Category Archives: Fall 2016 – J215

It’s The Climb – Final Reflection Leahy


Here’s me! With some gum (ew).

3 months, 6 assignments, 1 group project, and 1 semester later, and I’m finished with Jour215. What a journey it’s been! Starting out as a little sophomore, I had never done anything multimedia. I remember receiving my camera bag and being terrified – what do I even do with this thing? But I knew I wanted to work hard and learn a lot.

After only one year of journalism, I was (and still am) not sure exactly what I want to do with my career. So I knew the more I knew (broadcast, video, writing, etc.) the better off I would be. So I set out with my camera bag into the sunset. Continue reading

J215 — What a semester

This is me :)

This is me 🙂

This semester has flown by. The class has progressed so fast, and with it, all of us as journalists and individuals have to. I was really scared to start this class because I thought I would not be very good at shooting and editing because it isn’t something that I have had to do for a project or news story before. But I am happy with the progress I have made and I have learned almost exactly what I want to do with my career.

It was crazy how much knowledge I have gained from the first project to now. The first one was just getting to know our camera and practicing shots. I had a lot of fun with it.


Original Photo from my first assignment


Original Photo from my first assignment

Our next assignment was to do a photo essay with and without natural sound. This was one of my favorites because it was interesting to put the sound with the photos I got and to see it come to life, even though it wasn’t live video. I really enjoyed this and I realized I liked photography more than shooting video in real time.


My original photo from my first Photo Essay

For the third project we did another Photo Essay that formulated a story with not only the images or video we provided, but also with sound that narrated the story we were trying to tell. I decided to focus on something common for the average college student and crafted my story with all of the elements. I realized I was pretty good at capturing a scene in the moment and got better at close up shots.


Isaiah Michl in his room as he plays video games. Original picture from my Photo Essay

Our fourth project was to do an audio piece and I did mine on Social Justice in Athletics. This was right after Colin Kapernick took a stance during the national anthem that sparked national protests and even outrage from many and I thought it was timely to focus on that in collegiate sports. This assignment was a little tough because it taught me how important it is to get good audio. I struggled a little bit because I would get a good interview but was not aware of my surroundings and I learned that you have to get the best audio you can.


Lauren Smitherman from the Illinois Women’s Soccer team. From my Audio Piece. Photo courtesy of Fighting Illini Productions

The fifth assignment was  to do a video story on any topic of our choosing. This was hard because it was the first time that we weren’t being directed on what to do. It was time for us to look up events or find something that was prominent and newsworthy and create a story from it. This was one of the hardest projects I had done because I went through getting turned down for interviews and lots of things falling through and I had to figure out how to make a plan B, plan C, plan D. It was also hard not being able to include everything that I shot as well. I did mine on the play Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea, which first premiered during the wake of the Baltimore riots during a pivotal time in 2015.

Darrell Hoemann/Illinois Theatre Dontrell Jones III played by Vincent Williams and Erika played by Diana Gardner during a rehearsal of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea in the Studio Theater at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana on on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Directed by guest director Tyrone Phillips, the play runs Sept. 29-Oct. 14.

Darrell Hoemann/Illinois Theatre
Dontrell Jones III played by Vincent Williams and Erika played by Diana Gardner during a rehearsal of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea in the Studio Theater at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana on on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Directed by guest director Tyrone Phillips, the play runs Sept. 29-Oct. 14.

Darrell Hoemann/Illinois Theatre Dontrell Jones III played by Vincent Williams and Robby played by Xavier Roe during a rehearsal of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea in the Studio Theater at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana on on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Directed by guest director Tyrone Phillips, the play runs Sept. 29-Oct. 14.

Darrell Hoemann/Illinois Theatre Dontrell Jones III played by Vincent Williams and Robby played by Xavier Roe during a rehearsal of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea in the Studio Theater at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana on on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Directed by guest director Tyrone Phillips, the play runs Sept. 29-Oct. 14.











