliviaecker.com. I plan to use this digication site for future job interviews in order to present myself in a more unique manner for corporate positions within corporate communications than in the way that I interviewed for my first corporate intern position.

Welcome

My “welcome” page is the introduction to my digication site, which will be the first page of the site that viewers will see when their browser opens. This page is also the introduction to the concept mapping that I did to organize this digication site. The photos on the top of the page illustrate the sections of the site: publications, presentations, and community with a large photo of myself adding a visual to my written introduction.  My written introduction includes my education, my interests, my focus within communication, my corporate experience, and my invitation to viewers further explore my digication site. This page is the foundation, only to be expanded upon during the next pages of the entire site.

About

My “about” page is the second page of my digication site that focuses on giving viewers an opportunity to learn more about me, both personally and professionally. The photos on the page are still in the same order because this particular page is still focusing on me and the smaller photos are components of myself; publications, presentations, and community. The additional information that can be seen about me on this page includes my occupational information, favorite books/resources, and photos from my personal experiences. The main article for this page focuses on my journey putting “Theory to Practice” otherwise known as “Classroom to Corporate America,” which combines and explains the way in which I use my educational experiences within corporate.

Resume

My resume has been placed on the third page of my digication site and I have also placed a link on the top of the page where interested future employers can download a PDF of my resume. My resume includes the following sections: education, leadership activities, honors & awards, computer skills, presentations, and work experience. This page does not include any photos, which was a personal decision that I made throughout the concept mapping and design process.

Publications

“Publications” is  the first section of my three-section digication page. This page focuses on both corporate publications and academic publications that I have done since Fall 2008, when I began my college career at Manhattanville. The main photo on the page is a photo that I chose to use to represent publications, a large part of my past, present, and future communications career. The publications feature the Fall RegenOrator, the Winter RegenOrator, the Spring RegenOrator, 2011 Regeneron Annual Report, and multiple editions of Touchstone Newspaper. The articles that I have written for each of these publications are also featured on the page as well. All publications have been archived on this site and photos are included on the sidebar of the page.

Presentations

“Presentations” is the second section of my three-section digication page. This page focuses on both academic presentations and corporate presentations that I have done since Fall 2008, when I began my college career at Manhattanville and since I began my corporate internship in October 2011. The main photo on the page is a photo that I chose to use to represent presentations, a large part of my past, present, and future communications career. My presentations include the Regeneron Holiday Photo presentation, the RON Intranet Focus Group presentation, and the Regeneron Walking Initiative presentations, as well several academic presentations covering corporate and communication theory topics. All presentations have been archived on this site and photos are included on the sidebar of the page.

Community

“Community” is the third section of my three-section digication page. This page focuses on community organizations that I have worked in conjunction with that I have done since I began my corporate internship in October 2011. The main article is a overview of “what is community?” written from the view of my personal experiences. The main photo on the page is a photo that I chose to use to represent community, a large part of my past, present, and future communications career. My community relations include, but are not limited to, the American Heart Association, Kiwanis International, and Kids Discover Magazine. The photos included on the sidebar of this page are the logo distinctions for all community relationships that I have built and continue to maintain and improve connections with throughout my internship work.

Blog

  • Entries (7)
  • Archives
  • Photos-Visual Image of Written Blog (1 photo per blog)

 http://oliviaecker.tumblr.com/-Click this link to view blog, which has been posted to tumblr until digication site is launched officially on the Internet. 

How I Learned to Love Corporate America

Organization Theater: Reflexivity, Crisis, & the Human Response within Organizational Settings

 “How I Learned to Love Corporate America” examines Corporate America, focusing on Organization Theater: Reflexivity, Crisis, & the Human Response within Organizational Settings. As a Communication Studies student, I have recently had the opportunity to begin working as a Corporate Communications Intern in Corporate America. This opportunity has allowed me to combine my academic coursework with my internship experiences to create an “applied world” experience.

Within the last couple of months, I have expanded my knowledge of communications, crisis, and life.  I have worked on a corporate newsletter, the launch of an online newsletter, the company website re-design, the company intranet re-design, attended several high profile company events, and served as the communications liaison for the community relations program.

Aside from communications, I have seen crisis communication front and center with the unexpected loss of a member of the senior management. But to me, crisis can be both large and small, and I have experienced several small crisis events that have taught be many things about life inside the corporate world and out.

