Author Archives: Chase Brunton

Halfway point

This week, I’m halfway through my internship. I was originally only going to stay for five weeks, but the folks at Bonnier offered to house me for a sixth week. Awesome, and very much appreciated.

To start this week off, I wrapped up my story about the navy dolphins. It’s looking a lot different than I envisioned it would, but I sent it in rather than miss another deadline. Sometimes you have to show them where you are so they can work with you.

This week I started doing some book reviews. The reviews were short and fun to write. Rather than write a lengthy, critical review, I simply decided whether the book was worthy of attention, and wrote 100 words about it. Typically, that meant reading through a few chapters to get a feel for the book and skimming through the rest for details. Really, the most difficult part about doing the book reviews was putting the book down; I had at least two books that were really good and that I wanted to keep reading. But there isn’t enough time in a week or two to read three medium-length books. It was a fun assignment though, and challenging.

Besides working on the book reviews, I posted some videos to Youtube for Sport Diver, videos that were pre-made but that they wanted up on Youtube.

I didn’t do a whole lot more than that this week, as the book reviews took a few days. I got pretty restless and distracted this week, so at one point, tired of sitting at my desk all day, I started to look for new places around the office to sit and work. There’s a lounge area that no one uses right around the corner from my desk that’s perfect. I’ve been switching between there and my desk a few times a day just to change it up a bit.

Something not many people know about me is how restless I get. I was diagnosed with ADHD growing up, and to this day sitting in one place and doing the same thing for a lengthy amount of time is difficult for me. That’s one way this office job is such a learning experience- I’m learning a lot about how I work.

One day, during lunch, I left the office and did some exploring by bike. Across the street from the shopping village where Bonnier office is located, I found a fast food restaurant on a lake. There were kids out on the water using stand-up paddleboards, and families eating out on picnic tables.

20479249_216507822210269_4747063048294891520_n

The food was overpriced, but the view was worth it. After lunch, I walked around and grabbed some pictures. Most people had left, but I found a good spot to sit with a view of the water.

20479291_143695458

That’s it for this week- although on Thursday I got stuck in my first big rainstorm during my bike ride home. The rain was ridiculously heavy for almost the entire bike ride, and even with a raincoat on I got soaked, as did nearly everything in my backpack.

20582679_1766186420344356_3058971206809026560_n

Next week it’s diving at Blue Grotto Dive Resort to check out some wetsuits!

Share

Week 3

I started off week three playing a bit of catch up.

I ended up finishing the Grouper story on Monday, but that was basically all I got done that day.

On Tuesday I posted some more print content onto the website, and began researching for my story due Friday. The deadline was getting closer and I was a little worried because I still had to interview some sources for the story, so I reached out to my editors early to let them know that it might not get done by Friday.

Finally, on Wednesday I was able to get in touch with somebody for an interview… for Thursday. This meant it was really unlikely I’d get the story done by Friday.

The interview itself, with a scientist from NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association), went really well. The story was about a huge initiative being coordinated between the United States and Mexico to rescue the severely endangered vaquita porpoise. It’s estimated that less than thirty of them remain in the wild. One of the craziest parts of the whole thing is the involvement of the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program. The Navy has been training its dolphins from the program to seek out the vaquitas, which are small and difficult to find. The scientist I interviewed works at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, CA, and while the dolphins search for the vaquita in the water, she is leading the effort to sight the porpoises from the ships. We had a great conversation and I learned a lot about the whole operation. I’ll share more when the story gets published!

After spending the rest of Thursday and part of Friday transcribing the phone call, I wasn’t able to finish the story by my deadline. Usually for me, I need two days to write large stories. One day to write a rough draft, the night to forget about it, and the next day to edit and finish it. I don’t usually do last minute writing very well, although I have before and could do it again if I have to

What I did do, however, was finish three short pieces for a regular feature in the magazine called “Wreck Roundup.” For each of these pieces, I was given a recent shipwreck to research and write a short (100 words) blurb for each, highlighting the details of the wreck, where it’s located, and whether it’s reachable for divers.

There isn’t a whole lot more to report this week.

Some last good news, though: I found out this week that I’m scheduled to go diving the second week of August to test out some wetsuits at Blue Grotto, a freshwater lagoon/dive resort in Williston. We’ll be gone the 8th and 9th. It’s been a while since my last dive, so I’m really excited.

I didn’t take many pictures this week, so here’s a picture of the cats at the Airbnb apartment I’m staying at.

20634760_1390581144394721_60716067172909056_n

 

 

 

Share

Getting settled

20065661_162208374325081_3387221190576701440_n

What an exhausting week this was.

But first, over the weekend, I got to stay a night at my co-worker’s condo on Lake Maitland, which was really nice. It had a pool, too, which I was more than happy to check out.

20065976_250627948762400_4769904109576781824_n

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of having dinner with the editor-in-chief of Scuba Diving and Sport Diver, Patricia Wuest, and her husband. They were very helpful, and shared some good local spots and restaurants for me to check out during my stay. Patricia also shared some alternative bike routes I can take to work to avoid the busy streets, which proved handy.

