Monthly Archives: November 2012

A Look Into The Life Of Susannah Strumfeld

After watching the film “Almost Famous,” Susannah Strumfeld, who has gone by “Zan” since age 13, knew she wanted to be a journalist. Since a young age, she envisioned herself following around a band, living a rock star lifestyle, and reporting what she saw. Her dreams are halfway there.

Immediately following her graduation from SUNY New Paltz as an English major and journalism and creative writing minor, her pursuit of happiness began. Zan, 22, was hired to work for The Spotlight, a weekly capital region newspaper, as a Colonie reporter. She has been with the paper for three months now and covers the news of Colonie, Menands, Loudonville, and some of Albany county.

“The hardest thing for me is that I have always written arts and features pieces and now I cover news and politics,” Strumfeld says.

She admits she is still adjusting to covering local politics. While at SUNY New Paltz, she worked for the school’s newspaper, The Oracle. She was a staff writer, arts and entertainment editor, features editor, copy editor, and assistant managing editor, a position that was created just for her. Strumfeld says she loves to copy edit, proof read, and find grammatical errors.

“It’s like detective work. I really love doing it,” she says grinning.

Aside from working with The Oracle, Strumfeld also interned at Chronogram Magazine, based in Kingston, for a summer during college. She worked 35 hours a week from June until August. It was a lot of work she admits, but it was an opportunity she could not pass up. She wrote four cover stories, learned how to tell a story in seven to ten words, and how to edit her own work, up to seven times just for a single story.

“It was the best summer of my life,” she says.

Her learning experience at SUNY New Paltz with the newspaper and her internship helped pave the path of where she is today. A typical work day for her includes finding her own stories and going out and making it happen. It varies day to day, which makes it difficult sometimes, Zan admits, but that is the fun in it. She writes six stories a week and has to come in touch with her creative side.

“I’m not doing this for the money,” she says.

She is doing it for her passion for writing. She likes writing because you can try it in any form you want. She has recently turned her writing into song lyrics. Reading and writing, it’s what she loves.

“If you can read and you can write, you can work anywhere,” Zan says.

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How We Started
From its mid 1990’s start as a SUNY Albany student’s project to establish a central internet listing of local band web sites, CRUMBS (Capital Region Unofficial Musicians & Band Site) has evolved into the major resource for all capital area musicians and bands. CRUMBS is arguably the longest running independent capital region music industry and scene resource. Through the years, CRUMBS has been guided by less than a handful of dedicated owners whose core mission has been to promote and advocate the areas varied music scene.

The current owner of CRUMBS is Mike Guzzo, a bassist and recording engineer in Watervliet, NY. In 2006, Guzzo acquired then dormant CRUMBS as a graduate project while earning a masters at the College of Saint Rose, and completely overhauled the website.

Radio Show
The new website ushered in a new medium to the launch of the CRUMBS Cafe radio show and podcast. CRUMBS Cafe is the website’s flagship of platform featuring local bands and artists performing (mostly) acoustic versions of their songs. To revive a local tradition, CRUMBS recently put together a varied collection of 12 songs taken from the CRUMBS Cafe radio show, and issued the recordings as “Live From CRUMBS Cafe, Volume 1”. In addition, Guzzo and partner Bill Bucher reintroduced CRUMBS Nite Out, which in its original format was as a monthly open jam session with a featured band. CRUMBS Nite Out became the area’s foremost networking opportunity for local musicians to further their music career.

Media Partners
To broaden the awareness and interest of the local music scene into the area and beyond, Guzzo has also sought to partner CRUMBS with a number of local media entities such as the Albany Times Union newspaper and weblog, public radio stations WAMC 90.3 and WEXT 97.7, performance venues such as WAMC’s performance art studio The Linda and the Robb Alley space along Schenectady’s Proctor’s Theater, and even Apple’s media powerhouse iTunes.

Local Music Blog
Powered by timesunion.com music under the category Arts/Culture, the CRUMBS: Local Music Blog was introduced in September 2007 as a forum for commentary and discussion of the many aspects of the Capital Region music scene. Readers are encouraged to leave comments. Each blog is written from a different perspective on the local music scene. Entries are not edited by the Times Union; the blog authors are solely responsible for content. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some include photographs (photoblog), videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), and audio (podcasting).

How Innovative Are We Really?

The media coverage of recent Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election has been greater than ever. It seems like every time we turn our heads, there is a new way of covering a story. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube streams all have one thing in common: to connect us all to one another simultaneously.

Twitter: As soon as the power went out, immediately after NYU patients were evacuated from the hospital, when tons of flooding occurred, when nearly half of NYC was destroyed, the world knew. Live updates from Twitter about Hurricane Sandy bombarded the worlds’ news feed. The New York Times especially kept us updated, tweeting stories and letting us know how victims were.

Instagram: Search the hashtag #HurricaneSandy. You can see photos taken during the storm and you can see photos of the aftermath. This tool really captured and shocked many of us. The destruction was devastating.

Hurricane Sandy Instagram Pictures

Facebook: Although Facebook has been dwindling down more recently, many statuses were posted in the eye of the storm. More importantly, local communities and celebrities reached out to the victims afterwards. Charities were formed and donations collected.

Flickr: Like Instagram, Flickr also shared photos of the Frankenstorm. Shocking and eye opening, the photos allowed viewers to better understand the tragic event.

YouTube: Pictures are one thing. Videos though? Extremely effective. We are a visual generation and seeing videos of the storm allows us to better relate. Words are one thing, but people would much rather watch a video. The YouTube videos of Hurricane Sandy form the whole package. They are stories, with pictures, and motions. We come together and understand.

How Do College Students Feel About the Election?

When we think of college students, we think of disengaged party animals, looking for their next sips of alcohol. Contrary to that belief, many are engaged and care about the fate that tomorrow may bring for them. Whoever wins the Presidential Election tomorrow will hold the power of many decisions that will affect college students.

Allison Kartner, 19, of Schenectady plans to vote tomorrow. She has voted before in local elections. Social media has influenced her political views somewhat, but she believes what she believes.

“I see Facebook posts and tweets about the election tomorrow frequently, especially live tweeting during the debates,” she says.

Another student, Melissa Sefershayan, 20, of Staten Island is also politically engaged.

“I am voting for Obama on campus tomorrow,” she shares.

Sefershayan has not previously voted because she was not of age. For this election though, she has followed the campaigns closely. She uses Twitter to follow the New York Times who gives updates about the election. She watched the debates as well and second screened with her friends and family members from home to connect with others. She also check Facebook to see what people thought and how they reacted to what President Obama and Governor Romney were saying. She plans to watch CNN tomorrow to see the outcome and how America reacts.

Brittany Lenotti, 21, of Westchester sent in her absentee ballot today. She had not previously voted because she was not of age in the last presidential election and was not interested in local elections. She watched the debates and thought that they were interesting. The only thing she did not like was the mediators of the debates, because they were not in control in her opinion.

She feels strongly about her vote.

“I want to have control of my body and Obama allows me to do so,” Lenotti says.