At the beginning of the semester, I had no interest in pursuing a journalism degree. I had tried print media and I knew it wasn’t for me, and I was bitterly taking journalism classes because I had already come this far, might as well finish it. The first day of class I felt so unexperienced and overwhelmed I considered dropping. Thank God I didn’t. Throughout this class I have developed a passion for broadcast journalism. I had so much fun writing and researching stories, I felt like I was fulfilling my creative side by shooting with a camera, and I’ve always had a passion for performing and getting up to anchor seemed natural. I even loved being floor manager during news breaks. For that, thank you Dr. Collins. I’m so glad I didn’t give up, because now I can see myself pursuing this career in so many ways.
It all started with the video essay. I had never picked up a camera and I was so nervous. I thought I had a good topic, but I was clueless about the shots. I needed more tight shots, but overall I was just relieved I got it done. It took me hours to teach myself Premiere, but I was really happy for my first time editing.
I was nervous to make a turn. Originally I had a completely different event in mind, but that fell through. Dr. Collins had taught us all about having our plans A, B, and C, so I went on with plan B which was the International Jayhawk Festival. Walking in I was instantly inspired. I had some editing issues, but I really liked my shots for this one. Writing the story I enjoyed as well. I’ve always been more of a conversational writer, so broadcast seemed to be right up my alley.
Next, we had our Vo2 and VoSotVo2. I wasn’t as happy with this one. I felt like the shots I got wasn’t as interesting as the ones I got in my first Vo and VoSotVo. I thought the topic was interesting but it wasn’t easy to write a story about it. The actor I interviewed was adorable, but I could have done a better job steering the interview. Overall, I would say I did pretty mediocre on this one. I was still figuring out sound editing as well.
For our Vo3 I really liked how my shots turned out. I felt like I had a lot to work with and with the music I had some great nat sound. This was also difficult to write about, but I thought the storytelling through the shots was good. I got a little too audio-happy in editing, but overall I was happy with this one. For the VoSotVo3, I was a little less happy with it. I thought cyberbullying was a relevant topic and I used one of my current events for it. I felt like I was grasping at straws to write this story and it became too late to change the topic. I wish I had a more interesting background for the interview, but I couldn’t think of anywhere for a cyberbullying story.
I really had a great time filming package 1 and package 2. The stand up for package one I thought was nice, however there was a crisis with the audio. When we went to review our stand up our audio was completely gone. We refilmed the stand up, but without the Quidditch posts it was boring. So our plan C was to lay down an audio track to go over our first stand up. It worked, not awesome, but I was content. The second package I loved the nat sound with the singers, but I should’ve given it more time to breath and brought the audio down way more. I loved the topics and writing both of these stories was a lot of fun.
The news break was way funner than I thought it would be. I’m pretty comfortable in front of the camera, but I could feel how nervous I was about my package. Overall, I felt pretty good about my delivery.
Thank you so much for a wonderful semester, Dr. Collins was honestly one of the best professors I’ve ever had and I learned so much more this semester than I thought I would when I initially enrolled. Thank you.
Before I could even type this, I started tearing up…standby….this class and semester have been quit the journey for me. Just like anybody in college, I had a lot of personal things going on and a busy schedule, but coming to this class everyday made me feel at home. I met so many great people, from all walks of life, that I hope to see or hear from in the future. I believe that everyone you met, makes an impact on your life and this is true with Dr. Collins. She was the first black female professor I ever had. I remember on the first day of class, I ran home to tell my mom how awesome that was, and how excited I was for the semester. I knew this class would be challenging but I was ready to sink AND swim! Continue reading →
What a semester. This was a class and a teacher like no other. Never did I expect to meet a person like you, Dr. Janice Collins, who will always have an impact on my life. You taught us lifelong lessons that few teachers care to teach, and you were an example of how to try to live one’s best life. Always smiling… It’s seems like our time in class together was short, but I guess time flies when you’re having fun. It’s hard for me to sum up the semester knowing that you’re not coming back to KU, but I know we’ll see each other again in the future. I’m just really happy to have met you!
