Aside

Thinking of migrating my entire WordPress blog to Tumblr. Both platforms have pros and cons, and Tumblr is more inviting, but I can’t exactly see it as a professional business-like blog. I blame it on the hordes of cute furry animals that dominate Tumblr’s webpages.

True Life: I’m a PR Intern

It’s been almost a month now at my internship at Starwood Hawaii as a public relations (PR) intern, and it’s been such a great experience thus far.

Amazing view of Waikiki beach, Diamond Head, and the adjacent hotels. I took this photo on top of the Leahi Lounge at our hotel.

Perhaps most interesting to me is that — as a journalism student, journalism major, and newspaper editor — I’m exploring the other end of the vital media-PR relationship that pervades our society.

Instead of being the one perusing through countless press releases and meticulously selecting a story to cover, I’ve switched roles and am finding myself writing press releases and pitching stories to to journalists.

In my short duration here so far, I’ve been working with established professionals in the industry and am learning firsthand of how this ever-changing industry functions on a daily basis.

And though that may range from everything to the awesomeness to the not-so-enthralling, for the most part, everything has been such a tremendous opportunity.

Some key points:

  • Free meals everyday at our hotel employee cafeteria. And no, I’m not talking about hotdogs and hamburgers (though we do have those too), but professional chef-prepared meals that I wish I could eat all the time.
  • Being invited to media events. I’m currently helping out with a Japanese media event that is happening next week. This event will consist of dozens of Japanese media representatives coming to our hotel to gain information about all 11 of our Hawaii properties. The networking opportunities here are bountiful.
  • Getting to see TV show filmings. Last week, NBC’s popular show “The Biggest Loser” came to our hotel’s infinity pool to shoot an episode. I accompanied one of the PR directors to oversee the shoot and see how PR folks interact with television producers. We also have another shooting coming up soon (that I’m helping to plan) but can’t say too much yet! ;)
  • Meeting writers/journalists. The other day, we had a writer from OK! Magazine come to our hotel to tour the facilities. I accompanied one of the PR directors to see how this “property inspection” worked and was able to help out with the tour.

It’s also such a huge perk to work directly in the beautiful tourist mecca of Oahu. It definitely helps that I work in such a grand hotel with amazing views, wonderful guests, and great co-workers and supervisors. Take a look:

Our Helumoa Playground, set with spitting water fountains, two pools, and hot tubs.

The hotel is adorned with lots of plants and lush greenery to give off the Hawaii-vibe.

Can't get over the view of the infinity pool. I look at the guests with envy whenever I walk past the window to use the restroom. :(

My new feathered friends! They can't pronounce my name, though.

The peaceful koi pond with our sister hotel, The Royal Hawaiian, in the background.

I can’t wait to see what else is in store. Be sure to check back for updates!

Ahhh…

Loving the view of the Sheraton Waikiki’s renowned infinity pool. Interning in Waikiki sure does have its perks!

An update of some sorts

Next semester, I will not serving as Features Editor at Ka Leo, but rather an associate editor due to an internship that I will be partaking in.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a public relations internship with Starwood Hawaii — which is a global hotel company that oversees multiple hotels in the state and around the world.

Though I will be posting Ka Leo related content from time-to-time, I would like to focus this semester primarily on my internship (which starts next week) and the new experiences that are lined up for me.

Stay tuned and get exciiiiited! I know I am.

On the downside, school starts in less than a week. Oh winter break, why hath thou slipped so suddenly througheth my fingers-eth?

Happy Christmas & A Merry New Year!

Apologies for the lack of posts! I’m going to try and keep updating this blog even though my journalism class has finished and all the expert blogs have been graded. (For those of you wondering, I got an ‘A’!)

I know the holidays are over and the crowds have already welcomed the New Year, but here are some photos of our Ka Leo Christmas party that we had at the end of the semester.

Our potluck feast. Who would've known student journalists make such good cooks?

The Ka Leo staff playing White Elephant. (I ended up getting boxes of candy because somebody stole my water gun!)

Oh, yeah. The reason why the office looks so festive in the photo above was because Ka Leo was competing in a holiday office decorating contest. Our office’s theme was Disney, so the advertising side was supposed to be themed as “Under the Sea.” I thought that the front desk crew (who were in charge of the competition) did a really good job because we won first place.

After eating and playing White Elephant, it was time to give out the semesterly Bunchie Awards. For the record, if you’re not part of Ka Leo, you probably have no idea what that is. In simpler words, Bunchie is a green…creature that is somehow our unofficial mascot and the awards given don’t make sense whatsoever. Yet, it’s aimed to entertain — which it does.

My award this semester. Yeah...don't ask.

I hope you all had a restful holiday season and a bright and happy New Year!

Day 5: The Happiest Place on Earth!

