Journalist at the University of Tennessee and the work I've done

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I’ve lived in the Fort Sanders neighborhood for about two and a half years now. What started out as a convenient place to live turned into an undying passion for my home. Over the past two years I’ve recognized several aspects about the Fort that need improving.

The most obvious problem is the piles of trash that accumulate on lawns, sidewalks, and gutters. That aspect alone seems to depreciate the standard of living in the neighborhood. Since there is already old beer bottles lying on the ground, it isn’t a problem to throw yours down, right? Thus the cycle continues. Trash breeds more trash. Apathy breeds more apathy.

I want to change this.

Part of the Leadership Knoxville Scholars curriculum is a Community Action Project (CAP). Essentially, every scholar must come up with a plan to positively impact the community in some way. The possibilities of CAP’s are endless. My friend, Ryan Brown, created the Food Recovery Network as his CAP. He collects food from various events, such as UT Football games, that would have been thrown out. Then he relocates it to someone in need. It isn’t just Ryan, either, it’s a whole organization. Another friend and fellow scholar, Blake Roller, will hold a history fair for elementary students in Knoxville. He wants to teach them about the rich history of Knoxville, and he’s a total expert on it.

My passion for the Fort is the fuel to my CAP. Organizing a trash clean up has been a goal of mine for over a year now. But between two jobs, school, and life I haven’t had much energy to pour into a brand new project.

Finally I’ve teamed up with the Fort Sanders Neighborhood Association to get my CAP started. Sunday, October 26th the Association hosted a Fort Sanders Homecoming event with chili and music. About 30 people from the community met up at James Agee Park. While enjoying free food, we looked over plans to install several trash receptacles on various corners in the neighborhood. Overall, it was a good time and the Mayor even showed up.

Personally, I would love to have more of these events. The Association and I have talked about a couple different ideas. There will definitely be some community get-togethers in the future.

However, right now, I’d really love to tackle the most obvious problem. This Sunday, November 9th from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. we’re hosting a trash clean up! We’ll tackle the areas between James Agee and 11th street. Anyone is welcome to come out, and feel free to sign up if you’d like to! We’re getting trash bags and gloves from Keep Knoxville Beautiful.

I don’t just want to make the Fort a cleaner place. I want people to invest in the community like I want to. I want students and members of the community to work together. I want a community! Sure, it won’t be easy to change the mindset that people have toward the Fort. But one day, everyone will see it as I do. It is a significant, beautiful, historical gem. And it deserves to be treated that way.

Our next clean up will be on Sunday, December 14th from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Email me if you have an questions, ideas, or concerns! rblake5@vols.utk.edu


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Worth It

I found out this morning that I was not selected for the USA Today program. Am I disappointed? A little. Overall, though, I think it was a valuable experience. Think of all good things that came out of it:

-Made this nifty little blog. Now I can post my assignments all in one place, and I haven’t done that before. 

-Learned more about our LGBT community at UT. And as an extra bonus I got  to hang out with Joel Kramer for an hour or so. 

-Did my first same-day journalism project. MY FIRST. Seriously, that’s a step in the right direction if nothing else. 

So the next time you’re down in the dumps because something didn’t go your way, take a moment. Maybe that wasn’t the right direction for you anyway. Embrace change and make the best of your new situation. 

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Diversity at the University of Tennessee

This past week I’ve been stoked about doing this project. However I had an extremely jam-packed week and had to wait until today to do it. I worked for my job on Monday and Wednesday, finished my internship at WBIR yesterday, and had to move out of my apartment by Wednesday night. Needless to say, I’m exhausted.

Today was full of challenges, but I got it done, and I’m so happy because it was a great day! It may not seem like it at first, just wait. 

