Semester Reflections

As I finish my last fall semester at the University of Florida, I can’t help but reflect on all the amazing opportunities I’ve had here as a journalism student. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the College of Journalism and Communications. I’ve transformed from an insecure, unguided teen to a proud and confident multimedia journalist ready to take on the world.

I started UF as a theater major but after sometime, I realized journalism was, and is, my true calling. I love entertaining people and love informing people even more which is why I decided to pursue a degree in telecommunications.

As a telecom major, I’ve gotten incredible hands on experience with the Center for Media Innovation and Research. I’ve endured long hours and sleepless nights in the Innovation News Center producing news segments for WUFT.

My classes have allowed me to spend time on-air, in radio booths, and behind professional cameras. This semester I took investigative journalism, producing both radio and TV segments while enhancing my research and reporting skills. Here is a piece I did this semester:

I cannot believe how quickly this semester flew by! Following next semester I will graduate and continue following my dreams, hopefully in New York. I am confident I will succeed because UF’s facilities have thoroughly prepared me for any obstacle I may face. I am so excited to start the next chapter of my life but know I will miss the College of Journalism and Communications so much. I will always be grateful for everything this school has helped me accomplish and always be proud to be a Florida Gator.

“The Tipping Point” review

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference released in 2000 is a detailed theory analyzing how trends form and develop. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell describes the evolution of trends as well as what factors and patterns seem to determine whether or not it will become a widespread phenomena or something that merely falls off the map. He does this by defining and explaining three key concepts which make up for a majority of the book. Those three themes include the Law of Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context.

The Law of Few explains how messages are passed via verbal communication and social networks. Gladwell classifies the three types of people responsible for the Law of Few as either connectors, mavens, or salesmen.

Connectors are, much like they sound, those who have connections to others. The more connections a person has, the more power that person also has, which Gladwell defines as power law. This means, for example, that if I know 2,000 people at the University of Florida and someone else only knows three, my power law is greater than that person’s. If, however, someone knows more people than I do at UF, their power law is greater.

This is just a general, small scale example though, and I’m not even sure if it is really a good one because according to my understanding, even if Diplo didn’t know anyone in the Gator Nation, his power law would still be greater than mine because overall, he knows more people than I do and has a much bigger fan base which gives him access to more connections as well as the ability to spread ideas at a much faster and easier capacity than I currently could.

While Connectors spread the idea, Mavens are sort of the gatekeepers. Upon receiving the information, they interpret it and make judgements on it. Based on those judgments and their personal beliefs, they determine whether or not they want to pass that information along. If they decide to spread the word, they can also make adjustments to the original statement thus altering the idea before it spreads further. To me, they are sort of like lobbyists pushing for information they want to be heard and altering or ignoring statements they don’t support.

Last, but certainly not least, are the salesmen. They are charming talkers with a way with words so much so that they can not only convey messages onto others but also drastically sway the listener’s opinion. They’re able to sell the idea, which makes them a vital component to the tipping point because they can convince strangers to accept something that may have been completely in opposition of. When a salesman really supports a message, they’re able to easily influence others.

While connections and salesman are major contributors to the tipping point, the Stickiness Factor is a great indicator of whether or not a message will spread. If it has no value, it won’t stick and thus, it won’t spread to Mavens or anyone else. Gladwell wasn’t able to give clear, definite factors to determine the stickiness of something and notes that it is more opinion based.

The final main point in Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is the Power of Context which states that minor changes and tweaks to an idea or message slightly altering the original context can determine if it will tip or not. It also touches on the size of groups and how that affects efficiency because smaller groups tend to know each other better and thus trust the message more allowing it to spread faster to others.

I found The Tipping Point to be a very interesting read. It kind of reminded me of Richard Dawkins Memes: The New Replicators as it explains how ideas develop from one another and spread, though Memes is only a chapter from a larger collection. I understand Gladwell’s points but am not sure if I completely agree with them because I feel it is too hard to distinguish between the three categories in the Law of Few. I think people can definitely be a combination of two if not all three of those, which then seems superfluous for the categories in the first place. 

More Friends

Nicolas Swain is another foodie in my class. His approach is unlike any I’ve seen, and quite entertaining, because he compares his friends to a type of food from pecan pie to casseroles. What an original idea. Nicolas worked for an online music-news publication, so he and I share not only a love for food, but also journalism and music!

