Tag Archives: Self-Reflection

Final Self-Reflection of Art in Motion FAA 110

Written by Weon Taek Na

As I searched for a last course to fill my general education requirement, I wanted the course to be special. I wanted a course that I gave me a hands on experience outside of the typical engineering courses that I took. A close friend of mine suggested FAA 110 as such a course, and I am so glad that she did. FAA 110 became the favorite class that I took at University of Illinois. I had very little knowledge nor experience in arts and I was able to enjoy the amazing performances and museums that were held at our university.

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A Semester of Change

By Dan Gerardi

This semester has definitely been different. With all the changes to our class schedule, and then the coronavirus pandemic, it was not easy. We got through it though, and I learned a lot. 

From a news perspective, it is hard to imagine something not only dominating the news cycle for as long as COVID-19 has, but also shutting down as much of American everyday life as it has. COVID-19 has wiped out virtually all events and stories that do not have some sort of coronavirus connection. Many people lost their jobs, and many others are working from home. All “nonessential” businesses are suspended. Schools are closed and students are learning from home. All sports and public events are suspended. People are supposed to stay six feet away from each other and gatherings of ten people are deemed dangerous. It is hard to imagine anything having this kind of a truly global impact. Outside of a world war or some kind of horrible global natural disaster, I can not think of anything else than can touch the lives of virtually everyone around the globe like a worldwide pandemic can. Very quickly, these wholescale changes to the most constant pillars of our everyday lives have become the new normal. It is not ideal, and it is not a very happy time since some of the events postponed were very near and dear to our hearts. It is also not something to feel angry or discouraged by either. The cancellations, postponements, and social distancing are all necessary to slow the spread of the virus, and (somewhat) normal life will return before too long. With all that in mind, there were still classes to finish, chiefly this one – Journalism 445, the last of my major classes. Despite everything that happened this semester, this class really did teach me a lot.

I remember first hearing about the virus over winter break probably in early January. I felt bad for the people of Wuhan and of China, but I never imagined it would affect our daily life like it has. We talked in all my classes about how the virus was affecting life in China as cases started to pop up in South Korea, Italy, Spain, Iran, and other countries throughout Eurasia.  I could see it spreading and figured we would eventually have some cases in the United States. For a long time, I never thought it would get worse anywhere else in the world than it was in China, As the virus started to get a lot more widespread in Italy and other European countries, we started to get a few more cases in the United States. By early March some smaller events started to get postponed, and some precautions started to be put in place, but it still did not seem that bad to me. Then in the span of less than a week, starting on about March 10th, my entire world changed. Large scale events started being postponed. Professional and college sports leagues announced they would continue without fans in attendance. On Wednesday March, 11th Utah Jazz basketball player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and the following day actor Tom Hanks tested positive. This put an immediate halt on all American culture. Sports leagues were suspended indefinitely. Then, the University of Illinois announced all classes would convert to online indefinitely. The NCAA College Basketball Tournament was cancelled. All spring NCAA sports were cancelled. After going home for spring break on Friday, March 13th, we were ordered by Governor J.B. Pritzker to “shelter in place” and gatherings of 10 or more people were banned. All Illinois public schools were ordered to move to online learning. Stores even started limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.

My Mom and I had to wait in line for over 15 minutes just to get inside our local Costco.

My daily life had been so dramatically changed in less than a week that by the time the U of I announced commencement was postponed, it had little effect on me. I had become numb to such massive change.

As an aspiring journalist, this semester was incredibly unique. It is not often that a single news story completely dominates the news cycle for an entire semester, and this one will continue to dominate for a lot longer than that. Even before mid-March brought large scale, COVID-19 related changes to everyday American life, we were doing news stories about the novel coronavirus. As early as January, we were talking about the massive outbreak in China and how it was spreading to Italy and Europe. By mid February, we were talking about the small number of cases that were in the United States. The story was beginning to have Champaign-Urbana related consequences. We have a large population of Chinese students at the U of I and many of them were concerned about their families back in China. I remember I produced our class’s first newscast on February 6. We changed the show from 30 minutes to a full hour because coronavirus was already such a big story. I’ll also never forget Megan Xu’s story during that newscast about U of I students from China who were buying masks in Champaign-Urbana and sending them back to China because there was such a shortage of masks there. This caused Champaign-Urbana to have a shortage of masks. That was the first time I got a sense for how big this virus could get, and Megan brought a perspective I had never thought about. 