On Sunday morning I went to check out a farmer’s market Patricia and her husband told me about at a lakeside park nearby. However, as I arrived, police were sectioning the place off. I later learned that they were closing the place down after someone found a body in the water! An interesting first weekend, without a doubt.

I found another place to have breakfast, and that afternoon I took a dip in the pool, which was nice.

19986101_1270311286424171_2664411205778538496_n

After the weekend, week two started off a little more slowly than the first. Which is not to say that I didn’t have plenty to do- I’ve just started to settle in more at the office.

On Monday, I learned how to post content from the print magazine onto the Scuba Diving website, and published a story on the website about turtle conservation & marine pollution. I also began research for a new story about Goliath groupers in Florida.

Homesickness started to kick in this week, which made it a little hard to focus at the office the first few days. After struggling a bit Monday and Tuesday, I took a mental health day on Wednesday to catch up on sleep. Nonetheless, I worked a bit from home, where I watched the Netflix documentary Chasing Coral, and wrote a review of it the next day.

Some minor medical issues on Thursday put me behind on my work, so the Goliath Grouper story I was supposed to finish on Friday ended up carrying over to the next week, as did the Chasing Coral review.

I wanted to get caught up over the weekend, but in my tiny Airbnb room, it just wasn’t happening. I decided weekends are for resting and having fun, so I went out and saw the new Spider-man movie.

After a weekend of rest, I’m looking forward to starting next week fresh. I’m a little disappointed that I’m starting the week behind on my work-especially since I have a fairly large story due on Friday that I haven’t started. But I’ll make do. The editors here seem to be pretty understanding, as long as I keep them posted.

One last thing- I also got to see one of my pieces published in the magazine, which was really cool. It was only a tiny summary I wrote, but still. Here’s a picture.

20476227_1967336899946888_4534769987627782410_n

 

Share

Far away from home

Preface: My name is Chase. I’m the 2017 recipient of the Bonnier publishing group internship. I graduated from the University of Maine in 2016, and it’s my goal to write about marine science for a living. This internship is a sweet opportunity for someone like me.

19955236_699321680276398_3728636451697459200_n

Well, my first week in Florida has come to an end, and I’m tired. It’s been a full one.

I landed in Orlando Sunday morning at 2 AM, feeling tired and a little disoriented. I took an Uber to the place I would be staying in Winter Park and crashed.

On Sunday, after sleeping most of the day away, I received a warm welcome from the Bonnier Dive Group. I was invited to a cocktail party at a Condo overlooking a lake, where I met most of the people I’d be working with, and got to know everybody a little bit. There were a lot of new faces at once, and many of the names I would mix up for at least a little while after. After lots of chatting and a few drinks, I went home feeling excited and nervous for my first day.

I woke up Monday morning, after fitful sleep. There are lots of strange sounds to get used to here- mostly the highway located right next to the house I’m staying in. Still, I got up early and got to work well before 9 AM. A good start to my first day.

Except when I got there, I couldn’t find the entrance to the building. Google maps lead me to the employee entrance, which was locked. After searching around for another entrance, I called the Bonnier secretary, and just then some men came by, headed for the door. I awkwardly explained that I was there for an internship, and they let me follow them in. One of the men was kind enough to lead me to where Bonnier Dive Group works. Before long, I ran into one of the editors I met the night before, and he showed me where I needed to be.

I get a quick tour of the building, and get to see some of the different magazines that publish here. I’m shown the desk I’ll be working at, and get settled in for a brief time. During the day, I tag along for a few meetings, where the magazines discuss production details. It’s a nice, slow first day, and when I’m not attending meetings, I spend most of my time reading the magazines and getting a feel for the kinds of things they write here.

On Tuesday, I get my first assignment, which is to write some short blurbs for the next issue of sport diver. I also get to fact-check a few of the longer articles.

By Wednesday, the assignments start to pile on, and by Thursday I’ve got enough work to keep me occupied for a while. I also get a bike, borrowed from one of my editors, which means I can stop paying for Uber and start biking around the city. After work, I explore the area on my bike.

19955584_751422441727832_3311018119874478080_n

Friday I publish a full-length news piece on the Scuba Diving website about the marine conservation documentary Chasing Coral. I love writing about films, so this is an enjoyable first longer-piece for me. I go to more meetings. Attending the meetings is interesting, because I get to see how ideas get thrown around and get to learn the dynamics of how the team works. It’s a diverse team; some of the members are very vocal, while others are more reserved. It shows me how different personalities can work with each other. At this point I’m more of a fly on the wall during the meetings, but as time goes on I can see myself contributing more.

Then it’s the weekend, which goes by quickly but mostly consists of me riding my bike around a lot, exploring the area around Winter Park.

It’s taken me a little while to get settled in, but now that my first week is over, I’m starting to feel more comfortable here. Nearly every day I am learning something new, either about working here or about the local area. I’m excited for what the rest of my time here will hold. I miss Maine just a little, but I am starting to warm up (literally- it’s pretty hot here) to this place.

Share