The sixth project was our How-To piece. Professor Collins advised us to choose whatever we wanted to do our video on, as long as our editing, lower thirds, and shots were clear, concise, and had all around flawless editing.

I did mine on how to fold a t-shirt in the fastest way possible and I loved how my video turned out.


Photo from my How-To Video with model Dave Kendziera

Our final project was on the Psychological Effects of Racism with our main focus being on Colorism. In this project we had to work in Groups of 4 and had to implement all edits of media into the project with 5 components that went to it. We had to showcase everything we had learned in this class. It was one of the hardest projects I have ever done because we went through many hardships and it was hard for our team to create as one unit. Overall, we got it done but I learned a lot about it. You can read my reflection here and you can view our entire project on Weebly.



I learned so much in this class and it has shaped me to be a better journalist! I am so excited for what my future holds and i hope to continue to perfect my craft and get better at what I do. This class taught me lots of things that I need to improve on in class, with journalism, and as a person. I am so thankful. Professor Collins is the best!

Done! :) :( – Muno



Looking back at my first project now (after I’ve finished the final project) I can see how far I’ve come this semester. I still remember struggling so much with the first assignment. Our first assignment was basically to explore our cameras. I never used a professional camera before coming into this class so I had no idea what I was doing.


UIUC Delta Gamma Sorority House

But that was the point of the assignment, just to play with the camera and get acquainted. I am a perfectionist by nature, so this assignment really irked me because I was trying to seek “perfect” shots. I would take 5 pictures of the same thing, trying to get my idea of the perfect shot. Let me tell you, the pictures you see in magazines and social media are not real. Those pictures are edited and photoshopped to appear perfect, so trying to achieve this unattainable task is not possible and will leave you frustrated and drained.


Memorial Stadium

For assignment 2 we had to create a photo package. We had the freedom to take pictures of whatever we pleased so I chose to go to Memorial Stadium. I had so much fun taking pictures there. I felt much more confident and comfortable using my camera for this assignment. After assignment 1 I recognized what I needed to work on, and in assignment 2 I practiced. I liked how much freedom we were given. I chose to base my project around football for my theme, but we could do whatever we wanted. It was cool to present our projects to the class to see everyone’s creativity, it was interesting to see how everyone thinks/sees differently which was evident through each person’s unique package.


Flowers at West Quad

Assignment 3 was a video package. We took the skills we had built up to this point but added a video element. I kind of did this package wrong I realized after the fact. We were supposed to have a story behind the theme of the package, but I forgot that component. So don’t take advice from me on this assignment lol read the syllabus and follow instructions.


Courtesy of

Next up, audio package. Truthfully this was not my favorite assignment. I am a visual person so audio isn’t my strength. This assignment emulated what you do in the class JOUR 335 (Audio Journalism). I went to the I Heart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas so I brought my recorder with me to the concert and interviewed people while I was there. My audio quality wasn’t the best, but I did recognize my mistakes and was able to fix them for my next project.


UIUC National Coming Out Day

Fifth package: video news package. This was my favorite package and my best package. This is the point in the semester where I saw how much I developed as a journalist. It’s crazy to think I had more issues with my very first assignment than I did with this package. I tossed around multiple ideas and pursued a few of them before I finally was set on what I would ultimately do. In this project, I learned a valuable lesson about commitment and perseverance which are essential to getting the best story and being a strong journalist.


How to Make an Egg-cellent Omelette

The how to video project was fun and easy. You get to demonstrate how to do something youre good at. Before you start write out a list of the steps and the type of shot you plan to use. This will be a helpful guide for you. Another tip is to take more than enough b-roll. It’s always better to have too much, rather than not enough. In my how to video I demonstrated how to make an omelette. Most of my shots were medium and tight shots , so I was thankful that after every other step before moving onto to the next I took extra b-roll of close up and extreme close up shots which helped me avoid jump cuts.



