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.

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“Life is once, forever.”

Multimedia. In a concept that is so limitless, I would be kidding myself if I said I wasn’t irrationally intimidated and a bit overwhelmed by what this multimedia journalism course is supposed to teach me. This isn’t history or English or math, but rather, something that is ever evolving. Yet purpose of this field is to use constantly developing technologies to document and deliver a moment as a fragment of history.

So Henri Cartier-Bresson said that “life is once, forever.” Pretty profound, that guy. But when I heard this quote, I thought of this story that I had read the day prior.

At what point does the development of technology interfere with capturing real events and getting them to the public in its truest, most accurate form? Even when messing around with the camera simulator in class, it’s hard to say whether or not you may be altering the image too much or magnifying something out of proportion, let alone using software to compile an image that kind of really never happened as pictured. Would that not constitute as true photography? Or maybe these resources are only making it better and capturing moments that, because of the limitations of our technologies, were yet to be attained using mechanical equipment.

It seems that it’s all about timing. The five different exposures used by the photographer all happened, but not necessarily down to the same millisecond. But as these programs are still in development, I think it’s an interesting new take on presenting images in a new format.

After all, time is a man-made concept. Start making four-day workweeks the norm and maybe we’ll be getting somewhere.