Tag Archives: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Self-Reflection for Spring 2020

Danielle Williams

Self-Reflection 

   The third week of class I did my first News Update which stressed me out. The outline for TV1 and TV2 are entirely different so I didn’t feel like I was prepared for everything that needed to be done for a news update. I anchored almost every newscast in TV1, color-commentated and moderated a few Illini Hockey games and am an actress so talking in front of a camera wasn’t really a problem for me. That’s actually how I knew that everything that had to be done to create a news update stressed me out because my overall performance on camera was really bad. However after finishing everything and getting through the mental breakdowns of that week I learned better time-management. 

   My first news update I created a VO and VO SOT VO. For my first VO I decided to cover the re-opening of one of the Zhang Family Lawsuits. It was a little hard to find good footage that hadn’t already been used a million times when the original Yingying Zhang case was open. I went with a few photos taken during the first trial of both her family and Brendt Christensen. It occured to me that very few news outlets posted photos from her memorial, so I decided to get some footage of the memorials set up for her on Main and Goodwin.  My first Vosotvo was on the effects of the Australia fires on Australian students. I interviewed gymnast, Clay Stephens and soccer player, Ashleigh Lefevre. I worked in the sports department of the Daily Illini and still remain in contact with a lot of the athletes, coaches and Sports Information Directors that I talked to throughout the years which is why I was able to get an athlete that was currently in season. A funny thing about this is that I conducted my interview with Clay Stephens at around 7 AM so finding good lighting was a little difficult and I was forced to use a green camera since that was the only one that Ken allowed to be checked out overnight. I unfortunately wasn’t able to use the footage I captured with Ashleigh Lefevre because I didn’t have enough time to turn my vosotvo into a package. We live in Illinois so I obviously wasn’t able to get any of my own wildfire b-roll but CNN helped in that department. 

   The week after my first news update, I decided to take on the role as assignment manager. I felt that I would be more of an asset to the class that way because I could monitor everything that was going on while not worrying about submitting any assignments myself. It was also the smarter move for me because it was tech-week for the play that I was in and I also knew that I would be traveling to and from Chicago the weekend before the newscast. In my role as assignment manager, I reached out to each student in the class to ensure they were making progress on their work. I also helped the producer and assistant producer with the rundown. 

   The fifth/sixth week of class I decided to stick with making a package because I was a bit behind on the assignments that needed to be completed. Liam told us about a natural hair panel at BNAACC and I jumped on the opportunity to cover it. I really enjoyed covering this particular event because I am a black woman who loves rocking natural hair whenever I can. I managed to get shots of the speakers, the audience and the gift that was given to everyone who attended the event. I did a phone interview with Robin Collymore Henry who was the main speaker for the event. I also got a chance to interview Brittany Wright through facetime but for some reason couldn’t find the audio from the interview. Interestingly enough I found out later on that the majority of the panel were members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, a sorority that my mother has been a part of for almost 30 years. This helped tremendously because I was able to have more in-depth conversations with both speakers over the phone. My third source was Nengi Obamanu, a senior at the University of Illinois. She talked about how important an event like this was because natural hair was at one point, and still kind of is, taboo in social and professional settings.

   The last week that we were allowed on campus I completed my second news update in a less traditional way. I struggled getting this last update done. I was sick the majority of the month. In fact, I had strep and a respiratory infection that made it harder to breathe (I have asthma so breathing is already more difficult than it would be for someone without it). I shot a VO on the Open Mic Night at the Illini Union. I focused on the guest poet, Katie Kramer. The quality wasn’t what I wanted it to be as I was stuck with the green camera. The night that I finished editing this was also when we found out that the campus would be shutting down after spring break which changed a lot of things. I was in the studio with a few other people when we received the news so we decided to pre-record our news updates, cameras, lights and all. Even though I struggled to produce the program that I envisioned, it was still a fun experience. We ordered food, read through each other’s scripts and just helped each other out overall to finish our assignments. 

The switch to remote learning has been challenging to say the very least. I was forced to go home because my parents didn’t want to risk my sister or I possibly being infected. This class has probably been the most accommodating for me and I am sure other people as well. A lot of the professors are taking the “everything is normal” approach which has done nothing but frustrate students. Between having to pack most of my apartment in a day, switching to all online classes, losing graduation, losing multiple job offers and trying to stay alive, this has been the craziest time of my life thus far. Writing this self-reflection blog was surprisingly therapeutic. There’s a lot going on and as weird as it might be we really don’t have time to sit down and process it. I completed my news article a few weeks after being told about the assignment. It didn’t take very long because so much is happening and all of the news outlets in the world are talking about the virus in one way or another. I decided to write on the 5 news articles that talked about how Trump is siding with the very small percentage of the population that are protesting these quarantines and attempting to re-open select states in response to these disruptions. 