Last but not least our final project! Best advice: pick a topic you are interested and pick group members that are accountable. This project requires a lot of time and effort. Having something you enjoy working on with people you enjoy working with will make this project less of a burden. My group members and I worked on this project together every step of the way which produced a great end result.

Thats a wrap! Get excited, this is one of the most amazing classes you’ll ever take. PC pushes you and challenges you because she knows what you are capable of. By the end you will see how much you’ve grown as a journalist and as a person.

For the last and final time…

For Off the Shelf and Online, I’m Heather Muno.

Colorism – Our Final Project


The final was the hardest project in this class. It really challenged me in all aspects of journalism, and maybe even what a real newsroom may be like on an everyday basis. It was a struggle but we were able to pull it together in the end.  I learned a lot about myself and working with a team during this project. You truly needed all members of the group pulling their weight and when one member fell through, it made the job way tougher. But we were able to put together our piece with very little to work with. Although I am not as happy about the final product, I am glad we finished and didn’t leave anything out.


We were assigned the Psychological Effects of Racism with a specification on Colorism. This is a topic that hits home for me because I am a brown-skinned black women in a country that was built around racism. I experienced it growing up and it was really hard for me and I struggled with self-esteem when I was a young girl. As I grew up and became more educated on how it began, I realized that it wasn’t me that was the problem. I think this story is very relevant right now, especially in an era where beauty and vanity is rampant and things like this are important to people.

I specifically worked on the Video Package and the Infographics. I know a lot about black history but even I learned many new things through the interviews I conducted and the research I did. Not my best, but I am glad we pulled through.

Group reflections for final project

Overall, I think everyone did great and I see the growth in all of us! Below is a breakdown of my opinion of each group’s final project:

Voices from The Field – I’m one who doesn’t really follow athletics, so to view your overall project and learn something is really impressive to me. I really liked the timeline of events starting from the 1960s on your Weebly website. It’s really imperative to acknowledge the history of events like protesting, in order to move forward. To see that even in the Olympics, athletes stood for a cause—The Black Panther Movement—is amazing. Currently, we have Colin Kaepernick who has brought attention to the racial injustices and he has definitely had an effect on the Nation because other athletes including high schoolers has followed suit. For the news package, I wish it was a little bit more impactful. The pictures/b-roll to go over the SOT’s were on screen for too long, so a variety of shots would have been great or even some action from athletes. Also, potentially more interviews could have helped. But, great job with bringing awareness to this issue and including the history and current state behind it!


Mental Health – I love how you guys was able to capture Ms. Cate’s genuine and optimistic personality. My favorite part of the interview was within the first minute when she said, “I think I would ask Alzheimer’s, how is it living with Cate?” She is so strong and being able to capture that on camera is to be commended. Great soundbites and a variety of camera shots! Also, I really appreciate your group’s infographic. It’s so important to acknowledge that students are often affected by mental health whether personally from their own experience or knowing someone who is. I found it very interesting that most are diagnosed with anxiety or depression and that they are typically sophomores or seniors in college. I would love to research why that is the case. I liked the audio package too because you all took advantage of phone interviews just as guest speaker, Charlie Meyerson recommended when an in person interview cannot happen. Overall-great job team!


Colorism – The website was very fitting to the topic; each image corresponded with each subcategory very well. The first thing I watched was the photo-essay and I really liked the creative spin you guys put on it. To use zoom ins, zoom outs and soundbites of the people in the image was a nice touch; it created a sense of warmth. For the news package, I liked how Kim mentioned the colorism she faced in Korea. Typically, when one think of colorism it’s usually black skin in comparison to white skin, but intraracial colorism is a real thing too. Furthermore, speaking on Kim, she was very honest in her actualities, so that says a lot about your group—you all made her feel comfortable and a sense of trust was built. However, I wish the package had better b-roll to go over the SOTs.

