Learning to Be a Well-Rounded Journalist
Over winter break this past year, I had the pleasure of meeting with a long-time WGN broadcaster, Dave Eanet. Eanet has been a broadcaster for Northwestern athletes and the Chicago Cubs for a little under 20 years. One piece of advice that really stuck with me was that to be a successful modern day journalist you can’t just have one set of skills. He said you can’t only be a good writer, or only know how to video edit. With all the multimedia today, you need to have knowledge on how to edit, write, produce, etc. your segments. The goal of this course was similar to what he said. Coming into this class I was a bit nervous because I had a very limited knowledge on how to use my camera, edit, or write a well-scripted package. Thanks to our last eight assignments and instruction over the past few months that nervousness has gone away.
Getting to know my Camera
In our first assignment, we were asked to take pictures and videos of a certain theme using our cameras. I have never owned a nicer camera than a disposable, so it was fun to actually use a camera where I could play around with different settings to get a good shot.
The important takeaway from this assignment was the way we use different angles and compositions to create a variety of pictures, and ones that will be visually appealing to the audience. It was also fun to use my friend’s dog, Goose as a model for the assignment. He was very well behaved for the pictures and videos. See for yourself!
During assignment’s two and three we learned the importance of natural sound and visual storytelling. I went to my fraternity’s Sunday Night Basketball League, and got pictures and natural sound of their games. One of the things I focused on in this story was to get a clear beginning, middle, and end for my story.
While I could of have done a better job in my Assignment 2, it was good practice for what would be a common theme throughout the semester–having a beginning, middle and end. My Assignment 3 piece demonstrated the importance of natural sound. The video is much more appealing and fun to watch when natural sound is added.
Our First Video Story
For my Assignment 4 video story I decided to take a tour of the Illini Union. The Union has so much to offer, and has a wide variety of things for students to do. Ranging from studying, learning about a new club, getting a meal, or even bowling.
One of the things I improved on from my last assignment was that there is a clear beginning, middle, and end. It starts with someone entering the union, then shows the activities at the union, followed by someone leaving the Union. This assignment really helped my editing skills because I had so much material that I could only fit in a 1:15 minute video.
Introduction to Including Soundbites
The topic for our Assignment 5 piece was similar to the previous assignment, however this time we had to use soundbites. Interviewing someone is a big skill to have as a journalist, so this assignment was good practice of that. The Illinois Club Lacrosse team was nice enough to let me film them during practice and interview them after.
They were all very excited for the season to start, and were a good group of guys. They gave pretty funny interviews, but overall they seemed ready for the season to start. They have been having a successful season so far.
How To Piece
I have very limited knowledge of how to Dj, so this piece was what I struggled with the most. I don’t think I did a clear enough job of visually showing how to mix two songs together. Someone would have to have a relatively good knowledge of how to DJ to be able to make a mix from watching this video. One of the problems I had was being able to explain how to do the action in such a limited time. Here is a video I tried to base mine off of, but like I said earlier it was hard with the limited amount of time.
For my audio story I went back to the Illini Union to cover the Spring Break Send Off. It was a fun event that Illini Union Board hosted to get students prepared for spring break. The Union Board is always planning fun events for students to take a break from their busy schedule.
The two important things this lesson taught was meshing natural with your audio to enhance the story. The other was writing and speaking conversationally, so the piece flows well. I could have done a better job with that, but I think there is improvement in my next piece.
Our First Package
In our first video package most of the work was done for us. The video and soundbites were given to us, so our job was to edit, write, and voice the script for the package. It was interesting to see other students stories, and see the approach that they took for this great event. I was happy to learn about the Illinois Polar Plunge because it is a very unique event that raises lots of money for Special Olympic Athletes. 10.2 million dollars have been raised over the past fifteen years.
It was nice to see some improvement in my audio storytelling from the last piece. I sound much more conversational, and my writing flows much nicer.
After looking over all my assignments, it is cool to see how far I have come from when we first started. I was very nervous at first, and honestly thought I would struggle much more than I did. This is thanks from the help of my students, which Professor Collins constantly encouraged that we do. Collaboration truly is an amazing thing, and I don’t think my assignments would have been the same without the help of my fellow students. This summer I will be taking my newly learned skills to a new WGN sports radio station, The Game 87.7, where I will be interning as the producer’s assistant.