   My advice to future TV2 students and even journalism students is to get used to adversity. I’m praying nothing like this happens again but things change at the drop of a dime all of the time. It is also best to have multiple plans when shooting any media work. Whether that be a package or a vosotvo, it’s better to have to have more than less. At the beginning of the school year, you should think of about 5-6 topics that interest you and do some research to find events or stories that you can cover throughout the semester. Always have one or two ideas for a package because, as said before, things do change quite often. Try to shoot for more interviews than what you will actually use. This will save you time in the long run when you are editing your package and realize that something doesn’t fit in with the rest of your shots. Even when the event is boring, find interesting things around it that you can capture for b-roll and possibly create your story around. You should give yourself at least two weeks to complete a package. The first week you should work on the physical aspect of it which is doing your research, getting interviews and capturing b-roll. The second week should be used for editing and filing. What I mean by filing is making sure everything is air ready which consists of clean videos, scripts being in the system and everything is in playback. Also, make sure that your file is saved on multiple devices. I always made sure that my assignments were both in the class folder and a storage drive. There is nothing worse for a producer/assignment manager than having to run around the newsroom the day of a newscast because there are missing files one place or another. Find time to relax in the midst of the craziness that is journalism. It is  really easy to get frustrated by the amount of stuff needed to have a successful show so it is smart to find time to get your mind straight. Overall, have fun and make most out of the assignments you are given. 

The Many Stories of COVID-19

The Many Stories of COVID-19

by Danielle Williams

Amidst all the conversations around COVID-19, re-opening the economy was not one until now.

On April 17th, President Donald Trump introduced new guidelines aiming to slowly re-open the economy and lift the safety restrictions that were upheld in early March.

On this same day five news stations published stories that covered the President’s phases to the protests taking place during this pandemic.

USA Today as well as a local new station, Click Orlando, decided to cover the topic head on.

The article mentions the phases Mr.Trump is hoping to take to successfully pull off this idea.

The key statement that this news station wanted to convey was the President’s main statement, “We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” President Trump said.  

The two articles both have sources that opposed as well as support the President’s plans.

The USA Today ensured that they included a quote from one of the deans of the global business at The Fletcher School of Law, Bhaskar Chakravorti, that questions the President’s tactics.  

Click Orlando took it a step further and included a conservative’s view that didn’t align completely with the presidents’.

Economist, Stephen Moore, made similar remarks on Fox News a few days prior to the article’s publishing.

“Too many economist and too many politician think somehow you are just going to flip a switch…and it’s going to turn right back on,” said Stephen Moore.

The foreign perspective that BBC News gave in their article of President Trump’s plans to re-open the economy seemed to be the only true unbiased account.

In the first section of the article there is a clip of President Trump saying, “They will be able to go, literally, tomorrow,” an idea that some countries agree with.

BBC used their article to report the progress of countries outside of North America regarding their lockdowns.  

Mr. Trump’s briefing was posted on their website, but they also used Dr. Anthony Fauci as a source.

In the article, Dr. Fauci told the Associated Press that the President’s goal to re-open on May 1st is a bit optimistic.

This comes as no surprise as Dr. Fauci told the TODAY show, “As was predicted, this will only get worse before it gets better”.

Only one of these articles, USA Today, briefly mentioned the push back the government had been getting due to the lockdown.

The Yahoo News (Huffington Post) and CNBC had other plans.

Yahoo News took an alternative approach to the topic and covered the thoughts American people have on the President’s plan to re-open the economy.  

According to a Pew nonpartisan survey, 81% of Democrats were worried that the restrictions will be lifted too soon while only 56% of Republicans shared those views.

These results came about before President Trump released his plan saying, “I think 29 states are in that ballgame…they will be able to reopen again soon”.

Early Childhood Professional, Yvonne Williams, is amongst those who believe that re-opening any of the states is premature.

I understand the importance of reopening the businesses so people can return to work but I think in order for us to properly protect the public, I believe, that everyone should have the opportunity to be tested,” Yvonne Williams said.

While Yahoo News focused on the statistics, CNBC published on another pressing topic: the demand for state liberation.

The President took to Twitter to demand that certain states be freed from the pandemic-forced lockdown.

These tweets follow a group of protests that are demanding the liberation of Minnesota, Virginia and Michigan.

University of Illinois student, Courtney Williams, understands the protesters frustrations but feels that they as well as the president should focus on finding a safe solution instead of opening certain states.

I don’t think it’s a very smart idea especially since there’s not a proper cure for COVID-19 at the moment,” said the U of I freshman.

One thing that all of these articles had in common is their push to get fresh news and to inform the public of updates that affects the world.

Many of the stories that are read about COVID-19 are the same, day in and out.

These news outlets found a way to stay on topic without repeating the same news daily.

Farewell to FAA 110

Looking back on a semester of amazing performance and personal inspection.

written by Allison Spillane

This class was a total wildcard in my schedule at the beginning of the year. I had no idea what to expect, but what I ended up getting is something that I know that I can look back upon fondly. This class really opened me up to resources for art and creativity on campus that I don’t think I would have know about otherwise. From KAM to KCPA to the Spurlock Museum, these are all amazing places on campus that I was introduced to by this class, and I cannot fully express my gratitude for that. Being a part of such a great group of people enjoying some amazing performances really helped me feel welcome and at home at the University of Illinois.

