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Stepping out of my comfort zone

I have a confession. When I first decided to major in journalism one of my greatest fears was taking this class due to my lack of experience. One of my first blog posts this semester discussed my fears of taking on a multimedia journalism class. Until this year, I was strictly a news writer. I loved interviewing, gathering facts, and typing them out on my computer. However, throughout this semester, I have come to learn and appreciate the art of multimedia journalism.

Whenever I finished a project, I could not wait to brag about what I learned. Showing others my work was extremely encouraging and rewarding. My other classes this semester consisted of reading a book, attending lecture and taking tests. This class was my favorite because students got to practice what they learned. The University of Missouri School of Journalism prides itself on the Missouri Method–offering students hands on training in professional media. I am a firm believer in this method because of what I have gained in all my classes.

No matter where my journalism degree takes me, I will utilize what I have learned this semester. I no longer consider myself just a news writer. I am more confident in my ability to communicate news in a visual manner. If someone told me a semester ago I would be creating a website with audio, pictures, video and an interactive graphic as a final project I would not have believed it. Overall, I have enjoyed every aspect of this class because it has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.

Check out my final group project website here– Sustain Columbia

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Spreading the movement

As I worked on building my own website, I spent hours perfecting and proof reading. Unlike projects for other classes, this has the opportunity to reach viewers in different states and even around the world because of the power of the Internet.

In my sociology class, we are learning about movements, both present and historical. There is a fine difference between movements in the past and today because of online access. News stations can post news to their website, Twitter and Facebook and instantly reach thousands, maybe even millions of people within minutes.

The Stop Kony movement is an example of how things spread online. The organization posted a video to Facebook and, despite its 30 minute length, it spread like wildfire to 204 countries and currently has reached 104,506,332 views. Records show that 3,590,051 have pledged their support–I assume most of this support stems from their website. In the past, volunteer groups met face to face. Today, because of the Internet, many can simply pledge their support by sending money online, clicking a “like” button on Facebook or posting a video as their status.

It was amazing to think that millions of people in 200 countries could watch the same video I did and join the same cause. After viewing this video, I wondered if this movement would have gained the same amount of support without the Internet and if this movement has been successful as a result.

Anyone who posts things on the Internet should consider its potential to catch fire and spread across nations. One person can make a magnificent difference with simply a computer.

Journalism in motion

When I think of the word “journalism” I immediately imagine a stack of newspapers or a computer screen displaying a text story. My multimedia journalism class has encouraged me to expand my definition immensely.

Jonathon Berlin, graphics editor for the Chicago Tribune spoke to our class last week and challenged aspiring journalists to broaden our definition of journalism to include graphics. In high school, I was asked to be the graphics editor for the newspaper–not because I am a skilled graphics producer, but because no one else wanted the position. Originally, I was disappointed because I wouldn’t get to design newspaper pages like everyone else in the class. I asked myself, “Would I still be doing journalism? Will my work earn the same kind of respect?”

All good interactives start with journalism, Berlin said

As the graphics editor, I quickly learned that immense research, investigation and time goes into each graphic. Even though I was not writing stories, I was still doing journalism. I also learned that graphics can tell stories in a way text cannot.

Here is an example of an excellent motion graphic from NPR:

This graphic illustrates the concept of the world’s population growth more effectively than any text story. Graphics may not seem like a traditional segment of journalism, but they absolutely add a unique view to any story and allow readers to engage interactively.  Next time you are perusing through an online news site I encourage you to scroll through the graphics. You may be surprised by how much you can learn!

Keep calm and study for finals

As a yoga instructor at the University of Missouri Recreation Complex, my job is to relax other people. However, even that job can be stressful on occasion. As the school year is winding down, many students feel the stresses of final tests and projects looming over their heads like a dark cloud. Stress can weaken one’s immune system and damage one’s overall well being. We can’t always control our stress, but we can definitely try to manage it. Here are a few tips for the final month of school:

  • Create a productive study environment without television or loud distractions
  • Use your resources. Take advantage of your professor’s office hours and study groups.
  • Breathe. Try taking a beginner’s yoga class or simply take 15-20 minutes out of your busy day to sit or lay down in silence and concentrate only on your breathing.
  • Exercise regularly and move activities outside if it is nice
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Try to avoid caffeine
  • Get enough sleep so your body can recover from the day’s events
  • Know your priorities and focus on accomplishing one thing at a time. Make a to-do list so that you may feel encouragement after crossing off a completed task
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Laugh often

As a college student, stress is an unavoidable aspect of our daily lives, especially during finals. Although we cannot control stress or make it vanish completely, there are ways to manage how we feel. Experimenting with just a few of these tips can make a positive difference.

Students explore sustainable food options

The Women’s Center and MU Student Sustainability co-sponsored a presentation on sustainable food options today at the Women’s Center Lounge. Students sampled local food from Main Squeeze, learned about the environmental impacts of food and how to eat sustainably.

