Center for Media Innovation and Research

19 Apr

Even though the CMIR Lab has only been a part of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications since September of 2010, it is already making groundbreaking progress in the quest to explore our media possibilities. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about innovative journalism and report news in the facility.

The grand opening video shows the vast array of media opportunities with the CMIR lab and the direction the world of journalism is moving toward.

This semester I’m taking Advanced Online Media in the lab. In class, we’re able to bring colleagues’ blogs, sites and videos up on the multi-screen display and on individual Mac laptops at the round-tables in the lab.

And last semester I got to work on WUFT’s first-ever election team. We meshed print, TV and online media for the best coverage, plus had a LIVE broadcast on election night for local TV and radio stations.

Working on one of the laptops (see picture above) and getting ready to report live on the amendments

The Tipping Point

7 Apr

Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is a very interesting book. I like it for two main reasons. First of all, he brings up many points that I have never specifically thought of, that I have seen to be true in many situations and relationships in my life. I also enjoy reading the book because I disagree with some of his points and reasoning. Maybe I have not researched and lived and experienced to his level of understanding, but I find it refreshing to read his well-written opinion of social epidemics without blindly agreeing with every point.

Honestly, the whole idea of having one main tipping point doesn’t sit well with me. One point that turns the snowball into an avalanche? It starts with the momentum. Even a racecar takes some percentage of a second to get from zero to 60. It can’t happen in literally one point. Although this is the whole premise of the book, there are many phenomenons he writes about, that I agree with.

On Thursday, February 10th, a YouTube video was uploaded of a 13-year-old singing a song lacking strong lyrics, acting, and substance in general. Seven weeks later, the music video “Friday” had more than 75 million views and young Rebecca Black was being talked about in Time magazine and hosted on Good Morning America and the Jay Leno Show. It seems almost physically impossible that a video of an unknown artist could circulate that quickly, with that kind of response based on how bad it is.

Gawker’s Adrian Chen has followed the Rebecca Black story and is pretty much an expert on how people become Internet-famous. She writes, “Basically the content doesn’t matter at all. Only the fact that other people are sharing it.” The majority of viewers rate “dislike”. Yet it still spreads like an epidemic.  

On a more serious, yet equally applicable, note is the issue of human trafficking. Gladwell writes that a tiny percentage of the people do the majority of the work. While a very small percentage of the people in the world are trafficking human beings to be slaves, it is still the fastest growing crime in the world. How could so few people be running such a powerful and profitable business that defiles human beings, no less? These traffickers are exceptionally motivated to keep this operation running- they make an incredible amount of money in this business and once they are in, their lives are at stake if they want to get out. And just like the Queens woman Gladwell writes about who was killed while 38 people stood by, the same happens daily with the issue of human trafficking. And people do not realize that they are bystanders actually hurting the problem, not “innocently” not helping. It is certainly easier to spread an epidemic than stop one.

An observation I made while reading Gladwell’s many examples and thinking about my own experiences is that most of these epidemics are negative: syphilis, AIDS, suicide, bad music.  To be sure, there are positive epidemics, such as underprivileged children’s literacy through Sesame Street and the spread of delicious restaurant recommendations. But why is it that “bad” spreads so much more quickly than “good”? Why are we fixated on these things? I did not pose that question to lead up to a sophisticated answer. It is just an observation and I will be interested to observe after reading this book.

Different parts of my UF home

31 Mar

Today, for the first time, I noticed the beautiful blossoms outside of Weimer- my home at the University of Florida. I share this home with many Journalism and Communications students. One of whom is Kristi Posson, who does some really great stories at our on-campus WUFT News station, which you can check out on her site. Lynne Guey also offers a unique perspective of the digital revolution in the news industry. It’s definitely a growing revolution and one that is sure to transform this era of information.

On Saturday, I will embark on the adventure of my third Dance Marathon weekend. For those unfamiliar with the event, it’s 26.2 (marathon) hours in the O’Connel Center filled with standing, dancing, not sleeping…all for the kids at Shands hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network.

As a dancer, I just fundraise and show up to DANCE. But this year’s Overall Marketing chair, Meredith Chipman, has been running around (with the rest of the DM Overall Team) to get the word out about this powerful event and life-changing cause.

Fabulous Food & Fun Fitness

28 Mar

So, if you haven’t been to my Photo365 blog in a while (or ever), I’ll give you a quick rundown of the past week.

When my family came to town, we enjoyed a delicious, vegan dinner at the Reggae Shack Cafe (YOU MUST GO THERE ARE ORDER THE CURRY TEMPEH) then headed to Maude’s dowtown for dessert and Pictionary. All of this delicious eating makes me think of Daniela Perallon and Lee Ziesche‘s excellent taste in all things food and blogging.

But of course, eating giant cupcakes has consequences and I made an effort to combat this by going to Advanced Step, taught by my dear friend, Kelsey.

I’d like to think Katie Keene, UF Fitness Instructor and colleague, is supportive of this decision. Her Gator Fitness blog will motivate you to get up and get moving! Take advantage of UF’s many group fitness classes while you can! There are so many different formats- you’re sure to find one that fits you!


Kendall McCrory’s Life Thus Far

23 Mar

A biography is a large task to accomplish in any format, for anyone. But I will attempt to give you some highlights of my crazy, yet ordinary, life in this one little blog post.