Now lets get into the nitty gritty. I took journalism 550 already with a beginners understanding of video editing and broadcast writing. During this course, I practiced while working in the newsroom and while doing class projects (creating VOs, VOSOTs, packages, etc.). I learned a lot from my mistakes in this class and feel a lot more confident with making videos.
Video Essay – “Good Morning Procrastination”
The first project we did was the video essay. It was very open ended, so I just made a very basic video about sleeping in. I got shots that I thought told a story about hearing your alarm go off and choosing to stay in bed instead of starting your morning. My shots didn’t explicitly convey that message though. I learned the importance of carefully choosing shots that make the message easy to comprehend, especially when there is no dialogue. I had things that were related to the message, but they were too ambiguous to move the narrative. In retrospect, there’s a lot of shots I wish I’d add and replace in the video to make the message clearer.
You can watch the video below.
First VO and VOSOTVO – KU Bus Drivers on Ice
Filming my first VO and VOSOT was fun and stressful. I had a very short time to prepare my tripod and camera for the SOT because the bus driver was on a tight schedule so my interview shot had terrible lighting. I learned not to shoot someone with bright lights behind them. I talked to him a lot before while he was driving and told him the type of questions I’d be asking, so he had time to think about them. I think because of this, he gave me some really good responses to my questions. Dr. Collins always talked about warming the interviewee up and making them feel comfortable on camera so they’ll look relaxed on it too. A couple of my other shots were overexposed which I just need to pay closer attention too while filming in the future. While writing the script, I really focused on writing towards my video. After this video, I started writing my script before I went out to shoot though.
You can watch the videos below.
Second VO and VOSOTVO – “Comfortable” Album Release
The next VO and VOSOT I made was about the release of the album “Comfortable,” recorded and produced by local KC artists Campaign Maka and Glokage. I got a really good interview with Maka and some decent B-roll, but I should’ve gotten better shots of Maka recording in his studio or working on his computer. I think I had a good variety of shots and angles, but I could’ve had more action in my video. I also needed to look at my white balance or color correction because the color looks off in some shots. Overall, I liked the VO and VOSOT. I got a really good soundbite from my interviewee, so he really made the video more exciting. Again, I need to be more deliberate with the shots I pick though.
You can watch the videos below.
One Day, One KU VO
This video was easy to film for because I just focused on getting a lot of wide, medium, and tight shots of the flags and the sign explaining the fundraiser. I already had a script written, so I knew what shots I needed to get to match VO. I wish I had gotten a SOT for this one because I saw the faculty putting the flags into the grass earlier in the day before I filmed. I didn’t have my camera or tripod with me at the time though, so I couldn’t do it. I think this was one of my best VOs just because the white balance and color is good. I put a lot of thought into framing too, but I probably could’ve had shots that were better framed. Overall, I was really happy with this VO.
You can watch it below.
Unpacking Whiteness VOSOTVO
This VOSOTVO was also pretty easy to film. I got shots of the panel, the crowd, and the event’s pamphlet. I don’t have a good zoom on my camera, so it was hard for me to get tight shots of the speakers. I also should have had natsound of the people talking quietly in the background. Writing the script for this was tough because it’s a touchy subject and I didn’t know how much detail I needed to go into. Dr. Collins stressed using the pregnant I (sell, tell summarize), but with a topic like this, it was hard to decide a sequence to tell the details in. I also wish I had’ve gotten an interview with one of the panelists, but my camera died while I was shooting. Instead I used my phone to interview someone who had went to the event. Also at the beginning of the video, I did a tilt, which Dr. C always says not to do. I don’t know if it hurt the video here, but I don’t think it did anything to necessarily help it either. Still, I liked the end result of the video.
You can watch it below.
