Friday, May 28, 2010

An open letter to blogspot

I wrote this letter to Although we've had a wonderful relationship I decided to call it off today. I have a new blog at Wordpress Please make the transition with me, dear readers (don't tell blogspot).


Dear Blogspot,

Hey, well this is awkward. I don't really know how to say this, so I guess I'll just dive in.

I don't have the same feelings for you that I used to have. For almost three years we've been together. You've been such a good friend, confidant and all-around great virtual conglomerate of text. I've learned so much about myself from you. I've learned so much about relationship.

But the feeling is gone. It's not you, it's me. Seriously. I just can't fake it anymore. I don't have the same feelings that I used to have for you. I don't regret our time together, not at all. However, I just think we both need to move on. We both have to learn how to live with out each other.

That all being said, I have one other confession.

Yes, there is another. Like I said before, it's not you. But I'm now seeing I met over the last two weeks. It's just a better fit for me. I'm really sorry, I feel very bad about this... but sometimes you just know that you have to do something.

Listen, please, this isn't you, it's me.

I know everyone says this, but I hope we can still be friends.

Eli Francovich

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What I've Learned

This may be a bit redundant, but I've just got to emphasize how much I'm learning here. It's a bit of an information overload. To be honest. I think that I'll probably only truly begin to process it after I've returned home. However, I think there are some definite highlights, thus far. Although I'm learning so much about multimedia production and editing (I'm going to a Final Cut Pro class in a few minutes!) I think the most useful and in certain ways basic skill discussed is how we journalists choose stories.

Yeah, this might seem kind of like a no brainer. Most of us have been finding our own stories for a while. Personally I thought I knew what it was all about.

I was wrong.

I've realized that the stories I've come up with I've simply been lucky enough to fall into. I've never had a logical, step-by-step process attached to the story finding process. That's no longer the case. Thanks to Al Tompkin's presentation on the "5 Motivators" I have a much better grasp on why some stories work, and others don't.

Al's 5 Motivators


Al's secondary Motivators

Moral Outrage

This list is fairly simple. Yet I think it will impact me for the rest of my life. See, I've never really thought about why I choose to write a story. Sure, sometimes you just have to write a story, however, that doesn't mean you can't find one of these motivators. Al said all good stories contain one of more of these elements.

When I think back on the stories I've written I notice a trend. I tend to use Curiosity as my main motivator. This is a legitimate motivator, however, according to Al, you have to be careful. It works but not all the time. Basically you shouldn't rely on it.

Wow! That is crazy. I've honestly never analyzed my story choosing process. I analyze my writing, my interviewing and my design skills. But it never even crossed my mind that it would be useful to analyze the foundation of any story.

It's ridiculously obvious how obvious this should have been. In fact, it makes me want to go back and re due last year. Actually the last two-years.

Ah, well I guess that won't happen. It's simple but so important. And it fits. Thinking back over my most "successful" articles I see they all contained one or more of these elements. My "Hooked on Hookah" feature, which was an SPJ national finalist had a health component, a community component and an innate curiosity component.

So, my journalism education continues. As excited as I am for traveling next year (I'm really freaking excited) I kind of wish I could go work in the journalism industry. It's just so exciting and interesting. Right now is such an important and pivotal time, and I want in!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Passion for Poynter

Poynter is amazing. I'm still firmly committed to that statement. It's an intense full immersion into the journalistic process. They expect us to engage and work hard. Not to say it isn't fun, it's a ton of fun. But hard work.

We start each day at either 9 am or 8:30 am. We will then spend the next many hours in sessions.

It's a funny thing. In school I fall asleep at the slightest provocation. It must be hard wired into me. A teacher talks, I sleep.

Not here. These are teachers like I've never seen before. Every single presenter I've had the pleasure of listening to has been completely and utterly passionate and engaged in their subject of choice. I honestly couldn't fall asleep, even if I wanted to. They are just too darn energetic. I love it.

This has made me think a bit about the process of learning and teaching. See, I always figured that when I really figured out what I wanted to be doing and was able to focus just on that, then I would stay interested and committed to that craft. However, now I'm not so sure. I think the key is having teachers that are just plain excellent. Even the presentations that aren't that inherently interesting to me, still captivate me. So, it's either the teacher or the realization that I'm paying a shit-ton of money to attend this two-week deal (wow, sounds like college).

Nah, I think it's the teachers...

