Monthly Archives: May 2018

Looking Back – Final Reflection by Tyler C. Soetaert

Tyler Soetaert hosting Jayhawk Newsbreak.

This has been an interesting semester for myself, to say the least. Between accounting lessons about contribution margins, to Professor John Broholm’s life lecture’s in ethics, it has been a roller coaster. It is hard to even find a place to begin. Finding the words to describe my Journalism 550 class is almost too difficult for me, even as a writer. To you, the class may sound like your typical upper-level class for a specific major, but for the 18 individuals who went through the process, it is an entirely different world. For the professor, who just got to Kansas for the first time all the way from Champaign, Illinois, it was an entirely different world. Whether I was sinking or swimming, this class is one that has engraved its place in my heart. Here is a look at my journey along the way.


Video Essay

Video Essay: A Jayhawk Jumprope routine at the Rec Center in Lawrence, Kansas.

In the first class endeavor, my peers and I were assigned to a “video essay”, which would help serve as a smooth beginning for more things to come. This was considered a light assignment in which we only needed 12 total shots to tell a story. I shot a person I had met on spot at the gym. He was more than accommodating, as I documented a famous Jayhawk Jumprope routine that is said to have you losing serious weight in weeks. This routine is considered important for its impact on the body and how quick-paced the workout is. That being said, these factors gave me reason to go for more than just “a video essay”. Usually on your first class assignment, you may slack off some, but that wasn’t the case for me. I saw opportunities where I could catch the sweat dripping off his brow, or his hair moving vigorously to the thumping of the jumprope. I saw opportunities to grab every angle of his workout, including his hands that were constantly moving with the rope. Additionally, who could argue an element such as NAT sound when there is a jumprope slapping the ground every second. All in all, this was a great beginning project, the only issue was that my partner and classmate, Patrick Sullivan, decided to out-do me on this one.



A new piece in the Spencer Art Museum for their African Art Exhibit, in Lawrence, Kansas.

Only a week would go by until the students of J550 would be exposed to some of the first real work they would put together in this class. Dr. Janice Collins introduced to us our first VO and VOSOTVO assignment. This assignment was an interesting journey to say the least. I remember vividly, walking into a music recital on Wednesday evening of that week, and being chased out being a full-time professor. Clearly, the music school felt no need for the recognition that I felt they deserved. Nonetheless, we must always have back-up plans. This is one of the many lessons Dr. Collins preached throughout the course fo this semester. So, plan B would have to prevail. I visited the Spencer Art Museum the next day to put together what was considered more of a rushed process. I was able to obtain fantastic footage of all the beauty that the museum holds. My story angle covered the new “African Art Exhibit”, which was considered the final centric piece to the international puzzle of art. My only complaint comes from the time frame I had to work with in creating this, and Dr. Collins was able to notice in my scripts how the process was a bit rushed.



A cloudy day on campus at the University of Kansas, where students have been concerned for safety.

After a small water break, the class was back in action, ready for the next VOSOTVO. This time around, I took on a serious topic that would eventually carry into some of my later work in the semester. The topic of guns on campus is one that we can all discuss, but may not be one that we all agree on. The controversy that guns have caused on school grounds in 2018 alone are alarming enough to have students at KU on their toes. Dr. Collins saw the potential in this story and encouraged me every step of the way to really dig deep and find the source of the issues at hand. I was able to get some emotional soundbites and some creative shots. My only regret in this project is the in-depth shooting that I didn’t seek until later in the semester, when this topic would eventually become one of my final packages. All in all, the severity and emotional tone provided the project with some “head-turning” ability.



An Ad Astra sponsored running event for the Lawrence community.

At this point in the semester, the class was beginning to feel a bit worn down. Between multiple current events and video assignments, the class was starting to struggle treading the water. This is just when Dr. Collins showed us we can swim. For our VOSOTVO three, I decided my topic would encompass a local business who gives back to their community. I gave the spotlight to Ad Astra Running in downtown Lawrence. This is a company that provides people of any income, race or gender opportunities to connect with the community, and commit to a healthy lifestyle. The company offers 5k’s, free programs and more that have been driving forces in bringing together a running community in Lawrence. Even people with disabilities are more than encouraged to join every endeavor, and I wanted to capture the man behind the madness. This project was very smooth process for me. I was able to obtain the shots I needed, plus the right interview. I was able to interview J, the man who started Ad Astra and his running programs. Additionally, I was able to obtain graphics from different events they have held in the past. The diversity of visuals accompanied by the best qualified interviewee made this a good project. My only issue came in some of my script writing, which was a little lengthy.

The one difference in this assignment was the VO and the VOSOTVO. Every project leading up to this had the same topic for both. This time, the topics would be different. My third VO stood as an announcement for the J-school’s big career fair on March 7.


Package #1

David O’Hara, KU Lacrosse team captain.

The day would come where the class would have to step-up the production and workload in their projects. Bring on package number one. In this assignment, I was able to work with my partner, Patrick Sullivan, on a story regarding the KU lacrosse team and their expansions. Patrick and I both have friends who play for the team, so the boys were more than welcoming to our company. We conducted interviews, got a wide range of action shots and even added stand-ups, which turned out better than I had hoped The best part about working with Patrick is that he is able to see eye-to-eye with me on most occasions. Alternatively, he is not afraid to tell you what he wants. The package was an interesting story about and up and coming program, and working with Patrick made the process enjoyable and smooth.