Profound Reflections of a Nigerian Sojourner

This has been such a fast-paced and interesting journey to say the least. The progression and level of comfort that I feel is really amazing. I can barely even remember the first concept type of assignments such as the one where I was instructed just to go home and play with the camera.

It was also nice to incorporate some of my personal interests into the early projects such as the one where i got to film my Buddhist temple. One with sound and one without sound. The hair washing video was probably the most difficult concept videos because I had no assistance. I’ve really grown to appreciate film and art PERIOD because it allows me to educate the masses and be vulnerable without literally letting them into my personal space…SHOWING my sacred space without SURRENDERING my sacred place is really vital to my holistic health.

I’m learning how important it is to serve from a place of maintaining personal boundaries. Having Sandra Bland’s sister come in further enforced just what media can do. I rece36696_10150209276925492_536685491_13713030_2556615_n1ntly watched 13th the documentary and it solidified my desire to go to law school and taking this class gives me the skill set and also the ability to present media or the same story from a different medium.


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To Be Continued

James Boyd wears a shirt that says, "UNARMED" in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

James Boyd wears a shirt that says, “UNARMED” in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Up until this point, every journalism class I had taken at UIUC was easy. It all came naturally so I never felt much pressure to get my assignments done. However, this class challenged me from the start and by the end I think it truly humbled me. Continue reading

“Not My University” – Hilton Final Reflection

The Final Project for J215 was clearly the toughest one. It was a true test of applying everything we learned this semester while trying to collaborate with our classmates. Finding a way to communicate with each other while completing our assigned roles was definitely a challenge. We worked down to last minute to get this piece finished, but it was all worth it in the end.

My main focus was on the News Package, How-To Package and putting together the website. At first I wasn’t sure what I would focus my news package on because all the protests I tried to attend never turned out that well. Luckily, by the last week there was a “Freedom Forum” which was an open conversation between the university administration and the black community. I was able to get some good b-roll and sound bites. Originally I had three interviews, but I ended up only using two of them because the quotes fit better with my story with just two of my interviewees. I realize now I should have used all of my interviews. I also had a lot of fun putting together the how-to package. I put together a bunch of my video footage around Anatta’s script and narration, and I thought the end result was great!

I am really proud of how my group came together at the end. At the beginning I wasn’t truly confident with what our end result would look like, but everyone came through with their parts and I think we are all happy with the result! I definitely learned a lot from this project!

Class Reflections

Voices From The Field – I really enjoyed this project. When you have a controversial topic, sometimes it’s hard to find interviews. You did a great job of getting interviews and finding good sound bites. Your website was aesthetically pleasing and you used a lot of great pictures. I thought the graphics went well with your article… I can tell you did your research. One thing you could have worked on was the filming of your interviews. I saw Sarah and her recorder in a few of the shots. Overall great job!

Mental Health – I thought this piece was really creatively done. The use of the GIF was a nice touch that complemented your topic of Mental Health. My favourite part was your video package. I could really feel the raw emotion of Ms. Lao as she told her story. I think you did a great job of capturing that. The website was professionally done and really showcased you work well. I also loved the collaboration of your group in the photo essay. Great job!

Colorism – I feel like I definitely learned a lot from this piece. I thought you put your own creative twist on all your elements. The first image on your homepage is really impactful and the article was definitely informative. I can tell you did your research. The interview with the white muslim student was a really interesting story. I like how you added sound bites in your photo essay, but I think you could have matched up the pictures better. Overall great job!

“Psychological Effects of Racism” Reflection – Boyd

Eldar Uzicanin was included in "Don't Judge a Book By Its Color."

Eldar Uzicanin was included in “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Color.”

The final project for JOUR 215 was, in my opinion, the toughest assignment in the class by far. It truly was a project that needed to be done as a group and I feel like my group definitely struggled to collaborate as a unit. We worked down to the wire and ended up getting the final project done, but overall it is not something I was very proud of. Continue reading