I spent the better part of the past two weeks at home in Conway. My parents were out of town on a cruise so I went home to hang out with my brother and watch over the two dachshunds. After about four days I emerged from a Rolling Rock-induced daze of binge drinking to realize that I need to put my thesis as well as my life together. I worked on my thesis for several days and then my parents returned. They were somewhat curious about what I am researching (Twitter use by Senate campaign and office accounts) but more concerned I never took the ASU-TV broadcasting course at Arkansas State. You see, my master’s is technically in Radio-Television, but I’ve not done any formal television in the program outside of working the camera at various events. No production or anchoring. This questioning sent me into a tailspin of self-doubt, as I’ve completed all coursework at ASU except for my thesis. After several hours of deep thought I remembered that I never intended to try to do television broadcasting. I came to the program seeking to gain radio skills and try to go into radio broadcasting, and I have developed intermediate audio and video editing production skills in various courses, but since last spring I have fully intended on becoming a researcher. I intend to be a researcher, but also intend to be a watchman. Perhaps I read too many comic books, but there are bigger issues in the world than what they focus on every night on the local news. Sure I could have taken the ASU-TV course and done some anchoring, but the best that would get me is an opportunity at a local television station and that’s not what I want. I don’t want to talk about some elderly couple who saves puppies from the pound. I want to speak truth to power, man. Becoming a member of academia would allow me do so, particularly when it’s the areas of mass media and politics. Political power, economics, and globalism are important topics to critically focus on.
Also, I have learned a lot in the Mass Communications program at ASU. However, what I learned is that the traditional career models of radio, television, and print (used a serial comma there despite a course on AP Style) are not what they were thirty years ago. I knew that before from working at the weekly newspaper in Little Rock; that is why I came to graduate school in the first place. I knew local newspapers weren’t ready to truly invest in caring about social media likes and retweets when advertising revenue was what kept the place running. At ASU I realized how much the changes are happening not only in print but in radio and television. That’s why the program itself has gone through re-branding with more of a focus on “multi-media” being in the name. The old way of starting out a radio career with the graveyard shift at the local country station doesn’t work anymore because so much can be automated. Still, there are opportunities to broadcast on the Internet with podcasts and online radio stations and video blogs and various platforms that have never existed before. So much is now entrepreneurial today in media, and that is why my focus is on trying to first establish stability by becoming a faculty member somewhere.
That is a manifesto of my thoughts on myself. However, it’s also a note for me to go back and look at next year at this time, when I’m hopefully looking for a part-time job in the city where I’ll be pursuing a doctorate.
Now I just have to get in.
I learned a lot on Twitter this weekend. For one, my immediate reaction to statements about white men is to justify to myself how I’m exempt or different from stereotypes. That’s an immature viewpoint to have but it’s still my impulse and I’ll have to work to evolve more as a thinker. It also made me realize that the slight discomfort I’ve felt from being stereotyped for being a white male is like a fraction of what minorities and women have felt their entire lives in the real world and not just on the Internet. Anyways, this is just way too long and convoluted for Twitter but I wanted to type it out somewhere. Also, while the truths and statements that have emerged from the #yesallwomen hashtag are important, it still hangs in my head that this is all on a small bubble of the Internet. In real life, in Arkansas, many men don’t even think about these types of viewpoints and those who do are often viewed as somehow less masculine. So for me (see, still relating it all to myself which means no matter how hard I try my brain is narcissistic and self-centered) there’s two strains here. There’s the internet world where equality and rights are being discussed and I try to learn about different viewpoints, and then there’s real world Arkansas where people still use every derogatory stereotype word imaginable about minorities and women. And then there’s me, at the crossroads of it all. Guess we’ll just see how things unfold. Just re-read what I wrote and it is completely about myself. Oh well.
After watching “Where the Buffalo Roam” last night I’m now determined to chase the 2016 election in honor of Hunter S. Thompson. All I need is my car, laptop, and phone. I’m going to try my hardest to head to Iowa or New Hampshire or other big time campaign trail events to carry the torch for a new generation of gonzo journalists.
Get Glue check-ins make me want to throw my laptop against the wall. I hate auto tweets and no one cares what tv show you are watching.