Package #2 and Final Newsbreak

A registered gun owner who conceals on campus shows his firearm in the package.

The end of the journey finally arrived. At some points in the semester, it felt like it may never come. In my second package, I was able to continue on the somber topic of guns on campus. Dr. Collins pushed and pushed me towards going further into this story, and I felt the want to trust her. This professor is one that finds a story in anything, so a topic like gun violence is something she believes should never be short in content. I was able to get more than one perspective in student interviews, I obtained raw footage of a concealed weapon and I was able to grab some of the most gut-wrenching NAT soundbites of the semester. I began my package with a loud gun cock and then began to tell a story of the dilemma that has every KU student on their toes. The one issue I ran into was the final interview. I originally had planned to interview staff at the office of Provost, however, plan C had to prevail as I interviewed a faculty member who is part of the student safety board. Finally, this package would be used as a part of our final news-break. The class had already pushed through their first agonizing news-break, now with hopes that the final would be better. I took the stage, with one chance only, at a live broadcast featuring my work. I was nervous, but the results show different, in my opinion. Take a look.


Throughout this amazingly fast semester, I have learned more than I could have hoped to gain, not only through the Journalism 550 class, but even more so through a stranger, from the University of Illinois, who guided us along our journey. This stranger knew none of her 18 students in her first taught class at KU, nor had she met with the other 26,000 on campus. But, this stranger changed a group of students lives and made some of the closest companions in a matter of months. It’s safe to say, this person is a stranger no longer. Not only did Janice Collins show her students the value in professionalism but she preached the value of life. Dr. Collins chose to see the potential in all of her students — the good, the better and the best. I remember the first day like it was yesterday and when Dr. Collins began to spoke, everyone began to listen. “I will throw you all in the deep end, but I will not let you drown,” said Collins, “I will teach you to swim.”

Ever since that beginning day, I felt in my gut that I could instill some sort of trust with Dr. Collins. Over the semester, the “after-class” conversations only grew. The trust was slowly evolving into a beautiful relationship, and not just with me. She developed a certain connection with all 18 individuals in that room. Ever since the day Collins dropped me in the ocean, I’ve only gotten better and better at treading water. I just wanted to take this final part of my reflection to thank the wonderful teaching job done by Dr. Janice Collins. This semester has been a journey, but a journey I will not soon forget.

Self-Reflection Final: By Patrick Sullivan

Final Self-Reflection

Before I dive into the actual reflection on all the work I did this semester, I want to say how truly grateful I am for getting to be your student this semester. I took me too long to realize how lucky we all were to have you for your one semester at KU, and I just wanted to preface my reflection with a HUGE thank you.

Video Essay: “Ball Park”

Now that the semester has come to an end, I can say that this was my favorite project. I loved the creativity that you let us have with it. You basically gave us no instruction other than that the finished product needed to have a beginning, middle and end. I typically struggle with coming up with ideas quickly, but this idea came to me relatively quickly.

I came into KU with a double major in Film (and Finance), which is why this project probably was probably my favorite. However, I quickly learned that I wasn’t getting everything out I wanted out of the film major and switched it over to journalism my sophomore year. That being said, I really enjoyed getting to work on this project.

VO and VOSOTVO 1: Captiva Show and Song Release

This was one of those project where it took me much longer to find out what I wanted to do, and I basically sat there twiddling my thumbs until this somehow came to be my idea. I think I struggled with this at first since this was our first set of VOs and VOSOTVOs, but it turned out okay for the short amount of time I actually worked on it.

I am a little bummed with the final project because I was supposed to interview the whole band and go to their band practice, but all-in-all it was okay.

VO and VOSOTVO 2: Video Game Takeover

I thought this was one of my better ideas for a story, but I just couldn’t quite make it turn out how I wanted. Looking back, I probably could have gotten some better film of the actual game and done a better job explaining what exactly the game is. I had a decent variety of medium and tight shots, but basically did not have a wide, establishing shot. I also noticed that I didn’t “say it, see it” when I mentioned the title of the game. I was really pleased with my interview. Murray, the guy I interviewed, was clearly very passionate about the game and gave me some very good soundbites. It was actually hard to select one to use because there were about four or five that I liked.

VO 3: Out of Hand Art | VOSOTVO 3: KU Lacrosse Brand Identity

For my VO on Out of Hand Art, it was just almost too easy doing a story on Tom Babb. After becoming a quadriplegic his freshman year of college, he has accomplished more than nearly anyone I know in college. He is truly an incredible story and this small part of his life is just a great story to see.

For my VOSOTVO, I knew I wanted to do a story on the KU lacrosse team because they have been gaining traction over the years I’ve been here, but I just didn’t know quite what yet. I interview the president of the team, David O’Hara, and he gave me a great interview. My original idea of doing the story on the team growing evolved into why the team has seen so much growth, and it was pretty much due to the brand identity created by O’Hara. I think this piece turned out pretty nice, but I would have liked to have some footage of their practices or games shot.

Package 1: KU Lacrosse Expansion

After doing my last VOSOTVO on the lacrosse team, I knew there was a bigger story there and I wanted to focus my package on it. I worked on the package with Tyler, and we work very well together as a team. We pretty much just see eye to eye on what we want things to look like. We went out to the team’s practice together, shot some footage, interviewed a few players and got this thing thrown together with almost no hiccups. I am really pleased with how this turned out. The only thing I would have changed if I could redo it was my script. I feel like it wasn’t incredibly conversational and I could have had some more fun with it.

