Tag Archives: Champaign

Step Africa! : Drumfolk, a fine art portraying Resilience, and Reclamation

February 7, 2020 was a perfect Friday night at the Colwell Playhouse in Kranner Center for Performing Arts. A spectacular performance entitled “ Step Afrika ! : Drumfolk” shared the story that took place when South Carolina passed The Negro Act of 1740.

Written by Weon Taek Na

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A Fight For Life – Schmitt

Peaceful Prayer Gives Community Members Hope in Ending Abortion 

Joy Pace, a supporter of 40 Days For Life, stands behind Planned Parenthood with her homemade poster on Tues., March 15th.

To view my video package, please click here.

To view my script, please click here.

40 Days for Life is a multi-faith, multi-church, international collaboration that takes place for 40 days each spring and each fall in countries all over the world. People come together to pray for an end to abortion outside Planned Parenthood on the corner of Third St. and Stoughton St. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

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Fear and Hope in Gymnastics

Gymnast Rae Balthazor mentally prepares to begin her bar routine at the Pink Meet on Jan. 29.

Hi there! This assignment challenged me in many ways, but my biggest struggle was coming up with a story idea. I will admit, after I finished Assignment 1, I peaked ahead to look at this upcoming project. I was so excited to see another opportunity to take still photographs in a photo essay. However, when I arrived in class, I quickly learned this assignment had an additional requirement that was announced by Professor Collins.  Continue reading

All Good Things Must Come to an End



A leaf with dew drips on it.

This semester was great because of Dr. Collins and J-215. This course was one of the best journalism classes I’ve taken at this university.

Our first assignment was a little tricky for me because I had to get used to using the Canon T5i. I grew up in a journalist lead household, but I never had the opportunity to use that specific DSLR camera.

Matthew at the Academy of African American Arts rehearsal on Tuesday night.

Matthew at the Academy of African American Arts rehearsal on Tuesday night.

The photoessay assignment came a little easier because I started using my camera more frequently after assignment one. We were required to have two versions, with sound and without sound. This assignment allowed me to truly focus in on video and music production because I needed to truly find the most ideal music to fit the pictures. My editing during this time was growing as well. After being in an After School Matters program at IMPACT Family Center for more than six years allowed me to come into this class more familiar with the concepts, skills, and experience to succeed.

Rev. K. Edward Copeland in Pastor Davis' office after the three night revival at Grace Fellowship Church.

Rev. K. Edward Copeland in Pastor Davis’ office after the three night revival at Grace Fellowship Church.

Champaign--Matthew's affordable drum practice items. (Left to right) kick drum pedal, kick drum practice pad, snare drum practice pad, stick bag, and sticks.

Champaign–Matthew’s affordable drum practice items. (Left to right) kick drum pedal, kick drum practice pad, snare drum practice pad, stick bag, and sticks.

For the third assignment, I decided to capture ‘A Day in the Life of Grace‘. I decided to do a video essay on my church’s conference in October. It was pastor’s appreciation month, and Rev. K. Edward Copeland came as a guest preacher on the second weekend of October.

All of the assignments kept becoming easier.

Assignment four was great! I am enrolled in J-335, which is audio journalism. This assignment was relatively easy because of my other class I was pretty versed with Adobe Audition.

Assignment five allowed me to shine light on my home, the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center. A Tale Without a Head talks about the problems the center has

Catching the Beat… This was a personal touch. Me and my buddy James Sims decided to do a how to piece about playing drums. This video shows one how to do a single stroke roll and a single paradiddle. I pushed myself on this project to get clear sound and video from different angles and everything.

Infographic displaying information about 'How to Protest'.

Infographic displaying information about ‘How to Protest’.

Our final project was the greatest one of all. We decided to do a website to be more creative and to refer to future employers. I completed the photoessay, edited the audio package, and did the infographic.

Don’t lose faith. If you know a lot of material and know how to work all of the cameras or if you don’t, please know that you will survive if you work together and utilize Dr. Collins’ active centralized empowerment. Have a blessed day and hit me up if you need me. 🙂

Tai chi and Qigong in Champaign

Chinese masters of Tai chi and Qigong were at the ARC on October 10th from 6:30-9:30pm. They were there along with Dr. Weimo Zhu to give a lecture on the arts and to lead a demonstration. We learned about the health benefits of practicing the arts, and we learned how to perform some of the movements.

Another master, Master Song, has a Kung Fu academy in Champaign. A couple of the instructors and a student from the academy were available to give some insights into the arts and talk about what they do at the academy.

