Daily Archives: May 7, 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.

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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.

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VOSOTVO #1

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.

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VOSOTVO #2

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.

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VO & VOSOTVO #3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

VIDEO ESSAY

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”.

VO AND VOSOT #1

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.

VO AND VOSOT #2

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.

VO AND VOSOT #3

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.

PACKAGE #1

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.

NEWSBREAK #1

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.

NEWSBREAK AND PACKAGE #2

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.