A look back

Another semester come and gone. *Cue the sentimental, nostalgic music.* It’s times like these that I wish I had Daniel Stern to highlight the significance of my life events. Or Julie Andrews. I wouldn’t mind Julie Andrews narrating my life.

But since I don’t have that luxury, I’m going to make a list. Because that’s what I do best.

10 Things I Learned from J2150: Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism

1. I first have to acknowledge how much I learned about using the cool equipment we had access to. Shooting with the Nikon D7000, the Canon video camera and the audio recorder made the hand’s on course all the more interesting.

2. That being said, always carry a spare SD card and set of batteries. Always.

3. As someone going into magazine editing, I didn’t think that I would have to focus as much on the multimedia aspect of reporting. But after using these skills, I’ve found that having the knowledge and ability to use these techniques can make for an even more immersed reporting experience.

4. There are great stories everywhere. There are great ways of telling stories everywhere.

5. As much as I love reporting and getting to know the subject’s story, I am just not a production person.

6. There are some really cool kids on campus.

7. As hard as it is to write/shoot/edit/produce something, it’s even harder to take a step back to really critique your own work and figure out how to make it better. But no piece is ever really finished, and there’s always room for improvement.

8. Half of getting good material is making time to invest in the project, being there and being present.

9. If anything, this course has validated exactly why I want to go into Journalism. To meet amazing people. To hear inspiring stories. To be a storyteller. And maybe get the chance to talk to a famous person or two.

10. My blog posts generally don’t turn out how I intend for them to, but that’s cool because there’s always another week to try again.

I still can’t finish the second season of Arrested Development (and other examples of how technology hates me)

If I’ve learned anything over the course of this semester, it’s that I utterly fail at all things technological. Prior to this multimedia class, I was under the impression that I was somewhat, in the very least way possible, capable of using technology at a moderate capacity. Oh, how shattered that illusion stands.

Tragedy struck on Tuesday, as it often does, when we went through a step-by-step tutorial of how to create a roll-over information graphic in class. I was warned not to stray from the set of instructions and guidance of the instructor, lest I be lost in the Adobe Flash abyss forever. Not five minutes and a couple of steps in (several of which consisted of simply downloading the image of the Missouri map and opening the Adobe program), I reached a point where my computer screen no longer matched that of the ones of my peers sitting next to me. Of course. I screwed up somewhere along the way.

I did manage to complete most of the assignment and create a masterpiece about the Mark Twain Cave of Hannibal, Mo. It took a lot of trial and error, and probably way more time than necessary, but I figured it out little by little. That seems to be the trend for much of the material I’ve learned from this course, from using the reporting equipment to maneuvering the software used in production. Even using my phone for a mobile journalism assignment, though seemingly straightforward in using a tool I’ve become so familiar with, didn’t go without a few glitches and frozen screens before deadline.

In the meantime, I can still appreciate the process of taking journalism and presenting it in new ways. This week’s lecturer, Jonathon Berlin of the Chicago Tribune, gives advice about techniques to make good informational graphics. While this might not particularly be my forté, I’m honestly really excited to use these newfound skills to enhance the reporting I do in the future and continue learning about such techniques. As NPR’s Meredith Heard says and the website FlowingData shows, it’s definitely not going away anytime soon.

“The people I know are the funniest fucking people around.”

I’m no standup comedy buff, but judging by my schedule for the past week, you might have guessed otherwise.

Our group final project is covering the Mizzou Comedy Wars, and as such, I’ve been working on the text story in which I interview one of the group founders, as well as the two newest members recently initiated to the stage a month ago. On a completely separate note, the organization I am a part of invited comedian Eliot Chang to perform standup as the second event for our annual Asian American Awareness Week,

This week was hectic, stressful and full of avoidable mistakes (re: scheduling a phone interview with someone not realizing we were in two different time zones…whoops!) But it was also really neat sitting down with these guys and talking about something they were all passionate about. And, I mean, two of them are big names in the industry who have done interviews with other big names like Jimmy Fallon, Chelsea Handler and the like. Even if just for a 20 minute interview, I felt pretty damn cool being able to ask them my own questions. I had the opportunity to four comedians in various stages of their career on very different circumstances, but I managed asked each of them the same question.

What do you find is the most rewarding thing about performing comedy?

Nick Vatterott, founding member of Comedy Wars and current standup comic: “I can go back to Chicago now and do a show knowing there are six people that I know and love as people, that I get to watch them do comedy and hang out with them after the show…The people I know are the funniest fucking people around.”

