How to Deal with Trump-Supporting Relatives at the Holidays

Spoiler alert: I don’t know exactly how you should deal with your racist relatives this holiday season. Every family situation is obviously markedly different, and will call for different strategies. But it will probably be helpful for us to think through this together before you go—don’t you think? With the election behind us and #trumpocalypse looming large, this is more important than ever.

Spoiler alert: I don’t know exactly how you should deal with your racist relatives this holiday season. Every family situation is obviously markedly different, and will call for different strategies. But it will probably be helpful for us to think through this together before you go—don’t you think? With the election behind us and #trumpocalypse looming large, this is more important than ever.  Continue reading “How to Deal with Trump-Supporting Relatives at the Holidays”

A Hater’s Guide to New York

I’m not saying don’t go, I’m just suggesting that the actual city is basically a middling Woody Allen impression.

by E.L. 

New York Times Square
Image via Wikicommons

 There are some things you should keep in mind if you plan to visit the City.

What city, you may ask. Of course, it is exactly that attitude which betrays your embarrassing lack of cosmopolitan vision, and this is what you are coming to the City to correct.

You must first remember that there is no place for your bumpkinish awe at grand architecture. So don’t look up. If your eye strays above shoulder-level – better yet, above the pavement directly in front of your feet – you will look like such a tourist. Do everything in your power to hide this fact from real New Yorkers.

The best way to fool the natives is to go to Time Square and complain loudly about how much you hate tourists. And when you return to whatever sorry township you came from, you will carry this newfound disdain for the uninitiated home with you alongside your mostly-empty Metro card.

There is literally no destination that does not require you to wait in line. But the good news is that when you finally get in to whatever miserable hole of a dive pizza joint (alternatively, whatever New American swoop of artisanal foam) you’ve decided on, you will feel like you’ve really earned it. It’s as if the city is hazing you. Perhaps this is why natives love New York so much – some sort of post-hazing over-identification.

It’s called Stockholm Syndrome in kidnapping situations.

(Have you considered that you might not even need to go to New York to get the New York experience? I can make you a YouTube playlist of all the location shots from When Harry Met Sally and Manhattan for you to watch on your phone while you blithely ignore traffic signals.

I’m not saying don’t go, I’m just suggesting that the actual city is basically a middling Woody Allen impression. And wasn’t Woody Allen’s best work 35 years ago, anyway?)

There are bagels there. You may have heard that these are the only bagels worth the name. I can’t confirm or deny that. But if you’re going anyway, even after my YouTube playlist, you might as well try one.

You will notice that New Yorkers don’t make eye contact. Don’t take this personally. It’s simply a charming local superstition that the fleeting-est of glances into another human’s eyes will bring one’s alienated soul into contact with another and produce a brief but profound moment of empathy that threatens to lay bare the yawning loneliness of a life led among eight and a half million strangers.

Central Park is a thing, I guess. It’s really quite pleasant if you like golf course landscaping.

(If you’re in the market for seething masses of disgruntled people and overpriced food, have you considered your closest theme park? Everyone at Disney World is a tourist, so you’d fit right in! Just like Time Square only without all the New Yorkers there to hiss at you. Just think about it is all I’m saying.)

Discovering New York is like learning a new lover, so be patient and go slow. You’ll probably get used to the smell and if you’re careful you won’t catch a disease.

Definitely definitely go. Definitely go and don’t come back. Surrender your hayseed heart to the Big Apple. Don’t you read The New Yorker? Haven’t you seen Rent? It’s just like that. New York isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. New York is the Spirit of Christmas – if you keep it in your heart, even in the Midwest you’re a New Yorker for life.

Seriously, I think you should just stay home and watch Manhattan.

Project Spotlight: Driven Media

Today, we present our spotlight on a great journalism project: Driven Media. “Driven Media is a journalism startup that aims to help young women understand their lives and potential. We do this through multimedia stories about the lives, relationships and stories of real women. As young women, we really felt that gap and lack of representation of women in the media. When you are looking for inspiration and hope and just a good story that you can relate to, it just isn’t there. We wanted to change that, and felt like we had the skill set to, so we did.”

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Acro: First, please introduce yourselves.

I’m Samantha Harrington. I’m 22, originally from Wisconsin and I graduated with degrees in Journalism and Arabic from UNC in May 2015. I like sunflowers and Joan Didion and tea and good music and friends and talking and painting (in no particular order haha).

 

I’m Hannah Doksansky, a 21-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, who will graduate in the spring from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I drink coffee by the gallon, spend many hours catching up on the phone with friends, and take the occasional photo to document everything.

 

Acro: Give us an intro to your project. What is it called, what do you do, and what was the inspiration for getting started?

