Wrapping It Up

It seems like every post I’ve made in the past few months has begun with some sort of reflection on how quickly time is moving and how I can’t believe my internship is half over or what have you.

Even though it’s unoriginal, I’m starting this post the same way. I cannot believe I’m no longer writing from New York City. Instead, I’m sitting in my bedroom in Portland, amidst half-unpacked suitcases, magazines, shoes or boxes that my family left in here while I was away.

It’s good to be home, but it’s been an interesting transition. At times, it seems like my ten weeks in the Big Apple were just a dream.

Obviously, though, they weren’t a dream. And while I am way behind on blogging about my trip, I’m using this post as a way to “wrap up.” Below are a few photos, with some description, that summarize my final few weeks in New York.

Before I get to the photos, though, I just have to give an ENORMOUS “thank you” to everyone I met and worked with in New York City, especially those at Rodale, Inc., the publishing firm where I interned. The people I worked with (the PR teams at Rodale’s corporate level, Bicycling magazine and Organic Gardening magazines) were nothing short of amazing: they were willing to give me real responsibility, constructive criticism, support and encouragement.

It sounds cheesy, but my ten weeks at Rodale (and in New York in general) taught me so much about the working world, the public relations and publishing industries and myself that I can honestly say I’m a much different person today than I was at the beginning of June. This experience forced me to seriously consider what I want out of my life and career, and where I plan on going (literally and figuratively) in the next two years and when I graduate. I don’t want to get too deep here, but you get the idea.

Anyway, sappiness aside, I have one more thing on my mind: It’s my goal to write a series of posts about what I learned at my internship (basically from a public relations perspective), and I’d also like to start taking my blog more seriously during the school year.

To do so, I’d like to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and my own domain name, along with a theme that’s a cut above the basic, generic themes.

If you have any knowledge in that area, I’d appreciate your advice, especially when it comes to purchasing a domain name, transferring a WP.com blog to WP.org and finding a good theme.

Thanks for sticking with me. Here are a few final photos from my New York adventure:

come fly away

I saw "Come Fly Away" on Broadway during my last weekend in NYC. It was a fantastic combination of Twyla Tharp choreography and Frank Sinatra music.

st patricks cathedral

The majestic inside of St. Patrick's Cathedral

liz lemon tshirts

Ridiculously awesome Liz Lemon quote t-shirts from the NBC Experience Store. "What the what?!"

wall street george washington statue

Not the best photo, but I love this statue of George Washington on Wall Street. This is where Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. It's a gorgeous building and statue with historical significance.

morningside park

The beautiful view from a lookout at Morningside Park, on the Upper West Side near Columbia University. In addition to my Park Slope, Brooklyn obsession, I also love the UWS.

Five photos don’t even come close to summarizing everything I did in my final weeks, but hopefully it gives you a little taste. Since time was dwindling, I was fearless about exploring anything and everything in the city – from downtown to the Upper West Side, I tried to see it all.

Thank you for reading the posts about my trip; an especially big thanks to those who commented. I really appreciate the time you took to check in with my Big Apple adventures. I can’t promise that Portland and Eugene will be as exciting, but I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again!

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Life, Post-Whirlwind.

The last two weeks have been nothing short of crazy.

Since my last post, I have:

• Turned 20
• Seen my mom and sister in person after nearly a month
• Attended baseball games at Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park
• Sat in on a satellite media tour (in which the editor-in-chief of Bicycling does several short interviews with morning news anchors in various cities)

Whew. It’s been a whirlwind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Tour de France started Saturday, so Bicycling had a lot on its plate. If you’re like me, you associate “Tour de France” with “Lance Armstrong,” but there are a lot of other great riders out there who I am excited to follow this year, like Lance’s bitter rival and defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain.

We’ve been doing a lot of work to promote Bicycling’s coverage of the Tour de France: its website features tons ofslideshows, previews, rankings, analysis and videos. I created a list of notable and reputable cycling bloggers and am now reaching out to those bloggers – basically, showing them how Bicycling is covering the Tour and letting them know that we’d love for them to take advantage of those resources.