And in addition to all the great things I'm learning here, we're also outfitted with some awesome equipment. It's a pretty unique experience, the ability to be able to focus on a journalism medium we're unfamiliar while using top-notch equipment, surrounded by top-notch journalists.

My fellow fellows (ha) are so insightful and skilled at what they do. I feel like I learn things just hanging out with them.

The projects are going well. I'm focusing mine on what the psychic community thinks/sees about the oil spill. I went into an interesting little shop today. The two woman I talked to were very nice. They both told me that the psychic community has been talking about the spill nonstop. So, although I have a ton of work left to do, at least I have a clear goal in mind. Hopefully it pans out.

St. Petersburg itself is a beutiful town. I've gotten into the habit of running a bit after the final sessions. It's a nice way to clear my head and see parts of the town I would not otherwise encounter. It's really quite beautiful. It's surrounded by water on three sides. The downtown area has nice restaurants and open air cafes. There seems to be a pretty strong night life as well as water based recreation (boats etc). Actually, today I ran out onto the Pier, which is... yeah you guessed it... a giant pier. There are shops and all sorts of things out there. I didn't explore too much, mostly because I was all sweaty and nasty. I think I'll head back there tomorrow.

So, more later. I'll try to pass on some of the excellent information I'm learning here. It's worth repeating.

This is our newsroom, yes it's the nicest room I've ever been in...

... and this is my own personal computer (for two-weeks), I love it dearly.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Well, I'm here. St. Petersburg Florida at the annual Poynter Fellowship. It's amazing plain and simple.

It's spectacular. I'll post some photos later, but for now, I'll I can say is it's absolutely, stunningly beautiful. It's, as Sara Quinn, one of our advisers/teachers/mentors said, a "Spa for journalists." The room we work in is beautiful. The paneling is all from one South American tree. Everything is ordered in such a way to create a calm and quite place for journalists to work and learn more about journalism. The technology is all state of the art, more or less, and we have access to it 24/7.

And that's just the building. I can't say enough about the people. I'm surrounded by college journalists that are so incredibly passionate about what they do. Every last one of them has something I can learn, something to teach me. The pure level of dedication to journalism is inspiring. I love being around the energy of it because it pushes me to work harder and learn more.

Yes, I'm pumped. It's only the second day, however, I've already learned so much. Today we were assigned to our "beat" teams. Me and four others spent a good three hours walking around trying to learn as much as we could about our assigned section of the city. It was hard, but interesting. My team mates were all very fun to be around and to work with.

Florida is hot and muggy, which doesn't bother me much. I love the heat. It's a very laid back, relaxed seeming town.

Tomorrow I'm waking up fairly early to go start working on my project which will be some sort of multimedia (most likely) package. I'm working with a lady named Anika Anand. Anika is from the University of North Carolina. It's going to be a fun project.

It's going to be an intense two weeks. No doubt about it. Our schedule is packed with classes and trainings. When we aren't in class we're expected to work on our projects.

So, I'm off to bed. I'll blog more, no doubt about it and I'll get some photos up, promise.

Monday, May 10, 2010


So, the last issue of The Sentinel was produced this weekend. It was a good weekend and the first issue the new editors produced. It was a bit weird because I did almost nothing. I hung around to assist the new managing editor (Mike McCall) and the other new editors. However, they didn’t need me much.

Because of this disconnect I felt pretty nervous about how the paper would be. Because I wasn’t plugged into the process it seemed like there wasn’t much getting done.

I was wrong. It looks (on quick examination) like a great issue. The new editors really rocked the whole thing. They worked really hard (think staying until 5am) and were organized.

It was really great to see. At this moment I don’t feel sad about my time at The Sentinel being over. It was an amazing year and I’m so glad I did it, however, at this moment I’m just excited that I’m not going to be expected to manage anyone for almost a month. It’s a great feeling.

I will miss it though. It was a pretty amazing and unique experience. So, give me a few months and I’m sure I will be elegantly bemoaning my separation from The Sentinel and formalized journalism.

But for now I’m looking ahead. This week I have off (kind of). On Saturday I leave for the Poynter Fellowship, which I’m getting increasingly excited about. I’ll be there for two weeks (and I’ll be blogging about it). When I get back from that I’ll have a week off and then I’m fully immersed in the world of Camp Reed.

I’m excited for Camp. No doubt about that. This summer I’m leading CITs (Counselors in Training) and cooking. I have one week where I’ll be in charge of a cabin but other than that I get to hang with the older kids (15 years) and cook food for the camp.