“How I Learned to Love Corporate America” will allow you to follow my journey through the organization theater of Corporate America. There are sure to be positive and negative posts and posts that provoke intellectual thought, which will be accompanied by readings from several different textbooks focusing on Organizational Development. I encourage you to follow my journey through the development, crisis, and intellectual thought process of my personal experiences within Corporate America.

Contact

The contact page is the final page of my digication site giving viewers all of my contact information to allow for future inquiries including my name, my current internship corporation, my cell phone number, and my email address. The photos on this page include the initial photo collage representation that is at the top of each page of the digication site as well as additional photos that represent me in my transition from childhood to adulthood, where I eventually entered college and career.

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Semester Project: Digication

After presenting my semester project during class on Thursday, April 14, 2001, I thought that I would write a blog explaining the definition of digication, the connection between digication and divergent voices, and my personal reasons for creating a digication site since I cannot post the actual digication site that I am creating on the blog as it is being housed in IWeb until http://www.oliviaecker.com is launched at the end of this semester.

I researched digication to better understand the reasons why digication is used and the many benefits that digication has to faculty, students, and future employers for students. Digication is a managed learning environment or a learning management system that is normally sold to K-12 institutions, colleges/universities, and professional organizations. Digication allows faculty members to manage course content and to share and view student contributions. Manhattanville is preparing to introduce its faculty and students to an electronic portfolio management system, which is a type of digication page in order to offer faculty and students a unique assessment system used for collaborative learning, sharing work, and showing future employers student creations.

Digication is a rather new idea that was commercially marketed for the first time in 2004. There are features within digication, which include customizable templates, archive tools, and the ability to upload documents, spreadsheets, publications, and presentations.  Digication is a divergent way to collaborate, share, and sell yourself to future employers in comparison to more mainstream ways including resumes, cover letters, and even the newest of possible mainstream media including monster.com and linkedin.com. Digication is a divergent way to share your own divergent voice…who you are, what you have done, what you plan to do, and exhibits of your own voice or technological display of voice such as a blog.

Personally, I have several reasons for creating my own digication site aside from the electronic portfolio management system that will soon be launched to Manhattanville faculty and students. On April 26, I will be an Internal Communications Specialist for 6 months. During the past 6 months, I have learned who I want to become, who I don’t want to become, and have been involved with several projects including, but not limited to, corporate publications, corporate presentations, event planning, technological re-designs, and currently, the company’s annual report. I have grown to appreciate Corporate America, but still do not know if I will have full-time employment with this company upon graduation in May 2012. In preparation for graduation, professional development, and career advancement, I have decided to create my own digication site to exhibit my own voice, specifically through presentations, publications, community relations, blogging, and general information about me shown through a divergent media. I initially worked with and understood the idea of digication in Professor Zoffel’s courses where students are able to not only view his digication site, but to interact with the site to complete their academic coursework…chapter end questions, classroom blogs, etc. If you would like to view Professor Zoffel’s digication site in order to better understand my semester project, click http://www.profzoff.com.

How “REAL” is Reality Television?

After reading the working bibliographies of our class last week, I felt like I had to blog about the topic of reality television shows. Personally, I think this is a fantastic topic for a research essay, especially for a class entitled, Convergent Media & Divergent Voices. Aside from the research topic, the example of the reality television show, Extreme Coupon Clipping, on the TLC Network, really got me thinking…how “real” is reality television?

Extreme Coupon Clipping is a reality television show that shows master bargain hunters and their strategies for extreme savings. Some bargainers that have been on the show have saved thousands of dollars within 1 shopping trip, paying only 6 cents for several carts full of merchandise and food. I must admit that I have watched the show and I find it very “interesting” that people can save that much money with coupons and buy unreasonable amounts of merchandise and food just because they can, but “interesting” is quite different from reality.

On the show, the bargainers tell viewers that they spend up to 6 hours per day planning for a shopping trip. As soon as I heard this comment, I began to think like a Communications major and define the terms of Extreme Coupon Clipping television show. The reality is…it is not “real” to spend up to 6 hours a day clipping coupons for a shopping trip. This show does not show reality, but rather it shows extreme lifestyles of a very small percentage of society.

