Welcomed by the children

By Christopher Wink | Oct 26, 2008 | WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com

He liked the movement of the mouse cursor on my computer screen. So I pried his hands from the keys and opened up Microsoft Paint. With a few interruptions to change color and tool, a four-year-old who stumbled upon me in a park in Budapest, Hungary drew me a computer-generated painting.

Children don’t likely understand the concept of language. I certainly don’t remember when I learned of the six billion people in the world, most don’t speak like me. The little boy with the dirty sweatsuit, dirt on his brown-olive skin, and sand in his bushy, black hair spoke on to me, in a language I couldn’t understand.

He shrieked, too. First when – hoping to get him to stop smacking my laptop – I took his underarms and lifted him into the hanging leaves of a nearby tree.

He was positively gleeful.

He got on toy horse near the swings and – with a strong-armed point and another high-pitched shout – demanded I get on one nearby. For a few good moments, he and I raced fast and long toward a Soviet-era apartment complex across the street.

Then he got off and wanted to be lifted more. Offering demand I still couldn’t understand, but smiling in a way I could.

I don’t know where he went. Someone called what I thought was a name – a woman in the distance. He asked me to lift him once more – into the branches and leaves. He spoke more to me, grabbed some leaves and tossed them at me – sand included – and was gone.

Running off with a green soccer ball. A young boy I’ll never know. Who shrieked in my ears, threw sand at my face and gave me a pleasant picture to keep.

Originally written for the travel blog WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com.

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Look at the comments, stupid

Man, who doesn’t have a blog.

Any newspaper that can even be tossed in the conversation has someone adding to it. There is no end to the number of jerks like me doing much of the same, with less experience and knowledge but increasingly more interest than the more professional.

The question, of course, is if any of it is working. One of the simpler answers, I’d say, is, well, look at the comments. If they’re improving, you’re improving.

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Professional versus personal: My Web presence explained

Last month I introduced a personal blog, where I intend on updating about meaningful experiences in my life, as part of pursuit of a Life To Do List.

In truth, I tend to lose interest when someone has a legion of online presences, blogs begetting other blogs.

That’s not what this is meant to be. Instead, I believe a professional outlet is of paramount importance — develop and share perspective on your industry, become a thought leader and all that good stuff. To do that, you ought not muddle it all up with too many personal stories. …I think.

To be honest, I’m still figuring it out. While our brands need personal attention too, of course, I think there’s a line. I suppose that’s what I’m trying to figure it out.

If you’re going to have a professional and personal split online, that’s one I can understand, though I am still developing an opinion on whether I agree with myself.

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WordPress tags and categories: how a journalist can organize a personal site

I’m reworking this site. There is no reason for you to have noticed that I’ve changed all the categories and started using tags for my posts. All of my archives are now online with the concept.

I was trying to organize a post last week and realized I had more than 40 categories and was barely using tags. That’s ridiculous. Their purposes are to better organize posts and allow you to group like material. None of that was happening.

Yes, for those of you new or unfamiliar to WordPress, it gives you every reason for your product to be super organized and increase the searchability of your posts. The better organized, the easier it is to disseminate and let others find your material. That’s good news for a young journalist looking to promote himself.

The only problem is that I have more than 400 posts in less than a year of this blog’s existence. That’s a lot of work.

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Lessons from WDSTL: podcasting, travel blogging, exploring

Sean Blanda (left) and I on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps on May 28, 2008. Together we travel blogged and podcasted for a month while backpacking Europe.

Sean Blanda (left) and I on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps on May 28, 2008. Together we travel blogged and podcasted at WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com for a month while backpacking Europe.

After returning from backpacking Europe earlier this month, I shared some of the professional experience I got while blogging at WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com.

My good buddy, travel partner and fellow aspiring new media journalist Sean Blanda beat me to a post on lessons learned, but I have some thoughts myself: on podcasting, travel blogging and exploring generally.

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Why I want a job: do you really want one too?

When unemployed, author grows beard and develops pirate tendancies.

When unemployed, author grows beard and develops pirate tendencies.

I probably could travel forever.

Traveling can be cheap. That’s something I relearned early on the European backpacking trip from which I just returned. I could freelance a bit, and continue out in the world.

But I’m not. I came home and am on the prowl for more permanent work. I still had money in my back account, places I wanted to see and people I wanted to meet. Why did I come home? Why are you working?

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Should an unemployed journalist have a business card?


I am looking for a job.

When I mentioned that yesterday to a neighbor, he asked for one of my business cards to pass off to a friend.

I don’t have one. I didn’t want to spend the money. I never knew what to write on one. Being young and transient, I feel like my information and location would change to quickly. …I think I’d feel uncomfortable slipping one to someone.

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Can Philadelphia retain its best college graduates?: media industry looks bleak


During recent weeks backpacking Europe, I have had a great deal of time to think about my future – mostly on long train rides between the great cities of Western history, Vienna and Berlin, Brussels and Prague. I want very badly the opportunity to write, to tell stories in a resurgent metropolis.

Right now, I am trying my very best to make that Philadelphia – the home of my alma mater, Temple University, from which I graduated in May.

Since the world seems to be in financial meltdown, it might seem silly for me to question the sluggish hiring of me and my peers, but I can’t help but wonder if Philadelphia is on the road to better retention of graduates from its many, varied and respected colleges and universities.

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Number of Views:4983