Wow, what a semester!
This was my only class I took, but having a full-time job at KSNT News made it somewhat stressful. I started as a Breaking News Producer, working primarily on the web and going out to cover breaking news scenes if no reporter was available. Now I’m training to become the new Morning Producer and will take on producing the morning show on my own.
Despite how stressful juggling this class and my job was, Dr. Collins was an amazing professor. She had to juggle learning the ropes of our journalism department at KU, as well as helping us become better journalists.
The first assignment was the video essay. At first, I was unsure what to do for this even though it was probably the easiest assignment. At work, I got sent to cover a church that caught fire. With Dr. Collins’s permission, I used that video for the video essay assignment.
Our second assignment was to do a VO and VOSOTVO on the same topic. Since flu season was in full force, I was wondering how gyms were dealing with it and what precautions they were taking.
There was confusion when it came to set up an interview. The staff at the rec center thought I was wanting to talk more on the medical side, but my focus was on the gym (working out while sick, wiping down equipment, etc.). It eventually all worked out and I got some good video and an interview.
With the second VO/VOSOTVO assignment, I panicked a little about finding something. Luckily, at work I covered this groundbreaking ceremony a church put on. That day was so windy, dirt was blowing everywhere. So while dirt was blowing into my face, I tried to keep my shots as steady as possible. I was also dealing with clouds moving in and out, so the lighting in some of my shots was a little bad.
For the third VO/VOSOTVO, we had to do different topics. Initially I thought this would be easy because I wouldn’t have to do an interview. My thought process behind that was to cover the last women’s basketball home game and use soundbites from the post game press conference. I then remembered I would have to transcribe that entire press conference and almost all of those questions weren’t mine.
I decided to switch and make the game my VO. Jose actually had the same idea so we both covered that game. It was cool to see how our minds worked and the different shots we used; really cool to see that play out. I was happy to be covering a sporting event because in previous semesters my focus was on sports.
As for the VOSOTVO, I chose to cover one of the veggie lunches the Ecumenical Campus Ministries puts on every Thursday. The interview went smoothly, but getting shots was a struggle for me. The tripod I had was so unstable it made my shots shaky. Some of my shots were also dark. I was kind of disappointed with how it turned out because I knew I could have done better.
I was excited to move on from the VOs and VOSOTs and start doing packages!
Cain was a great partner and was very helpful. Our first idea was to cover how law enforcement was preparing for March Madness. Then we switched focus to how bars were preparing for it. Cain was able to get some video over the weekend since I worked and wasn’t able to. He eventually suggested a new idea to me…our Plan C! Again, with both of our schedules he was able to go shoot video and 3 interviews easily, as the Justice For All Group was on the Stauffer-Flint lawn.
We worked together to write the script and help each other with our stand-ups. Some shots weren’t white balanced properly, but shooting video outside can be challenging. All in all, I think we did a good job working together to make the first package.
Then came our second package. This was done individually, which in my opinion, was less stressful because we didn’t have to coordinate with our partners. Everyone has such different and busy schedules
However, this package brought more stress than I had anticipated. Once again, my first two plans fell through and I went to Plan C.
I was so excited for my Plan A and am still sad it fell through. I was on the app Nextdoor and came across a post coordinating a walking group. It got lots of engagement and so I took a shot and emailed the woman that posted it. Right away she was willing to do the story. It was difficult trying to find a day they were walking that was also on my day off (and also was on a day with good weather…). I met the woman near the Levee Cafe, just north of the river. The issue was it was only her and one other woman. I worked with what I had and got great shots, hoping to attend another walking session with more people.
Well, I met her again and it was only her. She wasn’t very happy and said she wasn’t going to put in the effort anymore if nobody was going to show up. She was very sweet and sympathetic, apologizing my story didn’t work out.
Then it was on to Plan B. When I first moved to Lawrence, I was very into health and fitness. I came across this company called Fitness Kitchen that makes healthy meals and packages them up to sell. They seemed excited that I wanted to do a story about them, but they were very slow in responding to my messages. The Sunday before the package was due, I decided I would have to move to Plan C.
It all fell right into place that Sunday. At work, I was sent to cover a veteran that was turning 100. As soon as I walked in, one of the employees was extremely helpful and eager to help me do this story. Without asking me about it, he immediately grabbed family members and asked if I could talk to them, basically doing the hard part for me! It then clicked that this would be my package.
I interviewed, Art, the veteran turning 100, his brother and two of his sons. I didn’t do a standup because I was pressed for time, as I had to write and edit this as a VOSOT for our 5 p.m. show. Everything worked out and I’m so happy I used this story for my package.
I was very excited to do the news breaks because I want more practice anchoring. I found it hard to time everything right and I was short for both news breaks. In the second news break, the teleprompter wasn’t loaded for my news break. I pointed it out a few minutes before I was set to go, but I don’t think anyone heard me. I then got distracted when I saw we had an IFB, so as I was adjusting that I had less than 30 seconds to get back in my spot. My rundown still wasn’t loaded and we went right into my news break and I pointed it out live on air, without realizing we were live. I quickly heard Dr. Collins in my ear telling me to keep going and I was mad at myself that I didn’t realize I could easily look down at my scripts.
Luckily, my package was the first thing to run, so the person running teleprompter was able to get my rundown loaded before I was back on camera. Everything else went smoothly, other than the fact that I was about 30 seconds short.
This class left a huge impact on me. Being older than everyone, I felt pretty out of place and felt as if I wouldn’t be able to connect with anyone. I was completely wrong. This class was hands down, the best group of people I’ve ever had a class with. I formed great friendships and connections that I’ll always treasure and hope we can continue to talk to each other and meet up every now and then.
Dr. Collins is one of the best professors I’ve ever had. I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to be in her class. She made sure to make everyone feel that they matter. She spoke with everyone individually and took the time to get to know us. She didn’t have to do any of that, but listening to her stories and just observing her, I learned she’s an incredible person and genuinely cares. She wants to make a difference in everyone’s lives and I find that so inspiring.
When I was offered a full-time gig at KSNT, I was so nervous signing my contract. I trusted her and asked if she could help me look it over. She went through each page and pointed out things to me I didn’t understand. She also pushed me to gather the courage to ask for what I want. I was scared about signing a three-year contract and she gave me advice on how to negotiate it down.
On the last day of class, she did something I’ve never experienced a professor do. She wrote down messages for each of us and read them out loud. Walking in that day, I didn’t expect to cry, but I started to feel a little emotional listening to her and especially when she started crying. Being in such a big college, it’s hard to make connections with your professors, but Dr. Collins made it a priority to form connections with each one of us. I’m forever grateful for her and I’m so sad to see her leave. She’s a great professor and an even better person.
Thank you Dr. Collins for believing in us. Thank you for making me believe in myself and making sure I know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.