Stringing Along

A couple weeks ago, I finished up the last component of my project covering the Missouri String Project. Check out the audio, photo and video footage that I gathered about the program.

See the musicians in action on Sunday, May 6th at 3 p.m. in the Hickman High School auditorium.


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.


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.”


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.”


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.

Point and shoot

I’ve always been exposed to basic forms of photography. My mother, typical parent that she is, loved to document every moment of my and my brother’s childhood. Her collection of photo albums in the study of my childhood home is rivaled only by that of my uncle’s California home guest bedroom stocked with family photos and video recordings of his own. One of my earliest memories involves me visiting Vancouver and being given a disposable Kodak camera. I remember taking off my mittens – the kind with the yarn attached to the wrists to keep the pair together – so I could better wind the film and maneuver the tiny little box that would eternalize the images of the pigeons in which I had spontaneously taken interest.

And who could forget those  horrible school photos with white backdrops, block letters that read “2001,” and buckets of plastic combs? Those years in elementary school where children would line up and squirm in whatever outfit their mother chose for them was probably the first time I realized that a lot more components (and direction…”chin up and to the left a little more…”) could go into taking a good picture.

Since then, I’ve tried my hand at different cameras and angles and lighting and iPhoto effects.  I somewhat regret not taking art or photo classes in high school to explore more of this type of artistry in greater depth. For years I’ve observed in awe (and a tinge of jealousy) at my photographer friends and how comfortable they are with knowing what will look good in a frame, let alone maneuvering the equipment they capture the image with.

I’m glad to say that this “Seeing Red” assignment was quite enjoyable. The hands-on nature of the project with its minimal requirements left me with limitless chances to explore. While I had fun and,  let’s be honest, felt really cool walking around downtown with the Nikon D7000, I’ve pretty much resigned to the fact that if I ever get there, it’ll take a while to develop my eye for good photography. But in the meantime, I think I’m going to enjoy exploring the features my new discovery just as much as I enjoyed taking instant photos of Vancouver pigeons.