This is a blog post of my trip to Orlando, Florida to attend the National College Media Convention. To see blog posts of the other days, click here.

Day 5 signaled the end of our week in Orlando, so what better way to cap off the great experience than go to Walt Disney World?

I attended about two sessions earlier that morning, and we had to wait for the results of Nik’s photo competition, so we didn’t actually head down to Mickey’s crib until around 4 p.m. — which seemed late, but it was the perfect time since it enabled us to get cheaper tickets and see less crowds.

Driving up to the gate to hang with Mickey and his gang.

The first thing you read when you get through the ticket gates. "Let the memories begin!" Okay, I shall!

The courtyard area of Main Street USA. It was adorned with October-esque decorations to give off the autumn vibe.

Pumpkin-headed scarecrows for your viewing pleasure!

Approaching the main street of...Main Street USA. Trying to get closer to Cinderella's Castle so I can take the obligatory photo in front of it.

There we go! (Just ignore the two fighting little girls and their disgruntled mom.)

So Jay, our advisor, proved to be a big kid at heart because he wouldn’t let us get through Tomorrowland without riding the race car attraction.

"Please do not hit the car in front of you." Oooops.

A huge downside of Disney World was the long lines. Ironically, here is the line for "It's a Small World." Apparently, a "small" world equals long lines.

Hawaii is featured in the ride! However, this probably won't help the "do you guys live in grass huts?" connotations attached to Hawaii.

Okay so, storytime! Who would have thought that we would almost DIE at the happiest place on Earth? In the same place where all the dreams of little kids come true? Okay, maybe not die, per say, but it was a calamity nonetheless.

Here’s what went down: so we went to go ride Splash Mountain — which everyone who goes to Disney Land/Disney World should do, by the way…

Prominently featured by the waiting area is the last drop of the ride, where all the water sprays on you.

So here we were, all excited to get on the ride (the lines for Splash Mountain are always ridiculous), and when we finally get on, the Disney gods decide to punish us. How? By almost killing us!

Okay, I’m totally exaggerating for readership sake, but the dang ride malfunctioned on us! Right when the ride commenced and as we approached the first drop, the canoe stopped right at the edge of the drop, leaving us at a very precarious location.

Slippin' Falls, huh? Very fitting.

So since we were the first canoe stuck at the edge of the drop, each subsequent canoe behind us kept banging into us, pushing us closer off the edge! I was a bit freaked out, but our canoe remained pretty sturdy.

We ended up waiting more than half an hour for the Disney crew members to get the ride back to normal. Until then, we were stranded in the canoe, with cold, misty water hitting our faces and the looped audio track of the animatronic characters reverberating in our ears every 10 seconds.

Long story short: it wasn’t a pleasant experience. At all.

Maria captured a very accurate photo of how we were feeling while stranded.

Once the ride commenced again, we dropped down the incline and then it led us to the indoor part of the ride. Except this time, the audio track broke so we rode through the silent cave, with nothing to pierce the eerie quietness but the creaking of machinery.

Creak, creak, creak.

[Insert photos of Snow White's Scary Adventures, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan's Adventures, and Pirates of the Caribbean here. Sorry, didn't take too many photos!]

However, we did decide to pose with the statues outside of the Haunted Mansion while we were waiting in line. See the resemblance?

Then we got to catch the Main Street Electrical Parade, which was purrrty.

Sneezy, Droopy, Grumpy, or Lumpy? (Wait, was that last one even a real name in the original movie?)

Can't really see them, but Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

Then topped off the evening with the iconic fireworks show. Great way to finish off the night!

Well, that pretty much sums up our day in Disney World. It was very tiring, but at the same time, so much fun. I think it was good that we saved Disney World for our last day because it really was the culminating celebration of being in Orlando.

That wraps up my trip in Florida to attend the National College Media Convention. Thanks for reading up to this point and stay tuned for future blog posts!

Day 4: The Literal Swan Lake

This is a blog post of my trip to Orlando, Florida to attend the National College Media Convention. To see blog posts of the other days, click here.

Day four started a bit later since I slept in a bit and missed some earlier sessions. For some reason, Nik and I couldn’t get acclimated to our new sleep schedules in Florida so some nights we ended up staying up regretably late.

I hurried to my first session titled “How to Get an A in Class (and a Job!)” led by Geoff Carr from North Idaho College.

Not much people attended the session, which was a shame because Mr. Carr was very enthusiastic about his subject matter and zipped through a ton of information.

A slice of information from my notes I took during the session:

Want a job? Develop a healthy work ethic.

  • Don’t treat your time with your campus paper as a one-credit class.
  • Treat every assignment like it’s the most important job in the world.
  • Perfection should be your goal in all walks of life.
My next session was titled “Wringing the Bad Writing Habits Out of Your Eager but Inexperienced Staff” by Tom Pierce of the St. Petersburg Times.

