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Onward State Attends NYU Local’s #YMW

Conference
With the rumbling sound of the subway and the smell of dirty-water hot dogs filling the air, it was clear the Onward State crew wasn’t in State College anymore.

In fact we were over 200 miles away in the city that never sleeps, New York City. How did we, rural land grant university bloggers, find our way to the Big Apple? We were invited by our pals at NYU Local to attend a new media conference at New York University.

The Young Media Weekend was an event held last weekend that explored the direction of journalism in the digital age. Topics such as immediacy, aggregation and social media were explored by a group of 8 panelists from the mainstream blogosphere. In attendance were writers from organizations such as Gawker, NYMag Vulture, Think Progress and Salon.

A large portion of the discussion was spent making cheap puns that were quickly tweeted (and retweeted) by the tech-savvy crowd.

“If you don’t have Twitter then leave,” joked the event’s curator.

Reviewing the hashtag #YMW on Twitter will recap the event better than any story written by the crowd of over 100 writers. But despite having an attention span of a gnat with ADD, those in attendance can agree that as amateur bloggers we all took something away from the wise words of our snarky superiors.

With the dawning of the digital age, everyone now has a means to get their articles read. We can all sign up for a Blogspot account and write trendy yet underappreciated posts. The line between actual journalism and the narcissistic misconception that everyone wants to read what you have to say has been blurred by the explosion of personal blog sites.

However, these 8 bloggers found their way out from their mom’s basements (I had to) and into the mainstream media. It is, despite what most old school journos would say, possible to make a name for yourself in the media through blogging. Even if what you’re writing doesn’t appear in a conventional print operation, blogs have become established as a prominent source of the world’s daily news consumption.

As the power of the internet grows, stories are becoming increasingly succinct. Sites are frequently aggregating content from other news outlets. Getting a job is about banging the right people.

If you are a proponent of legacy media, this may seem darker than a Tim Burton movie. However, for the panel of bloggers, it’s just one part of adapting to the ever-changing news industry. For new media, the revolution will not be televised. It will be tweeted out and archived on Tumblr.

After Party
The problem started when the conference ended and the planned “debauchery” was set to begin.  At Penn State, a night of debauchery usually entails shot-gunning a Four Loko and waking up on the HUB lawn naked. Let’s just say my expectations were set high.

However, for NYU debauchery meant slugging back pricey alcohol at a swanky Lower East Side hotel.

I guess as Happy Valley residents we thought that the drinking age didn’t apply to us. We’ve been jaded by only having to show a student ID to get stupid drunk at a frat party. That wasn’t how it went down in the Big Apple, though.

As soon as the underage crew tried to pass through the bouncers, we were quickly redirected out the door and onto the streets. At a frat it’s your fault if you don’t get in. You should either get hotter friends or meet more girls. Not getting into a swaggerful city rager to network with media icons; that can only be blamed on the asinine lawmakers who set the drinking age at 21.

In typical Penn State fashion, we didn’t let the man keep us down. We picked up some six packs from a corner store (yeah, not a bottle shop) and made the best of our Saturday in the city.

I was missing the college party scene, though. Mostly I was bummed that downtown New York City doesn’t have a Calder Way where you can easily break the seal. There are dollar slices, though. Don’t listen to Asher Roth, you don’t need to be in a college town to get cheap pizza.

Just Wait a New York Minute
NYU students are unfairly pegged with the term “pretentious.” I was personally alerted of this by several of my friends from the city before attending the conference.

I was under the misconception that NYU is full of snobby, hipsters who can pay their way into future employment.

That is not only wrong; it characterizes their student population in an ignorant attempt to vent personal regret over not being able to afford to go to college in New York City.

I do agree that “state school kids,” as we became known as, are culturally different than the city slickers we met, though.

Coming from a rural and overtly conservative university, I wasn’t well adapted to the left-wing mentality that reigned strong at NYU. My blatant Tucker Max inspired misogyny came under scrutiny at times. Our political ideologies didn’t quite match up either.

However, we come from different places. What’s a CATA bus for Penn State, is a MTA transit line for NYU. While we’re all debating last night’s football game, they’re planning art exhibits and musical performances.

What got wrongly pegged as egocentrism is actually a dandy little thing called diversity. Our worlds, from an exterior view, are extremely opposite. But at the core, we’re both young adults who spend their weekdays dreaming about the weekends. We both fall asleep in boring lectures and stay up late cramming for exams.

Geographically and culturally, we’re like oil and water. But on closer inspection, we’re still college students looking to have a good time.

I really hope we get the opportunity to host the next Young Media event. It’s no Times Square, but Happy Valley has its perks.

We’re a world apart from what NYU is used to. To them, I’m sure our reckless drinking in crowded dorm rooms would seem all too American Pie. But Onward State was lucky enough to get a glimpse of urban university life. We got a quick snapshot of what it’s like to share your campus with over 8 million people. It’d be nice to show them how the “state school kids” get down.

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