Daily Archives: May 3, 2018

End of the Road – Tiffany’s Final Reflection

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.

Smiling….Tiffany Littler.

Aksinya Kichigina| The End of The Semester

I chose this photo for a reason…because we look unprepared, funny, and all different!

Wow! What a semester…Overall, it was AMAZING! If I go back to the beginning of the semester, I thought I wouldn’t do well in this class…I didn’t think I wouldn’t learn a lot, but I only knew/thought that it would be so difficult to keep up with all the work that was outlined to us and, at the same time, earn a good grade. But, I proudly can say that my hard work, passion and love for journalism, and my desire to learn and become better paid off. However, without Dr. Collins’s support, her inspiration, hard work and passion, I could not achieve everything. This class wasn’t just about attending the class and earning grades…this class was about gaining experience and knowledge, learning to be ethical and professional, multitasking, critical-thinking and resolution. I don’t know if it’s a right thing to write about Dr. Collins and how inspirational she was…but I guess I’d love to…not because I want a better grade…laughing…but because Dr. Collins should know it.

Dr. Collins is a totally different professor compared to the professors I have had in some of my classes. Besides being a truly happy person, she is amazingly kind and sweet to everyone; she is supportive and carrying; she is a strong and tough woman on the outside, but on the inside, she is emotional, generous, and sincere…and I loved it about her. Thank you, Dr. Collins, for everything…you are in my heart.

As we began this semester, I realized we would have to do a lot of work…and our first assignment was a video essay. This assignment, itself, wasn’t difficult; instead, it was interesting to do. We had to make a story using only footage.

https://youtu.be/cmHUGJR1SIc

I didn’t have issues filming this video essay; I actually enjoyed it because I spent a couple of hours at South Park filming children playing and having fun. When I began editing my footage, I did not have any troubles. For some reason, I felt confident. Though, my challenge was to pick good shots. I always tend to have a lot of footage, which makes it harder for me to pick the best shots. Despite this, I put b-rolls together and began writing my script. I will admit that it was challenging to keep 3C’s in mind. But, I think I was able to accomplish it. When it was the day to present, I did not feel as nervous as I felt during my first VO and VOSOTVO. I felt happy inside because I was able to accomplish the first goal… and this assignment was just the start.

The next assignment we had to do was VO and VOSOTVO…and we had to learn new information, keep up with that information, and also do great. I learned about the structure of Pregnant I, as well as the formula for VO and VOSOTVO and their elements.

https://youtu.be/xoH9hDpO8e0– VOSOTVO

https://youtu.be/FsqcI51-vmQ– VO

This assignment also was quite challenging for me to complete. As Dr. Collins said at the beginning, “You always need to have a plan A, B, C, and D.” So, since that day I try to follow her advice. When I decided to film my VO and VOSOTVO on the Virtual Reality event, I got so excited. I reserved the equipment, contacted a coordinator two days before the event began, and had a good spirit. However, when it was the day to film, the coordinator emailed me and said that the event was postponed. I felt desperate at the moment, but I had to follow with a plan B. So, I decided to do a story about this year’s flue activity. First I contacted the Watkins Health Center, but the administrator told that all the physicians were busy and could not have time for an interview. After I heard it, I began to panic. I only had half of the day to find a story idea and film it. Then, a couple of my co-workers told me that there was a Career Fair going on at the Union. So, I rushed to grab my equipment and go to the Union. I got a lot of footage that day; but I didn’t know how it would turn out. When I got back to my office, I checked my footage right away and felt some sort of relief. Next day, I began a writing and editing process. When it was the day to perform, I felt nervous. I was not confident in my story. I read through the script so quick, I believe, and I stumbled a couple of times. My timing did not work out either, and I also did not have a patting at the end. Another problem was overlaying a SOT with a b-roll that didn’t make an impact on the video. I also realized after watching my video was that my edits were also too quick. I learned something new and keep carrying it on with me.

Overall, this first VO and VOSOTVO was a learning experience for me, and it was so important to have Dr. Collins’s critique….and I believe I was always trying to listen to her advices and follow them.

As we moved forward, we reached our third assignment or the second VO/VOSOTVO. This video project could’ve been done better but it was just another learning experience for me. If I improved in one thing, there was still something left or new I had to perfect.

https://youtu.be/bmUIpajejTU– VoSotVo

https://youtu.be/rsnxtJw154Q– VO

The second VO and VOSOTVO felt less stressful or challenging, though I experienced some troubles as well. What I liked the most about this assignment was the individual time that we had with Dr. Collins. She was able to explain each student what she or he needs to improve or continue working on. Personally, I found it beneficial to me and my work. The original idea for my second VO and VOSOTSO was supposed to be a celebration of Chinese New Year at the Plaza Library. However, this plan fell through because I was not allowed to fil inside of the library. Then, when I came to Kansas City for the weekend, I had no choice but to film something there. Fortunately, weakened turned out to be nice and warm; that’s when I realized that it could be a great story to film. I came down to Loose Park in Kansas City and began gathering footage. It was an enjoyable time. My next step was to write a script. During the process, I repeatedly read out loud to make sure I sounded conversational. However, as Dr. Collins noticed in our Skype meeting, my script was written for a meteorologist rather than an anchor. Then, Dr. Collins began giving me various ideas on how I could improve it. While we had only 30 minutes, we had accomplished a lot. I revised my script a couple of times and made sure everything was clear and concise. When the writing part was done, I began editing. After a couple of days, Dr. Collins sent us a document with her critique to each work. I believe it helped everyone learn something new from each other’s work. What I had to improve for my third VO and VOSOTVO was to let shots break for a second or two because viewers have to see a story not a number of different b-rolls. Also, I learned that I need to avoid cutaways. Individual meeting was a great help to improve out writing, editing or reporting skills, as well as learn new things. So, a big thank you to Dr. Collins for that.