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the Beauty of Black Hair 👩🏾‍🦱 👨🏾‍🦱 -Makeup event

Written by Bria Thurman

This was the official flyer for the workshop and I need whoever made this to create a portrait for me. B.L.A.C.K stands for Binding love artistry creativity and knowledge.
After attending B.L.A.C.K’s braiding workshop I can confidently say that anyone can braid hair but not everyone will sit for 5+ hours to make some money.

I loved everything about this workshop. I almost got my hair done for free but my friend kept telling the girl who could do my hair that I was allergic to the weave, which I am, but that is not the point. Having safe spaces to relax, learn and congregate with people who have similar experiences to you is probably the most important self-care activity one can do for themselves. Especially in a place where the dedication to exclusion feels so strong.

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Assignment 1 Blanco

Walking into class the first day, I did not know what to expect. Boom, off the bat everyone received their own equipment. From that point on I knew this class meant business and that we will be jumping into things quickly. When assigned the first assignment, I was comfortable with it since I have had some experience with cameras prior to this. The part that I had no clue about was adobe premiere. I have seen others use it and was introduced to it, but editing and doing it myself was going to be something I needed to learn.

View from the balcony of my apartment.

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Assignment 1 Williamson

I’ve always liked to take pictures, even though I really haven’t ever known that much about it before. It’s been an entertaining hobby that I picked up on when I was little, watching my dad fiddle around with the camera on family vacations. We often joke with my dad that his grand-kids won’t know what he looked like while my sister and I were growing up, due to the fact that he was the one taking so many pictures, rather than being in any of them. If you’re reading this and have any interest in seeing the video I made for my assignment, you can check it out here!

I was really excited for the class after our first meeting, especially upon finding out the teacher was fun, but could teach me a lot, and also after receiving the nicest camera I’ve ever held in my hands. The first assignment worried me, however, as I was learning a lot. There was a new camera, with new focusing options, as well as new software programs, a new computer system, and other things. I was worried my nervousness and inexperience may have hindered my ability to take really good pictures and videos for the assignment.

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“Student Life at a Residence Hall” Assign 3 Smith

Students doing homework in the lounge of Illinois Street Residence Hall (ISR)

Students doing homework in the Townsend lounge of Illinois Street Residence Hall (ISR)

For assignment #3, I decided to film the multiple facets of student life inside the public undergraduate dorm, Illinois Street Residence Hall (ISR) located on the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It became an interest of mine to see what students were up to on a Thursday night, as well as to see if or how residential life has changed since I last lived in ISR (a couple of years ago, as a freshman).  Students are seen purchasing food, studying, and even playing an instrument in the common areas of the main lounge on the ‘Townsend’ side and the la carte shop CHOMPS.

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Yum! Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies

Cookies

Fall is underway and we all love comfort food around the holidays. Why not make a spin on the infamous chocolate chips cookies by adding nuts to the mix. There are two different ways these delicious cookies can be prepared…one is for the simple a complete box mix and homemade cookies for the intermediate. Here’s my shot at making a batch of delicious cookies for you all to enjoy.

Cookies Storyboard

Assignment 2 Reflection Reynolds

I enjoyed completing Assignment 2. The camera quality is great, so I loved taking pictures. I also love the idea of creating a theme for the assignment. The only thing I struggled with was capturing the natural sound for the photo essay with sound. Because my theme involved waking up and getting the day started, I was unsure about what sound to capture as I roamed through my apartment to complete daily tasks like brushing my teeth or pouring a bowl of cereal. However, now I understand that anything and everything has natural sound and it can be captured if listening closely to everything you hear. Overall, it was a learning experience.

One Saturday Morning

One Saturday Morning

How I got here: My Multimedia Experience

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My family and I

A lot has changed since the first time I walked into Multimedia.

On the first day of class I really didn’t know what to expect. I went into Multimedia thinking that since I had put together several videos for classes in the past that I would be able to hold my own with the curriculum. At first, I was dead wrong. For the first few projects I was met with multiple setbacks, forced to resort to plans B, C and even D to finish my work on time and I had to ask for the help of fellow classmates as well as online forums to work both my camera and Adobe Premiere. But as the semester moved along and I completed more projects, I realized two things. First, that Multimedia got easier once I knew what I was doing and second, that as I grew in the class I learned the importance of one of Dr. Collins’ biggest points: flexibility when solving a problem.

Multimedia taught me not only how to be a great journalist on multiple media platforms but also how to be ready to counteract any potential problems with alternative plans. With that being said, lets take a look at what I specifically learned from each of the projects in Multimedia. I have linked each full project and blog entry in the title of each of my sections and embedded each finished video into this blog.

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