Drew Kohler, freshman member of Comedy Wars: “People have come up to me and said, ‘You’re Drew from Comedy Wars!’ It’s not like I’m famous or anything, but that kind of recognition brightens my day. [Comedy] is an art…and people recognizing that I’m putting forth the effort to make some smiles on some faces is nice; it’s fun.”

Clint Cannon, freshmen member of Comedy Wars: “The group that we perform with…are one of my closer groups of friends on campus. And definitely the audience aspect is really awesome. Seeing the people that you see come every week, who take a couple hours out of their week every Wednesday to come see you, it feels awesome. That’s what comedy is, it’s about the audience.”

Eliot Chang, Comedy Central’s Number 2 Comedian: “The thing is, I get to come to work everyday knowing that I’m about to do what I love.”

Drive to end homelessness

Members of Alpha Phi Omega corralled students passing by Lowry Mall Tuesday morning to donate to the homeless community. The co-ed service fraternity is working in partnership with honors fraternity Phi Sigma Pi to raise money and donations for Project Homeless Connect.

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APO members Taylor Kroness, Tim Valli and Claire Taylor promote donating to Project Homeless Connect. The organization had collected $20 in change as of Wednesday afternoon.

“We are collecting hats, backpacks, hygeine products and spare change,” member Tom Valli said.

The goal of the drive is to raise awareness of homelessness in Columbia. Project Homeless Connect  is a national organization and works to end the problem of homelessness around the country.

“The most rewarding thing is knowing that we have an impact on helping the community,” Chapter Relations Chair Megan Callahan said. “A lot of people don’t realize that homeless people don’t want to be on the street. This is kind of a bridge to get them back on track.”

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Megan Callahan educates her peers about homelessness in Columbia. This was the first year APO had teamed up to fundraise for Project Homeless Connect.

The organization has been publicizing the drive since Monday and will continue until Wednesday. Students can donate money and supplies until the end of the week.

Mobile Journalism Test

Friendly customer service and all things black and gold brighten a rainy Saturday at downtown retail store Tiger Spirit. Sales associate Alezandra Marzolf started working at the store in August and has enjoyed work experience since.

“I like bantering with my coworkers while we’re working,” Marzolf said. “It’s nice to be able to be informal with someone at work. And I like looking at babies when they come into the store.”

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Marzolf makes small talk while ringing out a customer.


In addition to Mizzou apparel for men, women and children, Tiger Spirit is also the only retail store in Columbia to carry items for the university’s Greek life.

(Mis)quoted and noted

I have a problem with email interviews. I don’t like using the method as a journalist reporting on a story, and I don’t like being asked to give quotes through them.

J-School Buzz posted about how the Journalism School should embrace the practice of email interviews. I disagree. My friend Laura Li, a fellow J-Schooler who is way more eloquent than me, contributed her countering opinion that students need to learn to establish direct contact in order to accurately report on a subject.

When I was recently emailed a list of questions from a reporter of a student publication about a campus event that I attended, I declined to answer them (primarily because I was only in attendance for part of the event and clearly wasn’t the best interview candidate). I ended the email by offering to meet in person to answer any other questions she had. This wasn’t the first time that I had declined an email interview, but in the past reporters have arranged face-to-face interviews with me to get their material. I waited to hear back from this reporter, but figured she had gone with another source in the end.

So imagine my surprise when I found out, through a series of coincidental events, that I was in fact quoted in an article. But since I didn’t give her any useable quotes, she made up her own and tacked my name to the end of them.

At first I thought it was completely hilarious that the reporter would do something that was the complete antithesis to journalism. And then I was completely perplexed as to why she thought it would be okay or necessary to do what she did. In all honesty, I just want clarification as to her rationale for fabricating quotes in the first place. The article has since been corrected and the publication offered its apologies, but I really just want the reporter as an individual to be accountable for this situation and be transparent enough to make it known.

I want you to know that I stutter sometimes. I say “like” and “um” way too much. I have a nervous laugh that kicks in when I get the sinking realization that I’ve lost my train of thought in the middle of a sentence. And a person would only know this if they’ve talked to me directly, heard my voice and picked up on my body language. Because what I say is best understood when how I say it is taken into consideration. And that doesn’t include how well I can craft a type-written sentence.

All I ask, both as a journalist and as an interviewee, is that the reporter upholds the integrity of good journalism. And please don’t write that I said something when I didn’t. That’s not journalism, honey; that’s fiction. And to quote the J-School’s own Jacqui Banazynski, “Go over to the English department if you want to make shit up.”