 

Driven Media is a journalism startup that aims to help young women understand their lives and potential. We do this through multimedia stories about the lives, relationships and stories of real women. As young women, we really felt that gap and lack of representation of women in the media. When you are looking for inspiration and hope and just a good story that you can relate to, it just isn’t there. We wanted to change that, and felt like we had the skill set to, so we did. –sam

 

Our team consists of Sam and I, who rove down the east coast in a tiny green prius, and two women named Josie and Hrisanthi who create multimedia interactives for each story while also working full time at newspapers. We all met at an entrepreneurial journalism lab at UNC and knew from group projects that our skill sets could be combined to create better storytelling. (HD)

 

Acro: What are you hoping to achieve through Driven Media? Is there something about storytelling (and, in particular, mobile storytelling!) as a medium that’s particularly useful for achieving your goals?

 

I think we’re trying to achieve a world in which women can share stories and learn from one another. We’re just trying to be the platform that facilitates that learning. You can connect to anyone online that has access to internet. It lets us transcend physical and geographic space and limitations in an awesome way. And obviously mobile is super important. Our target audience is young women. Young people get a lot of their information on their phones (I know I do). So every story we do we want to make sure looks good on mobile. Surprisingly our analytics show that still like 70% of people are getting to our content on desktops, but I expect mobile will become a bigger and bigger thing for us. –sam

 

Acro: What is your method? How do you go about finding subjects and collecting stories?

 

We basically show up in a place and call everyone and anyone we can. We’re focusing on a series of stories this fall about immigration while traveling down the east coast. So that means we’re in a new place every two weeks and really have to start the discovery process all over again. Generally we start with organizations—cultural associations, resettlement agencies, restaurants, etc—but sometimes we turn to social media to find people. In West Virginia I searched Twitter for people who had tweeted, “West Virginia and Filipino,” and just tweeted back at them. It looked pretty desperate responding to like 3-year-old tweets, but almost everyone responded.  Once we’ve found people to talk to we do some like exploratory interviews to figure out what the story is. Then once we’re at that point we try to figure out the best way to tell it. Should this be an audio piece? Or is video or text better? Things like that. –sam

 

Acro: What are the particular challenges of your project, if any?

 

Oh, do we encounter challenges. Our biggest challenge is always money. We crowdfunded $50,000 to launch the company in August, which enabled us to make necessary investments like equipment and a car. But we know that Driven cannot continue to exist without a viable business model. We brainstorm often new ways to make money to sustain future tours. (HD)

Another challenge worth noting is that we are always on tour. Sam and I work very hard to make sure we maintain a balanced lifestyle because we can easily slip into a pattern where we work constantly. We try to see every place that we visit and explore a little bit. We found that our stories are better when we take a moment to breathe every once and awhile! (HD)

 

Acro: Where is the project going from here? Do you have plans to broaden it, and/or are you in the process of collecting more stories? What’s your vision for the project in the future?

 

We are releasing stories weekly but our fall tour will come to a close in December. In the spring, we are going to take a break so that I can graduate college and we can focus on the viability of the company. We are exploring many revenue models so that we can hit the road again in the summer. This fall we have told the stories of immigrant women in five cities, but we will most likely switch to a new, yet to be determined theme for future tours. Reach out if you have ideas for new topics! (HD)

 

Acro: What do you think it would take for women, and especially women of color, to have more meaningful representation in journalism and news media?

 

So I think the biggest way is just by getting more women (of all backgrounds) involved in producing media. It’s really hard because I feel like so much of media success is just being in the right place at the right time. But at the same time I also believe that just working hard and talking to everyone opens so many doors. If you have an idea, the worst thing you can do is keep it to yourself. Shout it out to mentors and friends and strangers alike. Ask them to introduce you to anyone who they think might be interested in what you want to do. You never know who you’ll meet and where they’ll lead you. And once you’re in a place where you’re producing content and you have an audience you have to continue to be firm and loud about what you want. Challenge traditional concepts of what kind of stories are important and how they should be told. –sam

 

 

Website: http://drivenmedia.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Driven-Media-1445558525744107/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/media_driven

 

Weekly Dance Break: Keone and Mari x EN Dance Showcase

I never get tired to watching this husband and wife duo do their thing.

Acro Abroad: France, Spain, Germany Edition

View over the Seine, Paris France
Galeries Lafayette on the Boulevard Haussmann
Bavaria, Germany
The Petit Palais, Paris France
French essentials in Marseille
Detail from Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille France
Steps to Notre Dame de la Garde
The Azur Coast and its white limestone cliffs, Cassis France
Fresh fruit and juice in Barcelona’s Boqueria, which dates back as early as 1217.
Early morning in the Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous market.
Barcelona boardwalk puns
A little sweet treat from Laduree, Paris France.
Lobster paella in Barcelona
Graffiti in Le Marais, Paris France
Don’t forget. Paris France.
The Louvre has it all.
The look of resignation on that woman’s face is history captured in a single expression. The Louvre, Paris France.
Cassis, France.
Cassis, France.
Neo-Byzantine beauty. Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille France.
Paris essentials: Strawberry, pastry, Chantilly cream.
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris France.
Aioli Marseillaise with seafood, Marseille Vieux Port, France.
High above the world in the Austrian alps.