Monthly Archives: February 2013
Super Semester and LUTV have certainly kept me busy the last few weeks. I enjoy the routine of Super Semester. I spend a lot of time at the studio. That is welcomed. It is nice to be in one place most of the day. I’ve now had a chance to do every job the Super Semester entails. All of them are fun. I’m learning a lot. I’ve been shown there are certain things I can do better at. The good news is, there will be lots of chances to tighten up those skills.
I shot and wrote my first VOSOT (voice over sound on tape) since my last reporter blog. I have had a lot of fun doing these. I’m still trying to get the art of framing a subject properly. It is not easy to do when you don’t have a shooter. I have only shot two of them, so I know that it won’t be perfect yet. However, I believe it will get there.
Even though I still want to improve framing there have been lots of positives to consider too. One such thing is B-roll. I don’t know why, but I really like shooting B-roll. Getting the shot you want is really exciting. It is kind of like you are hunting. Once you final get you subject it feels good. I did a VOSOT on the Ash Wednesday mass put on by the Lindenwood University Catholic Student Union. That had lots of interesting things to shoot. It was neat to shoot and learn.
Another pleasing facet of that shoot was that my camera was not working properly at first, but I was able to figure out how to fix it. There was a tripod issue. I had to keep adjusting it. There was also a zoom issue. It would have been really hard to get good B-roll if it would not have been resolved.
The lighting in the chapel where the mass was held was exceptionally inconsistent. That gave me an excellent opportunity to work on using iris and white balance.
I shot my first package since the last time I filed a reporter blog as well. I was pleased with the way it went for the most part. I was able to get most of the sources I wanted, and was satisfied with the shots in general. I didn’t have a shooter for my package. Shooting and reporting alone was a really good experience. Framing a live tease, stand-up, and interview made me focus intensely. I feel a lot more comfortable with a camera, because I have had that experience. Before shooting the package I wasn’t uncomfortable, but now I am more comfortable.
Every time producing is a work in process. The second time around was more relaxed in some ways. I am looking forward to trying to do a better job of presenting the director with a rundown that is easy to use. I want to become more comfortable with graphics and teases specifically.
The LU Sustainability alliance does not have an issue with Lindenwood University students grabbing a bite to go at the Evans Commons cafeteria. What they object to is what they say is an excessive use of Styrofoam to-go boxes.
The University gives out more than 13,000 Styrofoam boxes each week.
LU Sustainability President, Zac Hafner says one box takes 500 year to break down, and that is the reason his group is passionate.
“We just began plugging into Lindenwood and connecting to students, and trying to make Lindenwood more green,” Hafner said.
Every Friday LU Sustainability sits outside the Commons cafeteria and encourages students to use plates if dinning in.
The group’s LSGA representative, Aaron Kothe, says people’s biggest concern about using plates is based on a false idea.
“It seems like people believe that they get more food when they use Styrofoam, which is not true,” Kothe said. “If you talk to any of the employees of Pfoodman, you don’t actually get more food.”
Pfoodman Service Director, Christy Dolan said Kothe is right. Employees have a standard amount of food they are supposed to serve no matter what container a student choses.
Dolan says Pfoodman does its best to be both economically and environmentally friendly. Ultimately, she says Styrofoam is cheaper than biodegradable containers.
How It Works
The first two weeks of super semester were a great learning experience. I was exceptionally grateful that I’d witnessed other students during super semester in earlier semesters. The chance to learn from them has been really valuable. Without having seen what they went through, this first week would have been even crazier than it was.
There was a lot to take in. All the standard procedures for beginning a college course were there, but super semester adds a slight twist. The work is all laid out at the beginning. There are schedules, but there is some unique flexibility as well. I like being in studio instead of in a class room. Learning through doing is always best.
The first Friday of the super semester I was the producer. It was an action packed day. Going in I knew what to expect. There was going
to be a lot to do. Some of it would be new. Some things would be familiar tasks that needed to be performed on a larger scale. The plan going in was to attempt to head off some of the common problems that I knew gave former groups of super semester students. Having at least some video was also a goal.
We had some video. I was pleased with that.