As a student, this semester was certainly challenging. Being a second semester senior and having to finish up my classwork while trying to find a job was hard enough without the global pandemic. It was not easy at first to convert all classes to online learning. Through it all, I just had to be flexible. I just had to roll with the punches. As classes resumed after spring break, I got into a rhythm of how to handle each class, and it was working out fine. The social aspect of being a student was incredibly missed, especially in the last semester of my academic career. I am a lot more engaged and applied to my schoolwork when I am seeing my friends everyday in class and talking with them about our assignments. That is especially so in a class like this – where we put on a newscast and everything I do affects someone else. I hold myself more accountable if someone else needs my package or VOSOTVO for the newscast as opposed to me having a lot of time to complete an assignment that does not affect anyone else but me. If having to do schoolwork is the price to be paid to go to a classroom full of people who truly are my friends, I will pay it all day long. Being a solitary student unable to truly interact with my peers was by far the hardest part about being a student through all of this. It is a reminder that the drive and motivation to get things done has to come from me. At the end of the day, I am the one who has to care about the quality of my work more than anyone else, regardless of whether anyone else is depending on me to do it. 

As a citizen of the country, it feels like I am going through a historic time. Granted, I would love everything to go back to normal, and I wish this pandemic never happened. I cannot help but feel somewhat fascinated to be going through such a historic time. I feel it is my duty as a citizen to follow the shelter in place order and do my part to ensure I do not spread the virus to others. I get the feeling this is something that will be a “before and after” time in our country’s history. What will a post-coronavirus United States look like? What about the globe? What aspects of everyday life will be different forever because of this pandemic? My dad always talks about what airports were like before the tragic events of 9/11. He mentions the lack of security compared to now and how now it takes so much more time to get through the airports because of increased checks and security measures. I wonder if things like high fives or hand shakes will start to disappear from everyday life after this pandemic. I think about large gatherings like sporting events, concerts, or even churches and wonder if there will be measures put in place at events like these to ensure people do not catch diseases. Living through this unprecedented event in United States history makes me wonder how much of the rest of my life this pandemic will shape. 

This semester made me use many technologies in ways I never have before. Even before the pandemic, things like Facebook and Google Calendar were critical resources to finding story ideas. Facebook was great for finding events on campus that I did not even know existed. Once I found an event that intrigued me, it was also very easy to message the event organizers on Facebook and set up an interview. As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, I was constantly checking my email for messages from my teachers about how classes would change as well as MASSMAIL updates about how the university would be handling the pandemic. In the past, I really did not use my laptop super often for schoolwork, but it quickly turned into my classroom as I started attending video classes on Zoom. My sister, who is a student at Ohio State University, also used her laptop more than usual for all her online work.

My sister takes a test online during quarantine.
My sister used her laptop, iPad, and her phone to help her do homework at home.

Technology also really influenced my mom while at home. She is a preschool teacher, and her class has been sending her videos of them counting and finding different shapes around their house. I also helped my mom film several videos for her to send to her students.

This is a screenshot from a video I filmed of my mom teaching her preschoolers about farm animals during quarantine.
My mom watches videos of her preschoolers finding different shapes around their house.

Television also played a key role in staying informed throughout the pandemic. My family and I watched countless press conferences from Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot talking about how our local areas and our state were handling the pandemic. We also watched many press conferences from President Donald Trump as he explained the national response to the virus. Where I once went to class with dozens of other students every day and talked to them about our common experience of our class together, my phone became the only way to keep up with these people both as fellow students and as friends. Technology played an instrumental role in helping me get through this semester. 

I think I viewed the events of the coronavirus pandemic as part journalist and part citizen. As a student journalist studying towards a journalism degree, I naturally viewed the pandemic through a journalistic angle. Coronavirus completely dominated the news cycle in the U.S. from mid-February or early March on so much so that it was very difficult to find a story that was not coronavirus-related from a local or nation news outlet. News has been very important throughout this entire pandemic. News outlets have been the only way people have been able to stay informed throughout this unpredictable pandemic. Many people know very little about the virus or the best practices about staying safe during a global pandemic so it has been the duty of news organizations to give health experts and local and national leaders a platform to reach every American and help them stay safe. There were also times where I naturally took a step back and noticed all the little parts of daily life that were impacted by the pandemic. It is hard not to think about missing my last semester of college and all its fun events. It is also difficult not to get caught up in the struggle of social distancing. It is very painful to not be able to see my friends or some extended family members. We have not been able to be with my sick grandpa, but we have been going to his house and talking to him through his door.