Reality is a world of overstressed people who are working, going to school, have children in tons of activities, and barely have time to go to the store without coupons. Even as a college student, the reality is I have classes 2 days a week, I go to my internship 3 days a week, I am a Resident Advisor 24/7, I am Editor-in-Chief of Touchstone, I am Student Coordinator for a community service program on campus, and I attempt to have somewhat of a life outside of my routine responsibilities. I barely have time to go to the store or even remember to eat most days and that is without coupons. These stories are reality, but yet they are never on television. Could it be that we use television as a place to create a false reality because viewers like to see extremes and watch television shows that create lifestyles different than their own?

 

 

 

Product Placement is EVERYWHERE…Even if you don’t know it!

Until today, I was trying to figure out what topic I was interested in blogging about from last week’s presentations. All of the presentations discussed interesting aspects of media and divergent voices, but I couldn’t seem to find anything that I could make a personal connection to. But after today, I can make that personal connection focusing on product placement. 

In last week’s American Idol presentation, product placement was at the forefront of the American Idol analysis. American Idol uses product placement to advertise in a unique way. Personally, I did not know before the presentation that Coca-Cola was an example of product placement within American Idol, but the more clips from the show that we watched, the more I noticed that Coca-Cola cups were seen everywhere in the show…especially at the judges table. This got me thinking about product placement and how many people there must be that buy Coca-Cola products because of American Idol. After all, our society strives to be like celebrities and we certainly can’t accomplish that without being like the judges in a popular television show, on a well-known television network.

The product placement that occurs on American Idol is done intentionally, but to me product placement is everywhere, whether it is done intentionally or not. The current battle that I am having with product placement is the IPhone 4. The IPhone 4 has not been intentionally placed in any television shows that I watch, but lately I feel like everyone I know has an IPhone 4. It doesn’t matter if I’m at school, at work, or even in a public place…the IPhone 4 is EVERYWHERE, just like products that are intentionally placed on popular television shows.

I keep trying to remind myself that it really is just a cell phone, but in today’s society cell phones have become a phenomenon and they really are everywhere, possibly through accidental product placement. It is Saturday and since Tuesday night I have had no cell phone. My cell phone stopped working, but has honestly been a piece of junk since shortly after I signed the 2-year contract with AT&T. The last couple of days have been crazy for me…I feel so weird without my cell phone, and the worst is receiving text messages that I cannot respond to. My family and I have now chosen to switch to version since we are in the “upgrade” phase with AT&T. I’m excited to move to Verizon as a phone carrier, but I absolutely cannot stand having to decide on a phone, that I have to keep for 2 whole years! I’ve looked through pages and pages of phones, but the IPhone 4 is EVERYTHING and it’s EVERYWHERE. Even though I do not know of any intentional product placement of the IPhone 4, I do think the company has marketed their products in ways, using both mainstream media and divergent voices, to make Apple products like the IPhone 4 appeal to everyone.

My main question is: Does product placement have to be intentional? Either way, I’m hooked and can’t wait to get my IPhone 4. Better hurry, I’m sure they are already planning to make the IPhone 5 somewhere…

Sister Wives: Divergent Voices in Mainstream Media

Since I spent Spring Break as an intern, I didn’t have much time to do anything, but work, sleep, and of course, watch a little television in between. As I was preparing for the week last Sunday, I turned to TLC, which is one of my favorite television network. Sister Wives was just starting, so I decided to watch a little bit of it, even though I must admit that it is far from my favorite television show on TLC. I watched the first 5 minutes and started thinking that this television show was a direct connection between divergent voices in mainstream media.

Sister Wives is a television show featuring Kody Brown and his 4 wives…Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn. Together, Kody and his wives have a combined 13 children. The television show began because the Browns wanted to share their “divergent voice” with the world, showing their normal lives in a society that tends to disagree with their lifestyle. As I watched I realized that nothing was “normal” about their lifestyle. Their financial situation, their family situation, and their living structure were all so different compared to what is accepted by society in 2011. The show is in its second season showing viewers not only the wonders and struggles of their lives, but also what it was like for the 3 wives as Kody was pursuing his fourth wife, Robyn.

