UF's CMIR, life as a student journalist and the end of another semester

Hey everyone, and welcome back to my blog. I apologize for my hiatus as I am sure you were all itching for another update *cough, cough, I know you weren’t* but I have returned with a conclusion to my second-to-last semester as a student at the University of Florida. These past few months have been incredible. They’ve helped me grow as a student, strengthened my friendships, elevated my skills as a reporter and shown me just how privleged I am to be a Gator. I’ve spent my time reporting and anchoring, working on stories such as the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Michael, the journey of a man who’s suffered with chronic back pain for 20 years and I even got to meet a Clydesdale! Anchoring has been a great experience, as I have really worked on my delivery and on-air performance and fine-tuning my “news voice”. I was able to work with so many talented people who were not only my colleagues, but also my friends and I am so happy to have those experiences. A good many of them are graduating this month and starting the next chapters of their lives moving to new places and starting new jobs, and while I’ll miss them, I wish them the best of luck and all the success in the world. Soon that will be me, but I’ll worry about that next semester once the job hunt begins.

One of the most interesting parts of this semester was coming across the Journalism college’s Center for Media Innovation and Research, or the CMIR. The center strives to develop student journalists at UF into the next great journalists and communicators. It looks into developing new forms of storytelling and strategic ways of redefining the communication field. It boasts state-of-the-art digital labs that help facilitate innovation and collaboration, which are great resources for students. While the CMIR stands out amongst other university communications and media centers in many ways, it really stands out because of its specialized facilities. Journalism and telecommunication students, like myself, can utilize the 21st Century News Labratory meanwhile public relations and advertising students can use AHA! The Innovation CoLab to develop campaigns and programs.

I can’t believe I am halfway done with my senior year and just one more semester away from graduating, I cannot wait for the next chapter of my life to begin and see what life holds in store for me. Thanks for tuning in to my blog. It’s been great. Love you all; have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

that often prevents us from learning.

As French physiologist Claude Bernard once said, “It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.” So often we are stuck in our own minds, our own interests, that we fail to look outside ourselves and open our minds to the broad horizons of the world around us. Even taking to different blogs and reading what others have to say can make a difference and change our perspectives and preconceptions.

I learned so much about the interests and passions of my peers by doing just that. In addition to my friends Hasley, Rachel and Abigail, I got to know more about my classmate Dolores Hinckley, who has done more storytelling and investigative journalism than anyone else at her age. She’s a force to be reckoned with and I cannot wait to see what major network she ends up at in coming months. I also got to know my friend Zach Oliveri better. A dear firend and co-anchor on the First at 5 Newscast, being able to see his passion and talent for sports reporting through his blog was amazing. He does such good work and he truly is a double threat, absolutely killing it in both news and sports, and I’m sure he’ll make it big someday. Finally, I got to learn a bit more about fellow anchor Simona Rivero. She multi-faceted and multi-talented with experience in modeling, acting and reporting and boasts an impressive background and resume. Though she has many skills and ties to entertainment and news, she opted on a blog focused on health and wellness, another passion of hers that she wants to share with others. It shows just how dedicated she is to a healthy lifestyle and you can pick up some great tips from her blog!

It is what we know already…

This week I got to branch out from my rabbit hole and venture into my peers’ (rabbit hole being a metaphor for blog of course). While it’s great to write from the comfort of my own blog, hit publish and call it a day, it’s even more fulfilling to see what others write about and engage with their posts, and hopefully have them return the gesture. And engage I did…with 6 of my classmates’ blogs, opening my eyes to the creativity a individuality of each person’s personality.

Three of the blogs I looked at belonged to Hasley Pitman, whose eye for detail and sheer professionalism are unparalleled (seriously, that girl is so talented behind and in front of the camera and she’s is going to go places); Rachel Tate, a fellow faux-redhead, a talented storyteller whose journeys in Los Angeles and beyond never cease to amaze me (and make me laugh hysterically); and Abigail Salley, whose blog about dog training sums up just how sweet and loving she is to both man and his best friend.

Please, check out their blogs if you can! I promise it’ll be worth your time!

My name is Valerie Lyons. I’m an aspiring reporter and it would be cool if you hired me. Here’s my resume.