It’s awesome, because I get to practice pitching and communicating with media while learning how to pitch bloggers and traditional media differently.

On the morning of my birthday, July 1, we went to a studio in Manhattan where Loren, Bicycling‘s editor, basically sat on a set for three hours and did short interviews with morning news anchors in different cities (known as a satellite media tour, or SMT, in the PR world). She previewed the Tour de France,

Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel was doing an SMT in the same studio that morning - you can see his being announced on the left screen. Loren is on the right.

answering their questions about the race, Lance Armstrong’s chances, doping, etc. My main job was to record the questions she was asked and just soak up the experience while hanging out in a posh “green room” filled with muffin trays. I was able to see and hear all of the interviews through a screen hooked up in the green room. My view:

Despite not being the world’s greatest socializer, I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping busy and getting out into the city with friends. Lately, I’ve been a baseball fiend, seeing Mets, Yankees and Red Sox games (all in one week). I went to the Mets game with a couple of friends – the Mets lost, but it was fun to see their new stadium (it opened last season) and be part of an enthusiastic crowd. Sorry, Yanks fans – I’d take a game at Citi Field or (gasp!) Fenway over Yankee Stadium game any day.

Going to Fenway Park was ridiculously cool – it’s kind of like a baseball Mecca. (Yankee Stadium is, too, but I have

An outside shot of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

been to the new and old stadiums before this year so the excitement has worn off.) Fenway is old with narrow concourses, but Sox fans are great, the atmosphere around the park is fun, and singing “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the 8th inning – a Fenway tradition – embodied everything that is great about baseball.

Tuesday night, I saw the Broadway performance of Mary Poppins because the housing service I rent through was offering cheap tickets. Yes, it was a little cheesy and geared toward a younger audience, but it was fun, especially the part when Bert tap-danced on the ceiling.

Thursday was my 20th birthday. Birthdays are so much better because of Facebook. Of course, they wouldn’t be the same without the customary phone calls and birthday cards, but opening Facebook to find bunches of notifications from friends and extended family is a sweet reminder of how many fantastic people are in my life and how blessed I am to have such dear friends.

The day was made even sweeter because I got to see my mom and sister. I hopped on the Bolt Bus to Boston after work and met them there so we could spend the long weekend together in a city we’ve never explored. (Bolt Bus = free Wi-Fi and electrical outlets = glorious.)

We toured MIT, which my sister is considering for college, saw the Sox game and walked the Freedom Trail (which I highly recommend – educational and enjoyable, especially if you’re into American history). The Freedom Trail can be a bit of a trek and ye be warned: climbing to the top of the Bunker Hill Memorial will leave your legs in pain the next day.

My sister Hope (left) and I with the Paul Revere statue on the Freedom Trail.

Another cool Boston spot is the JFK Presidential Library and Museum. It’s situated on a beautiful spot overlooking the bay. You can’t go wrong in a museum where they feature a bunch of Jackie’s outfits, Frank Sinatra music and old Walter Cronkite live footage.

After getting in last night, I headed downtown to watch the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks display on the Hudson River. I didn’t get too close in an attempt to avoid a huge mass of people, but I watched from a sidewalk and had a pretty good view. Even more impressive than the fireworks, though, was this (pardon my crappy phone-quality picture):

The Empire State Building decked out in patriotic colors.

Speaks for itself. Hope you’ve had a relaxing 4th of July weekend, and thanks for reading!

Finding Value in New Communities

Over the past few weeks at my internship, I’ve spent a good deal of time putting together lists of bloggers who blog about bicycling (both racing, like Tour de France-type coverage, and bike culture, like those people with bumper stickers on their cars that read “my other car is a bike.”)

lance armstrong

One type of cycling blog: the hardcore bike racing enthusiasts.

While this may not seem like a very glamorous task, it’s totally necessary in public relations because it allows us to understand what’s important to cyclists and teaches us more about bloggers we may pitch stories to. But, it can also expose you to some pretty cool niche communities you may not have known about previously.

The bicycling world is filled with passionate cyclists who love to write and I’m learning to really enjoy their work. While I’m not a hardcore cyclist myself, I’m now immersed in this cycling community and am finding some really compelling blogs and writers.

