Center for Media Innovation and Research

The Center for Media Innovation and Research at the University of Florida is part of an ambitious project to help develop tomorrow’s journalism through research and innovation. The 21st Century Newsroom and Laboratory, an integral part of the Center, is an amazing place for students to do journalism. My first memory of the lab was the night I met CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman there. He spoke to students and faculty in our college. Great night! One of the great innovators and professors in our college, David E. Carlson, is the Executive Director of the Center. He recently talked to me about the Center and its components.

The 21st Century Newsroom and Lab is equipped with mac computers as well as a great monitor. I’ll let you be the judge…but I think it’s a nice lab!

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“The Tipping Point” Summary/Review

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is an interesting book about the factors that play a crucial role on whether trends “tip” or fade with time. Gladwell talks about three factors: the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor and the Power of Context. The Law of the Few is the concept that there are only a few people that start and eventually help spread the popularity of something. But these people are not chosen randomly, they, on the other hand, are inherently gifted in such ways that they are able to make something “tip”. Gladwell describes three types of people: the Connectors, the Mavens and the Salesmen. The Connector is the type of person that knows everybody and probably introduced you to half of the people you now know. Mavens are experts in their fields, while Salesmen are individuals with remarkable persuasive skills. The Stickiness Factor is whatever makes something “contagious”. The Stickiness Factor does not necessarily go along with conventional wisdom. In fact, it is often contrary to conventional rules or concepts. Finally, the Power of Context refers to the optimum environmental influences under which something can tip.

I find this book very helpful in explaining how and why something tips. When I was reading this book and particularly the case studies, I began wondering how the rise of the iPod can be explained using these principles. It is hard for me to try to explain it because I don’t have the necessary background information. However, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if I later find out that these three principles had something to do with it. One of the advantages of The Tipping Point is that you can use its concepts to explain a wide range of phenomena.

Some quality soccer games coming our way…

Next week will mark the start of the UEFA Champions League’s quarter final games. This is definitely an exciting time for all soccer fans out there. This year is no exception and we will have the opportunity to watch some quality teams play each other. I wanna start by mentioning the Man U. vs Chelsea matchup, which promises to gives us great football once again. These two teams played in the final of the 2007-08 edition, which Man U. won. Almost three years later, Chelsea now has a different coach in Carlo Ancelotti and have added former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres to their roster. On the other hand, Man U. no longer has Cristiano Ronaldo, but Mexican player  “Chicharito” Hernandez is having a fantastic season. The first leg will be played at Stamford Bridge on April 6. A week later they’ll meet again in Old Trafford for the second leg.

Let’s now change the focus to another promising matchup between Real Madrid and Tottenham. Guided by coach Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid is finally in the quarter finals once again. They’ll face a Tottenham team that knocked out Italian club Milan in the previous round. Tottenham has in its roster former Madrid player Rafael van der Vaart. The Dutch midfielder is having a great season. For Madrid, many players are having a wonderful season including German midfielder Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, among others. The first leg will be played in Madrid on April 5. A week later they’ll meet again in London.

The other two quarter finals will be Inter vs. Schalke and Barcelona-Shakhtar. Like I said before, there are some quality soccer games coming our way!

An interesting story…!

So I couldn’t find any good old pictures to go along with this biographical blog post, but I promise it is an interesting story.  Though there are no visuals, your imagination can certainly help you in this regard and maybe even do a better job than any picture would. So the story goes something like this…I grew up in Miami. I particularly remember my high school years…great friends and weather made for a good combination. I want to tell you guys about my hobbies and it all starts with…soccer! I am a huge soccer fan, on and off the field. But more than just soccer, I am sports guy. I like to practice and watch many sports including basketball, tennis, racquetball, and football. I also like to visit new places, new countries. That’s one of the reasons why I studied abroad during my sophomore year in college. I went to the Netherlands for a semester. I had a great time; one of the best experiences of my life. I would need more than a blog post to tell you the story…, but definitely met great people and had an awesome semester. Talking about college, attending UF was one of the best decisions/opportunities I have had. I grew as a student and as a person. I take my studies very seriously and have great passion for journalism and communications. I like to communicate and transmit information to people, useful information. I very much appreciate if you took the time to read this and hope you found it interesting. Now you know a little bit more about me!

More of the Netherlands…

Can you guess what’s this picture of? Let me give you a hint…big Dutch tradition. Still have no idea?  This is a picture of the celebrations as part of Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day in Amsterdam. Queen’s Day is considered the biggest national holiday in the Netherlands. It takes place every April and celebrations occur across the country. However, the biggest events take place in Amsterdam. They include concerts, parades, and many other activities. Most people wear orange and fill the streets to celebrate this holiday. I had a very nice experience. The atmosphere was great. There were a lot of people in the streets and everyone seemed to be having fun! My friends and I walked through Amsterdam going from one event to the next. I also gotta mention Queen’s Night, which takes place the night before. It is also a lot of fun and many businesses organize special events. If you guys visit the Netherlands in late April, Queen’s Night/Day is something I would recommend experiencing. The celebrations are nice and a lot of fun!

A “small piece” of the Netherlands

This is Madurodam…a miniature city in Den Haag (The Hague), the Netherlands. The “city” is made up of typical Dutch landmarks in a small scale. This place is truly amazing! I had the opportunity of visiting it and just loved it. It is actually quite spacious for a miniature city (or so I think). According to Wikipedia, Madurodam “was named after George Maduro, a law student from Curaçao who fought the Nazi occupation forces as a member of the Dutch resistance and died at Dachau concentration camp in 1945.” The first picture you see here is the small replica of the Dom Tower in Utrecht. As you can notice, it is pretty tall (even for a miniature city!) and one of the structures I like the most there. If you have visited some of these places in person, you can appreciate the great detail the structures have at Madurodam. If you ever visit the Netherlands, and particularly The Hague, this miniature city is definitely something I would recommend. You will have a great time! Also, one of the advantages of Madurodam (not to discourage visiting all of these landmarks/places in person) is being able to see the small version of many if you do not have the time to visit them in person. At Madurodam, you can see landmarks from all over the Netherlands. So there you have…a very nice place to visit in the Netherlands.

Ronaldo (R9) Retires…

One of the best soccer players I have seen…retired on Monday. Brazilian player Ronaldo announced in a press conference his decision to retire from the game after a fantastic career. This video illustrates some of his skills with the ball. When we talked about such a magnificent player it is hard to rank his goals, but the ones in this video are definitely among the best he scored during his career. Every soccer fan and even people who don’t follow the game have probably heard about Ronaldo at some point. Ronaldo had a very successful career in Europe, where he played for clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Inter. He also won the FIFA World Player of the Year three times. I could go on and on about his accomplishments as a player…but one thing is clear: one of the best soccer players in history has retired.