Monthly Archives: March 2012

Johnny Andrews: Photography Is Only The Beginning

Here’s Johnny

Before spring break my Writing for the Converged Media class welcomed in a special guest to talk about multi-media journalism.

Johnny Andrews (@johnnyandrews74) has worked for several newspapers across the United States. Andrews is currently a photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While he has been a photographer at the Post for the better part of the last four years his duties have almost never been confined merely to taking pictures.

The change that has occurred in the field is being reflected in the job descriptions and requirements of those who take part in it. Andrews enlightened students to the art of learning on the job and adapting to new circumstances.

Still Photos

He showed us the camera he used to take still photographs for the assignments you have most likely seen in the Post-Dispatch. When he isn’t shooting stories for the paper he is staging photos for potential feature ideas. He showed off some of his favorites which are available for public viewing on his personal portfolio website.

A lot more work goes into each photo Johnny takes. It is more work than most people would assume. Johnny’s shots are really well composed. They all tell a story which does not need words to drive home its point. To adequately tell the story his vision demands Johnny has to tweak the arrangements of each photo he takes. He will spend up to a half hour rearranging the elements in the shot. The outcome is well worth it though. His shots are incredible.

Video

Johnny has not just been confined to still photos alone. He was very clear in stating the way to be successful as a journalist is to learn. This is especially true for those who work with photos and video. One type of media is really no good without the other. Johnny taught himself the finer points of using video to tell stories.

One of the most notable stories he used video to cover was actually born out of curiosity. Johnny stumbled upon a group of kids in inner city St. Louis, Mo. who were spending their summer learing all about playing in a symphony.

Andrews routinely covers features or news stories using video. These stories appear on the Post-Dispatch’s website where they are frequently some of the most viewed content.

Turning Up the Volume

Johnny also produces a series of music videos which highlight the talents of St. Louis area bands. He is a proponent of trying out different methods in his videos. He uses lots of different cameras from all different price ranges to get the shots he needs to make his videos what he desires.

The video above appeared on his multi-media music column, Listen. It features a group called the Volcanoes from Lindenwood University who recently signed with a record label.

Bands like this are the kind of groups Johnny typically works with.

What Johnny Taught Me

Creativity is non-negotiable. If you want to make it in the media field reporting stories is not enough. You must generate ideas for content. Many of the stories Johnny tells are not ones he was handed. They are stories he had to seek out and pitch to his editor. Many times he even chronicles stories for his own personal collection.

Creating quality work is essential even when you know it won’t be published. That is how you ensure the strength of your brand.

One Final Note

Johnny is really down to earth. He even has been willing to interact with members of our class on Twitter since we met him last week. For young journalists like us that is really appreciated.

Microblogging Lindenwood Softball

The McKendree Bearcats beat the Lindenwood Lions 3-2 Wednesday night at the Lou Brock Sports Complex in St. Charles, Mo.

I had the chance to live tweet Lindenwood softball Wednesday night. It was a lot of fun even though LU lost to McKendree University 3-2.

I love being around sports. This was the second LU sporting even that I had live tweeted this week.

I had a seat in the press box which was nice. It gave me some room to spread out my scorecard and allowed me a place to put my iphone when I wasn’t typing. If I had been in the stands I would have had to hold it the entire game or keep taking it out of my pocket. Having easy access was nice.

Thank You iphone

Recently, I upgraded from a traditional cell phone to an iphone. It is the first smartphone I have ever owned and the reason I have come to appreciate it so much is that it makes covering events like the softball game Wednesday so much easier. A Twitter app makes live tweeting a breeze. The application recognizes when you want to use a specific hashtag as you are typing it. This makes firing off rapid tweets in succession much easier.

Including pictures with my tweets was not only possible with iphone, but it was easy. The phone I used to have would not have been capable of taking a photo and uploading it to Twitter.

The Vantage Point

The press box is situated directly behind home plate. Being next to the Lindenwood sports information staff was a luxury because they had all the information I could possible have needed about the game. The umpires also communicated directly with them about what was happening on the field.

Two home runs were hit during the game. The angle I got to watch from really helped me appreciate how quickly the ball was coming off the bat. Watching the pitchers work from behind the plate also gave me a true look at how the ball was moving as it approached home.

Soundslides: Leaving Arizona

The Soundslide entitled “Leaving Arizona” is a great example of the lessons taught in chapter six of Journalism Next by Mark Briggs. This slide show is well put together and follows the path of a Latino family fleeing Arizona immigration laws. It showcases natural sound, voice overs, and beautiful photos.

The pictures which are used match the narration. Even that natural sound fits with the story.

This presentation is especially impressive because they lay a translator over top of the audio for some of the Spanish speaking subjects. If the audio were not as well mixed as it is the presentation would be very confusing.