There is no doubt in mind that this family is not a “divergent voice” in mainstream media, but that is something that they weren’t considering when the show debuted. According to Kody, even with the television show, the Brown’s were trying to keep their lives a “secret” from the outside world. Personally, I do not know how they felt their lives would stay a secret with a television show, on a popular television network, displaying such a different family within society. As we have discussed during class discussions, viewers like negative attention on “celebrities” or even people before they become “celebrities.” I think that viewers like different, and many even thrive on people being different. Needless to say, Sister Wives has gotten around and has even created some legal issues for the family.

In addition to the television show Sister Wives, the Browns have recently decided to come out on national television as polygamists. Recently, the family was on the TODAY show making their big announcement to the world. They were happy to share with everyone and want to be accepted, as if a television show entitled, Sister Wives, did not give many of us enough of an idea about their lifestyle. Because of this announcement, Kody Brown is now being investigated for a felony bigamy by the Utah Police Department.

Even with the recent media and law enforcement attention that the Browns have been subject to, the Browns are still happy that they have come out to the world about a lifestyle that they still feel is “normal.” There are other polygamists practicing in the United States, but until the show “Big Love” polygamists practiced in secret, outside of mainstream media.

“When we decided to do this show, we knew there would be risks,” the Brown family said in a statement Tuesday. “But for the sake of our family, and most importantly, our kids, we felt it was a risk worth taking.”

The debate over polygamy will most likely go on forever, but one thing is for sure. The Browns are a “divergent voice” in “mainstream media.” And as we know, mainstream media can be good for divergent voices or can be bad for divergent voices. In the case of Sister Wives, mainstream media has created consequences for the divergent voice of the Browns. I plan to continue to follow the divergent voice of the Browns and will analyze what happens when mainstream media creates consquences for divergent voices.

Panera: Avoid the Wait, Text it in!

 

After spending most of my Saturday on homework, I went to Panera Bread in White Plains with a friend for dinner. I was not planning to develop a blog topic at dinner, but as usual I did. I am beginning to become aware of what is happening with communication around me in order to add it to this blog, and to be honest, I am quickly becoming addicted to writing blogs through critical thinking of daily events. Findings of fact from tonight’s dinner: This academic course is very relevant, even at a table in Panera Bread.

There was a table tent on the table that said “Avoid the Wait, Text it in.” Intrigued by what Panera Bread and text messaging could possibly have in common, I just had to read more. The table tent was advertising a new way to order your food at Panera. Instead of coming into Panera to order, or calling in your order, you can now text your order to the Panera Bread in White Plains, NY.

To many people, this may merely seem like a convenience, but to me it’s a “mainstream message/order” using an “alternative media.” (It could be debated if text messaging has become “mainstream media” today, but that is a debate for another blog.) It also shows that in 2011 people are totally dependent on text messaging, even when it comes to ordering food for pick-up. I know that many people do not talk on the phone anymore, but I thought when ordering take out, it was still common to call and talk to an actual human being. I guess not! I also question if this new idea shows how fast-paced our life has become, that we cannot even pick up the phone and call to place a food order.

I have to admit that I find it interesting that a restaurant like Panera Bread is trying this sort of concept and I am personally interested to see if it really works. I am a bit hesitant to send a food order using text messaging and question whether I would actually receive the correct food order in the end, but obviously Panera Bread has a plan. I predict that people, especially college students in the area, will use this option and that possibly Panera will be recognized for being one of the first restaurants to consider using an “alternative media” method to receive “mainstream messages” like food orders.

However, I do question if our society has become too dependent on text messaging. I still remember when I had a cell phone without a text messaging plan and was not allowed to text message…I’m not sure how I survived. These days I use text messaging to communicate with friends and family at a distance, several co-workers, and peers. Aside from my text messaging use, we are now seeing a society that is joining the text messaging community at a younger age than ever before. There are 4 and 5 year old kids that have cell phones with text messaging plans. Personally, I feel we have become too dependent on text messaging therefore loosing face-to-face communication skills and making the pace of our lives even faster, but I too text message.

In this case, I recognize that text messaging has now become a business strategy. Think about it: if you are Panera and you want to reach your target audience and the majority of your target audience has been overcome by the use of media, then you must adapt your services to your audience. This is just what Panera has done, right or wrong, good or bad; people will now be ordering food via text message.

