Starting from scratch

Sep 02 2015

My interest in the intersection of business and journalism brought me to the Reese News Lab. As I learned more about the Lab, I knew there was no better way to meaningfully explore this cross-section of my personal and academic interests.

When I walked into the Lab for the first time as an intern, I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as we knew one another’s  names, we were breaking the ice by sharing the craziest foods we had ever eaten. Looking back now, this craziness was only a small glimpse into what would actually follow in the next week.

For the first pitch, I teamed up with Elly Penning and Morgan Trachtman. Elly summed it up pretty well after only the first day. Our brains were hurting. In a couple of hours, Elly, Morgan and I created, destroyed, rehashed and significantly changed an idea that started as a sticky note on the wall. After mulling over the same idea and sitting through too frequent periods of thought-filled silence, we found just as much inspiration as we found setbacks in our thinking. The silence was broken when we were asked to go out on campus and talk to the people who would be involved in our project. Associate director Sara Peach’s impromptu idea gave us the opportunity to focus our product based on the opinions that really mattered: those from our potential customers.

The importance of communication extends beyond making the effort to speak with the consumers involved. Not only did it take speaking with our target market to flesh out our idea, it was also necessary for us to take a moment to step back and revisit our idea with a fresh mindset. As a group, it was quickly evident how necessary it was to get our opinions out there, to find out where we agreed and disagreed and, most importantly, to compromise.

When time came around to pitch our product, we had a much more precise idea of the product we were envisioning. We presented RestaurantLive, an interactive social application that hopes to facilitate an easy, yet fun, dining experience with real-time conversations and good deals. Creating this hypothetical application got me to become more familiar with the types of thoughts, questions, ideas and conversations that will be necessary when we delve deeper into researching and coming up with media ideas.

This first week at the Lab has challenged me to think beyond the traditional. As for where my expectations stand now, I can’t say that I know what to expect in the form of outcomes. However, I can say that I’ve learned invaluable lessons dealing with the importance of listening, communicating and taking action. As time continues here at the Lab, I can only imagine these lessons will become much clearer as the challenges become increasingly tougher.

I’m excited for the limitless possibilities that exist at the Lab, and I can’t wait to see what it’ll be like to see another idea sprout and grow into something of value. Meanwhile, I look forward to dealing with the challenges that will inevitably come with my new team, and although I do fully expect that my brain will hurt sometimes, I think it’ll be worth it.


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