It’s going to be a good summer. I love camp, the people and the work. One of my favorite aspects of the job is the pure amount of time I get to spend outside. During the school year I spend, if I’m lucky, 1.5 hours a day outside. I spend so much time in front of a screen. It’s maddening. At camp it’s the opposite. I spend 12 to 13 hours a day outside and maybe an hour in front of a screen a week.

I like the ratio.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yeah, that's my cousin

So, I know this won't really come as a surprise to anyone. Considering how freakishly athletic I am it's not really a big deal that my cousin, Marco Sullivan, was in the Olympics.

Actually, it's probably kind of expected. It's hard not to be in the Olympics when you're related to a Francovich. Yeah, I taught him everything he knows about competitive down hill skiing.

Anyways, all that aside, I was in Seattle about a month ago dropping off Emmanuelle. We were saying goodbye, when suddenly, I saw this advertisement, with, yeah you guessed it, Marco Sullivan on it.

Apparently he loves to ski and drink Budweiser...

If I was 21 I would have an opinion about Budweiser, but, being 20 I barely know what it is.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Issue 9 PDFs... finally

Not the best issue ever, but not the worst either.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Met this guy in Seattle. He didn't have a leg because of a construction accident.

Back, back, back on the attack

Well, hey. It’s been a bit. Lots of good things to relate. Stories to tell, photos to share, memories to recount. It’s going to be fun. In the interest of time, professionalism and clarity I’m going to divide this post into a few different categories. I’m not sure what they are yet… but I’ll figure it out.

Seattle to Seattle (and a little more)

So it’s been month, more or less (probably more) since I last wrote. So I think it’s appropriate to bookend this thing, meaning I’ll start with the beginning, skip four or more weeks and end with the end. Then I’ll go back and fill in the middle, much like building a house.

Right, so what does this have to do with Seattle? Well I started in Seattle and ended in Seattle. So there.

On March 23 I drove to Seattle to pick up Emmanuelle Martin. She is this woman that I met in India during my trip. We got along great (read: really amazing) and are (judging by my facebook status) in a “relationship.”

I hope that didn’t sound snide or sarcastic. I don’t feel either. She was here for three weeks and it was amazing. It’ shard to explain, well actually its not. We get along really well. We just fit each other, pretty perfectly. And she is really beautiful and has this amazing grace about her.

I’m a big fan. Anyways, she was here, it was great and I’m not going to divulge any more intimate details onto the Internet. Trust me though, I’m really lucky.

So, I picked her up in Seattle, and now I’m driving back from Seattle. This last weekend I went to look at colleges (well actually only one, Seattle University) and to tour the Seattle Times and generally see Seattle. I drove there with a bunch of people from The Sentinel. I spent the first night with my good friends Hannah Reid and Sarah McHugh, who both attend Seattle University. They were awesome hosts and really made me fall in love with the college.

The next night I spent with Sentinel folks, which was a lot of fun. Mike McCall (the new managing editor of The Sentinel), Mike Paquine (the new online editor) and I walked around and had a good time seeing down town Seattle.

The next night (May 1) I went back to Seattle University and stayed with Hannah and Sarah again.

And now I’m on a bus, flying through Central Washington, wondering what the burning electrical smell is.


My Yoga life has been going great. I’ve been teaching and have gotten the requisite 20 hours. In fact I now have something like 25 hours of teaching experience. I’ve been doing Yoga everyday, which really feels great. I feel changes in my body, slowly but surely. My hamstrings are lengthening and I feel very present in my body.

Actually, this weekend was a big one as far as yoga goes. On Saturday morning I went to my first ever Bikram inspired class. For those of you who don’t know Bikram yoga is where you do yoga in a hot room. There is a whole style and philosophy behind it. I’d never done it and boy was it interesting. I didn’t find it very hard, however, the experience of sweating that much was definitely something new. I really enjoyed it, however, I’m really glad I have the privilege of practicing (and hopefully teaching) Anusara Yoga.

Then, this morning (May 2) I got to go to a yoga class at Seattle Yoga Arts. This studio is owned and operated by two women who are good friends with my mom. They were very welcoming and gracious. I had a wonderful time, and quite a bit harder than the Bikram class I went to.


And things have been going great here too (I live a lucky little life, ah nice alliteration). A few weeks ago I found out that I won first place in the Region 10 SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) feature-writing category, second place in in-depth reporting and first place (shared with Jake Donahue) in editorial writing. The Sentinel also won best of show for the Region 10 SPJ. Basically this means that we will go to Las Vegas (I won’t but The Sentinel will) in October to compete in the national competition. Design wise we have a good shot at placing in the top three, but we will see.