My video can be found here. And below I have links to the Tao of Health event, Song’s Kung Fu academy and the website of Energyarts.

Tao of Health Event: http://www.sedentaryconference.com/tao/

Song’s Kung Fu Academy: https://www.songskungfu.com

EnergyArts: http://www.energyarts.com/difference-between-tai-chi-qigong

What a Difference a Campus Makes: #Campuses Matter when it comes to Greek Organizations

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Alpha Chapter members performing their ritual of chants and songs around the fraternity's sun dial -also known as the "Mother Pearl".

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Alpha Chapter members performing their ritual of chants and songs around the fraternity’s sun dial -also known as the “Mother Pearl”.

Notable differences arise between two Omega Psi Phi brothers because of racial make-up at their campuses. The other attends a predominantly white institution. One student attends a historically black university.

This story holds true to the elements of news because of the conflict in the conversation between the two schools and their Omega chapters. There are different things each of the chapters have compared to the other, but it seems as if one is more widely accepted at one of the institutions either Howard, which is a historically black university, or at the University of Illinois, a predominantly white institution.

Click here to listen to the audio story.

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“A Day in the Life of Grace”

Rev. K. Edward Copeland in Pastor Davis' office after the three night revival at Grace Fellowship Church.

Rev. K. Edward Copeland in Pastor Davis’ office after the three night revival at Grace Fellowship Church.

Assignment 3 was great! I had the opportunity to show off my church’s revival. This time it was kind of challenging because I wanted to do more, but the time constraint for 1:15-1:30 kind of limited me. Also, I play a main role in my church, so it was a lot of back and forth between the drums and my camera. I tried several things, but I see I need to study Adobe outside of class. I chose this because the message was The Power of God. I think the world needed to hear this message or at least see scenes of it. This is how a standard church service looks like.

Grange Grove- Reflection Mroz

For this assignment, I chose to take pictures of Grange Grove, which is located outside of Memorial Stadium. I really enjoyed this assignment. The subject itself, Grange Grove, was something I am very familiar with and something I have experienced both on game days and on off days. For this reason, I think it was easier for me to fully engage my self in the photography. Since I chose a big area for my subject, it made it easier to get different angles and camera shots.

The only real issue I had with this assignment was exporting the video itself in order to upload it onto YouTube. However, Dr. Collins assisted me with this process, and the problem was easily solved.

This assignment was much less stressful than the first assignment was, and I have some nice photos as memories of one of my favorite places on campus as a result! I can already tell that I am really going to enjoy this class. The assignments are more than just homework, but things that I can really build off of and use to my advantage to build a great portfolio.




Grange Grove, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL

Assignment 1 Avilez


Simba Pillow Pet

“Why won’t this start recording?” I asked myself as I repeatedly pressed the photo shutter button. It took me two days to realize there is a separate button to take videos. That was however the purpose of our first assignment. It was meant to allow us to get acquainted with our camera equipment.

When we first received this assignment I wasn’t too worried about it because I own a Nikon DSLR so I’m familiar with the basic settings of this type of camera. I won’t lie I thought I was ahead of the game. Needless to say this assignment was a humbling experience.

Getting the still shots went pretty smoothly, but the videos took some work. After watching a few youtube tutorials I finally found the video record button. I also had some problems with focus when working with the record function. I particularly had difficulty with the pan left and right shots. My focus kept going in and out and you could hear my tripod moving in the recording. Once I got the hang of everything finding places with good light to shoot was fun. I took some shots around my apartment to practice and then I walked to a nearby park to get some natural light shots.

The editing process was much more stressful to me than the actual shooting. I had never worked with Adobe Premiere before and I am kind of a slow worker. I started to get stressed because most of the class was way ahead of me. I worried that I wouldn’t finish the assignment by the end of class especially when I noticed some of my shot were not the correct size. With the help of one of my classmates however I caught up.

After completing assignment one I feel much more confident in the editing process. Now I want to work on my focus issues when filming for assignment two. I also want to plan better for the editing process by choosing the exact shots I want to use before getting to class. I look forward to seeing my progress in these blogs throughout the semester. My video can be viewed here.

Assignment 1 Koshy


Quiet home in Urbana


I was very excited and a little intimidated as I approached this first assignment for JOUR 215. The assignment was not particular about the quality of our work but instead focused on us covering the basics and putting it all together coherently. Even with a beginner level of difficulty on the assignment, the attention to detail and planning required to put together a package was immense. Any small mistake, human made or computer, would result in repeating a given process again but doing this taught me to be careful with each step for the next time and also to try have fun doing the dirty work.

The video that I created can be found here.