Finding the inspiration to tell stories that connect with readers, viewers or listeners can be difficult at times, even for the most seasoned journalists. Somewhere between writer’s blocks and deadline-triggered stress, a news junkie needs a shot of encouragement.
As a budding college journalist, I’ve realized that it’s important to remind yourself why you’ve chosen a career in media and to always be inspired.
“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world,” the late magazine publisher Henry Luce once said.
I look at the original wonders of the ancient world as a reminder of the extraordinary and creative capabilities of society. Through my journey of exploring the art of mass communication as a college journalist, I’ve compiled a list of seven inspiring wonders.
1. Adobe Museum of Digital Media (Virtual)
One of the first of its kind, the Adobe Museum of Digital Media launched in 2010. I was drawn in by the exhibit’s interactive features — technology and design meets art and virtual storytelling.
When in need of a visual challenge, this museum provides just that, at the click of mouse. This Flash-based showcase is worth the loading time. According to Adobe’s website, the virtual museum is to preserve outstanding media and offer commentary on digital media’s influence on culture and society.
2. Alcatraz (San Francisco Bay)
Escaping writers block after failed attempts can feel like trying to penetrate an impenetrable prison. All of the good ideas are waving from California. While I don’t support the escape of inmates, it’s an inspiring story of persistence and detail — words a good journalist should know well.
Located on Alcatraz Island, the former Federal Prison served some of the worlds most infamous and dangerous criminals before it closed in 1963. Because of its island location and high security level, there was reportedly only one successful escape out of many failed attempts.
3. The Newseum (Washington)
While interning in Washington, I had the pleasure of visiting The Newseum for the first time. To say that this adventure was magical would be an understatement. It brings you so close to the the past that you may imagine for a moment that you’re actually in it.
According to the Newseum’s website, this 25 thousand square-foot, interactive museum aims to tell stories of important world events in engaging ways and to educate the public of the freedoms in a free society.
One of the most memorable and inspiring exhibits is the Journalists Memorial. It honors the brave journalists who lost their lives while working in the sometimes dangerous media industry. Like soldiers in a way, they fought, using the first amendment.
Many of the exhibits have an emotional pull. News junkies like myself, refer to The Newseum experience as an inspirational pilgrimage.
TThe Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington D.C.
4. The Museum of Broadcast Communications (Chicago)
Dedicated to preserving the archives of radio and television programs, the Museum of Broadcast Communications is the place to learn the story of broadcasting — while exploring the radio and television studios. Their online archives can dramatically aid in research involving historical events.
The museum houses the nation’s only National Radio Hall of Fame Gallery. With MBC’s extensive archives, it aims to educate the public as well as broadcast personnel, according the MBC’s website. The museum collects documented speeches, debates and television programs.
5. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (Cleveland)
For those who love the music and entertainment beat, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a historical paradise. When my eyes met the black and white QR coded guitar, it was digital love at first sight.
Many ideas and great works have been inspired by music, so why not lift your mood with some rock ‘n roll?
The museum houses thousands of artifacts and exhibits to educate and raise awareness of the significance of music culture.
6. The Mississippi River
Flowing southward through 10 states, the Mississippi River is one of the best known rivers in the United States. As I stood by a hotel gate in Natchez, Miss. — gazing at such a beautiful sight — I thought, “This is it, the Mighty Mississippi.”
This river has not only enriched the earth, but also the imagination of many writers and artists. “The face of the water… became a wonderful book — a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me,” Mark Twain famously wrote in reference to the Mississippi River.
Too much of the past is embedded into the Mighty Mississippi for its inspirational affects to ever run dry. “The river is within us, the sea is all about us,” poet T. S. Eliot wrote. It gives me hope that one day, I too can channel this rich history into something great.
7. “The Crossroads of the World” (New York)
If you’re from a small city like I am, you understand the motivational boost of visiting Times Square. I didn’t mind coming across as the ultimate tourist as I took pictures with Disney characters and my favorite media signs. It gives you the chance to explore and see what opportunities are available.
More specifically, within New York, Times Square is a commercial hub of entertainment. With all of the live performances and comedy shows flooding the area, it’s a perfect place to freelance covering local events and writing reviews. As one of the most jam-packed locations for tourists, it’s also pleasantly diverse.
Sometimes it just takes stepping away from your routine to find inspiration.
What are your seven wonders?
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