In addition to our heavy dependence on text messaging, our lives have gotten faster and faster. I sometimes feel as though the days are spinning out of control. Aside from my internship and academic courses, I am pulled in so many directions by the media…email, social media, text messaging, and of course, my newest addiction to blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I love media and I appreciate being surrounded by the connections that media offers, but I fear that at this point it will never slow down enough for me to catch my breath. There is now no need to be in an environment that you can make a phone call, or even to speak to a human being when ordering food from Panera. Instead you can be working, running, on the train, in the library, listening to your IPOD while ordering your food from Panera. You will never have to wait at a Panera location again. Thank goodness because if you had to wait you might have to slow down and communicate face-to-face with other human beings! NEVER!

I’m not sure how I feel about ordering my food via text messaging, but I do know that we have become dependent on media and technology, love our fast pace lives that obviously can’t get fast enough for us, and that Panera is taking advantage of a society hooked on media…and including the media in their business strategy.

Will you place your next food order for Panera Bread via text message? If you want to, text your order to 914-356-0420, receive an order number, and pick up at the express window at Panera Bread, White Plains, NY.

Attention Span of “Generation Media”: 0

Last night, while at my sister’s 16th birthday party, I witnessed the “media generation” to the fullest extent. My sister had a big 16th birthday party, just as I had almost 5 years ago. We spent the day decorating a banquet hall in preparation…250 balloons, a banner, cupcakes, a buffet of food, and a DJ with a “larger than life” video screen to display music videos for each song played. I was so excited for the party and to be able to spend such a special day with my family, but I certainly didn’t expect to want to write a blog about my experience. To be more exact: a blog about the attention span of the “media generation,” which is exactly 0.

I watched as the guests entered the party, each one with a cell phone in their hand and completely uncommitted and unengaged with the party. They were half at the party, but the other half of them was obviously focused on Facebook, text messaging, and the fear of missing something else while they were at the party. Within 5 minutes of the start of the party, one of my sister’s friends looked at me and asked, “Does this restaurant have WIFI?” She was hoping to use some sort of device to log onto Facebook for the remainder of the party, so she could “stay connected.”

This question really made me think…what is the attention span of the “media generation?” By the end of the party, I had determined the answer to this question was 0. But that was not the end of watching this scattered group of people express the way the media has affected their attention span. The guests socialized, ate the food-very quickly I might add, and gradually went to the dance floor. I was apparently more excited to actually dance than they were, as I witnessed many of the guests standing on the dance for text messaging on their cell phones, while surrounded by at least 100 other people to communicate face-to-face with.

 Another observance that I was able to make about the dance portion of the party, was that if they didn’t like the song that was playing at the time, they would walk around the room and go to a table to play with their phones or even go in and out of the party room “in case they were missing something.” I question whether the fear of “missing something” has been created by the ability to be constantly connected to social media. Even when we were 16, we all “missed” things, and to be honest, did we even know or care that we were missing them?

I even noticed this as we decided when to sing “Happy Birthday” to my sister. It was a situation of conflict…if the guests were content dancing; you almost didn’t want to move them to another location, because it was going to be a battle to get them back to the center of the party. We ended up singing “Happy Birthday” on the dance floor because if we hadn’t we may have lost half of the party to the cake, to their cell phones, to Facebook, and then out the door to see what else they could get into.

I found this both frustrating and a sign of the times, also providing an explanation for why kids these days cannot focus, commit, or stay engaged in anything for any time at all. As you all know, I am a supporter of Facebook and Social Media in general, but I think it is really sad to see the extreme part that it is playing in the lives of the next generation and their inability to function in social without social media 24/7. The party is just a small example of the issues of commitment and engagement that have become a part of our society because of the ability to be connected 24/7.

Besides the party, I predict that this attention span problem will ultimately affect the educational system and will affect the work force of our society long-term. The main question in regards to this problem…did the influence of media and social media create the attention span problem being seen in “generation media?”

YES! If I had the ability to see into the future, I would say that this problem will continue to be a problem long after the generation’s 16th birthday parties are over. I think that we will see more students entering college with an “undecided major status,” more students will change their major while in college, and more students will fail to see the positive aspects of working hard, showing dedication, and having the desire of being challenged to do something “outside of the box” and away from others on their “friends” list. Aside from college, the workforce may also be in trouble. These are the same people that will enter jobs unable to commit and engage themselves in a 12 hour day without being connected to the outside world. Their lack of focus and ability to connect to the generation of supervisors that there will be at that time may result in higher unemployment numbers and an even worse reputation for this up and coming generation…titled by me as the “media generation” or “generation media.”

