Outtakes from Scrimshaw Kickstarter video

So during the epicness that was making a Kickstarter video this weekend I messed up a LOT. One of my classmates thought it would be cute to put all that mess up footage together to make an outtake video.

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Kickstarter Video

This past weekend my best friend and I got a crash course in kickstarter video making. We are both on staff for our college’s literary and art magazine. We volunteer to venture forth into this this new frontier. What resulted was pretty decent (minus the part were I had to do all the talking and getting filmed). I joked that I never wanted to hear my voice again. I really enjoyed this learning experience.

The “me” in journalism

They say we learn best from our mistakes….they were right. I knew the moment I hit send I had made a pretty decent mistake. I put myself in an article. It’s ok, you can breath, I didn’t write an article that was completely biased (I would sooner stop writing). Here’s what happened:

I was tasked with writing an article on an annual weeklong community service project at my college. While writing this article I thought long and hard about what I wanted readers to take away from the article. The event had become slightly less grand in these modern years than it was three years ago when it started. Back then students spent every moment of the week building houses, fixing ramps, and other things that veterans of the event would later describe the immense tiredness that they felt. What they could not recall was the names of the people they helped. They saw them for those few days and then never again. (I could continue on and on about this subject matter and my feelings on it but I won’t). This year’s focus was more on relationships. Getting face to face with the people you were helping. I wanted to tell what the students and I had done (I participated in this event), but I knew it wouldn’t be on the same level as the first year it was done. I also wanted students to feel proud of their work.

So while writing this article I make a mistake. I put an anecdote in the story in which I mentioned that I had spent the summer interning for a non-profit in the community and gave a quote from the leader for this event and someone I consider a role model. The anecdote and quote was about not trying to do everything for everyone, about the futility in trying save the world that we should strive to make the world 1% better and everyone else should do the same.

That was possibly ok for the Alumnae publication that requested and printed it and maybe it was ok for the online newspaper. It was not however good for the local weekly that picked it up. Of course no one has said anything to me. That kind of feedback in foreign to me. Which is something I fear, that without feedback I won’t be a good journalist. I get tired of being told “you did good” and not see any conviction of this sentiment what so ever in the eyes of the one that praises it.  But that is a post for another day.  But I know I did something wrong. I knew deep down that I had no need to be in that story. Every time I shake my head in shame.

The objective however is to move on and learn from this…though I’m certain I won’t be making this mistake again.

The elephant in the room

It seems that the purpose of this blog is getting slightly altered. I’m still talking about journalism, but I’ll be talking about the things I learn as I fulfill the editor position for the online newspaper. It won’t be like those anon. accounts you see on twitter. I won’t be complaining about people’s writing abilities. I’ll actually be talking about lessons learned from my perspective.

The first lesson is about the social elephants in the room. This is something I thought I would be dealing with at a much later date. However the problem it seems is already here. I’m a big believer in freedom of speech. I believe people (especially students) should express themselves. If students don’t learn to voice how they feel about certain matter, then they never will. Then what happens in a few years when those students become good old taxpaying citizens? How will they know how to say that they feel that this elected official is doing wrong, or that this aspect of community life needs improving? My goal is to not only create an environment of knowledge but to allow students a place to tell their stories and voice their opinions.

What I seemed to have forgotten is the culture of the area that I serve in. What happens when one persons disagrees with the editorial of another? I’m sure you’re coming up with a pretty respectable scenario in your head. I wish I could say the same about me. I’m no authority on the matter, but having lived with this generation my whole life I just don’t see that ending well. That’s the most positive situation I can come up with. The worst case would be if some student got so ticked and they brought their parents into the situation. I believe that within my generation we can become so great. However in order to do that we have to observe some traditions of our past. Like the honorable agreeing to disagree. I see so many people getting upset over an Alabama vs. Auburn Facebook status than I do for the Israeli/ Pakistan conflict.

My conclusion on this matter is that I will grow a backbone. I thought that after having spent a summer teaching middle schoolers that I had one, but then come these moments. Moments when I more afraid of being the bad guy than I am for doing the right thing. I know I can do this, I also know that in the real world I’ll have to deal with an issue very similar to this. Like I said in the previous post (test drive the future) I learn by doing…this is going to be VERY educational.

Test drive the future

When it comes to learning, I’ve always been the type that liked to try my hand at what I was learning. For me I learn best when I try, make mistakes, get corrected, and then try again.  Especially if it’s a skill that I might could use for the future. One thing I don’t like abut some classes I’ve taken in over 15 years of learning, is classes that I only get told how things work. As you can guess already, I’m not so grand at theoretical sciences and at times math and I are bitter enemies.