My family and I have to talk to my sick grandpa through this door during the pandemic.

Social distancing has been something that has been difficult for everyone. Viewing the pandemic with a journalistic eye is not so different from viewing it from the perspective of an everyday citizen. As journalists we give a voice to everyday citizens and bring to light events, issues, or feelings that everyday citizens may not have noticed they share with each other. The human interest stories of how people are coping with social distancing and their new normal are even more important because they remind people they are not going through this alone and we all have to do our part to help get through it. 

When time is of the essence, self-confidence is very important to completing assignments. When there is a lot to do in a short amount of time, there is not time to doubt yourself. If you have kept up with the work but just find yourself a little behind, confidence is key. When people lose confidence, they can confuse themselves and become anxious. Self-confidence is especially key as a journalist. It is your story or your package, and that means you are in charge. You are the one calling all the shots when interviewing, filming, and editing. I have found it is critical to trust myself and know that this is not the first time I have done a package. Getting caught up in every single little detail can be overwhelming. Whenever I have been worried about an assignment at the beginning, I usually end up wondering why I was so worried to begin with. I have begun to trust that I have the skills to get the job done and that has helped me immensely in completing my highest level assignments. Self confidence can be very empowering.

I have learned a lot in this class that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I have definitely learned to be flexible. Anything can change at any given moment, and that means you have to adapt. If you stop adapting, you might get left behind. When there is change, just go with it. It can be difficult to think that something is set in stone and then suddenly everything changes. Things happen. The world is always changing, and I will remember that in my career. I had to move the time of my news update on March 5 to an hour earlier than I was supposed to do it. I was not expecting that, but it was not a big deal. I just went with it and it turned out fine. I have also learned it is never too early to get started on something. It can be crucial to always try to stay ahead of the game especially when projects are on deadline. I could always improve at managing my time, but if I know I have to do something, it would be very helpful to get started sooner rather than later. Getting started can sometimes be the most challenging part for me, so I will try to jump in with both feet more often. One thing I will also take with me is my relationship with my coworkers. I always do my best work when I am working with peers I respect. This class was truly an amazing group of people, and seeing their work and drive to do their best inspired me to do my best. I always tried my best to stay upbeat and keep everyone in a good mood. To me, that really makes a big difference. I was lucky enough to get the chance to anchor our newscast on March 5. I tried to keep the mood loose and positive and I really think that helped all of us to be more relaxed and comfortable during our broadcast. I was even confident enough to throw in an adlib about a VOSTOVO I shot for that newscast. I made a lot of friends in this class, and having such a positive environment increased my drive to do my best work in filming, editing, and working in the studio. I want to remember that I can have a positive impact on those who work with me. When they are positive too, that in turn has a positive impact on me and my work. Creating a great work environment and great team of coworkers could start with just one person. Luckily for us, we had a whole class full of great people this semester. 

I learned a few things about leadership this semester as well. We had great communication within the class, and I was able to check in with everybody. For the most part we all knew what each other was doing every week which was very helpful. One major thing I learned about leadership is it is important to rely on other people. People like to feel like they are contributing. Also when a leader tries to do too much, it can seem like the leader is acting like they are above everyone else and make others feel like their work is not good enough. I produced our first newscast of the semester and I could not have done it at all without Becca Wood and Taylor Howard, my assistant producer and assignment editor. I let both of them do their jobs and they were both instrumental to our newscast doing well. I relied on them for a lot and they were amazing. Our packages were strong that week too. I was happy to help people when they needed it but I knew they have all edited packages before. One thing that I do not like is when leaders try to micromanage everyone. It can make people feel devalued when a leader tries to teach people something they already know. For me, the best leaders are ones who are always there when people need help, but also trust them to do their jobs. Inclusion is also a very important part of leadership. As a leader, it is important to check in with everyone and let them know you are there for them. It makes people feel valued and increases their self worth when they see the leader care about them enough to have a conversation with them about how they are doing. One other thing I found to be important about leadership is positive reinforcement. A compliment or some encouragement can go such a long way toward increasing people’s confidence. It also brightens moods and helps create a positive environment. Hearing a simple “nice work” or a “thank you” can really mean a lot to someone. I think leaders do not give enough positive reinforcement, and telling someone they are doing a good job can have lasting positive effects. Overall, this was a successful semester, despite the pandemic and all the changes it brought. I was most proud of the leadership skills I learned in this class. I enjoyed producing our first newscast, and I was happy I could help some people get their news updates filmed in the studio by serving as director on the night we all got the news classes would be moved online. I knew how to use the switcher as well as how to record and save new supdates, and I was more than happy to direct news updates for Yuhan, Becca, Maddie, Liam, Alex, and Danielle W on that crazy night. Being there with everybody also helped me to feel calmer about all the changes that were taking place. Both situations were very hectic, and I am proud that I stayed calm and positive and was able to help everyone else feel more confident. This semester I was most proud of the opportunities I took advantage of. Both in the classroom and outside of it, I was proud I put myself out there. I do not always jump at leadership opportunities, but I am really proud I did this semester. Being a leader in this class helped me to be a better leader in my job with the Illinois Athletics video department too. I will definitely most remember the people of this class. I made some friendships in this class that will last far beyond our college years. I was so proud of how we all were able to work together. This was a very special group of students, and I was honored to work with each and every one of them this semester.