And, in addition to this all, I got accepted to the Poynter Institute. This, in of itself, is pretty awesome. I applied for the fellowship a few months ago without giving it much thought. I really didn’t think I had much of a chance. I guess I was wrong. As cool as this is, what is even cooler is that I’ve managed to get enough money to go. At first I didn’t think I would be able to because it came with a pretty hefty price tag. However, thanks to Nils Rosdahl and NIC I’ve been able to wrangle up the necessary funds. I leave on May 15 and will be gone for two weeks. Oh, right. The Poynter Fellowship is a two-week journalism intensive. Forty student journalists from around the country attend the fellowship where they learn from the “industries best.”

It should be a good time. It’s in St. Petersburg Florida, which I think is a cool place, I’m not sure if it can beat Coeur d’Alene in the spring. We’ll see.

The Sentinel is almost done. We have one more issue. I’m no longer the managing editor (despite the signature on my email address). The new guy is Mike McCall. For this last issue I will be in an advisory role (much like the U.S. in Vietnam pre escalation). I’ll help Mike learn all the things he needs to know for the nebulous and taxing job that is being the managing editor. I will miss it, but I think it’ll take a few months for me to miss it. Right now I’m just glad to be almost done.

Restless horizon looking attitude

I’m feeling the good old little travel urges. Actually they aren’t little. I can’t wait to be traveling (yes, this definitely has something to do with the fact that I’ll see Emmanuelle). It’s really getting intense. It’s hard to sit still. It’s hard to keep the same old routine that I’ve had these last 9 months. I’m horizon bound.

But wait, what about the summer?

Great question. This summer I’m working at Camp Reed, again. I’m so, so excited. It looks like I’m going to be leading CITs (Counselors in Training), which is this great program. It’s four 14 and 15 year olds. Basically how it works is we spend one week working on projects around camp (and we really work hard) and then we spend another whole week biking around Lake Coeur d’Alene (around 300 miles). I can’t wait. I’m really, really excited. I get to lead the weeks with some great people.

So, I think those are the main ones. I’ll add more if I think of things I omitted.

I’m still on this bus and that burning electrical smell is gone, so that is a plus. We’re in Moses Lake. It feels so good to be on a bus, traveling moving seeing different things different people.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lots of things

Well, right now is an interesting time. The Sentinel (Issue 8) came out last week. We don’t have another issue for six weeks, so I’m in a quagmire work wise. See, I work really well under pressure. However, remove that pressure and boom... I’m lazy and unmotivated. Take yesterday for instance. I got to The Sentinel office at 7 am and stayed there until 2 pm. The majority of that time I was doing nothing. Sure, I got a bit done, but when you consider how many hours I spent there, it’s pretty lame.

So, that is something I’m continually working on. It’s great to be able to work under pressure, but it’s also important (I think) to have the long term vision to work as you go. Not just last minute.

That being said, some pretty cool stuff happened yesterday and today.

First off, yesterday I found out I had been selected to attend the annual Poynter Fellowship. This is a two-week journalism intensive in St. Petersburg Florida. Basically you apply and then if you are one of the 40 selected you spend the two weeks immersed in all things journalism related. It’s pretty neat to have this opportunity. The only stumbling block is the price ($1,800 not counting air fair, food or lodging). It’s not exactly cheap. So, I applied for a scholarship. Hopefully I get that, but we will see. I have to say thanks to Jake Donahue for telling me about this. He did it last year and said it was amazing. He also recommended me to the lady in charge there, which I'm sure helped a bit.

Now, the next neat thing; as some of you may know I’ve been working on developing a new website for my mother. Well, if you read the top half of this post you might see that I’m not so good with the long-term motivation. Website design = a long-term motivation thing = Eli is not staying up on it.

That all changed yesterday. Darci Sinclair (a student of my mother) has volunteered to work with me. She is a professional graphic designer. We had are first meeting yesterday, which was absolutely awesome. It’s so cool to work with someone who is an expert at what she does. Also, having another person on the “team” forces me to work harder and more regularly, which is great.

And finally, I just found out 20 minutes ago that The Sentinel won Best of Show in the New York CMA convention. Pretty cool! Nils Rosdahl (my adviser) just called to tell me.

Yup, well that it is about it. The Yoga teaching is going well. I’m well on my way to the 20 hours and I love teaching. Still got a ton to learn but that is why I’m taking a teacher training.