Our last VO/VOSOTVO was fun to make because it had to be two separate stories.

https://youtu.be/UxCzElfTouk– VoSotVo

https://youtu.be/m2mIkM-HZzw-VO

The third VO and VOSOTVO was an opportunity for us to show what we have learned based on Dr. Collins’s feedback and critique. This time we had to do a VO and VOSOTVO on a sepearte subject. For some reason, maybe because I had a good spirit, I was lucky to schedule an interview with an assistant general manager of IHOP on Tuesday when the National Pancake Day happened. I did not struggle with filming, plus my interview seemed to go smooth. However, as soon as I checked my footage when I got to school, I noticed that audio of the interview disappeared by itself. I was almost crying. I tried various ways to improve the audio, but nothing seemed to work. Therefore, I decided to reschedule an interview. Next day, the manager did not seem happy, and she strictly gave me 2 minutes to film the interview. I felt nervous. Though, I was able to manage ask some good question, and even pick a good soundbite. When I began my writing, I did not struggle with writing conversational. I always pretend that I am talking to someone and telling him a story of what happened today. Actually, I learned from Dr. Collins. When I presented my VOSOTVO in class, I did not feel too nervous. Though, I could have slowed down a little bit while reading my script. My other mistake that Dr. Collins pointed out was spelling. So, this means I need to always double-check my spelling of lower thirds. Overall, I am satisfied with my third VOSOTVO. For my VO, I chose to do a story about kids exploring their DNA. I was lucky enough to be able to film children; but before, I had to ask a permission from their parents. Whenever I deal with children I enjoy filming. Therefore, I had some good shots to pick for my VO. Also, as I began writing my script, I felt that there were a couple of time where my writing could have been improved…and thankfully, after Dr.Collins graded this two video projects, she was about to make corrects in my script and give an overall feedback. I believe this VO/VOSOTVO were the best out of other VOs/VOSOTVOs.After these assignments, we finally moved on to News Packages!

Before we could go to our Spring Break, we had to complete our first news package. We all had a partner, which was nice to get some extra help. My package was about an interesting and fun event. The local Pet World hosted an educational event for the community.

https://youtu.be/3V9wQxM17TA– News Package

Oh, boy! This package was quite difficult to put together. First of all, my plan A or B did not work…and I had only 2 days to find another story, film and interview people. Luckily, I reached out to Pet World in Lawrence, and its manager let me come in and film “Feature Creature.” I felt comfortable recording kids holding a python, interviewing workers and a visitor with her daughter. When I begin writing the script, it was a little bit a challenge because I was stressed. I was stressed because I had limited time and some issues with audio. Though, as I finished writing my script, I felt great about it. However, as I showed my package to class, Dr. Collins was able to notice some mistakes within my work. For example, I had a jump cut, and during my stand-up I did not look at the camera as much. Other than that, I was happy with the outcome of my first news package in this class. However, I knew I could do a better job…and it was my goal to perfect the second news package.

https://youtu.be/mnGd8Yg9nTk– News Package (Final)

As we came back from the Spring Break, we had to do another news package, the final one, as well as practice our first news break. But before I begin writing how I completed my final news break, I will write about my final package called “Easter Egg Hunt in Lawrence.” Overall, I think it was my best work I’ve done. My plan A worked perfectly! I went to South Park to film Easter celebration of the Lawrence community. That day was so sunny and bright that it was hard for me to see on the screen what I was filming. I was irritated, but still tried to have positive attitude. This is something I need to work on…in any situation I need to stay optimistic. To write the script was natural for me…I learnt how to keep in mind that I need to write the way I’d say it, but after revise it. It is important to write a story rather than overwhelm myself with what I should say. To put my package together wasn’t challenging; instead, I tried to work ahead. However, I also was preparing for my first news break. Overall, my first news break was an interesting experience. I learned how to anchor, do weather, read scripts without relying on Teleprompter, be a camera operator and floor director.

https://youtu.be/RqmSjk229SI– Final News Break

The final project, which was the final news break, was awesome! I felt confident to anchor on camera, act natural, smile, and come up with stuff when I didn’t read a line for my weather forecast. I was prepared to present my final news package, CNN reader and weather. Luckily, when I made it on time, Dr. Collins was happy with the turnout. It made me happy! This final news break and package were two great things that I think I’ve done for this class in terms of assignments. But I think I’ve grown as a journalist a lot, which I am proud and thankful to Dr. Collins. I’ve honestly learnt a lot of great information in this class and also made great friends. Everything I’ve learn, I’ll keep in mind and carry it on with me.

Thank you, Dr. Collins, for everything.

Aksinya Kichigina