Ah, What a Learning Experience

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Here’s a detailed summary chronicling my journalism 410 experience; an experience that transformed from struggle to success. 

Okay, I will be the first to admit that I am the last thing from technology savvy (I am a news-ed major after all) and before this class I may have even been technological challenged. I am admittedly one of those people who pick up a device and completely ignore the instructions that come along with it, but I am more than aware that multimedia is growing more and more significant and prominent. Taking 410 has honestly been one of the most rewarding classes I have taken at U of I and I am thankful that I can continue to use the knowledge I’ve gained to further propel my journalism experience and personal creativity.

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I’ll begin with assignment one. I went into this assignment, like most of the others, with hesitation and nervousness. For some reason I had convinced myself that because I was dealing with technology that something was bound to go wrong. I soon learned that comfort plays a huge role in shooting, editing, and publishing any broadcast footage. Completing assignment one provided me with the practice I surely needed but it also made me realize that this comfort can only be achieved with continued practice. (It was also a lot of fun using my cat, Ebony, as my muse. She’s loved the attention).

Moving on to assignments two and three. I didn’t realize just how important sound is until I completed both of these assignments, especially since these assignments consisted of only stills. Sound and voice overs not only add life and character to a piece, but they also brings the viewer into it. I mean, imagine if you had to sit and watch one of those old movies without any dialogue. Assignment two felt and looked incomplete simply because without sound, it was. I also began to understand that importance of nat sound after I completed both of these assignments. Nat sound is an essential tool that can be and should be used when covering a story. Without it, it makes it difficult for the viewer to get an accurate sense and feel of the environment of an event being covered, or a complete understanding of a story being told. These assignments also helped me realize that voice overs alone are not enough when wanting to use nat sound and that sometimes they can be too much. 

Ok…it’s time to talk about what a train wreck assignment four was…I know everything that I did wrong in this assignment and all of these errors and mistakes gave me the motivation I needed to make every assignment after this one much better. Here’s a mental list of all of the flaws in this assignment that have and will continue to stick with me:

  • Do not pan (unless there is an absolute reason to)
  • Shaking video is never acceptable
  • Highlight people; not just places
  • Make sure lower-thirds are visible
  • Make sure there is a clear beginning, middle, and end

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I successfully remembered all of these things when I took on assignment five, and because I did so assignment five became by best work at this point in 410. For one, I choose the cover the Mosaic Dialogues, an event that people could relate to and I also chose to interview someone who was significant in the story I told. This was the first assignment that I felt proud of and that same pride led to the comfort I discussed initially.

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Assignment six was probably the most fun I had out of all the assignments. I’m usually the one Googling how to videos and articles and it was interesting to be on the other side of that coin. How-to videos have become so popular that there are various websites that are dedicated to them alone. Because I chose to show my viewers how to bake a cake, I was able to use personal techniques in my video, this along with the fact that I was my own subject and the camera angles that I chose to use, all allowed me to use my creativity while making this. (I got to eat this assignment afterwards too, I should’ve gotten that on camera).

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Assignment seven, the audio package that I did on student loans and financial aid, was hands down the easiest time I had working with Final Cut Pro and the reasons, I’m sure, are obvious. For one, I didn’t have to work with video, stills, or voice over. All I had to work with were my sound bites and my narration. I also realized that narration is absolutely essential when telling any story. Don’t believe me? The definition of narration makes that more than obvious. Though those were the only two elements, they have to be used correctly for an audio package to work. Just like with assignment four, I took away a few lifelong tips after I completed this assignment:

  • Narration should remain consistent in sound. Do not change your voice
  • Think of questions the listener may have and make sure the package answers them
  • Do not overload the listener with too many facts and stats

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Last but the furthest thing from least is my assignment eight. This is by far my favorite assignment and looking back at where I started (refer back to assignment four if you must) I am more than proud of myself and how my last assignment came out. Because I chose to cover a stroll (aka dance) competition, I was able to highlight the action that was involved. I feel as though I did great job of that and I am pleased with the transitions I chose to use. I also took the knowledge from all of my previous assignments and tied them into this one. My voice over narration remained consistent and I got great shots. There are still a few things I would change, such as better story telling and shot placement, but I am more than satisfied with my final assignment overall.

I am so thankful for all that I’ve learned and I am now excited to use all of this new knowledge to better my journalistic craft. I am also excited to further my knowledge about broadcast and I’m ready to use it in the news-editorial field as well. I am required to take one more multimedia class and when I walk into class on the first day I’ll be singing this instead of harboring fears, hesitation, confusion, and self-consciousness. I’m ready to take another multimedia challenge on. 

3 thoughts on “Ah, What a Learning Experience

  1. Collins, Janice Marie

    Brava Justine! You HAVE come a long way. I really enjoyed reading what you have done so far. The writing was smooth, enjoyable, with nice seque’s and the navigation was fluid. Please be careful to read your content again and check for issues of grammar and agreements.
    Good luck!
    Professor Collins

  2. smkelly4

    After reviewing Justine’s project on the course blog, I was very impressed. It was evident how much progress she made in just a few short months. I thought that all of her projects were creative, even from day one when she shot videos and pictures of her cat. I liked that she tried her best in all her projects, but was also keeping in mind ways that she could improve her work, and made those changes in her next project. I like that all her projects were unique and not repetitive. Coming into this class I didn’t know what to expect. It was encouraging to read on her blog that she felt the same way on her first day of class. It is nice to have her examples to look at so that I know what to expect from the class. After reviewing Justine’s work, I feel more confident that I will be successful in Jour 410 and am excited to see what the semester has in store.

  3. Joanna Nowak

    I really enjoyed reading about your experiences in class, because you approached the class with a news-editorial eye—whereas I will be looking at multimedia as a broadcast journalist. I thought it was really interesting to see how your opinions, fears and previous experiences differed from what mine are right now.
    Reading about your first assignment experience was really comforting for me, since I just finished that assignment. I also really enjoyed getting an insider perspective on some of our upcoming assignments—like the nat sound assignment and the how-to video assignment.
    Additionally, I really liked some of your advice. A lot of these tips were review for me, since I have already completed TV 1 and 2. Still, I think it is always good to be reminded of how to be the most successful you can be, and I think you’ve clearly gained a lot from this class. I will absolutely reference this post again in the future for advice.
    Lastly, it really eased my nerves to read about an assignment that you had issues with. My experiences in journalism—both academic and professional—have proven to me time and time again that problems arise. Whether these issues are with technology or something else entirely, it is impossible to plan for every possible problem one might encounter. Though I have dealt with major issues in my past journalism classes, I still always feel apprehensive when coming into a new classroom—will I be able to handle this? Will I make a huge mistake? Will I break a camera? But you reminded me that mistakes happen and that is okay.
    It looks like you had a lot of growth and development in this class. Your projects were great–I especially like that picture of your cat! (I’m a total cat lady.)

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