Friday, August 28, 2009

Summer's end

It was a busy and productive summer for me. Here are a few of the projects I've worked on this summer.

NYC - MTV Networks internship

In May, I was living in Brooklyn Heights. Through a special program at Syracuse University, I had spent my spring semester teaching at the High School for Leadership and Public Service - a public high school in Manhattan's Financial District that was established by SU's Maxwell public affairs school.

During my last few weeks in Brooklyn, I started a 10-week internship at MTV Networks with Spike TV's digital team in New York City. The internship gave me a look at a side of the TV business I previously didn't have any professional experience with: distribution.

My time at Spike helped expand my Photoshop skills, as I was responsible for preparing photos and screen grabs for the designer on our team. I learned how to use Spike's custom content management system, and had an opportunity to fine-tune my Microsoft Excel skills, developing and maintaining a spreadsheet of legal details for posting Spike's many shows on the Internet.

Aside from the work itself, I was fortunate to be with a team full of cool, friendly and interesting people. Outside of cutting out several hundreds (I lost count) of photos of Jesse James for his new series on Spike, some of my tasks included:
  • Watching episodes of "Deadliest Warrior" and writing down timecodes of good clips
  • An unsuccessful pizza pillage from a screening of TV Land's "Cougar"
  • Meeting MTVN digital executives who are some of the most powerful frontiers in the marriage of TV and Web
  • A top secret mission one day to pick up cupcakes at Magnolia Cupcakes

Extra, extra, read all about it

Back home in Milford, PA I continued my third year as a regular correspondent for The Gazette, a weekly Dow Jones community newspaper distributed by the Times Herald-Record.

Among the events I reported on and photographed, I met Grammy-nominated singer and pianist Vanessa Carlton, a native of my hometown who played at the Milford Music Festival. I also had the privilege of shooting photos on the field at the graduation of my brother and several good friends from Delaware Valley High School.

In mid-June, a new weekly newspaper launched in the tri-state NJ/NY/PA area called the Pike County Press. After hearing about the newspaper from my high school journalism teacher, I contacted the manager who took me on as a freelance photographer, reporter and videographer. As a result, the Press became the first news site in Pike County to have video content. Since June, I've taken thousands of photos, written several pieces and produced a handful of videos for the Pike County Press.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

On the Web

I began work on a Web site for the new Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar, co-owned by my best friend's dad. The site launched in July. Designed in Dreamweaver, the site has a Wordpress back-end for the owners of the wine bar to easily update content themselves.

Myer and Myer, CPA in Milford contacted me to do two Web sites, one for their CPA office and one for Myer Property Management. The property manager recalled my name from back when I used to maintain the school Web site DV World when I was in high school. Their sites are still under construction.

And Myer's the lucky name for me. I've been working with Myer the Florist (no connection to the CPA...) on a Web site for the past year and a half. This summer we got the e-commerce portion of the site up and running, and the first online order came in just this last week.

In the community

Once the local schools went out for summer, I volunteered at the Pike County Public Library's summer reading kickoff, which included a concert with world-renowned children's singer/songwriter Steven Courtney and his Band of Friends. The concert and a few others I volunteered at this summer were sponsored by the Friends of the Children's Room, a teen-led group I presided over in high school that raises money and awareness for children's programs and resources at the library.

I was the M.C. and auctioneer for a fundraising children's art auction held by the Friends of the Children's Room, and helped the library with its PR efforts for a proposed dedicated library tax to ensure adequate library funding.

Two PBS affiliates contacted me this summer looking to obtain copies of Controversy on the Delaware, a short documentary I directed and co-produced in high school. Ken Burns has a documentary on national parks premiering on PBS in the next month, and my documentary uncovered the shocking and widely unknown history of the Delaware Water Gap, a national recreation area at the northern part of the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

WVIA in Scranton, PA has added a copy of Controversy on the Delaware to its library, and Thirteen in New York City is currently reviewing the film.

I also attended a handful of school board meetings this summer. I still publish a blog about the school district, and though I've slacked off a bit on keeping it as updated as I used to, it still serves the community as an outlet for exclusive information and multimedia about school board affairs.

Back in 'cuse

This week I moved back to Syracuse for my junior year. As a peer adviser at the Newhouse School, I've been helping out with the freshmen class that's coming in. And there are a bunch of exciting things around the corner with CitrusTV, most notably our foray into HD with the capability to broadcast 720p on the campus' Orange Television Network cable channel. At some point in the next week I'll post an update about what's going on this semester.

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