Justice For All Package
I really enjoyed working with my partner Tiffany on this. We had to go all the way to plan C, but we made it work. We filmed the exhibit that the organization Justice For All erected on campus called the Art of Life. We got three interviews easily because there were volunteers all around the exhibit. We got a lot of wide, medium, and tight shots of everything around the exhibit too. Some of the shots weren’t white balanced which I need to always remember to do. Tiffany and I also worked together on making the actual package. It was nice working together because we got to see each others workflow. Writing the script for this was hard because we were scrambling to find a story after our first ideas fell through. I was still really happy with our script though and the package as a whole.
You can check it out here.
Pause 4 Pups Package
I made my second package by myself which was pretty difficult. I wanted to do a standup bridge because I liked the one I did in the previous package. I didn’t have anyone with me though so it was hard to get a good video of me and the dog. I got some really great B-roll shots and even better interviews. Everyone I interviewed gave me really good responses to my questions which made it easy fit into my script. I had already written parts of my script before going to the event. After filming there, I just added more details to the script that I learned while I was there. I really enjoyed making this video because I really like dogs. Like I’m actually about to buy one next week (so drop potential dog names in the comments). I also found it was really easy to get B-roll because there’s so much action in the shots with the dogs. The last shot was in auto focus, so it goes in and out of focus when the dog gets closer to the camera. I was trying to do a rack focus type of effect, but it didn’t really work. I was still really happy with my final package.
You can watch it here.
Jayhawk News Break
This was definitely my favorite part of the class. Working with my classmates in the studio was awesome. I enjoyed working audio, being producer, and monitoring the set as floor director or camera monitor. As floor director, I felt like the hype man for all the anchors, and I hope that I actually did help bring a little more energy into their news break. I liked being producer because I felt like I was in control of the show. I also really enjoyed anchoring. I’ve never been camera shy, but I’ve always had trouble bring the type of energy an anchor has on television. I think I’m starting to learn how to have that trustworthy and welcoming demeanor though. I really liked doing the weather. I wanted to freestyle it, and I did. I think I should have prepared more by watching more weatherman talk about it because I didn’t know enough short punchlines to make the weather informative and entertaining. I need to practice how comfortable I look on camera too. I felt relaxed, but I shuffled through my papers on set. That will obviously just come with practice, and I’m looking forward to doing it more in the future. It was cool to do and my first time ever being the anchor of a news break.
You can watch the video below.
This class has inspired me to want to create my own show for KUJH. I’ve already started planning and proposing it to our news director. I’m really interested in producing, directing, and anchoring. I feel like this class gave me so many opportunities to fail safely, but, more importantly, to learn. I’m so glad that Dr. Collins graced her presence out here in Lawrence, Kansas, and left us all a little more wiser. We’ll miss you :'(
The moment Dr. Collins asked my class if we ever used Adobe Premiere and I was the only student that didn’t raise their hand, I knew I was already behind. This semester has been nothing short of a challenge for me, but also nothing short of a blessing for me.
The first assignment was the video essay. I knew what I wanted to do the video on, but I asked Dr. Collins constant questions until I felt I was ready to shoot. I thought I needed more examples so I could have the perfect project. It was a struggle for me because it didn’t get a variety of wide, medium and tight shots. I learned my lesson.
The next assignment was VO’s and VOSOTVO’s. Oh my goodness, I thought I was going to drown because I never did an actual VO or VOSOTVO before this class. This was my third time filming and I’m proud of how my shots improved.
By the time the second VO and VOSOTVO came around, I thought I had everything under control because I filmed the majority of my video early, except my interview because I forgot the mic. I rescheduled my interview for the following week and it was just my luck that Kansas had an ice storm. I literally filmed my interview thirty minutes before my meeting with Dr.Collins. I learned to double check everything from my experience with this VO and VOSOTVO.