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“There are many ways to make small changes that greatly improve our quality of life,” said Women’s Center staff member Brooke Holman

The average person is unaware of the many steps involved in food production that impact consumers and the environment.

Benefits of local food include freshness, better taste, more nutrients, less transportation and support for the local economy.

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To find local food, students can visit Columbia farmers markets and shop at grocery stores such as Root Cellar, Clovers Natural Market, HyVee, and Natural Grocers.

Paying for online news

When newspapers were sold on street corners, vendors would hold out the paper and shout the day’s headlines. The sellers enticed potential readers be giving them a bit of news and then asking them to pay for the rest.

I have my welcome screen on my laptop set to the New York Times. As a result, I find myself clicking around on the website each time I log onto my computer. The other day, I clicked on an interesting article and a pop up explained that I must pay to keep perusing the website. According to the Associated Press, almost 300 US newspapers have adopted similar policies–offering a small amount of free online news and then requiring readers to purchase an online subscription.

“We’re really looking at innovation and execution,” said Newspaper Association of America president Caroline Little.

Although individuals who have enjoyed consuming free online news may be upset with the changes, I believe it is a fair and necessary move for the journalism industry. Journalists and news organizations should be rewarded for their dedication and hard work. Paying for online news will add credibility to the stories and hopefully help the industry prosper.

“It’s not journalism, it’s theater”

When NPR learned that Mike Daisey fabricated his story on Apple products and Chinese sweatshops, they did everything in their power to maintain credibility as a news organization. This American Life  devoted an hour of their show to detailing the false statements made in the broadcast. Instead of placing the blame on Mr. Daisey, NPR said it was ultimately their mistake. A news organization willing to take full responsibility is an organization that will uphold respect from their audience.

A link to NPR’s audio retraction explanation can be found here.

And I’m coming to you today to say something that I’ve never had to say on our program…That was a mistake.
I can say now in retrospect that when Mike Daisey wouldn’t give us contact information for his interpreter we should’ve killed the story rather than run it. we never should’ve broadcast this story without talking to that woman.
Instead, we trusted his word. Although he’s not a journalist, we made clear to him that anything he was going to say on our show would have to live up to journalistic standards. He had to be truthful. And he lied to us.

Daisey’s talk at Georgetown

Although almost all Americans take time out of their day to consume news, many distrust the people to provide it to them. Unfortunately, mistakes from individuals throughout history have left their mark on the journalism industry. It is up to the news organizations to stand their ground during controversies and continue to create news that is fit to print.

 

Shortcuts to more efficient editing

I chose to major in journalism at the University of Missouri because of my writing skills and ability to put together a solid news story. This year, for the first time, my multimedia skills are being put to the test. I have always wanted to produce multimedia pieces because I love viewing videos, pictures and listening to audio stories online. While I have gotten frustrated at times, I believe it is definitely a worthwhile experience to work out of one’s comfort zone. Praying my video turned out well, I was immediately wide eyed and overwhelmed when I first opened Final Cut Pro X. In order to be a more efficient editor, I found a list of keyboard shortcuts online here- Premium Beat Blog.

Here are some of the shortcuts I found most useful:

  • Insert edit: W
  • Video only edit: Option + 2
  • Audio only edit: Option + 3
  • Go forward one frame: Right arrow
  • Go back one frame: Left arrow
  • Nudge left: , (comma)
  • Nudge right: . (period)

As someone completely new to multimedia editing, I found these shortcuts extremely helpful. With the shortcuts by my side, I didn’t have to worry about every single icon that originally caused confusion. The shortcuts helped make my editing more efficient.

Top iPhone apps for students

Now that I have my iPhone, I never feel like I am alone or without anything to do. The other day, I found myself scrolling through the App store and wondered if there are any apps that could ease my stress at school. Here are some of the apps I found relative to college students.

  • Vocabolistic: Look up words or hide the definitions to quiz yourself

  • NYTimes: Keep up with current events

  • myHomework: Make homework lists, project task sheets and test schedules

  • BlackboardLearn: Access Blackboard

  • my Sticky Lite: The iPhone’s version of the Mac’s sticky note

  • iStudiezPro: An all in one app for organizing a college schedule

  • Mental Case: Make flashcards with text, photo and audio

 

Putting a face to a name

My most recent trip to the New York Times online website left me intrigued with an article about Venezuela’s music education program. It wasn’t the topic that sparked my interest, but the way in which the reporter chose to convey his piece.

The article can be found here: Venerated High Priest and Humble Servant of Music Education

When I clicked on the video, I expected a typical short news clip or documentary style clip. However, this reported did something I personally have never seen before. In the video, the reporter speaks into the camera and explains the story instead of simply narrating. This is not a topic I would usually stick around and learn about, but the author’s method did the trick. I felt more connected with the writer and also more engaged in the piece. It is an interesting method to consider when putting together a multimedia piece.