Final Project!!! Yay!

May 12, 2009


It’s hard to believe this project is finally finished. When the class began, I worried that I would not be able to do SoundSlides successfully, let alone a flash project. This project took a lot of work and organization, as well as some trial and error. I am glad that I got so much experience with editing and shooting multimedia projects. The experience helped me to feel more confident in my overall journalistic abilities. Figuring out how to put together a flash document and troubleshoot when (numerous) issues came up helped me understand how to use the program to present the story the way our group envisioned. I am also incredibly grateful to the group that I worked with. Having their help and working to figure out the best strategies to develop our stories taught me a lot about working with other journalists and allowing others to have a greater range of responsibilities. The project was difficult, frustrating and time-consuming, but it was worth all of the effort and the difficulty.



April 27, 2009

Wordle is quite interesting.



An experiment in black and white

March 30, 2009

In Hamilton, TX, three women run a “sassy” alterations and gift shop.sassys031


Hopes and fears about journalism

March 29, 2009

“This is the sixth edition of our annual report on the State of the News Media in the United States.
It is also the bleakest.”

As discussed in “The State of the News Media 2009,” the combination of readers moving from print or other traditional to the Internet and the condition of the economy. The analogy of a stroke victim about to begin rehabilitation falling ill with a secondary illness seems an apt one.

It seems that the journalism industry shot itself in the foot. As the report mentions, not many attempts at revamping the methods of producing and charging for content were tested in earnest while the situation did not look as dire. Now, everyone is scrambling to come up with something, anything, to resurrect the industry.

The prospect of an unsettled industry is frightening and exciting to someone interested in finding a journalism job within the next year or so. The opportunity to come up with new solutions is endless. Something has to be developed in order for journalism to be profitable again. However, until a new solution is discovered and developed, it seems as though news rooms will continue to thin out, as will the printed editions they produce. New journalists have to compete with experienced journalists, the former hoping their excitement and online experience will outweigh the connections and writing clips of the latter.

The report includes six trends in journalism over the past year.

While all of the points seem true and valid, the one that seems key is that news sources are focusing more on producing more and more content than drawing in more of an audience. While working on a project for another journalism course, I spoke to random people about their readership habits. Of the people I spoke to, many said they did not care about or access the multimedia available on the Web unless they saw a link that grabbed their attention. Although journalists need desperately to strive to improve content and work on the methods they use to produce it, to be able to make journalism a valid business again, something has to happen to draw in readers. Great content without an audience is no better than horrible content.

The idea of sharing content seems offensive and problematic in the long run. In reality, competitive journalism stays effective because of the drive to beat out the other news outlets. If only one reporter writes a story that is used by multiple media outlets and no other reporter covers the story, what professional source is there to keep that writer credible over time? A possibility is that the credibility will begin to diminish over time or that holes will be left empty because only one version of the story will exist.

The idea of on-demand journalism to fit the 24/7 demand of audiences seems daunting. While journalists have always been expected to be ready to cover any event, the expectation is utterly greater with the use of the Internet. People can access a Web site any time of the day or not, and if they find new events on a different site, they are more likely to check the other site more. The pressure to create more content quicker may increase burnout.

According to the report, the public remains wary of the information disseminated by journalists. The entire industry needs to work hard to stick to journalistic standards and do their best to improve the opinion of their audience, especially online.

The report includes an extensive evaluation of the role and effectiveness of online journalism. The idea of writing and producing multimedia for the Web is exciting.


Multimedia practice

March 12, 2009

I feel that I still have a long way to go on effectively portraying stories via multimedia, but I have a handle on what multimedia requires. I plan to use the skills that I learn through this class to show future employers that I have a working knowledge of the methods and technology behind good multimedia stories.

Here’s a bit of my multimedia work, thus far.

My first stab at a Soundslide was a story about pool in the Syndicate at UNT. During the interview, I worked on capturing the audio. I had problems getting the audio level up as high as I needed to. The result was quiet sound. The editing process was interesting and fun.