This rainbow offers a glimmer of hope that things will soon return to (somewhat) normal.

A Study of Perseverance and Adaption

Photo by Susan Dwyer

by Liam Dwyer

As I reflect upon the long and tumultuous semester I spent in Journalism 445, I find myself coming back to two key attributes that aided in my success in the class, perseverance and adaptation. These two key traits were vital in the success of not only every assignment I worked on and every newscast I worked with, but also to my bludgeoning career as a journalist as well. I would be remiss, though, to say that there were never moments of celebration or relaxation, that jour445 was a constant battle for success, those moments did exist. But with the coming pandemic, and even before, I found that without constant vigilance on deadlines and assignment progress, things can quickly start to fall apart, as my first assignment taught me.

The first assignment  I worked on was my first package, a story about how issues with Illinois automatic voter registration were leading to people being both incorrectly denied and approved for voting. This assignment started with problems from the get-go, as my original story was about the recent legalization of marijuana with the idea of interviewing a local dispensary. After the interview fell through, I attempted another story that also failed on take-off, before ultimately settling just a few days before the deadline with this story. This meant interviews had to be quickly scheduled and editing was an all-night, day-before-deadline affair. Ultimately the story was a success in my eyes, but only after numerous set-backs where I was forced to adapt and persevere, a strong example for my case on their importance.

My second assignment, I served as an assistant producer under Rebecca Wood to create the Feb. 20th UI7 Newscast. Of the two assignments thus far, I certainly enjoyed this one more, and it perhaps hints at an inclination towards producer over straight reporting. This assignment too saw moments of crisis to be sure, scripts were in later than either me or Becca would have preferred which made creating a working rundown difficult. Also working around the scheduling of the smaller News Updates meant that sometimes the people we needed to talk or work with were busy at the moment, so we had to adapt and multitask. Overall though I found this to be enjoyable, the organizing of stories, helping reporters with questions, and such was engaging. It also served as a good experience for my next assignment when I was the lead producer for the newscast.

Assignment three was a double-edged sword of an assignment. It was by far the most stressful assignment, but also the one I felt most energized and happy about upon its conclusion. This assignment differs from the previous in that for this Newscast I was the lead producer and thus all the accountability and responsibility fell on my shoulders if(and when) things went wrong. Instead of following Becca’s lead now, I was the man in front leading the charge, and that was an aspect I enjoyed. The assignment taught me the importance of delegating work and trusting those you work with, while also showing me what work I myself needed to do that couldn’t be delegated out. I was able to apply the lessons I’d learned from the previous newscast and polish the show up until the last minute. It’s one of the reasons I think this newscast was the best of all three we were able to accomplish.

Some of the things I did still need to adapt to and learn from are my limitations as a producer in both knowledge and skills. I was constantly asking others to print something for me for example, as I didn’t know how to myself. My script-writing also left something to be desired, though by the end I think I was able to get the hang of it. These lessons are what I hope to truly take away from this class, the need to always strive to learn and improve no matter how much you think you have the hang of something. Indeed I thought this week would be my greatest challenge, how woefully unprepared I was for the coming months with such a mind-set.

My final wok before the start of this wild pandemic was two VoSots that I shoot and editing into my first(and last) News Update. The two VoSots were covering local events such as a photography club and a cat show, and both illustrated different lessons I learned from. The cat show illustrated my need to learn how to focus a camera, something after 4 years of college I still appear to have trouble with as my Sot is nowhere near in focus. Always check focus folks, always. The camera club, on the other hand, demonstrated the need for creativity in the field. Held in a single room and consisting mostly of people looking at projected images, filming varied and interesting B-Roll was no easy task. These are lessons you can learn on any VoSot however, and the true test of adaptation and endurance came with the filming of the News Update itself.

