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‘WORK HARD NOW AND PLAY LATER’: PHOTOJOURNALIST AL DRAGO VISITS ELON TO SPEAK ON NETWORKING UP THE LADDER

Multimedia journalism by Mariah Posey | March 31, 2017

Al Drago is a photojournalist and class of ’15 Elon alumni. He is based in Washington, D.C. covering all things politics and currently works for the NYT as a contract press photographer for President Donald Trump. He visited journalism professor Janna Anderson’s class this Friday to talk about his experience at Elon and networking.

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Al Drago in Philadelphia at a Hillary Clinton event in 2015 taken by one of his friends that he shared on Facebook.

Al Drago has been working since he was 16-years-old and by the age of 17, had daily bylines. It was a family trip to Boston more than 10 years ago that provided the 2015 Elon University journalism alumni with his first photography experience. Now, after delving into photography and journalism in high school as well at Elon, he works as a contract press photographer for The New York Times covering all things politics.

During the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency, he traveled with the then-president as a pool photographer covering the transition, the inauguration and first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. Currently, he and two other selected photographers are responsible for following the president everywhere he goes.

This Friday March 31, Drago revisited Elon to speak and share his wisdom on branding and networking to other journalism students.

Drago's Top 8When Drago was a student at Elon, he knew that internships were key. To remain focused on them, he made a piece of paper listing the different publications he could potentially work at ranking them on the level of achievability. He knew that he could work at The Burlington Times-News easily, but at the top level he listed the ones that were his dream jobs: The New York Times and the Washington Post.

“I knew I was going to work there someday,” Drago said. “And now I am.”

He didn’t know how it would happen, but something he had learned from journalism professor Janna Anderson stuck with him: if you want to be at the top, start out on top.

“You can advance your career in the first five years out of college more than you can in the 15 years after college,” he said. “Then, when you’re 30 you can have your cushion job and relax and go to Ibiza.”

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Al Drago speaking during his presentation.

Drago kept his career goals at the forefront of his college career spending most days outside of class and in the community shooting real stories with real people.

“My Elon experience was based around the journalism I did, the journalism I committed,” he said. “And it was great because I got a four-year archive.”

He hit the ground running joining on-campus news organizations such as The Pendulum and Elon Local News, but knew outside experience was everything.

Some advice an editor gave him was, “You’re not going to get hired off of shooting on campus because it’s a bunch of 18 to 20-year-olds and that’s not what the real world looks like.”

“I started networking day one and cold-emailed editors,” Drago said. “Of course I said I want to work for you but also, ‘I love your photos. What camera settings did you use? Hey, these are the photos I took this month.’”

Eventually, editors took notice of his work and noticed that he was improving.

“I ferociously worked,” he said. “I knew what I wanted so I worked non-stop.”

Ultimately, his drive to work and ability to put himself out there got him hired at The New Times doing what he loves for a living at the age of 24. His multiple internships at the Durham Herald-Sun, Burlington Times-News, Raleigh News & Observer and the Baltimore Sun set him apart and gave him the opportunity to continue developing new skills.

His biggest piece of advice for aspiring journalists is to put yourself out there and “know your worth.”

Find his Twitter and Instagram here.

 

Live Blog: Daniel Gilbert speaks on the science of happiness at Elon University’s Spring Convocation

Multimedia journalism by Mariah Posey | March 30, 2017

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2017 Spring Convocation program

Social psychologist and writer Daniel Gilbert has achieved multiple successes throughout his career: a TED Talk which remains one of the 15 most-popular of all time, his book  “Stumbling on Happiness” that spent six months on The New York Times bestseller list, and the 2010 award-winning PBS television series “This Emotional Life” that he co-wrote which was watched by more than 10 million people. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Gilbert has guested on a number of popular shows including “20/20” and “The Colbert Report,” but today he’s the popular guest at Elon University for its March 30 Spring Convocation at 3:30 p.m. in Alumni Memorial Gym.

Stay tuned below for live updates from the event with the most recent updates  appearing at the top.


4:29 p.m. President Lambert thanks Gilbert for speaking.

“Class of 2017, I don’t want this talk to prevent you from creating class of 2047, however.”