Though it is not exactly food related, Ashley Goodus‘ blog may be relevant to those who read this one because she focuses on fitness. For me, fitness and food go hand in hand. If I am working out I generally am also eating healthy, which is why I try to maintain balancing both all the time. Her blog recommends different styles of clothing for different physical activities as well as encourages readers to surround themselves with those who share similar girls. I agree with both of her suggestions.

The final classmate I’m choosing to feature on my blog is Myesha Suckra. I just met her this semester and have spent countless hours getting to know her both in class as well as late nights in the editing lab. After graduation, she wants to teach English in a Spanish speaking country which is something I have also seriously considered. I’m also seriously considering trying this magic chocolate cake recipe she posted. Looks delicious!

Friends with Flavor

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I initially created this blog for one of my classes at the University of Florida. This week we were given a chance to look at our classmates’ blogs and I’ve had a great time getting to know each of their styles and personalities a little bit better. My class is full of such talented and diverse students! 

However, one similarity a few of my fellow classmates and I share is a love for food. 

Ashlyn Robinson, like me, chose to do a food blog. She and I have had various classes together at UF like TV1 and Law of Mass Communication. Her blog is great because she has quick 10 minute meals but also has interesting and fun recipes like candy sushi! Yum! After Ashlyn graduates, she hopes to go to law school.

Amanda Di Lella is another one of my classmates who’s blog’s main focus is food. While I don’t know her that well, we were partners for an extra credit assignment in TV1 and she was not only very easy to work with, but also very sweet. I love that her blog gives advice  like how to pick a good granola bar (that is actually good for you) and easy breakfast on-the-go. I guess it shouldn’t really be a surprise that all of us have been trying to find ways to cut time in the kitchen while fitting meals in our busy schedules. 

As I stumbled upon his blog, I bookmarked it. Shane Chernoff‘s blog takes a different approach than that of the two previously mentioned because he reviews different restaurants in the Gainesville area. I appreciate this so much because I find myself going to the same couple of places every time I go out to eat. However, I must say, yesterday I tried Blue Highway Pizza for the first time and it was absolutely delicious! I trust Shane’s food judgment because he raved about 4 Rivers in one of his posts. While I’ve never been there, my two roommates go there all the time and absolutely love it. 

Searching through all of these food blogs has definitely sparked my appetite. I might just have to warm up those leftovers from Blue Highway… 

DIY Starbucks Drink

As I mentioned in my first blog post, I am a student at the University of Florida. This means my typical days are filled with class, homework, studying, and of course, lots and lots of coffee. While I prefer the taste and cost of Dunkin Donuts, there are four Starbucks on campus, so that is usually where I go to get my caffeine fix. While on Facebook, another College of Journalism and Communications classmate left a post detailing a homemade, do-it-yourself Starbucks mocha frappuccino! It takes less than ten minutes and will save you and your wallet a few extra bucks! Who doesn’t love that?

Starbucks Frappuccinos

Starbucks Frappuccinos

HEALTH HINT: the recipe says calls for whipped cream, but eliminating that extra topping will save you a lot of calories. If its something you absolutely need, try using an electric beater to froth some milk and use that as your garnish instead.

Stay frappy! 😉

Talia J. Medina

French Toast: NoLa Style

This weekend I will be going to New Orleans to cheer for the Gators as they take on Louisiana State University. I’m so excited because I’ve never been there and I’ve heard they have some incredible food. Hopefully I will find some inspiration for my upcoming recipes!

The video below teaches you how to make one of my favorite breakfast meals, french toast. Yum! While this may not be the healthiest recipe, its definitely a sweet treat for a cheat day.

HEALTH HINT: If you want to try to make it healthier, try multigrain bread or fat-free cream cheese. Greek yogurt is also a great substitute for cream cheese!

My mouth is watering just watching that video.

Enjoy!

Talia J. Medina

Learn This Pasta Recipe In Less Than FIVE Minutes

I found this recipe on YouTube and decided to post it because it shows you how to cook a pasta dish, all in under five minutes. Although it may take a little bit longer than five minutes to cook in its entirety, I appreciate the fact that the video is short, clear, and to the point. The recipe doesn’t seem terribly difficult either.

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t actually tried this meal myself, so I don’t know how delicious or nutrious it is.

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it works out for you!

Until then,

Talia J. Medina