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Appreciating a journalist’s mission

Two more journalists have passed away amongst the conflict in Syria. Without their tireless effort, citizens in the United States would be unaware of this conflict. They gave their lives to deliver news to the world.

A CNN article by Frida Ghitis describes their efforts beautifully- What the world owes the slain journalists

 They gave their lives for one simple reason: to bring the world the news; to find out the truth about what is happening in Syria, so the rest of us can sit in the safety of our living rooms, reading about it in the paper, watching it on television or perusing it on our digital devices.

Every aspiring journalist and citizen who appreciates receiving news should take these words to heart.

We should be nothing but grateful. We should thank them, ask them to be safe, but we should also support their work. And tell those who demonize journalists that they don’t have an ounce of the courage of the people they pretend to disdain.

These men and women made the ultimate sacrifice. They risked their lives so that we can receive news everyday at our doorstep, every hour on our televisions and every minute on our cell phones. Both journalists and news consuming citizens should learn from and admire their efforts.


NY Times Patient Voices

While clicking around the New York Times online website I stumbled upon an interested segment from their health section titled Patient Voices. I thought it would interest me because we have been studying audio recording in my multimedia journalism class.

Patient Voices features first person accounts of the struggles and rewards of coping with various health issues. While listening to patient’s voices, readers can scroll through captioned photos at their own pace. The interactive graphic also gives readers the opportunity to “join the discussion” or click on a “health issues” button to learn more about one particular sickness.


The screen looks like the following picture taken from the website. On the left, viewers can listen to several children’s firsthand accounts of dealing with cancer. On the right is a picture slideshow corresponding to the audio.

Audio can have a powerful influence on an audience. Listening to these children’s’ stories through their own voice instilled a lasting impact. The whole multimedia package kept me engaged. Simply reading their words in print would not have the same affect.


Seeing Red

According to the website Sensational Color, red has more personal associations that any other color.

Recognized as a stimulant, red is inherently exciting and the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element.

How the color red affects us physically

  • Increases enthusiasm
  • Stimulates energy
  • Encourages action and confidence
  • Provides a sense of protection from fears and anxiety

When my multimedia journalism class assigned a photography project called Seeing Red, I was nervous to venture around the city looking for interesting red elements. Initially, I thought it would take half of my day searching for striking red elements. However, I was completely wrong. If anything, I couldn’t stop finding red images to photograph. It was almost addicting. I discovered red objects in places I go everyday, but have never taken the time to notice. Here’s what I found.

The former Tin Can Tavern and Grill restaurant in Columbia, Mo.

Chairs at the J Cafe in the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri

Doors from the United Methodist Church in Columbia, Mo

Check out National Geographic’s red photos– Life in Color: Red


Rumor has it

While social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have their advantages, they also carry many disadvantages. Sometimes they make our lives easier and more convenient, while they also make our lives more complicated. When a rumor is posted on a social media site it often spreads uncontrollably like wildfire. People of all ages are using these sites to gossip and spark untrue rumors.

Last week, many of my Kansas Jayhawk Facebook friends began updating their statuses about the “NMT” t-shirts Mizzou students were “supposedly” making for the MU KU basketball game in Columbia Feb. 4. “NMT” stands for “No Mom Tom” in reference to the death of KU basketball player Thomas Robinson’s mother. This rumor was obviously untrue so my first action after seeing their statuses was to explore other websites such as Twitter and message boards. The online rumor was spreading faster by the minute–so fast, that I couldn’t even keep up.

The t-shirt rumor began on a message board. With one click of a mouse, one individual caused hundreds of Jayhawk and Tigers fans to begin feuding via several social media sites.

The following article describes the scenario well: “NMT” Post Ignites False Twitter Controversy

Like most rumors started on Twitter, there is little truth to these claims, even though it spread like wildfire.

Last week’s debate on the truthfulness of these claims illustrates how much power the world of social media really holds and how much it really controls our lives. Not only must we be careful of what we say, but we also must be careful of what we believe online.

The power of pictures

This week, my class watched a multimedia story called A Thousand More that profiled a young boy named Philly and his struggle with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is ultimately a story of a family’s love and determination and illustrates how multimedia can strike an emotional chord with audiences. The 13 minute film sparked both laughter and tears throughout the lecture hall. Would it have had the same effect if the story was in print? My guess is no. Pictures have power.

After watching such an amazing multimedia piece I set out to find another intense story with a visual focus. I remembered reading The Final Salute a few years ago. This Pulitzer Prize winning story chronicles the work of Maj. Steve Beck as he notifies families of their fallen loved ones.

They are the troops that nobody wants to see, carrying a message that nobody wants to hear. It begins with a knock at the door.

The Final Salute story package includes a lengthy story with powerful quotes and detail, an audio slide show, video and a photo essay.

Without the multimedia aspect of this award winning  journalism, the story would not have had such a lasting impact. It would simply be words on a page. I read this story a few years ago and it took seeing one picture from the series to spark my memory. Pictures are powerful.

The news according to Twitter

Recently, I have found myself scrolling through Twitter almost every time I pick up my phone. Who knew reading segments of 160 characters could be so interesting and entertaining! I enjoy reading about what my friends are up to, following the latest news and sports updates, fun facts and funny jokes. When I was told we would be Tweeting for my journalism class it caused me to stop and think—why is Twitter taking over? Why is it so special and what does it have to do with my multimedia journalism class? I scrolled through my Twitter feed after class and paid special attention to the news sites I follow. Anything I would ever need to know about the latest world news could be reached instantly and held in the palm of my hand.

Last November, the International Center for Journalists published the following article: New York Times Twitter followers now more than double the number of print readers.

The New York Times just sent a shout out over Twitter announcing it has reached four million followers.

Those that follow the New York Times on Twitter vastly outnumber those to subscribe to the print publication. Twitter has forever changed the journalism world. In my multimedia journalism class this semester, I hope to pay particular attention to how I use Twitter as both a news consumer and as a producer of the news as it continues to dominate news outlets.

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