Growing into a Multimedia Journalist

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Stepping into the semester, I was excited for what was to come and what I would be learning over the semester. I had pictured picking up skills that would translate the writing in journalism classes so far into multimedia form and was expected to come out of the class as a knowledgeable multimedia reporter. What I did not expect was the attention to detail and planning that was required for multiemedia journalism that I was also able to pick up over the semester for which I am extremely grateful.

We started off the semester with basic skills based projects. My first was a photo essay for which I grabbed different shots of students playing soccer. I also experimented with different angles, the zoom and focus. I tried to play with the manual settings but did not get too far. That would have to wait till later in the semester.

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The next assignment was to add audio to the photo essay which clearly added an additional element of depth for the photo essay. Grabbing this audio was slightly difficult as the players kept moving around while kicking the ball around and audio levels were not consistent. Nevertheless, it made it more interesting to watch and helped me realize to prepare in advance for any measures I would have to take to secure good audio.

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For my third assignment, which was a video essay, I grabbed footage from a rehearsal of a play. ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett was being put on by a student theatre group and I was able to go into their dress rehearsal and grab an interview and broll. This was the first time I experimented with a interview subject and so learning to frame him was a good lesson for future assignments.

For my audio package, I reported on the new Center for Wounded Veterans which opened this semester on campus. This was a good experience because I got to interview some great people including a soft spoken veteran of ten years who now goes to school here.

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I was able to learn to be sensitive of the interviewee’s needs or conditions and let them speak their minds which would always lead to great soundbites.

For my full package, I covered the new Caffe Bene location on campus and how it has been extremely popular among international students.

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I was able to play with manual focus and lighting with my camera and learned that it was pretty intuitive. I also made sure to pick quiet and well lit places with great backgrounds for interviews and also tried to frame it well. I was pleased with the result. Writing to the video being shown was clearly a skill that needed practise to perfect which I am glad I learned early on.

For my how to video, I decided to make a kind of video that I have previously had to use many times in my life- a guitar tutorial video. These are extremely popular on youtube and I decided to give it a shot. I did not use too many angles but I did try to show the concept of holding a barre chord within the allowed time limit. It was a good experience. It continued to force me to be precise with my writing and editing which I have learned is a great skill to have in multimedia journalism.

For our final group project, we covered disability on the UofI campus. The story of how I came about the topic for this project is another lesson I will take away from this class – everybody has an interesting story to tell. I was taking an Uber to do an interview far out in Champaign and casually struck up conversation with the driver who also happened to be part of a local family owned prosthetics business. He told me the story of how the government’s tightened regulations had been negatively impacting him and his customers.

My friend from an Uber ride

My friend from an Uber ride

I followed up with him and it turned out to be half our final project for this class. It goes to show that casual conversation with a random person can also lead to a great story.

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Working with the group was also fun. We all constantly seemed on the same page so there was never any difficulty because I think we were always okay with doing what was best for the group and what would help finish things. Bouncing ideas off each other while building the website was also a learning process and it really helped to have 4 people looking over the building process – it made things efficient and also was inclusive of all opinions and creative ideas.

I learned what it takes to be a good multimedia journalist in this class. I was also motivated and enjoyed Professor Collins’ encouragement and positive energy during her teaching. The positive environment she tries so hard to create really helps you learn if you want to. I also learned to appreciate the sheer effort that goes into multimedia journalism today and am excited to be a part of it tomorrow.

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