Package 2: State of IFC

This was another project that I had a hard time coming up with an idea for. I was really swamped at this point in the semester with all of my other classes and I kind of put it off too long. Frankly, it turned out better than I thought it was going to but I still wan’t very pleased with it. I would’ve liked to have an interview with someone from an opposing viewpoint but the only interview I had scheduled from that side canceled on me and I just didn’t have a plan B in place. I also think I could have shot some better B-Roll for this project. I got some nice shots of the fraternities on campus but I would have liked to have some actual footage of the hearing that took place for these four students. This was probably the project that I would like to have back the most.

Final Newsbreak

I previously said that the Video Essay was my favorite project, but I lied. This was definitely my favorite project of the semester. It was basically everything we had been working towards all semester, and it came down to one final newsbreak. I really wish we could have gotten to this point a little bit earlier so we could have done more than two of them, but I understand this is a process. Other than my final package, which I said I wasn’t too stoked about, I think this newsbreak went really well. I landed on 3:30 on both of my newsbreaks and felt really good with how they turned out. It was my first time being on camera in that studio and I felt really comfortable up there. I think I could have done a little bit better with ad libbing when I had to close up the show, but I know that will come with practice.

Thank you again for an awesome semester, and I hope our paths cross again at some point! Have a great summer!

-Patrick Sullivan

Grant DeMars Final Reflection

This semester was undoubtedly the hardest semester I’ve had so far in college. Outside of this class, I was anchoring a newscast once a week, working a part-time job, taking some extremely challenging political science classes, and traveling around the country almost every weekend for my second job judging dance competitions. Aside from all that, though, it was also the most rewarding.


This assignment was something different than anything I had done before. I’ve had experience in telling stories through VOs, VOSOTs and packages, but have never had to do it without words. My favorite part of how this project turned out was the nat sound that I had. You could hear how the ice would crack as the water lapped over it, geese honking on the frozen lake, and ice crushing together from the waves abasing the shore. This assignment definitely helped me look for new angles and creative shots, and required me to practically get on the ground and hold the camera myself in order to get the “money shot”.


Not going to lie, I slacked off on the VO and VOSOT assignments. Looking back, I definitely could have found a way to make this story more visual and interesting. The shot’s were pretty static, boring, and not the best quality because of the lack of lighting. I easily could’ve shorten upstairs in a brighter room and had my subject do more than just stand and let me shoot b-roll. It was a good story, and I think my script was written well, I just could’ve executed the editing and shooting better.


The opioid epidemic is something that I had a lot of experience on reporting about from my previous internship last summer, and I had wanted to do a local story about it in Lawrence for awhile. I think the story turned out alright, but I had to resort to getting some video of opioid pills from CNN Newsource because I could not find any pharmacies that would let me shoot in them. I wish I could have done this story as a package, and talked to someone who had used the opioid treatment services that the story was about.


The VO was pretty easy, as it was a story I made for KUJH a couple days before. I wasn’t sure if I should have added motion to still pictures or not, though. The VOSOT was not my best work. I didn’t have and NAT sound and definitely could have taken more shots, but I let being in a hurry to complete the assignments affect the quality of my work.


This story idea had been in the back of my mind for awhile, and I’m glad I got to do it before the trend died. I already had the vision for the story in my head, so I think that’s why it turned out so well. Standups are my favorite thing to do, and I think that mine was interactive and creative, and served the purpose of giving information that I didn’t have that much footage for. One correction I knew I’d have is that one of my interviews was kind of against a wall.


Again, I could’ve worked harder on this assignment. I never did a timed read-through, which was why it was so short. Aside from that, I think my writing and delivery were pretty good. I’ve definitely improved this semester in making my delivery more conversational, but now need to work on keeping my energy up throughout my anchoring. I also made the weather graphic, which I think turned out well and worked for everyone else to use.


I’m really pleased with myself on this assignment, and wish I had worked as hard on the rest as I did on this. I was nervous that my package wasn’t over a visual enough topic, but I really think that I found ways to make it work. I also think that my writing was good, and little details like incorporating NAT pops of a mouse click or keyboard typing added to it well. On the news break, my timing was perfect, which is what I was most nervous about. One issue I had was my CNN reader not having any type of video or graphic. The only video I could find was someone talking at a podium, so I didn’t think that it would work. Had I had more time, I probably would have tried to find a creative way to edit it, or made a graphic with a headshot of the subject of the story.


I think that I was one of the few in this class who had a clear idea in mind of how I wanted to pursue television news as a career after college. I think that having the end goal in mind definitely helped me stay on top of things, and my ambition to succeed has always helped me in completing difficult tasks. I really lucked out taking 550 a semester later than I was originally supposed to, because Dr. Collins has had one of the greatest impacts on me out of all my previous professors. From advice on job interviews to her inspiring talks, I always learn something from her. I can’t wait to see how I use everything I’ve learned this semester throughout my future in the field.