There were issues that I was unable to trouble shoot early in the day. My hope is that on a Monday or Wednesday, or even a Friday where I don’t have to do other training, those issues would not be as troublesome. Either way, I feel like the next time I produce I’ll be better prepared to tighten some things up. It will not be perfect, but I’m optimistic about what the next go-around will hold.
What Else I Did
I wanted to make sure I was hands on during the second week of class. I was not assigned to produce or anchor so I had lots of valuable flexibility. I spent time planning my first two packages.
Twitter and Facebook were helpful in tracking down sources and gather information on LU Sustainability. By the end of Monday they had returned phone calls and texts about when and where I could meet them.
One day I volunteered to go and film weather. It was nice outside. I drove to a pond and was really excited about the footage I got. There were clips with water, unmelted snow, and some geese swimming as well. Shooting went fine, but when I returned to the studio I could not import the clips to Avid off of the P2 card. That was frustrating, but I recognize that it happens sometimes. I looked at a lot of options, as did a few others in studio and no one could come up with a solution.
I wrote stories everyday too. Beginning that process was good. I feel like I have learned a lot about broadcast newswriting even in these first two weeks.
What I Didn’t Do
I went out and shot some hockey video last weekend to shake off the Christmas break rust. Alex Ferrario (@alex_ferrario) and Killian Walsh (@killianwalsh) were also there. They both did packages on the event. Mel Spears (@shimmerette) also did a nice package on Sell Out for Sterling. I’m looking forward to getting the first package going.
A Changing Market
The world is changing and so is journalism. A lot more is require of news gatherers today than it was even 15 years ago. The consumer now expects not only to be given the necessary information, but to have it tailored to his or her specific likes. Multiple stories can now be expressed through multiple platforms. This process is defined as transmedia.
Journalist must be concerned with this concept, a cousin of multimedia, because it is shaping the job expectations of young journalists.
Five Keys to Transmedia
MediaShift by PBS recently put together an article outlining the best ways to succeed in creating transmedia content. They break down affective transmedia usage into five categories which are outlined below.
The first is keeping content unique. Today’s market calls for fresh content. It cannot just be new though. It must also be creatively presented. It has to be better than similar stories. Several media outlets within a single market may all cover similar news stories on a given day. If one particular outlet finds different and inventive ways to package those stories they are more likely to keep the attention of the consumer.
Learning to turn out unique content is not anything new. Modern technology has simply given today’s creators more options for giving viewers, listeners, and readers something new to take in. This has made journalists’ jobs easier in the sense that they have so many more options for telling stories and grabbing the audience’s attention. At the same time a journalists’ jobs are made harder, because of this. The expectation is now hyper-customized coverage.
Unique content is great, but if it is hard to use it does no good. A consumer will have little patience, or interest, if they cannot easily operate and process what is being presented. The MediaShift article says a good “point of entry” is necessary. The beginning should be easy to identify and access. Once that has been done, moving through the story should also be a simple task.
Don’t Go Solo
Modern journalists must be proficient in many tasks, and presenting various stories using diverse platforms, but collaboration is a staple of transmedia journalism as well. Having two or more people who are capable of recording stories on several platforms can make for powerful coverage. Collaboration is good and can lead to projects that are a richer experience for the consumer.
Cheap Price Doesn’t Mean Cheap Content
Transmedia can incorporate more expensive traditional forms of media. However it can use free platforms to tell stories too. For example, social media is free, and can be used to tell a story in a way that is interesting.
Remember What Counts
The story is always most important. If a specific format doesn’t work for a particular story then don’t force it. Whatever a journalist produces needs to be organic. There is a right and a wrong way to present information. It is important that the method of storytelling not outshine the story itself.
New Methods, New Tools
Transmedia can be simple. Even something short can help tell as story. For example, MediaBistro.com ran a short article this week on the uses of Vine, Twitter’s new video app. Vine features six second videos cobbled together to tell a larger story. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, Vine is the perfect example of a new creation that can be used in transmedia journalism. It frames stories in new ways that audiences haven’t seen before. It, and countless other tools, are shaping the way the news is reported and consumed.