Obviously, the reporter went and covered the family live just like Briggs suggest in the book. Being on site with the family as they were moving really comes through in this piece.

This Soundslides presentation was very enjoyable.

Review: @Koci — “Attack of the Interns, Students and One Day to Document the World!”

Courtesy of fensterbme's photo stream via Flikr.com.

-The title of this post caught my eye. As a young person, I saw the word intern and quickly identified that.

-Often interns and students are not expected to do serious reporting. The fact that their work is the inspiration for this article is really unique.

-This is an inspiring piece because it shows that everyone can make a difference. Youth does not have to be a disadvantage.

-There are a lot of new ideas and approaches being presented in the projects represented in this post. Seeing people come up with a new approach is inspiring because it makes you believe that you are capable of doing the same thing.

-The content on the videos embedded in this post and the sites the post links to is moving. There really are no sufficient words when thinking about humanity as a whole and the role journalists get to play in shaping and documenting it.

-Students need to care about this piece because this piece is about them. Young people need to understand that in today’s world the resources to produce great looking work are available to everyone. The days where you had to work at a network television station to access good technology are over. It is time for students to take advantage of the time period they live in.

-This post teaches that there is always something to be covered. In a world that is home to more than six billion people there is always some kind of story accessible to you. You may have need to gain an understand of where to look for it, but there is always a story around.

-This post teaches a lot about becoming a content creator. One of the biggest points it illustrates is that people need to be ready to report at all times. Stories are constantly unfolding around us so we always need to be ready to document them.

-There is no such thing as to big of a story. What a single person can cover is only limited by his or her ambitions. While the way in which a story is covered may have to be adjusted depending on the people and resources available no story should ever go uncovered because a perception exist that it is to big for a small group or individual to handle.

What I’ve Learned in Writing for the Converged Media

The Power of the Internet

The internet is a powerful tool. It gives the average citizen the opportunity not just to learn about the world but participate in covering the events going on in the world. No longer is journalism a one-way street. The line between producer and consumer has been blurred.

There are numerous tools and avenues which the average person can use to play a role in shaping how culture views the events taking place in the world.

Source: flickr.com via M Booth on Pinterest

 

Citizen Journalism

People who say that journalism is dying are misinformed, or at the very least, aren’t paying attention to the world around them. It could easily be said that journalism is more alive than ever before. Are less people getting paid to practice journalism on a professional level? Yes. Is the exchange of money a prerequisite for an activity to take place? Last time I checked the answer was no.

While the “golden age of journalism” may be gone it has been replaced with an age of “citizen journalism” fueled by the internet.

Anyone can post anything at anytime. All the platforms available to the public mean that raw information can be collected almost instantaneously at the site of the events as they occur.

Adapting

Because journalist now not only have to compete for readers and viewers, but also with them, it is important that journalist be proficient at using the most up-to-date tools while covering events. By doing so, they give themselves a better chance of avoiding being scooped by the very people they seek to inform.

Microblogging

In a world were there are a countless number of avenues through which to share information, one particular kind has presented itself as a favorite. Microblogging is not just used frequently by citizen journalist, but also by some of the largest media conglomerates in the world.

Twitter, is by far the most popular microblogging platform. It is used by professionals and citizens alike to streamline information in a way no newswire ever could. Twitter is now the place many look to for their news. It is quick, succinct, and manageable. It also provides views from both sides of an argument, and presents the coverage of huge companies, and pro-am journalists.

Microblogging plays to an American culture that is obsessed with speed, and instant gratification.

How It Works

Twitter allows professional journalist to practice open sourcing as they share with their audience. This means that they show the audience the process of piecing together a story.

Below is an example of how St. Louis Cardinal beat writer Derrick Goold broke a story about a Cardinal roster move approximately twelve hours before it was published in the March 6th St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

This form of social media can be used for hard news as well.

In Nov. 2011, Questlove, the drummer for the band The Roots, tweeted at Occupy Wall Street protestors to let them know the New York City police were preparing to clear Zuccotti Park. This story was reported by Questlove on Twitter before any other news outlet had any idea that the police were going to make dozens of arrests.

Don’t Just Assume Jordan is the Greatest

Photo Courtesy of JeromeG111 Photo Stream on Flikr.com

I grew up in the 90s. Michael Jordan very well might be the greatest all around basketball player in history, but he is not the greatest scorer ever to play. That honor belongs to Wilt Chamberlain.

Fifty years ago today Wilt scored 100 points against the New York Knicks while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors. While he scored 100 on March 2nd, 2012 an even more impressive fact is that he averaged 50 points per game during the 1962 season.

It is doubtful anyone will ever again score 100 points in a single game, but Kobe scored 81 a few years ago. Maybe someday someone could be the second player ever to break 100, but no one will ever average 50 points a game again for an entire season. In that category, Wilt will always stand alone.