Cassidy Ragland-Final Reflection

At the beginning of the semester, I had no interest in pursuing a journalism degree. I had tried print media and I knew it wasn’t for me, and I was bitterly taking journalism classes because I had already come this far, might as well finish it. The first day of class I felt so unexperienced and overwhelmed I considered dropping. Thank God I didn’t. Throughout this class I have developed a passion for broadcast journalism. I had so much fun writing and researching stories, I felt like I was fulfilling my creative side by shooting with a camera, and I’ve always had a passion for performing and getting up to anchor seemed natural. I even loved being floor manager during news breaks. For that, thank you Dr. Collins. I’m so glad I didn’t give up, because now I can see myself pursuing this career in so many ways.

It all started with the video essay. I had never picked up a camera and I was so nervous. I thought I had a good topic, but I was clueless about the shots. I needed more tight shots, but overall I was just relieved I got it done. It took me hours to teach myself Premiere, but I was really happy for my first time editing.

For my Vo1 and VoSotVo1

I was nervous to make a turn. Originally I had a completely different event in mind, but that fell through. Dr. Collins had taught us all about having our plans A, B, and C, so I went on with plan B which was the International Jayhawk Festival. Walking in I was instantly inspired. I had some editing issues, but I really liked my shots for this one. Writing the story I enjoyed as well. I’ve always been more of a conversational writer, so broadcast seemed to be right up my alley.

Next, we had our Vo2 and VoSotVo2. I wasn’t as happy with this one. I felt like the shots I got wasn’t as interesting as the ones I got in my first Vo and VoSotVo. I thought the topic was interesting but it wasn’t easy to write a story about it. The actor I interviewed was adorable, but I could have done a better job steering the interview. Overall, I would say I did pretty mediocre on this one. I was still figuring out sound editing as well.

For our Vo3 I really liked how my shots turned out. I felt like I had a lot to work with and with the music I had some great nat sound. This was also difficult to write about, but I thought the storytelling through the shots was good. I got a little too audio-happy in editing, but overall I was happy with this one. For the VoSotVo3, I was a little less happy with it. I thought cyberbullying was a relevant topic and I used one of my current events for it. I felt like I was grasping at straws to write this story and it became too late to change the topic. I wish I had a more interesting background for the interview, but I couldn’t think of anywhere for a cyberbullying story.

I really had a great time filming package 1 and package 2. The stand up for package one I thought was nice, however there was a crisis with the audio. When we went to review our stand up our audio was completely gone. We refilmed the stand up, but without the Quidditch posts it was boring. So our plan C was to lay down an audio track to go over our first stand up. It worked, not awesome, but I was content. The second package I loved the nat sound with the singers, but I should’ve given it more time to breath and brought the audio down way more. I loved the topics and writing both of these stories was a lot of fun.

The news break was way funner than I thought it would be. I’m pretty comfortable in front of the camera, but I could feel how nervous I was about my package. Overall, I felt pretty good about my delivery.

Thank you so much for a wonderful semester, Dr. Collins was honestly one of the best professors I’ve ever had and I learned so much more this semester than I thought I would when I initially enrolled. Thank you.

Final Reflection-Olivia Roberts

At the beginning of this semester, I was a scared timid student who absolutely had no foundation of the level of journalism I needed to know for this 550 class. With that being said, I’ve never encountered more stress and tears in my life over a class. So where do I even begin… Should I start at explaining to you the real life lessons I was taught by Dr. Collins? Or should I begin telling you the level of improvement I reached from the beginning to end of this semester?

Well… in general, I am so thankful for this class. This class taught me I can do anything I put my mind to. Which, anybody can until they are truly tested. What really tested me was putting in all the effort I possibly had without having the foundation I needed to even get me started. I honestly had to teach myself from the ground up. By first, learning what a VO and VOSOTVO meant. Everybody in this class already knew what they were and what they meant so that already put me behind and my confidence level sunk quickly. But nonetheless, I picked myself up and kept going. Because in reality thats all we really can do. This class has taught me so much about myself, about life, about school, about being a good student, about loving/helping others around you that I was truthfully sad for this class to come to an end. So… the only thing my classmates and I still have to remember this class by is the group chat Dr. Collins wanted us to create at the beginning of this seamster. We all still communicate in even though the semester is now over.


My first project I had for this class was called a video essay. This video essay was where Dr. Collins let us begin by showing her our skill level and expertise on story telling. We were able to tell any story we wanted. What better way to begin your first project by showing everybody your best friends 21st birthday party! This was a fun, exciting project I liked because it was a way where I could produce, create, and edit the video how I wanted it. I wanted my viewers to be just as excited as I was to watch this video. So I wanted to add close shots of her face, people laughing, and bring out the emotion of the party by telling the main character’s story.



My first VO/VOSOTVO were fun to create. The Chef of the sorority house I live in allowed me to capture his daily routine for lunch. “Chef Nate” and a “Warm Meal” show Chef Nate preparing and executing his medal prices throughout the day. These two videos show how he creates meals for my sorority house… because its a lot of work trying to feed 100+ women! The only thing I had some trouble on was trying to get good angles to show the viewers. Furthermore, this was my second time learning how to become better with the Adobe software so these two projects took me awhile. VO 1     VOSOTVO 1 



My second VO/VOSOTOV were interesting to shoot. I wanted to shoot something that I found interest in, that I enjoyed listening to and that I could expand my knowledge on. So I found out that CAPS was holding a seminar about mental health and how it can effect students. This was my first time bringing a camera into a seminar. A lot of people were suspicious about the camera. But it all turned out OK and I was allowed to recored. VO 2  VOSOTVO 2


                   My third VO/VOSOTVO were fun to shoot. My VO was about kids/family time at the Natural history museum at KU. I captured emotional, fun-filled shots of kids, parents, and grandparents. It was a happy time and the Natural History Museum was very nice to let me video this event. I became more confident as asking officials and those who put on events if I can shoot. My VOSOTVO, was also exciting to shoot. I watched a two hour Puerto Rican film about a man trying to find a better life in the United States. These two projects were fun and informative.

