Viewpoint.

So my boss asked me to write an editorial for our "Viewpoint" column. "It could be about something personal, life experience, anything, really," he told me.

Anything? Alright, easy enough. But sitting down to actually write it wasn't so easy. It was kind of like that episode of Sponge Bob — yes, I'm going there — when he sits down to write an essay about what not to do at a stoplight.

"Gonna write an essay, that's what I say!"

Yep, totally me.

But when Sponge Bob tries to actually write it, he can't get past the first word: "The."

Same.

I mean, I genuinely had no idea what to write about. What "life experience" do I have at 25 years old?

I could talk about past relationships, college, living with vertigo, Disney... But nothing that came to mind really seemed appropriate for my first editorial.

And then I got it. I'm in my sixth month at the newspaper. Simple, but why not write about that? It's what I love most at this point in my life, it now consumes most of my life, and it's even what my blog has become... Perfect.

So here's my first ever editorial, about my first six months in the newspaper industry.


By Jennifer DiDomenico
A&E Editor

“Hey there, hi there, ho there!”

No, this column isn’t going to be about Disney. (I just needed a good introduction to my first ever editorial.) But if you know me, you know I’m quite the Disney fanatic— so having the chance to preview Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with other news outlets before it opened to the public was pretty awesome.

To be fair, I can’t think of an assignment I’ve covered since I started here that wasn’t awesome. This is a really great gig, and I’m beyond grateful to wake up and go to a job I’m completely in love with.

For those of you who don’t recognize my name just yet, I’m Jennifer. I was given the honor of stepping into the Arts & Entertainment Editor position back in February, when former editor Pete Covino retired.

Pete was with the Gazette for 34 years before punching that last time card. And in that time, he really made a name for himself in this community. No pressure on 25-year-old me, right?

But I genuinely mean it when I say the last six months have been some of the best of my life. I really feel like the “quarter-life crisis” my inner millennial was having post graduation has been buried, and I’m where I belong, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

One of my first assignments as the new A&E Editor was to cover a book release for the Scholastic book, “Third Grade Mermaid and the Narwhals.” Author Peter Raymundo lives right here in Osceola County, and I got the chance to learn more about him and share his success story with our fellow community members. And, to me, that’s what the local news business is all about.

In March, I covered my first big theme park assignment. I visited LEGOLAND for the first time, for the grand opening of The Great LEGO Race— the LEGO-themed park’s first virtual reality roller coaster.

Later that month I attended the Runaway Country multi-day music festival at Osceola Heritage Park, which hosted big names like Brett Young and Florida Georgia Line. I brought my friend, Jarred Paluzzi, who I met back at my college paper, along with me. He’s an awesome photographer and captured the festival in a beautiful way for our newspaper. And there’s really nothing better than getting to experience a music festival with your best friend… for work.

April was a lot of fun, too. Sports Editor Ken Jackson and I stopped by a media preview of Drive Shack in Lake Nona. The indoor-outdoor golf facility is great for everyone — whether you’re a competitive golfer (like Ken), or you’ve never visited a course in your lifetime (like me). In my own defense, I’m one heck of a mini golfer.

I also had the chance to visit the newly rebranded ICON Orlando 360 for the first time, with Staff Writer Rachel Christian. I’ve since written articles about ICON Orlando, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds wax museum, Skeletons: Museum of Osteology and the Orlando StarFlyer.

In May, I experienced my first ever MegaCon. It was interesting, to say the least. I’ve personally never been big into comics or sci-fi, but the convention really opened my eyes to see what a world it is for some. And the cosplay was just spectacular.

June brought me a sweet assignment. I had the chance to meet and play with some cats and kittens at Orlando Cat CafĂ© to celebrate its recent partnership with SPCA Florida. The coffee shop serves coffee, of course, but it also serves as an adoption location to rescue and help save the lives of Central Florida felines— something really close to my heart.

Speaking of furry friends, we had a few scaly friends in the newsroom earlier this week. Gatorland representative Brandon Fisher stopped by with two baby alligators. They may not have been as cuddly as the kittens, but they were still pretty adorable. I never thought I’d see gators in the Gazette office. But hey, there’s never a dull moment around here.

I’ve heard that the late spring and summer seasons are slow in entertainment news, but with the opening of Aquatica’s Ray Rush family raft slide and Disney’s Toy Story Land, the premier of Universal’s Cinematic Celebration lagoon show and the soon-to-be debut of SeaWorld’s Infinity Falls raft ride, I’d have to say that’s not proving the case. Every morning when I check my email I can’t wait to see what’s coming up next.

As a student I always heard the saying, “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” And as clichĂ© as it sounds, it’s true.

So, here’s my “thank you” to the Osceola News-Gazette team for the warm welcome. I’m so happy to be here.


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