When it comes to journalism, it’s been hitting the ground writing since that first class. Granted I wrote maybe two articles that semester, I still got my feet wet. This past semester was a new semester within itself. Almost every two weeks I would be working on a new story or press release. I really enough that constant work. To me it felt like these are things I will actually do when I get out of school. I feel the same way about building websites. While I’ve been getting journalism experience I never really knew what that deadline heat felt like. That was until my college’s newspaper went online…and I became the editor. Honestly there are times when I look at the plaque that has my name plus the phrase “Editor-in-Chief” and I want to turn it over. It’s not that I don’t think I can do this. It’s just I dreamed about doing this kind of thing and now I actually am. The day is actually here and I don’t know how I go from kid dreaming of this to actually being here. Now I’m at this place when I look at that golden wooden thing and repeat my mantra “Earn it”.

When it comes to editing articles, it’s not as hard to do as I thought it would be. It’s not hard to find the mistakes in the works of others as it is my own (very much like life if you ask me). As was the case with most of the things I’m going to talk about, once I got going and did it, it wasn’t very hard and I actually enjoyed doing it. There was one point when I was so engrossed with an article was editing that I completely missed my friend coming up to me and trying to talk to me.

 

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The newspaper for which I am the editor, launched a few days ago. I can only compare my feelings of that day to possibly my graduation. Both I and many others have come a long way to get to where we are today. Countless hours of work have been put in by many people. I know that countless more are ahead of us. I have until my graduation day to make this paper, a resource for the students I serve. I don’t know if you have figured this out about college students, but it’s a little difficult to get them to care about a school paper. But if they could read previous editions and realize that this new generation isn’t so different than the one before (technology is of course excluded in this argument). Sometimes I will read these old editions and just pray, that somehow someway my words can equal the greatness of theirs. 

Progress; that’s what I’m Twalking about.

 

 

A few weeks ago in my reporting class we covered the ever delightful topic of Social Media. It was perhaps one of the chapters that I usually know a ton about. While I did learn a lot about some of the techniques journalists should use on social media (we’ll be going over that in the next post). There was one topic that my teacher kind of stayed on: Twitter.

Here in my school’s bubble twitter isn’t that well used. It’s just now growing some but not so much. I got my twitter account a year ago at the urging of some journalists friends who are out and about practicing the profession. In case you haven’t been able to extract this fact: I’m a wordy person. It’s something I’ve been working on of the late. My friends felt it would be a great way to condense what I had to say. I confess that I nearly cried on my first tweet. How was I supposed to say all I needed to say in 140 characters of less?  I sort of gave up on it for a while, but then would occasionally pick it back up. These days however I mostly post something daily or every other day. I’ve to- date tweeted 2, 044 times. It’s been a pretty grand experience. I remember first starting and I was quite frightened to be “tweeting” strangers. We were talking about PR stuff, but it still felt strange to me. I’d heard too many horror stories of social networking to feel safe. After a while though it became pretty cool. One day I asked a follower of mine a question and was answered by one New York’s top Fashion PR people. I then understood why twitter was so awesome.

Now I’m the kind of social networker that makes sure all my accounts legit. What I mean is I don’t post something that would get me in any kind of trouble. Lately we’ve been bearing witness to some companies who have slipped up when it comes to their twitter accounts. I’m a big fan of the “If you can’t show it to your mother, then don’t post it” train of thought. So when my professor asked if I had a twitter I of course said “Yes”.

After some explaining of the mechanics of twitter my professor asked me about what assignment I’d like to work on for the chapter. While I could have easily said “I’d like to write a blog post” and turned in some old post from my Tumblr blog. I decided to practice Live Tweeting.

 Live tweeting is when you attend an event and tweet form it in real time. Many companies and organizations are adopting a live tweet platform for events such as conferences. It not only helps to fill in the need for some up to the minute PR coverage, but it can also fill in the downtime between sessions and workshops. It helps continue conversations that have transpired in those events and can help people who are not attending to see what all the fuss is about.

I decided to live tweet form my college’s Constitution Day. It was a little strange for me. I chose to sit in the back of the chapel and being the smart phone-less person that I am, used my laptop to tweet the event. I was shaky at first just trying to cover the basics. But when it comes to passionate people and politics things got good. For the next hour, I was not only able to work on my tweeting abilities but I was also able to word on writing leads, attributing quotes and finding sources for government programs that where talked about. I was also able to fact check what was said. Time flew by and I found myself having participated more by doing all that I had. 

Feel free to follow me on twitter! @thesuperrare

Why I’m even here….

I think perhaps it might be best to explain why I’m even here. Not on this blog, if you’ve read any of my earlier posts you know why I have this blog. I’m talking about why I’m studying Journalism. This year Forbes released a survey that concluded that Journalism in the 5th worst career a person could pursue. In fact Journalism has slowly been declining as a profession since I was born in the 90’s. So why would a first generation college student dare study a profession that isn’t exactly the must beneficial? The answer is simple: passion. I know you’ve heard this a million times but go out on a limb here and listen to a million and one.

When I was a kid I would read some news stories and I would become so interested in what they had to say that I would actually learn about different things. My first view into politics didn’t come from my family. In fact I learned some of the basics of politics when I was still in elementary school.

