Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Hawaiian Breeze Candle

I bought a Glade Hawaiian Breeze scented candle a few weeks ago, and I lit it for the first time tonight. It's crazy how one candle can make you forget where you are. It's only been burning for about 20 minutes, and my entire house smells like Hawaii... I guess I've never been to Hawaii, but regardless, the $2 candle has transported me to paradise, and inspired tonight's blog post.

As I was pulling into work this morning, I saw the red light on my blackberry flickering. It was an email from a good friend. The subject: "You and worry..."

At the very top, a question, "What Happens When You Worry?"

As I kept reading the message, one sentence struck me... "Worry doesn't take the sorrow out of tomorrow-it takes the strength out of today."

I wasn't expecting this "self-help" email from the friend who sent it. Regardless, I was appreciative and grateful, because despite some of the life-altering experiences I've encountered in the past year--realities that have shown me the value of today and the uncertainty of tomorrow-- I still find myself worrying about the future. My worries are generally about my job, and where my career is going.

It's been almost five months since I graduated from UF, and through my occasional "Facebook stalking," I've learned that several of my classmates have landed some sick jobs right out of college. I've got friends working for the network in NYC, others are reporting in top 50 markets...I can't help but look at myself--reporting for Gainesville's local ABC affiliate-- and not be anxious about where I stand in the world.

It's been five days since I interviewed Pastor Terry Jones, the man behind "Burn a Koran Day." I never expected that I'd be covering an international story during my time at TV20.

Although my coverage wasn't featured on CNN, or picked up by a big city ABC affiliate, I'm still grateful for the experience. For the first time in my young career, I was thrown into a media circus, where I was setting up my tripod and camera next to network news corespondents, BBC reporters, photographers that have been around the world and back... 

I saw first hand, the effects of social networking--- how Pastor Jones' message crossed oceans, and brought journalists from around the world to the front lawn of his small Gainesville church. I saw a clear illustration of traditional news media losing it's power. Journalists are no longer gatekeepers of news and information for the public... editors and producers no longer the sole judges of which stories are appropriate, which sources are credible, which quotes are valuable... 

Here was a story that, in my opinion, was made newsworthy by the people....the tweets, the Facebook groups, the YouTube videos-- the news media only added fuel to the fire.

The story opened my eyes to some of the realities of this changing industry... and it happened right here, in little old Gainesville. 

I know in my heart that God has put me here for a reason. I've also learned that much like my two dollar Hawaiian Breeze candle, a story can make you forget where you are- a story knows no boundaries- a story has the power to touch lives around the world.

In both my life and career, I can't worry about tomorrow. I need to save my strength- keeping my passion and fire burning for the story today.

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