Friday, April 20, 2007

Please Welcome Gina Park

imageIf Gina Park, 19, had a personal mantra, then this anonymous quote would be it:

"If I ever die of a heart attack, I hope it will be from playing my stereo too loud."

Ever since discovering a copy of Soul Asylum's 1986 album, Made to be Broken from her 27-year-old brother Daniel, Gina feeds her passion for music at every opportunity.

Gina's love of all things musical started back in elementary school and was strengthened through her years in middle school in the St. Paul school system and culminated with a drum major position at her alma mater, Rosemount High School. Music education is part of the curriculum at Minnesota public schools. A few rock concerts later (R.E.M., Husker Du and Wilco) with Daniel and Gina was hooked.

Gina spends most of her disposable income on music publications (NME from England and Paste Magazine in the United States) and on record albums and pricey compact discs from independent stores such as Treehouse Records and the Electric Fetus.

Parental Control

Gina's music spending on music does worry her parents a bit. Jung and Marie Park are two Seoul, South Korea immigrants who moved to Minneapolis 20 years ago and preach the tenants of saving money over spending indulgences. Gina does work 30 hours a week as server at the Dunn Bros Coffee near her school, St. Paul Community College to help pay for studies and save money. The college is a 20-minute drive from her parent's two-story suburban home in the St.Paul area (zip code 55129) in a neighborhood full of school teachers, office employees and the like.

Gina sports a nifty 3.75 GPA and she is completing her general studies at the community college in order to pursue a recording technology degree at McNally Smith College of Music. Gina has no interest in playing music; she wants to guide it as a record producer/engineer. She plans on living in the dorms once she transfers to the college.

Free Time

If Gina has any free time to herself, she usually spends it listening to indie rock shows at the famed First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry and occasionally sees larger bands like Green Day at the 20,000-seat Xcel Energy Center.

Gina searches for new bands and communicates her friends over the social networking site and Ruckus, a college-only multimedia service. She will spend no more than $15 a week downloading music onto her 30GB iPod. Technologically savvy, Gina posts daily to her Web blog daily and designs Web sites for local bands.

She communicates via instant messenger with friends she met at a Boston hostel while on vacation with friends last year. She grows impatient with slow connections and error messages.

Gina is Roman Catholic and attends mass occasionally, but she identifies herself as spiritual rather than religious. Religion plays a larger role with Daniel, a youth pastor and marketing executive with the St. Paul Saints minor league baseball team.

Gina is affable and her clothing reflects her mood. She shops at second-hand stores looking for bargains and she is often happy wearing Dr. Martens shoes, jeans, skirts and T-shirts. She will wear dresses and long-sleeve sweaters for more formal occasions and also to hide the chain tattoo design on her left arm from her parents.

Newspaper Habits

Gina will occasionally glance through a newspaper as she cleans tables in the coffeehouse shop. She will stop long enough to scan the major headlines before tossing the contents into the recycling bin. She also follows the news through a scrolling headline box on AOL Instant Messenger and watches a few minutes of CNN nightly with her parents.

Gina's favorite Web sites stored on her Mozilla Firefox browser include links to popular music sites where she can listen to free MP3 files on sites including and Stylus Magazine.

Gina Park is important to the Twin City News because she offers brand loyalty with regards to the Web sites and products that offer the content she covets.

If the newspaper expands its online entertainment offerings to include more arts and entertainment online-specific content such as an MP3 music listening station, exclusive interviews and videos, then she would be more interested in exploring and perhaps building a lengthy relationship with the paper’s Web site. Newspapers are losing young readers and attracting readers like Gina would be a good first step.

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