I had read an article on the then upcoming election. It was a powerful editorial on how young people where giving up their freedoms to vote because “they didn’t feel like it”. I spent a whole afternoon in the library looking up different things. By the time my mom had come to pick me up for the day, I felt I was well enough informed. I sat up with her that night and watch a presidential debate.  It was boring but I wrote some things down and was back in the library then next day. I was a sight to see. Scouring through dictionaries and encyclopedias trying to find things like “Foreign Policy” and “Healthcare Plans” (They didn’t let us use the internet at that time). On the ride home that afternoon I looked over at my mom and said with my voice shaking “Mom, I’m pretty sure you’re a republican, but just in case you’re not please don’t vote for Al Gore, he really didn’t invent the internet and his foreign policy stinks.” I was never able to get my mom to reproduce the look of shock that passed over her face (not even in my teen years). 

Out of all the things I enjoyed about reading newspapers, I think the section I enjoyed the most where the editorials or the special interests section (it really depended on the newspaper and how they had things laid out), In those pages the most interesting people would come to life before my eyes. Sometimes they would be someone famous but more often than not they would be some everyday person that was doing something extraordinary. The first one that really stuck with me was a bee keeper, another was a woman who ran a women’s shelter, hundreds of people I will probably never get the chance to meet became dear friends to me within those pages. There were times when I would get frustrated at the writers. sometimes they would leave out details that I wanted to know, others I felt as thought they just din’t capture that person like I felt they should have. 

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After those days no matter where I was or who I met I would right an editorial in my head. I would start by capturing the environment around me. Then I would move on the the person what they were wearing, then why I felt they were important. By the time I was done I felt that I had captured the essence of the person. 

This is why I love journalism. Making your stories come to life. Showing people across the street or across the globe why something is important. Sharing information, sharing in the human experience. This is why I love and study journalism. 

Live Tweeting!

I got the opportunity to Live Tweet my schools Constitution Day! It was a great learning experience for me!

A New Day in the Journalism Age.

I started my journalism education at a pretty interesting time. Practically everything is changing, everything but the point of the whole vocation. The point of journalism is still to inform people and to share stories. How we go about doing that is what is currently being debated, revolutionized, and adjusted. There was a point in time when a journalism student could get by with using a textbook from ten years before they took the class. Currently I have to buy the newest version of the textbook (which were updated and published as little as two months before I bought it).

With inventions like iphones, ipads, google glasses, and tablets. The way we send, receive, process, and participate in the news has changed. Now you can see a tweet about a story, go to Facebook, a blog, or that news organization’s website and read or watch more about the story. (I realize I keep putting things into lists but I feel this proves my point about all the different ways there are to communicate) This works for news organizations who are working at times with a practically skeletal staff. The real trick is finding that winning combination of apps and other social media devices (more on that topic later). It also gives your audience a more participatory roll in the news process.

Journalists are having a time at trying to maneuver through this new territory.  Some just flat out refuse to try. They see this new way as not being stable. They sit in front of their desktops computers coffee in hand and grumble about all the confounding young people. They repeatedly check their clocks, waiting for us all to self destruct in a mass of computerchips and funny looking accessories.

Then there are the journalist who happily learn the new tricks that can enable them to share news in this age of technology. They read all the tech sites they can find on how to work an iphone. They play around on blogs and all the other social media outlets. These brave souls are reaching out to an audience on a wider more global like setting.

This week in my journalism class we talked about MOJOs. They are the ladder described journalists. They experiment with all the high traffic social media outlets and endeavor to find the winning combination to send and share their stories. I very much see myself as a future MOJO in whatever job captivity I fill.

As I’ve previously stated before, I’m a tumblr addict. I’m on the site almost daily. I follow blogs that are totally nerd driven, news organizations, and fashion blogs. This can be a great way for me to stay informed about things that I absolutely love. It’s a bad thing when it comes to getting school work done. About a month ago I discovered a person that embodies an aspect of MOJOs.  I found this person through a tumblr thing called Storyboard:

“Storyboard is a regular collection of features highlighting talented creators and their work, as found within and around the massively diverse Tumblr community. Produced by the Department of Editorial, these stories are told with words, pictures, video, music, charts, animation, or any other voice these creators choose to speak with.” (from the Storyboard site)

One such person they featured was Benjamin Lowy. Recently Mr. Lowy was given a grant to go to Libya and document how it’s citizens and refugees are fairing. He brought along three 35mm cameras with him, but the whole time he used his Iphone to capture the stories. Through the use of Hipstamatic (an Instagram-like app for smart-phones) he was able to quickly and very efficiently share the stories of a country that is currently under revolution (started by young people on social networking).

As a journalism student in this new day I look forward to learning and experimenting with all these mediums. Now I am no longer encumbered by space or time (in someways). Image

A picture I took using a friend’s intagram durring the Issac storms.