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.

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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.