My rating for “generation media’s” attention span: 0

My rating for “generation media’s” future attention span: the reformation of the educational system, the war of the workforce, and a longer unemployment line!

Jon & Kate Plus 8…A Changed Brand!

Since our discussion in class about brands and icons, I have been trying to think of an icon that we had not already discussed or used as a class example. Several icons have come to mind…Hannah Montana’s change to Miley Cyrus, Mary Kate and Ashley Oslen, Britney Spears (from teenager to adult) and the change that we will see in Justin Beiber, when the “Beiber Fever” returns to a normal temperature. But then I thought back to a show I used to watch all of the time…new episodes and reruns, but no longer watch because the brand of these icons has changed! My favorite television show and a TLC record breaker used to be…Jon & Kate Plus 8!

There was something about Jon & Kate Plus 8 that was real life to me. It was a normal family with 8 children, jobs, who were experiencing the typical pressures of life. I enjoyed watching their home life and typical days. It was even more interesting to me that a family with 6, 2 year olds and 2, 6 year olds would even consider traveling 3 hours from home for a day at the zoo. But they did, and to me it was entertaining and something I could never imagine myself doing.

During the first couple of years of the show, Jon and Kate created a brand for themselves. Jon was an information technology employee who worked long days and came home to his 8 children just in time for dinner, baths, and bedtime. He was a loving father, who cared for his wife and his kids, and was the all-American family man that we all hope to find. Kate was a mother who left her career as a nurse behind in order to stay at home with her 8 children. She was organized and rarely ever asked for assistance from anyone, although was thankful for help coupon clipping, folding laundry, and in emergency cases with the children. Kate was also the typical mother, who looked like a typical mother wearing sweatpants, sweatshirts, and sneakers who was all about her kids…not the money, the fame, just a mother trying to make the best of a rather unusual situation.

But just as the brand has changed for several other icons, Season 5 created a shift in brands for Jon & Kate as well as their 8 children. America watched on TLC the marriage of this television couple fail, the challenges, the heartache, and the media tearing a beloved family apart. Many fans wanted to believe that the Tabloids weren’t true…How could Jon have an affair with a college student he met at a nightclub? And would Kate really have an affair with her bodyguard just to get back at Jon? The media attention of this scandal created and changed the way America would look at this family and took “the real factor” right out of Jon and Kate Plus 8.

The show ended in season 5, but Kate wanted to return to TLC featuring, Kate Plus 8. I was one of those fans that wanted to have faith that things would be similar to the way they had been, but I certainly was wrong. Kate came back to the show as a “fashion diva”…wearing high heels, make-up done to perfection, and hair extensions transforming herself into a “teenie bopper” again and losing her motherly appeal. And the house changed too…from a typical Pennsylvania home in a small town neighborhood to a gated community with a 2.5 million dollar home, several acres of land, and a place to raise chickens. The brand for this icon negatively changed and honestly, I think it killed the image of these parents, this family, and this television show beyond return.

The show now consists of “fashion diva” Kate traveling the world with her children in tow. Trips to California, trips to Hawaii, days at the spa…it is the farthest thing from “real life” I have ever seen. Most people with 8 children do not take such extravagant trips, nor to most parents pull their children out of school several times a year for these adventures. I can no longer relate to the show, or Kate, or their lifestyle. I am a college student that doesn’t quite picture my future in this way. While Kate’s brand has gone backwards into a world of fantasy, Jon is back with the “college students” saying that he is not ready to be a parent and live a family lifestyle. Guess it’s a little late for him to change the fact that he is father, but still these sort of affairs do happen, but they are not something I wish to continue following.

Personally, I feel that some icons change their brands for the better…embracing new audiences, strengthening established audiences, and improving their own careers. In the case of Jon & Kate Plus 8, I feel the exact opposite. Their brand has gone from “real” to “fake,” from “imaginable” to “unimaginable,” and quite frankly, is disrespectful to parents raising children in today’s society. I do not aspire to be like Jon & Kate Plus 8 and I do not aspire to have children who have seen the world as these children have. Jon & Kate Plus 8 are the perfect example of a changing brand of popular television icons that has gone from good to bad…and then, even worse.

Hanover, PA…A lack of quality media!