The third VO and VOSOTVO had to be two different topics. I got nervous because I just started improving my script writing and knowing I had to do two… man… can you say throw the lifejacket. I did both my VO and VOSOTVO on student events because I thought students would love to see things that could each week or month. My filming became easier and all I needed to remember was say it, see it. It slowly became easier for me as I continued to do more VO’s and VOSOTVO’s.
Next up, are the Packages! I never did a package before this class, but I got to the point in the semester where I would just have to do it. I have to give a lot of credit to my partner Emma, she made this possible. I came up with an idea to shoot and that fell through but Emma saved the day. I thought the stand-ups were fun and added life to the package.
For my second package, I had no idea what to do my package on. I choose at the last minute to do it on the Persian New Year, Nowruz. When I say I didn’t know anything about Persian culture, I mean it. I wouldn’t let that stop me from getting my story though. I learned a lot about Persian culture and got to tell a story. While making this package I finally got the courage to just do everything on my own and not ask a billion questions. I just had to do it and keep working until I thought it was perfect.
All of those projects prepared us for our Jayhawk Newsbreaks. I enjoyed doing the newsbreak because we wrote, edited and produced them all ourselves, not too many can say they did that. I believe working the newsroom shifts and gaining a lot of camera experience made me want to do this more.
This class has made a huge impact on me this semester. I learned a lot about myself and what it takes to become a journalist. I’ve gained a great group of friends and met one of the best professors in journalism. Dr. Collins saw the potential and drive that we had allowed us to grow. At first, I thought this would be extremely hard because we didn’t know Dr. Collins and she was new to KU’s program, but I can say she is one of the main reasons I want to stick to journalism. Yes, she is successful, but she sees what other professors don’t see in many students and that is opportunity.
She is an inspiring person that challenges her students for all the right reasons. It is because of her that I know how to do VO’s, VOSOTVO’s and Packages. I wrote, edited and produced my own newsbreak, which is something I never even thought of doing. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, Dr. Collins. I know we’ll see each other soon.
It’s hard to believe that this is the final reflection that I’m writing for this class. It seems like just yesterday that we all started and was told that we had to learn how to swim. It’s been quite a journey and it’s been a fun one. We’ve worked on so many different projects this year and with each one, I’ve seen myself get better and better. From being someone with zero video experience to doing my own news break. I feel pretty accomplished. I’ve made so many lasting relationships in this class and with the aid of Dr. Collins I’m ready to tackle any challenge ahead.
My first assignment was a video essay and looking back at it now I remember the struggles that I had with finding an idea and shooting the video. I remember that my two previous ideas had fallen through and then with this one I had to reshoot the video three times because I wasn’t happy with the results. I wasn’t very familiar with premiere either, so it took me quite a few hours to edit the video. With this video essay, I learned that my shots need to be able to breathe.
The next assignment was our VO. I remember freaking out over the weekend trying to think of a good idea. Thankfully we had some snow and I decided to whip out my camera and walk around campus. Once again it took me hours to film and afterward I couldn’t even feel my hands. I really liked the shots I took and had fun. I just really liked how the snow created this beautiful landscape all around me.
Our next assignment was a VOSOTVO and I decided to detail the icy conditions around campus. Once again I spent several hours outside filming. I felt like I didn’t get enough shots on the first day, but heard there was more snow coming the next. However, it didn’t snow the next day and the snow had begun melting. I ran around and decided to get some tight shots of areas with some snow. Eventually, I was able to get all the shots needed and put it all together. This time around I was more at ease with premiere, but it still took me a little longer than everyone else.
My second VO was about the natural history museum. I really enjoyed walking through the museum and looking at all the displays. It was tough to decide which shots I wanted to use since there was so many that I liked. Knowing my way around premiere now, I was even able to teach what I’d learned to some of my classmates. I learned that I need to be more confident in presenting in front of the class, and decided to work on that more.