VO 3     VOSOTVO 3



My first package was fun to create. I worked with my partner in the class, Jackson. Jackson and I got along really well and had a great time together. We worked on our first package about two KU basketball players and coach Bill Self. It was fun seeing a different aspect of journalism, diving into the sports sides of things. I met new people while doing it and even got to see a live standup for one of the KC sports shows. First Package 1



My second package was done by myself. I was very excited to write a story on the topic I did, which was the renovations of the KU freshman dorm halls. This was thrilling to learn what actually went on in the freshman dorm halls by getting down to the nitty gritty of why the KU freshman dorm halls are so outdated and unhealthy to live it. It was interesting getting to interview three people and listening to their different view points on the topic. I enjoyed going out and shooting the shots as well. I liked watching the reconstruction of the dorms and seeing the dirty environment the freshmen live in and call home. I was glad I could cover this story and make sure to keep people aware that the freshman dorm halls need to be renovated and kept up to date. I enjoyed doing an informational piece for this class. Second Package 


My news break was so exciting to create and do. This was my favorite yet. I loved being able to act like I was a “real life” news anchor. Even though writing a script was hard for me at the beginning, I became ore confident and soon was able to love writing scripts. My favorite part was being able to make the script as exciting and interesting as I wanted it to be. I loved dressing up, seeing my classmates all dressed up and acting professional. Not other people I would have rather experienced those two news breaks than with the people I did it wth. Towards the end of my news break, I had to keep talking for 15 more seconds. That was the first time ever I was put on spot like that on live television. Im glad I experienced that though so I can be better next time. I was proud of myself for trying to look as natural as possible. I was told I looked very sincere on camera. News Break 


In conclusion, this journalism 550 class was one of my favorite classes I have ever taken in my entire student career. I thoroughly enjoyed my classmates, my professor and the projects that were assigned. I will be forever grateful for the obstacles I overcame. I will never forget all the memories and laughter, stress, and tears this class brought to my life. So… thank you to the 550 class for giving me a memory I will never forget! And thank you Dr. Collins… for showing me how a professor will go to the ends for her students because she cares so much for them. Thank you for teaching me how not to take life for granite and always enjoy the present because you never know where life may take you tomorrow. Oh, and thank you for teaching me what a VO, VOSOTVO, a package and a stand-up was.

-Olivia Roberts

#Journalism550 #Dr.Collins #success #TheUniversityofKansas

Final Reflection- Emma Fotovich

What a semester! At the start of the semester I remember being on my own. I didn’t really feel a need to talk to anyone, and I certainly didn’t feel like staying engaged in the class. To me, the class felt like another check in the box. Looking back on this is when I realized how wrong I was. This is the first class at K-U where I have felt like I have made lifelong friends, and I had the amazing opportunity to have Dr.Collins as a professor. I will never forget the times we had in class, and all of the times she has encouraged not just me but the rest of the class to succeed. With her mentor ship I finally felt like I was getting a full understanding of the career I’ve been perusing all this time.

My first assignment was a video essay and looking back I remember how I was more or less just trying to get by. I could have put more time into it or be more creative but I went with the bare minimum. Looking back I wish I had tried to use the advanced cameras. I could have been better prepared for future assignments if I had tried them out. I learned to not always stay within my comfort zone, and I should always try new things.

The next assignment was our first VO. I remember having an easy enough time shooting and editing, those are my strong points, but oh man I was nervous for reading allowed with the video!! I remember thinking, oh geez I don’t want to do a live package thing. Getting up in front of people is nerve-wracking for me, so this was a struggle but I overcame it. My lesson I learned is that there is nothing to fear because my whole class was rooting for me as we all grew closer.




Now, going with this VO was the accompanying VOSOTVO. I also struggled with this because I did not know how to use the audio kits here at KU. I was not well versed, and it showed in my final products because my audio was either spotty or nonexistent. I kept that in mind though as I continued through the class.  I did like my story topic, however. I was able to get some cool and creative shots of campus while the snow was still on the ground. That created another challenge though because the next day I went out to get a few more shots, all the snow had melted. I learned to always be proactive. News waits for no one.

The next VO I felt more confident in my abilities so I decided to go with a more difficult idea. I decided to film animals. I always underestimate how much pets hate cameras, but I continued with my original idea as I told the story of Kate and Jingles. I was glad to spend some time learning more about emotional support animals throughout the process, and I felt more confident with my reading abilities for this VO.




The next VOSOTVO I felt pretty comfortable with as well. Looking back on it, I wish I had picked two different topics to really challenge myself to do great things, but I’m content with how both these videos turned out. Again, I wish I had used an advanced camera, but it was not until later when I finally decided to give it a try. I mean, who wouldn’t be content spending time with this cute kitty?





