Digression: Learning about beer (a little)

I’ve continued my noble effort to try as many beers from iTap in Columbia as is possible for a lightweight such as myself. Originally, of course, I went in blind – and I still know basically nothing about beer at all.

I have come up with some… interesting ways to describe it, though. But I’ve decided I should probably at least learn a little bit about the brewing process and what all those acronyms mean. I credit Kraig Bridgeford, the new head brewer at the much anticipated new local brewery Bur Oak, with this new interest. I ran into him at – where else? – iTap when I was waiting for friends and trying to decide what beer to order.

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A few ways to cut down on some of the major college expenses

What’s the biggest expense you face as a college student? (Besides tuition – the only thing that helps there is scholarships, scholarships, smart planning and cheaper schools.)

Do you dread textbook-buying season? Shudder at the thought of trying to fly home for break (because it costs so much, not because you’re dreading seeing your family)?

Whatever it is, there are ways to cut down on the cost. Here are some quick tricks I’ve picked up from the college rat race.

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Starting a retirement or investment account early

I’ve got more than $5,000 invested in a Roth IRA and stocks. But I’ve been lucky.

Even if you don’t have a lot of spare capital to lock into a retirement account, you can still get started with low-minimum investment accounts.

I started an investment account and a Roth IRA with money earned at summer internships and the money freed up by a big scholarship. That was a huge windfall – but if I didn’t have that chance, I’d still want to invest some money.

First, why a Roth IRA rather than a different type of retirement account?

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New Media and Building a Brand

I had the pleasure of listening to Brian Stetler, current Reliable Sources host and former New York Times media writer, talk a total of three times in one week while he was visiting Mizzou.

I hadn’t really heard of him beyond vaguely remembering the news of his hiring by the New York Times in 2007, plus his appearance in the Page One documentary about the Times. So getting to hear him talk about how he started the blog that launched his career was a pretty neat experience.

Probably the biggest takeaway for me was his advice that media is actually under covered – and that anyone could do what he did. Also, he said he wouldn’t have tried to cover all of cable news but instead focus on one channel, like Al-Jazeera.

“I think it took off because it was filling a void in the marketplace,” Stetler said. “I’d much rather be the only person working on some other story.”

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