School wasn’t the only thing cancelled, even the State Farm center was immune to the shut-downs

TThe day the news updates were supposed to be filmed, the news came out that school would not be resuming classes and were offered the opportunity to film our News Updates on our phones. I and a number of dedicated other Jour445 students were in Richmond Studios finishing edits when the news came down, and as a group, we decided to band together and do it ourselves. Here I must reflect and thank my fellow students, Dan, Becca, Maddie, Alex, Yuhan, and some I’m sure that have slipped my mind. Without their teamwork, I wouldn’t have been able to do it, and it shows just how much of a collaborative process.

Once my favorite place to eat lunch between classes, now just another empty building.

After Winter Break I made the decision to return to cAfter Winter Break I made the decision to return to campus despite the move to online classes. What I returned to wasn’t the University of Illinois I knew, however. The Union was closed for the rest of my time here at the University, no chance for me to say goodbye.

The following weeks as both a journalist and a student have been increasingly difficult in this new world of isolation. Without the thriving campus scene, my walks around town to elevate stress seem again to a post-apocalypse movie, even the quad was empty on days of sunshine and warmth.

Grey skies in this photo, but the scene is much the same even in sunshine.

I found it imperative to find ways to keep my mind busy and active in these less than perfect times, and recently have taken up cooking to better myself between online classes and assignments. I’m no Gordon Ramsey yet, but with time comes skill, and everyone has a lot of that these days.

Twice-baked potatoes, something I didn’t even know existed, cooked deliciously by myself for the first time

One thing that I have learned in all this, especially as a journalist, is that times of trouble can offer some of the greatest opportunities to our profession. On my daily walks, I noticed an increase in construction, for instance. Ever the curious one I began taking photos, as you can see and found that construction was booming in this ghost town of mine.

It would appear without 50,000 students walking and driving around town. Without them using buildings daily, construction is suddenly able to drive heavy equipment through otherwise busy streets even during normal rush hours.

Suddenly the sound of jackhammers and the site of workers lounging around during lunch has become a common occurrence, something just waiting to be documented by the likes of journalists like myself.
Through it all, I think that the most disheartening image has to be of either Green Street barren of people or the University Health Center on Green testing for Corona. Both show just how completely Corona has taken hold of the world, removing any chance of normalcy for the time being

 This of course, brings us to the working of the Final Assignment. Tasked with interviewing 6 individuals for soundbites in a time where close contact is prohibited was no easy task, but here again, adaptability and perseverance rear their heads. Critical thinking was also key to this assignment and I overcame these initial challenges by simply seeking out and talking to people I could still meet in person, namely family, roommates, and girlfriend. Each of these individuals I knew was healthy and willing to talk, especially since I live with 5 out of the 6.

The most prominent challenge, in fact, turned out not to be interviewing my subjects but re-interviewing them. Upon the eve completing my assignment I was uploading my soundbites to my computer when my SD card became corrupted, wiping two interviews from existence. While it turned out all right in the end, it does provide a valuable lesson to always back-up your files. Luckily technology in the form of Zoom allowed me to call those I no longer had easy access to and rerecord their interviews from scratch.

Now we come to the conclusion of my self-reflection of the semester to end all semesters. It’s been one bumpy ride, but in all, I can’t help but look back fondly on it. Sure the stress of Corona was hard, but I’ve been blessed with my health and the health of friends and family during it. The last NewsUpdate was the most hectic I’ve ever felt, but the camaraderie that it created meant I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, same with the rest of the semester. In all, Jour455 is tough, its hectic, and at times it might seem overwhelming, but if you stick with it and roll with the punches, you’ll come out a better journalist no matter what comes your way. As the old saying goes come rain, come snow, come sleet or hail, a journalist delivers the news… or something along those lines.

Hasta la vista FAA 110

Written by: César Díaz Blanco

A radically different course could not be less than a life changing experience. FAA 110 has spiced up my first semester from a STEM-full schedule to an agenda with few, but impactful, events filled with creativity and expression. In this final blog I say goodbye to this course in the best way possible: remembering all the great moments it gave me.

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A Semester Gone, A Lesson Learned: Williamson Semester Reflection

I started a new sports blog (here), I got another job with a sports blog (here)… Needless to say, the semester has come to an end. It’s been a very, very, very eventful semester in my life, and I have come through a lot, learned a lot, been stressed out a lot, and laughed a lot. Honestly, I’ve learned more and more about myself this semester than I ever thought I could have, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, even the bad ones. Take a look at my semester in review!