Our final VO was over something near and dear to my heart. It is the place where I live, aka the scholarship halls. I wanted to do the piece as a way for people to learn more about them, because sometimes I feel like people forget the Scholarship halls exist. I felt as if I had done well with it, but I wanted to work harder on getting more interesting shots. The shots I got weren’t as great as they could have been.

My VOSOTVO was one that I was passionate about. I love to dance so it was fun to be in the environment and get fun and interesting shots. I also loved doing the interview I did, the person I picked was spunky and definitely interesting to talk to. I love seeing groups of people be passionate about something. I learned to always get more feet shots when doing videos on dance, though. I didn’t get enough and later I regretted it.

This marks the end of the VO and VOSOTVO as we moved full force into packages. I was a little nervous to do the packages because I personally have never had to use three different sources, but I worried for nothing as it all worked out. My partner Courtney and I had to go with plan B though for our package, because plan A fell through. We very quickly decided to re-visit my old VO, and I was given the opportunity to redeem myself. Our topic was on the Scholarship halls, and we got nicer shots, amazing interviews, and felt very confident about our package as we turned it in. I finally felt comfortable to use the advanced cameras as well. It was fun to work with Courtney on the project.

oooh, I also got to what I would consider to be the most awkward stand-up ever. Brace yourselves for a photo ahah.





Wow, I need to work on not being so awkward!

This brings us into the final leg of my class, the time where we all as a collective started swimming, the time of the final packages and the beginning of our News Breaks! I had the opportunity to do a package on an amazing classmate of mine. I was able to do a package on Cain Lever and his poetry event! The slam poetry event was so fun, if anyone has an opportunity to go then definitely do it!! I was super happy with how my package turned out, and with the exception of spelling Loville’s name wrong, I felt confident. (I promise he spelled it wrong I just wrote what he said!)

I had this feeling that I had really started swimming. And with the news breaks too I loved feeling like a true team with my classmates. We all worked really hard in that class, and we became so close that those news breaks were a perfect example of how far we came. I felt nothing but love and support from everyone, and I learned so much., I’m so glad I stuck with it.


Oof, another bad photo of me, I need to not be so awkward!

ALSO: Cain I swear if you don’t post that shot I got of you all over social media I will fight you!

Overall I really owe it to Dr. Collins and all of my classmates. Without them, this class would not have been possible. I really want to thank Dr. Collins for always believing in her students, and never ever thinking we couldn’t do it. Her positive attitude helped me through a rough semester, and made me value more than just the grade. I value the experience and the knowledge gained, as well as the friends I’ve made. You know you’ve became close with a class when you all want to stay in touch after the last day.


Overall I’m so glad I took this class. It has been the best opportunity given to me at KU, and I don’t regret anything about it. But hey, everyone always remember, Dr. Collins always wins the lottery! (Still salty about that question, but I will overlook it for the memories that this class gave.)

I LOVE YOU ALL! We did it!

-Emma Fotovich



Jasmine Keys Final Reflection

Before I could even type this, I started tearing up…standby….this class and semester have been quit the journey for me. Just like anybody in college, I had a lot of personal things going on and a busy schedule, but coming to this class everyday made me feel at home. I met so many great people, from all walks of life, that I hope to see or hear from in the future. I believe that everyone you met, makes an impact on your life and this is true with Dr. Collins. She was the first black female professor I ever had. I remember on the first day of class, I ran home to tell my mom how awesome that was, and how excited I was for the semester. I knew this class would be challenging but I was ready to sink AND swim!  Continue reading

Helen Luna Final Reflection

I can’t believe the semester has already come to an end. It’s crazy… I remember at the beginning coming into class after already missing the first day and thinking I could already tell how bad this semester was going to be but man was I wrong. I can honestly say that this class has taught me things that I will remember for the rest of my life. Dr. Collins, in the short time we got to know each other, you have made such an incredible impact on my life. I have never come away from a class with so much knowledge. You not only taught me skills that I will use in my future career but you have made me look at life differently and I just want to say thank you for taking your time to get to know each and every one of us and pushing us to be our best.

The first thing we did was the video essay. I remember doing my plan b because the first idea I had didn’t work out. I tried to go outside and create a video similar to the seasons in a day video we did as a class but it didn’t work out. I pretty much just got tight shots the entire time.

For the first VO and VOSOTVO, I decided to do about the gym and how the weather affects gym goers. I chose this topic because at the beginning of the semester I started getting into working out and I felt like it would be fun to do something I was interested in. I panned quite a bit which at the time, I didn’t realize we shouldn’t do unless it’s really necessary.

For my VO2 and VOSOTVO2, I decided to do it about de-stressing when the semester gets difficult… I felt like at this point I was starting to get better shots and I was learning to work the camera better. I also felt like I was getting better at finding a story and story telling.

My VO3 was about Clinton Lake and getting away. This was kind of like a plan C… I couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do but since I like to drive out to Clinton Lake and relax sometimes and just get away, I felt like others might like to know about it too. I really liked the shots I got of the lake as well.

My VOSOTVO3 was my favorite one to do. I felt like it was the most news worthy and most realistic. I was able to speak to a teacher at Lawrence High School about the president’s proposal to arm teachers and I had a really interesting conversation with her. I feel like I could’ve gotten better shots and I should’ve gotten more here.