I started out the day by paying off my tuition for the summer and forgetting my phone at home. I arrived on campus around 9:10 a.m. and checked out the equipment. I gathered some shots from campus and headed over for my interview at 10 a.m. Joel Kramer is a boss, and I absolutely love him. He was extremely informative about diversity on campus and the initiatives that the University maintains. If it was possible, I would have loved to show his 23 minute interview in its entirety because it was great. After leaving him I bopped around from 30 minute parking spots to 15 minute parking spots until I got the footage I needed. I also ran into the beautiful Sammie Herold and got some great insight from her. Since I left my phone at home, I looked up directions to my doctor’s office and headed out around 11:58 a.m. even though my appointment was at 12:30 p.m. I grabbed some McDonald’s and immediately spilled a third of my large coke all over me. The gas light went on so I needed to fill up–almost got hit THREE times in the parking lot. Then as I’m trying to find the office, the road it’s supposed to be on turned out to be a dead end. A DEAD END. For those of you who do not know me, I don’t own a car and don’t typically drive. I was freaking out. Miraculously I navigated my way there with 10 minutes to spare. I scarfed down my lunch and spent the next hour and a half at the doctor. I bolted out and finally found a metered spot a couple of blocks away from campus. The time? 2:08 p.m. There was only a two hour limit on the meter. I hadn’t even uploaded my footage, let alone edited it. I fed the meter and prayed that I could somehow get back before I got ticketed. The next part wasn’t easy, but everything seemed to fall into place and the story basically told itself. It was the fastest I’ve ever edited a piece. It was also my first time doing a same-day turnaround on a project. I finished at 4:21 p.m. And I have no idea how. The deadline was 5 p.m. I’m actually really proud of my work, too. Even if I don’t make it past round two, it was a great experience.

Diversity at the University of Tennessee

Hope you enjoy!   

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Power T TV (Broadcast-Producer, 2012)

Power T TV was a side project that a few of my journalism friends and I worked on. Although we only produced three segments as a team, it was my first taste of producing, and I fell in love with it.

Power T TV: April 5, 2012 (Plainclothes Tracy, Brock Ward, and Top Stories)

Power T TV: April 19, 2012 (The Female Orgasm, Orange & White Game, and Top Stories)

Power T TV: May 8, 2012 (End of School, Smokey’s Shenanigans, and Top Stories)

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…And who are you?

Hello! My name is Rachelle (sounds like ‘Rachel’) Blake (sounds like ‘Blake’) and I’m a senior at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

I created this blog to showcase some of my work. I’m an aspiring journalist. I’ve been working toward my goal for over a decade now. 

USA Today offers an amazing College Correspondence program for journalists in the visual and writing fields. Although I have many pieces of work I’ve done scattered all over the web, it’s not centralized. 

This blog will act as my portfolio so that I may apply for the visual position in the program. Regardless if I’m accepted, I’d still like to continuously update this for my own enjoyment. 

If you have a story idea or a concern that you’d like me to look into, then please shoot me an email at rblake5@vols.utk.edu

The whole reason I want to be a journalist is so that I may give a voice to those who are unable to speak and therefore may subsequently be able to change the world in some manner, no matter how small. 

In high school I worked at my school newspaper (The Dragon Spirit) for two years. First year as a reporter, second year as Business Manager and I had the honor of writing my own column monthly. For three years I acted as publicity chair of our theatre program. One year I was publicity chair for choir, as well. Then finally, senior year, I had the privilege of anchoring our morning TV station several times a week.

Since I’ve been to UT I’ve seen exponential growth in my work and definitely improvement. I spent three years at our campus radio station. Two of those years I consistently deejayed for three hours a week. The last two years at that job I also worked in the office writing liners, giveaways, web stories. I also scheduled deejays, took care of anyone coming in to claim a prize, organized an employee gathering (“Family Lunch”), and could run the station by myself if the actual staff members were out for the day.

I’m currently interning at WBIR-Channel 10 and have been since the beginning of the summer. I’ve shadowed and worked with directors, producers, reporters, photographers, and production assistants. I would love to continue to gain experience by being accepted to the USA Today College Correspondence program. But if not, we will see where life takes me next!