The family at Universal Studios, Orlando

Hi! My name is Mary Kendall McCrory, but I just go by “Kendall”. First of all, my faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely my foundation. He is my hope, strength, joy, love and purpose for being alive. Family is another huge part of my life, responsible for shaping so much of who I am and bringing me continuous joy and blessings. I was born in Pensacola, Florida where I lived for 18 years until moving to Gainesville, Florida for school. At West Florida High School of Advanced Technology I had a wonderful experience studying Sports Medicine and thought I would go to school to become a Physical Therapist.

Live Election Coverage in the CMIR Lab

Finishing up my last semester as a Telecommunication-News major at the University of Florida is a surreal experience. It has been a privilege to be in one of the best journalism programs in the nation. I have learned an incredible amount through all of the hands-on experience; working in the WUFT-TV news station on campus and collaborating to pioneer online and TV coverage for the Florida’s 2010 Elections in the new CMIR lab.

Besides Telecom, my theatre interest was sparked with Theatre Strike Force‘s alluring improvisation, which I enjoyed participating in for a time.

One major aspect of my college career was the time I spent working for UF’s Department of Housing and Residence Education as a Peer Mentor and Resident Assistant in Trusler Hall. This was an invaluable experience working with the housing staff and my floor of 52 residents. These relationships allowed me to share wisdom I’ve learned in my time here and, in turn, learn even more from those around me.

Some Trusler 1 residents see "Cats"

When I’m not focused on school or work, I love to fill my days with friends, great food and outdoor activities…and photographing all of the above. This could be just about anything, but some of my favorites include playing Ultimate Frisbee, tennis or riding bikes on the Hawthorne Trail.

Cooking and baking have become passions of mine and I admittedly spend entirely too much time drooling over recipes and pictures on Joy the Baker and The Pioneer Woman.

My attempt at Joy's Peanut Butter Fudge Treats. Success.

Traveling- whether to another part of the state or world, whether by bus, train, car or plane- fuels a passion deep inside of me. I think that being part of the news industry and having a heart for other nations feeds my desire to see and experience what’s really going on around the globe. Speaking about what’s really going on, I am especially passionate about being a voice for those who are victims of human trafficking and sex slavery. International Justice Mission and Project Rescue are two organizations making great strides and restoration to combat this growing crime. After graduating, I hope to use my skills to serve these victims and those who are seeking to offer them hope.

The World’s Largest Aquarium!

6 Mar

Sharks and dolphins and whales, oh my! Not creatures you’d expect to find in the heart of Atlanta.

But even amidst skyscrapers and busy city streets, these underwater wonders have a roomy home in the largest aquarium in the world.

While in Atlanta, our Phi Lamb group took advantage of the limited-time “Imagination Days” deal for the aquarium (good until March 13th).

An afternoon well spent!

The Foundation for the Gator Nation

2 Mar

Buckman Hall

Just like any good story begins with a vivid setting, our school began with a place to gather, organize and educate. Buckman and Thomas Halls were just that for the University of Florida. The original two campus buildings were dedicated on September 27, 1906. Buckman Hall, pictured below, was dedicated to the memory of Henry H. Buckman, member of the Florida Legislature and author of the Buckman Act.

The Buckman Act consolidated all state institutions of higher learning into three state universities: the University of Florida (men), Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University), and Florida A&M University.

Designed by an architectural firm in Atlanta and built by a contractor from Jacksonville, the two gothic-tudor or collegiate gothic-inspired Buckman and Thomas halls cost $75,250 to construct. Yes, both of them.

Though they were designed to house student residents, the structures first served to house all of the University’s operations for many years. This included everything from an infirmary, gym, and professor living quarters. Students lived there too, paying a whopping $2.50 per month. Today, students pay about two-hundred times that. And they still don’t have air conditioning. Yet, students pay to live in these historic landmarks and enjoy the proximity to the heart of campus, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and University Avenue.

Look at the birds of the air

26 Feb

Today I took advantage of this incredible Florida weather and rode Blue Bell out on the Hawthorne Trail for a little while.

Many thoughts about post-graduation plans were creeping in, and bringing anxiety with them.

I stopped at a look-out point on the trail and noticed birds circling above…and all around. SO many of them.

The LORD reminded me of Matthew 6:25-27, 33

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Those birds have to migrate…twice…EVERY YEAR. Yet they never worry if they’ll have food or shelter…He takes care of them. And he does the same with His people, whom he cares so deeply for. He is so faithful.

The Last Titanic Dinner

20 Feb

Choosing a picture from this grand, historic, SURPRISE reunion dinner  was near impossible, but I fought the urge to pick a shot of the delicious food and thought I’d show off my beautiful family (minus 9 cousins and one uncle).

Dad, Uncle Howard, Aunt Krisan, Aunt Dea and their families

So, Aunt Dea is the owner and cook extraordinaire of the Baron York Tea Room in Clarksville, GA. Each year she does a Titanic anniversary dinner, making the last meal the travelers had on the “unsinkable ship”.

Here’s a taste of our SIX course meal. (The average number of courses was eleven!)

Each dinner “passenger” receives a boarding pass with the identity of an actual passenger aboard the Titanic and their fate April 12, 1912.

My place setting

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Beane


Breaking it Down: Text Test

15 Feb

This weekend my family had a mini family reunion in Georgia.

My little brother even got to come down from Boston!

He’s does this chest-beat thing and has pretty great rhythm…even (or especially) while on a treadmill.

I made this video to play around with the video filter options in Final Cut Pro.