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Most people enjoy the various tourist attractions while visiting New York City. I got to see the backbone of the media industry that drives the city on my January 2007 week-long trip to the Big Apple.
I traveled to New York City as part of the journalism and electronic media department's annual New York Media Trip, led by Naeemah Clark and Lyn Lepre, both assistant professors in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.
Since I came to the University of Tennessee, I'd heard the buzz about this trip and was determined to go once I reached the required age of 21. Students would return with stories of meeting media celebrities, and I knew the trip could help me make important contacts in the world of magazine writing and publishing.
When we arrived at LaGuardia Airport, the wind stung my thin Southern skin. Our cab ride to the hotel was a bit harrowing, too, with the driver making a sharp right turn from the left turning lane. Still, the gleam of the city lights made my chill and apprehension give way to excitement.
Each day was filled to the brim with meetings and tours. Besides learning about the various media outlets in New York City, I received practical advice about how to survive in the metropolis. UT alumni and friends of the professors who accompanied us were more than willing to share their personal stories of success and failure.
The highlight of the trip for me was watching our group shoot a small segment for MTV U's Valentine's Day specials. (MTV U is a secondary channel to MTV aired at college campuses across the United States.) Each person was asked various questions relating to the holiday. In addition to learning how a studio worked first-hand and getting to know my fellow travelers better, we also became part of the media we are studying.
I found it hard to sleep my first night back in Tennessee. I worried about my future in the highly competitive industry until about 3 a.m. Then I caught a glimpse of my stack of business cards I had collected and pictures I had taken. The trip gave me the confidence to embrace the challenge rather than fear it.
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Kim Peer, of Tullahoma, Tenn., is a senior in journalism and electronic media on the magazine track. She is campus editor of The Tennessee Journalist, historian and publicist of UT's Equestrian Team and an intern in the UT public relations office. Her career goal is to work in magazine editing and publishing and hopefully end up at Southern Living.