When I was a kid, my daycare was running around the radio station my dad owned and our family dinners were hot dogs on the third baseline at Clinton LumberKings games. My first on-air experience was at the local fair in Comanche, Iowa when I was four, sitting by my dad’s side as he broadcasted the day’s events.

Apple doesn’t fall far, huh?

In fact, I filmed, reported and edited news shows since I got my first editing equipment when I was 13. Here’s a shortened, edited-down clip of my first “on-air” action when I was in middle school interviewing my neighbor, Sammy:

My life has revolved around sports and media for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been lucky enough to continue that passion.

I’ve since moved from the Midwest League ball games down to Florida Gulf Coast University, where I covered the last two seasons of the Division I program for the locally-broadcasted television show The FGCU Sports Report where I highlighted the accomplishments of the teams in tandem with the athletics department.

I graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University (Dunk City!) in with a B.A. in Communication and Journalism.

Media has evolved since my days sneakily playing with switch boards at the radio station when my dad wasn’t looking, and I’ve learned to adapt to the broadening world of the industry. Social media, multimedia, digital media, new media – whatever you call it, I know the ins and outs.

Take a look around my portfolio and see what I’ve accomplished in my career.

While you’re at it – follow me on Twitter!

Picture 89

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ImageThere’s a palpable shift in Patrick Burke’s tone when he speaks of his younger brother Brendan.  The articulate, confident New England law student and Philadelphia Flyers scout becomes slightly subdued. Gentle, even.

But Burke, 30, is far from the business of gentle. He handpicks players for a National Hockey League team with a legacy of aggression — the Flyers were notoriously dubbed the Broad Street Bullies during their heyday in the early 1970s. He aspires to be the General Manager of an NHL team. His brusque and red-blooded father, Brian, was GM of three teams in his career. Burke knows first-hand the resilience and grit it takes to manage a professional sports team.

Burke calls Brendan his best friend. But his best friend is gone. Twenty-one-year-old Brendan passed away in a car accident on February 5, 2010.

Just three months before his death, Brendan came out to the world as gay in an intensely public way.

At the time, his dad was GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most historic franchises in the NHL. Toronto is relentlessly scrutinized by media and followed with diehard passion by its fan base. But instead of hiding from the swarm and speculation that would inevitably follow his father’s high profile, Brendan bravely faced the world with his secret.

He put his story into the hands of ESPN hockey personality John Buccigross in December 2009, who wrote a first-person reflection of Brendan’s coming out to his family.

“Patrick approached me about it and I certainly [knew] the reach of ESPN would benefit Brendan’s message,” Buccigross remembered. “I knew it would be a big deal in Canada since Brian Burke was the GM of Toronto but the impact was a little bigger than I thought.”

Brendan’s coming out sent a jolt through the hyper-masculine hockey world, a sport where there are more gay slurs on the ice than natural front teeth. He’s often considered the first person with such close ties to the NHL to publicly identify as LGBT.

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Grassroots social media campaign forms to protest NHL & NHLPA on Sept. 15th

When the last National Hockey League lockout began September 16, 2004, Twitter didn’t exist. Mark Zuckerberg was still enrolled at Harvard nursing an infant six-month-old Facebook while Tom Anderson ruled the budding social media industry as everyone’s first MySpace friend.

Eight years later, hockey fans once again anxiously await the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations battle to resolve before the September 15 deadline, fearing the second lockout in less than a decade.

However this time around, two fans have constructed digital picket signs to wave in front of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, team owners and the NHL Player’s Association as they argue over percentages.

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As technology is filtering down to younger and younger generations (I have a friend who gave his three-year-old niece his iPhone when he upgraded to the 3G. No joke.) there is a rise in the concern of its effects on the developing brain.

Being born in the late-1980s, I’m the first generation to literally grow up in a digital world. Somewhere in the depths of a scrapbook, there’s baby picture of me poking away at an IBM computer the size of mini-fridge. When I was 10-years-old, my parents gave me my first desktop Gateway. I filmed and digitally edited my 13th birthday party, and the same year I got my first cell phone – a silver Motorola flip phone the size of a brick. I don’t have veins, I have wires.

Me with my mom, first taste of digital life

Question is: is the digital world helping the Internet generation utilize our brains, or are we just distracting it with multitasking overload?

There are times, I’ll admit, my digital savvy has been more distracting than productive. I’ve fiddled away hours clicking through Facebook statuses or played mindless hours of Guitar Hero until my thumb nearly cracks off.

Last week, my honors reading class at Florida Gulf Coast University discussed of Don Tapscott’s “Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World.” Our class of seven (plus one journalism professor to keep us on track) seemed to all agree that the baby boomers’ implications that NetGen-ers lack concentration, productivity and retain less information aren’t all true.

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Committing your life to another human being marks the beginning of a flourishing new existence. Whether it is legally-binding matrimony or a domestic partnership, commitment is intended to strengthen a relationship.

But could you promise your devotion to another person, knowing your choice could seriously suffocate your lifestyle, rendering your partner unable to earn an income, have health insurance, or even be able to drive a car? Could you make that decision, knowing this choice could possibly carry on for the rest of your lives, with no way out?

For Daniel Zavala and Yohandel Ruiz, their union thrust them into a standstill. The two are trapped in legal purgatory, an arduous battle between immigration laws and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Zavala, 28, is a Mexican citizen. Ruiz, 38, is a Cuban-born American citizen. Zavala’s 90-day tourist visa expired last year, shortly after his nuptials to Ruiz in May 2012, and he’s been living in Coral Gables illegally. If Zavala ever leaves the United States before obtaining legal status, he’ll be banned from returning ever again.

 

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