Here’s the link for the Borough of Hanover, PA Website: http://www.borough.hanover.pa.us/

I am originally from Hanover, PA and lived there for 17 years before coming to Manhattanville College. I have always struggled with how to explain to people where Hanover, PA is or what Hanover, PA is other than the fact that it is the home of Synder’s Pretzels and UTZ Potato Chips. After finding the website for the Borough of Hanover, I realize that my simple explanation about the snack industry there still passes the information on the town’s website.

First of all, the website is completely white with no pictures at all. BORING! And then I continued to try to finger out why the margins were so off, but that they are. It is as if all of the content is in one skinny column down the middle of the page and the rest of the page is blank…and white.

The website has a lot of links that take you to other pages that are not well-constructed either. This is a very top-down website as the user cannot give their opinion on anything and would get bored pretty quickly with just clicking on boring links. Most of the information given by the links is very general and links to other national pages like the “FBI,” the “National Weather Service,” and “Time Zone Converter.”

If I were evaluating these websites using a star system, I would give this website “1 Star” because it needs to be completely redone.

If someone wanted to learn about Hanover, PA, I would direct them to the Chamber of Commerce Website instead. Here’s the link: http://www.hanoverchamber.com/ 

This website is much more visually appealing with pictures, links, advertisements, and a quality use of color. Although there is not a public forum directly on the website, there are links to a facebook page, twitter account, and a linked in account. This website would also be helpful to tourist because it includes a business directory, a newcomer guide, a workforce center, and a calendar of events.

If I were evaluating these websites using a star system, I would give this website “4 Star” because it includes so much useful information about Hanover, PA in a visually appealing manner. The only suggestion I would have is to create smaller margins and open a town or business forum directly on the homepage.

Are Newspapers Dying…Or Have Newspapers Already Died?

Since we are focusing on print media this week, I thought it would be an appropriate time to blog about the newspaper industry, to which I have had a personal connection to since my freshman year of high school. At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I became a reporter for my high school newspaper, The Orange & Black, and a reporter for the local student section of my hometown newspaper known as The Student Sun. I had always been good at English and a daily reader of many newspapers, both print and online (although there were still very few at this time compared to today).

I continued to be involved in the newspaper during my sophomore year of high school as a reporter for both The Orange & Black and The Student Sun. My passion grew stronger for understanding the newspaper process, editing for publications, and continuously brainstorming for article ideas to bring to the staffs.

My junior year of high school changed everything and made my passion for newspapers grow faster than ever before. I became Editor in Chief of The Orange & Black and Features Editor of The Student Sun. Throughout the year, I not only strengthened my writing, but learned and developed the management skills that it takes to organize a staff and publish a continuous newspaper. But aside from learning the basics, I also learned the budget that it took to run a publication or even a section within a larger newspaper.

This was when I noticed the shift to online newspapers and saw the money tree for newspapers begin to die. The Student Sun staff became unpaid and the color and space limitations grew in order for the section to reduce costs. As high school students, we were all willing to “volunteer” and continue this section because it meant so much to us and to many members of our community. But now that I look back on this budget cut, I realize that this was only the beginning of the financial cuts to not only my hometown newspaper, but all newspapers in the United States. 

Since then, I have witnessed several newspapers completely stop publishing, seen and heard about more journalists being unemployed than ever before, and watched the audience that used to support newspapers read them online instead of in print. I believe that this is a sign of the times and how alternative media (or possibly alternative media that has now become mainstream media) have taken over the “old-school mainstream media” of print media.

I see both positive and negative aspects of print newspapers versus online newspapers, but I can honestly say that the recent shift in the newspaper industry changed my life direction and career path. When I entered Manhattanville in 2008, I wanted to be a part of Touchstone as I have and have the chance to be Editor in Chief of a college newspaper, which I also have had the chance to accomplish, but after I graduate in May 2012, I have chosen not to dedicate my career to the newspaper industry. 

Personally, I feel the industry is very unstable and is moving more and more toward being strictly an online publication everyday. So I question…Is the newspaper industry dying or has the newspaper industry already died? What do you think?

I thought this video about the newspaper industry was interesting and funny too! Check it out and comment with what you think about the newspaper industry. We are watching a change in an industry that helped to initiate communication , but now it is up to us to debate what exactly is happening.

Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiic6CTzQg8&feature=related