The first package was fun for me. I worked with Grant and we decided to do our plan C in this case as well. We were having a hard time with our first ideas and he came up with the JUUL story. It really showed me how you can find a story anywhere and it was nice being able to work with Grant and get good SOTs and video. This was also when I found out that Grant got the CBS internship. Go Grant!!!

The second package was definitely hard work. After the first Pause 4 Pups event I went to turned into a complete disaster I had to think fast… I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to pull a package together if I waited a whole week until the next event but I did just that and I got it done. I liked the interviews I got and I feel like the shots I got of the dogs were pretty good too. I really tried to get a variety of shots here.

and finally… the final newsbreak. During the first newsbreak I was definitely nervous and you could tell. I was over thinking the entire time and it was my FIRST time reading off the teleprompter and doing anything in front of the camera. The second time I made myself relax and I tried to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know I need to slow down when I read… that’s definitely something I’m going to need to work on but I’m still proud of myself for getting through it and getting it done.

Now that everything has come to an end, I’m able to look back and appreciate all of the work that I put in this past semester. I’m grateful for the learning experiences and the amazing memories I got to make with this class. I know that I have a lot to work on but I have come a very long way in the last four months and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us!

Jackson Schneider – Final Reflection

Well, here it goes…

First off, Dr. Collins, I owe you an apology. When this semester began, I did not think I was going to like you. You came in with your big-time knowledge about journalism and broadcasting and I stubbornly thought you weren’t going to be someone I got along with.

Wow, was I wrong. I have never had a professor that genuinely cares about her students and their success like you do. I instantly began to grow to like you and learn from you quickly. Your teaching method was intense and immersive and, at times, overwhelming, but I have never gotten so much from a class as I have from this one. So, I am sorry for ever thinking I wouldn’t like you because you are hands down the best professor I have ever had.


As for my journey throughout this class, I began with little video experience and it showed in my first project. In my Video Essay, I had numerous shaky camera shots and blurry ones as well. I accidentally forgot a tripod when I filmed this video, creating the bad, shaky shots. As for the story line, I thought it was all there for an early video essay.

Moving on to the first real news stories we did on the year, the VO1 and VOSOT1, I thought that my Farmer’s Ball story was a good start to the year but the structure and planning of my story layout needed a lot of work. I thought I had a good soundbite, but it was a little long. Overall, I thought I did a good job. 

In my VO2 and VOSOT2, I began to put things together a little better in terms of structure and planning of my shots, and getting a good interview. For a story that was about the new upgrades to the union (what I would consider a horribly boring topic), I think I did fairly well.

When we set up our third stage of projects, we had to finally do different topics for the VO3 and VOSOT3. That provided a very interesting challenge. Having to find not one, but two separate stories, was a challenge I have not been faced with before. I think that it made me better though because I had to utilize a plan C.

The growth that I got from PACKAGE1 to PACKAGE2 is evident to me because I moved on from sports to a human interest story that I truly enjoyed. The second package was a story about my high school teacher whose son is battling cancer.  It’s a story I have followed since the beginning. I truly enjoyed who I worked with and how I got to know the situation and gain perspective on a community I am closed tied to.

The NEWSBREAK was an entirely different situation. I have never done any live TV of any sort before in my life and it was so intimidating but also amazing at the same time because it was a blast and it confirmed what I want to do with my career. This class helped me grow so much in my journalism career and I am so glad to have been given this opportunity.

Dr. Collins, Thank you for everything.

-Jackson Schneider

Riley Wood’s Plan C Final Reflection

It’s really crazy how things seem to go so slow, but then you look up realize how much time has passed. Like how May is here, and finals start in two days. Or how my junior year in college is over. Or how I’m in my twenties, when I swear to you last week I was playing tag around the neighborhood with my friends. Maybe it’s because we spend so much of that time waiting for the future, or dreading the moments we’re in now. I really don’t know, but we’re here, so I guess I should do some reflecting. This class is like none I’ve ever taken, and I’m glad to have shared it with all of you.


Video Essay

Our first assignment was a video essay, which sounded easy to me but still made me briefly panic. I got a great idea to film something in the typical style I’m used to: humorous and almost sketch-like (It involved Tide Pods). That was obviously the wrong way to do things and I wasted a lot of time and footage pursuing that. I still had to put something together, so I went to the Spencer Museum of Art. They promptly told me I could not go in with a tripod or a camera. I was defeated so I just went for a walk. I love our campus, and I really think it is beautiful, so I just started shooting everything I saw. It turned into “A Walk on The Hill” and I am fairly proud of how it came out after several other plans had failed. It was a good starting point for me. This was the very first project we made, and I had to use my plan C. We had barely talked about it, and that’s how important it is!


I covered William Allen White’s 150th birthday party in the J-School for our first VO/VOSOTVO, and I think I got some good shots here. I did not get the amount of shots or the variety that I wanted, but there was a lot less action than I thought there would be at an event offering free food to college students. It was during classes, and I had to leave one of mine just to get there on time, so maybe that’s why less people showed up. I don’t like how my interview with Dean Brill looks, she kept leaning to the edge of the frame a little more than I’d like. It’s also hard to tell the dean of your school to stand up straight and stop moving.. As for positives, the shots I did get were mostly good and I was happy about how this turned out. I was nervous about the writing of my script, because in the past i haven’t done much of that, but it kind of came naturally once I started to speak it as I wrote it. Jon grabbing a cupcake is my favorite shot ever.