It’s midway through the term and it’s go time. With my second to last semester of college coming to a close, I really need to be thinking of potential jobs and that means perfecting my resume. When looking for jobs, your resume is the first thing employers look at so it’s imperative you make it look as good as clean and professional as it can but to also imbue it with your personality to really sell it as your own. So when I send my resume off, I don’t just want employers to read my name off a paper as just another name in a pool of thousands. I want them to read Valerie Lyons: University of Florida graduate; passionate and dedicated reporter.

Construction worker falls during job at new apartment complex near UF campus

For my regular Tuesday shift I went out to Newberry, FL with the intention of interviewing the Mayor or a city commissior and a smoke shop owner about the city’s decision to opt out of the Alachua County ordinance that raises the tabacco legal sales age to 21. Unfortunately no one called me back and it was nearing noon, so I headed back to Gainesville. I called my producer and told him that my story fell through and I didn’t have anything and when I was almost back at campus he texted me about an emergency rescue of a construction worker who fell while on the job. I immediately drove to the site. I found a metered parking spot on the side of the road and ran over to one of the officers redirecting traffic. The responders had already rescued the worker by the time I got there and were starting to pack up, but I was able to get some visuals of the trucks and firefighters. before they left, one of them walked up to me and offered I follow them to their station so I could get all the information on the rescue. It was my first sort of breaking news story and it was very cool to cover. As far as newsiness of the story, it probably sits up there with the story I did in Tampa on the Florida Energy and Climate Summit, which I had to report on remotely on my laptop!

A High Springs, FL music festival benefits Panhandle familes affected by Hurricane Michael

Hey guys! Welcome back to my blog. I hope if you read my last post, you also watched the Hurricane Michael special I worked on with some of my colleagues. I’m very proud of that project and I hope you all enjoyed watching it. This week, I was pretty busy in the newsroom this week, working two reporting shifts between Monday and Tuesday and anchoring on Wednesday. For my Monday story I covered a benenfit concert out in High Springs, FL for Hurricane Michael victims in the Panhandle. The hurricane relief music festival was put on by Have a Heart Flordia, a local group that formed to help those affected by Michael. The concert was held on Sunday, so being able to take my time covering it and having all day to turn it for Monday’s newscast was a nice break form the usual hussle and bussle of normal day-turns. The people there were so wonderful and helpful and I actually ended up getting too many interviews! I ended up having to cut about 3 people from my story. I’m happy I got to cover this story, as it was such a great cause that ended up raising $7,500 for families in the Panhandle.

aaaaaaand another one

Guess who’s back, back again….so every week I report and anchor and I wanted to share my latest anchoring go with you all. I got to partner with the wonderful Lauren Reynolds again and this week we looked like Christmas. I definitely felt more comfortable behind the desk this time and I think it shows! Let me know what you all think!

I’m Back…and I went to Tampa!

Hey everyone! Sorry for my little hiatus there but I am back with a new story! For my reporting shift this week I went down to Tampa to cover the kickoff for the 2019 Florida Energy and Climate Summit. I followed a group of energy industry leaders and experts as they toured the University of South Florida’s Clean Energy Research projects. Because I was covering a story two hours away from Gainesville, I had to report remotely and film a look-live to go at the beginning and end of my package. It was stressful and quite the time crunch, but it was thrilling all the same — definitley a learning experience for me! Please check out my story and let me know what you think. I must admit, I was a little pressed for time so it’s not my best work!

Anchoring: Take 2

Hey everyone! This week I had a different co-anchor at the desk, Lauren Reynolds, and I think we work really well together! It was so funny when we both showed up to the 2:30 p.m. meeting and I was wearing bright yellow and she was wearing bright pink. We looked like lemon and strawberry starbursts. In fact, that’s what we’ve decided to trademark ourselves as: The Starburst Girls. It was her first time anchoring and I think she did great – certainly better than I did my first time. Because it was my second go of it, I do think I improved upon my previous performance and had less of that “dead eye” look. I still managed to look at the wrong camera, though, so I guess some things will remain consistent! Anyway, I have included the A block of the show yesterday for you guys to see! Any comments and critiques will be much appreciated. As always, thanks for reading and joining me on this journey!