At this point, I’m only listening and learning more about the topics they cover, but eventually I’ll start interacting with them. From a PR perspective, the bloggers might appreciate that I not only understand the issues that concern them, but that I also genuinely enjoy reading their blogs.

Have you had to spend a lot of time focusing on one particular niche community like bike riders? Maybe it was a group of people devoted to a similar cause or who lived in a particular city. Whatever the case, I’d love to know how it played out: did you just read their blogs? Did you develop a personal interest in the topic? From a PR

my other car is a bike bumper sticker

Another type of cycling blog: the bike culture/advocacy writers.

perspective, were you able to build a relationship with them?

And while I love discovering this niche, not all blogs are created equal. In my research, I’ve found a few that I really love, mostly because they’re hilarious or look at cycling from a unique perspective:

  • Bike Snob NYC: Yes, Bike Snob writes a column in Bicycling, but that’s not why I love his blog – it’s because he is irreverent and funny but doesn’t waver from his position that cycling is a serious transportation method. Everything I’ve read has been great, especially his spot-on, amusing analysis of Portland and its biking community.
  • Bike Portland: Here’s a hometown shout-out. Bike Portland consistently ranks really high on every list of biking blogs I’ve seen; it covers local cycling events and issues and has made itself the authority on the topic in Portland (and, it seems, elsewhere).
  • Riding Pretty and Chic Cyclists: I will never be as cool as the ladies who write these blogs, but they do a great job of giving ideas on how to be trendy while being serious about cycling.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. In PR, or in your everyday social media participation, have you ever come across a passionate blogging or online community? Was there value in listening to and eventually engaging with them? If so, what was it?

Mannequins and Manhattan Driving

Some days throw you curveballs. Others throw you the keys to an SUV in Manhattan.

Today was one of the latter. Let me explain.

I went into work at 7:30 this morning to help Bicycling magazine prep for a segment on Good Morning America Health that was being filmed at a bike store in Chelsea, Sid’s Bikes.

The segment would feature the editor-in-chief of Bicycling magazine showcasing and discussing triathlon gear. We (and by “we” I mean myself and Bicycling’s head of PR) had to take several different props and pieces of gear to the shop. To transport it across town from Rodale to Sid’s, we took a Honda CRV Zipcar.

Three bags of gear, two naked mannequins and a partridge in a pear tree.

While waiting for the car to arrive, I stood outside the building with all of our props, guarding them until they could be loaded. This setup included a rolling table, two unclothed mannequins and a few bags stuffed with assorted triathlon necessities. If you haven’t laughed yet today, hopefully the image of me standing next to this (see left) on a New York City street will get you started.

When we arrived at Sid’s, we parked on the street but eventually needed to move the car. Guess who was handed the keys?

I wasn’t afraid of driving but I was afraid of driving in Manhattan. This wasn’t my car and this wasn’t my city so I was uncertain. Really, it wasn’t bad at all; I only had to drive around the block to a parking garage so I wasn’t in the car for long. Now, I have the privilege of saying I have driven safely in New York City.

Driving hasn’t been the only fun I’ve had. I had a great weekend exploring Greenwich Village and Coney Island, going to a great church and enjoying a lazy afternoon in Central Park with a new friend.

Central Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Now that it’s officially summer, I plan to do a lot more of that. Spending an afternoon in Central Park is now my idea of an ideal summer afternoon; few things sound better than joining the New Yorkers who go there to play Frisbee, enjoy a picnic, read a book or get a tan. It’s a nice change of pace from driving an SUV.

A few more pictures from the last few days, since they’re worth more words than I have time to write:

nathan's coney island

At Nathan's Hot Dogs on Coney Island; notice the countdown to the 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.

larry tate pizza

Larry Tate pizza, which you could purchase at a pizza place my suitemate and I ate at on Friday night. I gave myself bonus points for randomly remembering that Larry Tate is the boss from the TV show "Bewitched."

Yes, this sign made sense to me, too.

empire state building

Last but not least...how could you ever get tired of looking at that?