This was my favorite VO to shoot. There’s just something about going out at times when less people are out than normal. I don’t enjoy being cold, but I love winter weather events. I really think snow is so beautiful after it first falls, and capturing that is so exciting. Covering the ice storms was a no brainer once I knew the school would be closed for at least a day. However, that meant I couldn’t fix equipment issues such as my microphone not working. My interview audio was so low I barely heard it AFTER turning up my volume and the audio track volume all the way. That was a bummer, but we learn from our mistakes! I think there is improvement here in some of my shots. I tried to get more artsy with it than the first VO/VOSOTVO.


I remember the last VO/VOSOTVO being a struggle. I understand why we had to make two separate videos this time. It helps us grow and think better. I had a very hard time coming up with both of my ideas. Being in the newsroom helped me get my VO idea about Dick’s Sporting Goods, as they had mentioned on broadcast that there is a store in Lawrence and that they did sell guns. This was of course just after the Florida school shooting, when Dick’s announced they would stop selling guns. The basketball piece is not so good. It has no nat sound, I know that. Something happened while recording, and I had no idea how to fix it. The sound worked fine for my interview with a mic plugged in, but there was no sound on my other clips. I think my writing for both of these was fine, it just sucks that the audio didn’t work right on the VOSOTVO, because I was making so many improvements. It felt like no matter how well I did, something would always keep the projects from being my best.

Package 1

The first package was made so easy for me because Kathy was an amazing partner! She stumbled upon the exhibit out in front of the J-school and it was a great idea to film that. Kathy also did basically all of the shooting because while we were there I had to leave to give tours to high school students (I am an ambassador for the J-school). So she really took hold of shooting the project and had some great interviews. Editing was the rough part, because to fit all of our soundbites we went way over on time and had to cut things down. Normally, cutting would be fine, but that meant speeding up our voiceovers, which got messy. It leads to a project that feels a tad rushed in the beginning, but I slowed down as it went on and just decided cutting time wasn’t worth sacrificing the quality. I think this turned out so well, and it’s the best video that I was a part of this semester. Very happy with it, and I think it showed me for real how far Kathy had come since the class started. She’s an all-star!



Package 2

If I’m honest here, package two is not my best work. It was like, plan Z or something. I was running out of time after multiple ideas failed to materialize, and I just made a video about a video game. It seemed lazy to me, but it’s all I had. My lower thirds were pretty bad, and some of the lighting is off as well. My first interviewee, Sam, was not excited to be on camera. You can clearly see that in his soundbites, but I had to use them. The biggest thing about making packages for me is writing the entire script. I never wrote scripts before this class. I would just think of what to say, and record it. So this kind of added another layer to things that made me write my words, and I think that keeps you from just going with the first thing and having to sit and think about what you want to say. It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t my best. It just fell in that time of the semester where you have so many things going on and I had to throw some stuff together to make it work.




This is it, the final newsbreak! You never stop and realize how far you’ve come while you’re doing things like this. I remember in January an entire TEAM of people not being able to get live newscasts going for weeks with the new set in Dole, and that’s literally their job. When putting it into perspective like that, I mean we made these by ourselves. Obviously we helped each other, but making the rundown and a national news story and scripts and weather and having to be on camera was really a culmination of this entire semester of learning and growing. And we did it! These were all SO good, guys. Really I am proud of everyone, and that includes myself. I am often critical of my work, because I feel like I can be better. I believe I only stumbled once while reading during the entire newsbreak, and I wrapped it up pretty well when I was showed the time near the end.



Well, that’s it.. You know, Doctor Collins had us all write down some contact info, and she put it all together in a document or spreadsheet and emailed it out pretty early on. I was sitting in my apartment and I felt like we had such a long journey ahead, and I was already getting confused or frustrated with the class before we had done anything. I was kind of scared, because I never want to let anyone down, especially my father who works hard and pays for me to be here and learn all by himself. I decided to take everyone’s name and number, all of you people that I didn’t really know, and put it in a group chat. It seemed simple and I felt like I might be reaching, and nobody would ever use it or would just think it was weird that I did that. I was wrong. It might have been the best decision I made this semester. We’ve all grown into this rare thing for a class of almost 20 (rare for ANY class), a family. Everyone stepped up, and everyone helped each other in those times where we were confused or didn’t quite understand Dr.Collins. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have made it through this.

Speaking of Dr.Collins, I’d just like to thank you so much. I was a semester late to taking J550. I was actually supposed to take it in the Fall, but it got delayed to this semester. I kicked myself for so long about that, thinking I should already be in J620, and closer to the end than I was. But I now realize how fortunate I was that this happened. Any other semester, I would have had the exact same experience as all the other journalism kids at KU. The same professor saying the same things. But we got YOU. Someone who has been everywhere and done everything. Someone who knows HOW to teach this class and make it different. Your school is very lucky to have you, and I would help KU fundraise in a heartbeat to pay you to stay.

Anyway guys, this is getting close to two thousand words, so I should probably wrap it up. I think I can see my growth from start to end in these videos. I grew because of the teaching, and because of all of you. Thank you all for making it a worthwhile semester. Next time we have a party, I promise I’ll bring my guitar and play a cheesy song for you. I’ll leave you with a picture that reminds me I’m in my twenties. I swear to you it was just last week.. My name is Riley Wood, Standby…