My second VOSOTVO was over an event hosted by the Natural History Museum. I had fun looking at the fossils and seeing the excitement on the students’ faces. I took a variety of shots and all at varying angles. I tried to get some tight shots of the faces of students and their awe at looking at the cool fossils, but it was hard for me to get a good angle. I was able to put all the videos together and it went even faster than it did before.
For all of these previous assignments I had learned that I really needed to let my shots breath, so I tried even harder to do that with these last few.
For our final VO, I decided to show the construction around the Central District. I remember creeping around the construction sites and stepping through the muddy terrain to get these shots. I was worried that they’d shoo me away from the site, but luckily they didn’t. The problem that I always have with any of these projects is that I always take an abundance of shots and then am unable to decide which ones to use with the limited time constraint that we have.
For our final VOSOTVO, I decided to film what students are doing before Spring Break. For most of my shots, I stood at a second story window in Anschutz library and shot the video looking down at students on the floor below, that way I would be able to get some tight shots of their face and emotions while studying. I liked how all of my tight shots turned out and was able to experiment with a lot of different shots.
Our first package was an interesting topic. My first idea was whether students and professors are affected by daylight savings time, however, I was unable to get into contact with any professors. It was by sheer luck that I stumbled upon this exhibit outside of the j-school and I couldn’t thank the heavens enough. The topic was about abortion, so I knew I’d get plenty of good soundbites. This was also the first time that I did a standup and I wasn’t too excited about it. I feel like I’m too awkward on camera, so I tend to stay away from it. While putting the package together I had so many good soundbites that I had a really hard time choosing what to cut. Our video turned out to be 2:45 with everything, which was way past the allotted time. So I painstakingly tried to find things that I could cut out. Although we did get it cut down, we had to talk real fast in order to get all of our scripts onto the track. Thus, our tracks sounded incredibly fast and our edits were as well.
A piece of our final project was another package. I had chosen an event at the Union, but when I got there to film, I found out that the event was canceled. I started to panic and freak out, worrying that I wouldn’t find anything else. On my way back to return my equipment, I saw the students setting up this table and holding this event, so I decided to start filming. It was hard for me to get the right angle to get a good shot of the action, but I managed and was happy with the results I got. Looking at this package in comparison to my last one, I can see a lot of improvement. My track didn’t sound rushed, although my voice is a little soft in comparison to the action in the videos.
I was extremely nervous about our news breaks. I feel like I’m a really awkward person on camera and I also get really self-conscious. I stumbled at times on the words and I did look like a deer in the headlights in the beginning, but I managed to tamper down my nerves and “perform” like Dr. Collins said. I made some stumbles during the weather, but everything else went smoothly. I found that after the initial nerves, I did feel a lot more comfortable in front of the camera. What I’d like to work more on is looking more natural on camera. I looked much too stiff and didn’t smile a lot. I noticed from watching everyone else’s news breaks that they seemed to be more comfortable and at ease, so I’d definitely like to work on that. I think the news breaks were a great experience and I’d love to try it again.
Each of these projects helped me grow more and more and helped me come more out of my shell. I got to meet so many cool people and became friends with everyone in class. This whole semester has been an incredible learning experience. I’d like to thank Dr. Collins for all of her help this semester. Without her encouragement and positivity, I don’t think I’d ever been able to make it through the semester. She was always my biggest supporter and I’ll be sad to see her go. She was the best mentor anyone could ask for and I’ve learned so much under her care and guidance. So, thank you so much. This is Kathy Wong and I’m signing off one last time for Off the Shelf and Online.
Jimmy Fallon takes a Plunge in style Photo Credit: The Associated Press
Every year, thousands of people take the Polar Plunge. Each plunge serves as a benefit. TheIllinois Polar Plunge helps raise money for the Illinois Special Olympics. The Plunge is very popular among community members, celebrities, and local officials.
Jimmy Fallon tweeted to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel that he would be plunging into Lake Michigan.