“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”- Griffin Final Reflection

Well, that went by too fast. What a semester it has been. I think I can speak for the entire class by saying that we’ve all come so far from our very first day in room 13 in Greg Hall. We’ve grown as people, as peers, and as journalists. I can positively say that by the time I had completed my final project, I was incredibly proud of how much I had accomplished this semester. Let’s take a look at this semester’s work:

Assignment One:

This assignment was interesting for me. I had always sort of struggled with technology in the past, and when Professor Collins handed me a $2000 dollar camera, I was pretty intimidated.

The Quad at night. Taken as a part of the “Getting to Know Your Camera” assignment.

But I think that’s why this assignment so awesome. We were thrown right into the field our very first week with very little prior knowledge of what we were supposed to do. This assignment, while it wasn’t my best work, definitely got me excited for the semester. I felt like I had so much control of what content I wanted to produce, especially having my own camera. This was a feeling I had never felt in the past, and man, was I motivated and excited to start working.

Assignment Two

For the second assignment, we were required to put together a photo essay. This was by far one of the pieces I was most proud of. Throughout the semester, I had really became infested into photography, something I had never done before and this assignment most certainly sparked the interest inside of me. It sparked it so much that I have already purchased my own camera!

A tight shot used in my photo essay. The photo essay described a UIUC morning through imagery.

I had focused on a morning in Champaign-Urbana. I had originally gotten my idea of some awesome imagery I had scene on the route I run every morning. So instead of doing the run, I just went on the same route with my camera. I think also this assignment showed me the importance of all of your work having a beginning, middle, and end, and early on I realized that, and displayed that in this assignment.

Another shot from my photo essay. Taken just outside of UIUC campus.

Assignment Three:

For assignment three, we were required to create a video essay. For me, I immediately thought basketball. Because, one, I love basketball and it’s always on my mind. Two, because I had edited basketball highlight videos in the past so I already had some experience.

This was by far one of my favorite pieces to put together. I always play my buddy one on one in basketball, so for me to be able to film me kicking his butt was just perfect. Also, I think I edited well, took some great shots, and used my nat-sound in the right way. Definitely another piece of mine that I was very proud of.

Me shooting a jumper in my “The Friendly Rivalry” video.





Assignment Four

This was my first piece where I wanted to make it critical journalism. For this assignment, we were required to do an audio package. For this package, we had to make sure it was something that was hard-hitting news, and not just a feel good story. So I had decided to focus in on the Chief and relate it to, at the time, President Trump’s immigration ban.

Chief Illiniwek portrayed by Bennett Kamps. Courtesy of Bennett Kamps.

I took a unique angle to this assignment, an angle that some people would have an issue with, but that didn’t stop me from getting a story out that I believed needed to be shared.

My angle portrayed Chief Illiniwek as a uniting factor of people of all demographics, and not a demeaning symbol that so many people have portrayed it is. I interviewed Omar Cruz-Aranda, the Chief’s assistant, and got one of the best interviews I’ve conducted all semester. Cruz-Aranda, being of Mexican descent, alluded to how the Chief made he feel welcomed amidst all of what was going on with President Trump’s immigration ban. This was another piece that I had put a lot of work into, and was happy with how it turned out.

Assignment Five

For this assignment, we were required to put together all that we had learned throughout the semester so far and produce a full package with audio and video. For my topic, I had decided to tackle the issue of sexual assault. I had gotten this idea because I had seen three recent campus alerts about sexual assaults occurring and wanted to look into why this was happening. This took a ton of work but overall was very rewarding to put together. I learned a lot from the interviews I conducted. This topic eventually snowballed into my final project, which was perfect for me.

A photo of It’s On Us, an organization at the University of Illinois that promotes awareness for sexual assault and preventative tactics.

Assignment Six

For our final individual assignment, we were required to put together a How-To video. I really enjoyed this assignment because we had creative control to pretty much do whatever we wanted. So of course, I did mine on something basketball related and brought a little comedy into the piece.

My comedic opening for the how-to video of shooting a perfect free throw.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how this piece turned out. I think I could’ve edited a little better, but I was happy with my shots and happy with the content I produced. How-To videos are always fun to put together, and it definitely sparked an interest of mine to put one together in the future.



Final Reflection and Final Project

Before I wrap everything up, I wanted to reflect on my final project. Never in my life have I put together a project with a group that I have been more proud of. I learned so much about the issue of sexual assault and truly how important it was to cover it. I pushed myself and my group members to do the very best we could, and I think I progressed as an editor, producer, and shooter all in a couple weeks while working on this project.

I think a lot of this can be attributed to Professor Collins, leading me to my final reflection. I have never worked harder in a class and wanted to put out my very best work before this. Professor Collins worked us to try our very hardest and no professor has ever truly pulled it out of me. This has changed me as a journalist forever. Before this class, I still wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go down this path, but this changed me for the better and made me become obsessed with becoming a better journalist and a better person. I can’t be more appreciative for this semester and can’t wait to show the rest of the world the life lessons I have learned from the class.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

It has been real J215, peace.





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