4:28 p.m. “What makes humans happy is a scientific fact. Instead of turning to our mothers, we should be turning to science.”

4:26 p.m. “Marriage, money and children. That’s what my mom told me was the recipe to happiness. Was she lying?”

Gilbert says she was basically correct, but happiness for everyone is different because no one is average.

4:23 p.m. “The view of human happiness that I have presented is the view from outer space . . . It might not apply to you.”

4:17 p.m. Gilbert says children have been shown to reduce happiness, especially within mothers because they do most of the work.

4:14 p.m. Gilbert recommends two of the best ways to spend money:

  • Experiences, because you can’t compare personal experiences to other people’s experiences like you can with material items.
  • On other people

“The people who bought something for mom or sis or maybe your favorite professor are happier.”

4:12 p.m. “When people are resting, people are about as happy as they are at their miserable jobs. People aren’t happy when they’re resting because their mind wanders to things they’d rather be doing.”

4:11 p.m. “It turns out that the way people spend money is incorrect.”

4:10 p.m. Gilbert says money does lead to happiness, but not sustainably.

“The first dollar you earn improves your happiness a lot,” he says, but the “amount of happiness money can buy levels off” over time.

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A chart shown during Gilbert’s presentation showing the difference between men and women in happiness response to divorce.

4:07 p.m. Gilbert explains how men do better than women after divorce. He offers some advice: “If your husband says he’s leaving you, kill him.”

4:05 p.m. Gilbert says marriage is great investment for your happiness, as it ensures at least 15-25 more years of happiness.

4:01 p.m. “Marriage causes happiness. Married people are happier than single people.”

4:00 p.m. Gilbert asks the audience how many believe marriage causes happiness.

“Okay, so none of the young people. That’s basically 0%. And I think I saw someone raise her husband’s hand.”

3:58 p.m. Gilbert’s mother, Doris Gilbert, gave him three steps to happiness when he was younger:

  1. Find a nice girl to settle down with.
  2. Make money. “‘It would be good if you were comfortable,'” she told him. “She didn’t mean my shoes. She meant move out of the house and not be on our dime.”
  3. Have children.

“In every human culture, moms basically tell their kids some version of this.”

3:56 p.m. There are scientific measures of happiness such as electromyography or EMG which analyzes human facial reactions, but Gilbert says that best approach is the “AP-Q” method — asking people questions.

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One of the ads shown during Gilbert’s childhood promoting happiness.

3:53 p.m. Gilbert speaks on how the many theories of happiness are wrong.

“None of their theories are based on evidence. Luckily, scientists have gotten into the happiness business. Can we use the rules of science to figure out what makes people happy?”

3:50 p.m. Gilbert speaks on the unrealistic idea of happiness our ancestors had: “Happiness is what happens when you get what you want and that never happens in this lifetime on Earth.”

He continued, “Guess what? People who have everything they want aren’t any happier than the rest of us.”

3:49 p.m. “I’ve come here today to answer the world’s oldest questions: what is the secret to happiness? It’s not a secret and it’s not the world’s oldest question. It’s actually the world’s newest question.”

3:48 p.m. Gilbert responds to his introduction.

“I don’t want to stop there,” he said. “In fact I want to hear it again and then we can all go have drinks. That was the nicest introduction I’ve had.”

3:45 p.m Associate Professor of Psychology India Johnson introduces Gilbert. She thanks Gilbert for providing her the inspiration to start her journey to social psychology for his unconventional path.

3:44 p.m. “Dr. Gilbert welcome to Elon University. Your research on happiness relays two of our main points here . . . no matter our age we always have more to learn.” – President Lambert

3:39 p.m. “Higher education matters in terms of jobs, overall wellbeing, and joy in your life.” – President Lambert.

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President Leo Lambert speaking at the beginning of spring convocation.

3:35 p.m. Joel Harter, associate chaplain for Protestant Life; Jessica Waldman, director of Jewish Life at Hillell;  President Leo Lambert; India Johnson, assistant professor of psychology and Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce professor of psychology at Harvard University, take the stage.

3:29 p.m. Michel Delalande’s “Festival Prelude” plays to initiate the Academic Procession while Elon University faculty and staff along with students to be honored begin filing in.