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.

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.

“So What?”

As I’ve shared in previous posts the online newspaper came out a few days ago. At the launch party I was tasked with explaining and sharing the website with the guests. That was possibly the toughest talk I’ve ever given. I’ve always thought of myself as having the ability to speak decently without much effort. I have no problem making presentations in class (save for some handshaking and voice wavering that I can’t seem to control, but most people never notice it). This time however things were different.

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In journalism you have to present some sort of take away from your article or story. The “So what” factor; How does what you are writing affect the reader of viewer? When I was showing off the website it felt just like that moment when you have two pages full of text and not a “so what” in sight. I wanted the people to care just as much as I did. I wanted them to take a gander at this communication resource built just for them and feel some form of excitement. However in the crowd of people I found some faces that just stared blankly. As a student would question to their friend nearby later “Why does all this even matter?”

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 I admit I felt discouraged for a few moments. I looked over at the screen that beamed the project that myself and some pretty cool people had worked months on and sighed. Then I remembered that two page and no “so what” moment. It just takes time and some good editing.

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.