Inside the Syndicate at UNT, there are many tables that students can pay to play on.

Inside the Syndicate at UNT, there are many tables that students can pay to play on.

After the pool story, I compiled a story about the UNT Fencing Club on my own. Overall, I enjoyed the process for this Soundslide the most. Coming from a print medium, I do not usually have to get up in front of people and snap pictures, but the experience was interesting. I had to come up with new angles to shoot the story from. While editing, I learned better how to compile a story without being able to paraphrase, which is difficult coming from the print side. Overall, I think the pictures and audio work well together.

The UNT Fencing Club uses these types of weapons for their bouts.

The UNT Fencing Club uses these types of weapons for their bouts.

For video, my partner, Jayda Quincey, shot B-roll of the action at the Clark Hall front desk. This experience helped me learn about shooting sequences. Watching my partner shoot video and trying to offer some ideas about how to approach it helped me come up with a better way of framing shots and approaching a video assignment.

Resident Assistant Joseph Conant checks his box.

Resident Assistant Joseph Conant checks his box.

My first individual attempt at video was about a female Lutheran pastor, the Reverend Dr. Peggy Ogden-Howe. During this assignment, I learned that just like in Soundslides, you need more B-roll than you believe you will. I also learned through having problems with the exposure level and the level of the camera that you cannot assume anything about the settings you put the camera on. The editing process illuminated the fact that I could lay different audio over different video images. Although the video did not turn out as bright or as well as I wanted, it helped me learn a lot about effective ways to shoot video. A major thing it taught me was not to let my nervousness get in the way of capturing a great story.

The Reverend Doc. Peggy Ogden-Howe shares her sermon with her congregation.

The Reverend Doc. Peggy Ogden-Howe shares her sermon with her congregation.


Which function will it be?

March 6, 2009

James C. Foust, author of Online Journalism, provides a list of six manners in which blogs contribute to journalism from the Media Center at the American Press Institute. According to the list, blogs can serve as commentary, provide a way of filtering and editing, allow for fact checking, promote grassroots reporting, adding annotative reporting or encourage open-source reporting and peer review.

Thus far, this blog serves at least two of the six functions: as a means for commentary about news coverage and media websites as well as filtering because it links the reader to particularly interesting stories, multimedia and sites.

On the multimedia portion of the Star-Telegram Web site, one story called Together in loss appeared interesting. As the story unfolded, an emotional background for the story became evident. The soundslide offers a view at a part of society, particularly young widows of military personnel. As a multimedia piece, the soundslide provides a clear beginning, a detailed middle portion and a natural ending. By mixing the interviews with natural sound, the creators crafted a smooth, professional story.

Overall, the set up on the multimedia portion of the Star-Telegram site allows for easy access to multimedia.

Take a look at the UNT Fencing Club.


Comparison of websites

March 1, 2009

The Nieman Journalism Lab developed a list of the “top 15 newspaper sites of 2008.” The Washington Post came in third, and The Houston Chronicle showed up at 14 on the list.

The Post provides a clear, easy to navigate format that looks preferable to The Chronicle. On its site, the Post uses white space to break up the links and allow the viewer to focus on specific stories without being overwhelmed. The Chronicle, however, jams links into a small space, providing a cluttered look. The cluttered site does not hold the attention of the viewer and causes difficulty in trying to find specific sections.

Although neither site provides a link at the top of the site to multimedia, the Post makes finding the multimedia simpler. The section for multimedia on the Chronicle blends in with all of the other stories because it looks the same. Once you enter the multimedia portion of the sites, however, both the Post and the Chronicle make it easy to find the multimedia.

There are many similarities in the multimedia on the sites. The Post and the Chronicle both republish video shot and edited by the Associated Press in addition to some original videos particular to the news entities themselves. A lot of the videos are purely straight video, however. Both sites lacked variety in their multimedia.

Another news option, especially for the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, is The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.