I found that Mr. Pierce was a bit too slow-paced and old fashioned for my liking. The information he was relaying wasn't necessarily wrong, but a bit outdated.

A slice of information from the notes I took at his session:

Pitfalls to avoid when writing articles:

  • Not staying objective (editorializing)
  • Being inaccurate
  • Using bad grammar
  • Weak ledes (dull, cliche, confusing, wrong angle, etc.)
  • Awkward quotes (direct and otherwise)
  • Paragraphs too long
  • Committed “wordfat”
Other sessions I attended that day but didn’t snap photos of: “How to Make Your Blog Popular” by Andy Dehnart of Stetson University (and blogger of Reality Blurred), “Live Blogging the News” by Jill Van Wyke of Drake University, and “Take it From the Top: Writing a Feature Lede” by Nicole Hill, a Student Press Law Center intern.

This was probably my favorite day of sessions because every single one was really great. I especially enjoyed the blogging session by Andy Dehnart because he’s someone who actually maintains a really popular blog and his kind of humor appealed to me a lot more than Koretzky’s.

We wrapped up our sessions pretty quickly that day so we decided to take Nik around photogenic spots around Orlando for his photo competition. He had a couple hours to capture and submit a photo that depicted the essence of Florida. He originally thought of Disney World but that seemed too obvious to be deemed as a winning idea.

So we decided to go to a scenic lake/park to get in touch with our nature side. Eh, parks = photogenic right?

Holy crap, this initiative is genius. Hawaii, are you taking notes?

Nik excitedly running to the park while Jay and Maria reluctantly trudge behind. Apparently they forgot about me since I'm a million miles behind. /don'tmindme

A lake equals a lot of ducks. One would think that you were at an University of Oregon football game. Quack. (Edit: omg fail, these are swans LOL)

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis starred in what movie together?

Me snapping the photo I showed above. Look at this fame whore swan. Agh.

I'm a sucker for cityscapes and this was no different. Having lived in Hawaii for majority of my life, a new scenery was just amazing.

After a few hours, Nik had accummulated a good number of photos for the competition and the swans were starting to get a bit rowdy, so we decided to start figuring out where we wanted to eat for dinner.

Although a lot of us originally wanted to try Olive Garden (since the franchise is mysteriously missing back home), we found out that there was a really good, Yelp-verified Thai restaurant nearby. We weren’t feeling particularly picky, so heck, why not?

The restaurant was at a district quite parallel to how Chinatown looks like in Honolulu.

Believe it or not, this was my first time eating at a Thai restaurant. I don't really remember what we ordered but it 'twas so gooood.

So after dinner we roamed around the downtown district of Orlando where we ran into a rather bored looking cop and whipped up some conversation with him. Despite his rather intimidating appearance, he ended up being really chill and we ended up talking about Orlando, Honolulu, and Disney World for about half an hour. I was starting to think that the locals in Orlando could rival the “aloha spirit” of the folks back home.

I guess he took a liking to us because he suggested that if we didn’t have anything else to do, his friend was a tour guide at this ghost tour thing next to us and that he could get us in for cheap. We felt rude if we said no, and we didn’t have any plans except for a night time critique session back at the hotel later that night, so we agreed.

This thing snuck up on me, I swear.

So the tour guides gave us little radar things that supposedly glow red when there’s energy forces around you (spirits) and they took us to a old courtroom that is apparently riddled with paranormal presences.

Me waving my little radar around trying to lure the ghosts. CASPER, COME TO ME!

Nik posing next to our tour guide, who heavily reminded me of Zorro. He was quite enthusiastic about the haunted courtroom.

In order to demonstrate the “spirits” present in the courtroom, Zorro laid out three flashlights around the room and asked the spirits to turn them on. Amazingly, the flashlights would turn on and off by itself whenever Zorro asked them to.

A lit flashlight on the table. It could've just been a trick, but a bit freaky nonetheless.

He then led us to this children’s playroom where he laid out a bunch of snacks and toys on the tables we were sitting at. Apparently, there is a young ghost named “Emily” that haunts the room and enjoys playing with visitors.

"Oh hey guys, there's an angry child ghost in this room. Let's provoke it with food and toys that it can no longer enjoy!"

That was pretty much the last interesting thing on the tour. Afterwards, they led us to a nearby bar/pub that was supposedly haunted, and somehow a few minutes later, this “ghost tour” quickly turned into an “extensive historical tour of downtown Orlando and all the important people you DON’T need to know” tour.

We felt a bit bad, but we were pressed for time since we had to return back to the hotel for our late night session so we bid adieu to Zorro and headed back to the hotel.

All in all, day four was a very scenic day with some history added into the mix. We were quite tired but we felt that it was an accomplished day. Not much days left now, so stay tuned for day five!