Get to know your camera
Our first assignment was just a basic assignment to get to know the camera that we were given that was basically supposed to be our “best friend” throughout the rest of the semester. I quickly learned that this would indeed be my best friend, as since this point we have had several arguments, but also had some awesome times together taking cool pictures and videos, and getting the chance to interact with new people. I’ve had a lot of awesome experiences throughout this course, and my camera was always by my side (except maybe a certain audio package project I’ll talk about later). It was a really fun experience.

This project started with me procrastinating, which was a trend that I quickly lost when I got really inspired by Dr. Collins and started to really understand just how much work the course was going to be. I was motivated by the work of my friends and, at this point, colleagues, in the classroom with me, and started to aim higher than I could ever expect. I think that was what was most important about this project: it started me on the right path. You can view it HERE.

Photo Essay 

The photo essay may have been one of my favorite pieces that we got to make this semester. I really enjoy photography, and I like to make projects that can have a really deep meaning. This piece was more of an artsy piece for me, in that I took it to a deeper meaning than covering a news event or something like that. A lot of the reason for this falls upon me preferring to be a deep person, and also admittedly a lack of ideas for a news story (whoops!)

I took pictures of downtown Champaign-Urbana, in the older part of the area near where the police station is. I walked downtown and took pictures of what I saw. This action quickly pointed me to what my theme would eventually be: The contrast that comes from turning darkness, and emotions that go with that, to light, and happiness, and joy, even in the worst of times. I’m a strong believer in second chances, and I think with this area (being that I’m from close to here in Danville, Illinois) has been through a lot recently, and throughout history. I think the rebuilding process is still underway from when the area was hit hard in the early 2000’s in terms of the economy failing.

My pictures centered on graffiti, local art, and whatever else I could find in the area. I hoped through the project to create some sort of contrast, and to show how a community that has been through so much, can rebuild and redefine itself. I fully believe that every individual person can go through this change as well.

You can check it out, here.

Video Essay

The video essay project was really fun for me. I once again chose to do one more artsy video production, that would showcase yet again another contrast. I really enjoy doing artsy pieces, and attempting to tell a story through my work. (I am, after all, a creative writer at heart) I chose for this one, after reviewing some of the material that I took earlier in the week, I decided that the theme was going to be “stillness vs motion in champaign-urbana”. 

I took some videos at the local art trail just outside of the boundaries of campus, as well as some inside of the local church, and a few new places I hadn’t ever explored yet! It was a really fun time, as I got to see some really awesome and pretty landscapes, as well as experience putting a video compilation together. It was really different putting it all together, but it was a fun one. I thought I kind of was struggling at this point in the semester with coming up with ideas, but I think from this point on I turned the “idea engine” on and picked up the slack.
The video essay came together pretty well, and I really enjoyed it!

You can check it out here.

 

Audio Package

For my fourth assignment, which was an audio package, I decided to take on a story that was close to home. I have several friends that live in the Private Certified Housing-ran fraternity, Koinonia Christian Cooperative House. I decided that since most people walked by the house all the time, and still didn’t know that it existed or what it’s purpose was, it’d be interesting to find out about the house, straight from them.

I interviewed three people living inside of the house, and went from there. I didn’t really enjoy making just an audio package. I think it is because I’m mostly a visual learner, and like to be able to see things, and not just hear them. However, I was pretty happy with the final outcome.
Something important that I learned from this assignment was that people actually liked my on-air voice. Since I was little, I haven’t liked hearing my voice on camera, or on recordings, and would often ask people never to show clips that had my voice in them (funnily enough). I think that stems from my self-confidence, which can sometimes be a problem. However, I feel that when my classmates and Professor Collins told me my voice would be great if I just acted more confident, I think that I slowly but surely started to think that I really had a semi-decent voice, and got confident with it.

I was really happy with the outcome of the project, but it was definitely a challenge for me, and I feel like I took it pretty well. Everyone I interviewed for the project seemed to like the final outcome.

You can see the audio package I made, featuring Koinonia Christian Cooperative House, here.

 

Video Package
Our fifth assignment, and last before we had an “easy project” (How-To was the theme, more on that next) was a video package. I really had to think hard about a subject for this, as it had to have a really good newsworthy element that would also end up looking good on film. I was really excited when I was sitting in my room about to go to bed one night and I was thinking “Good film ideas….hm…” and I realized that unofficial was coming up!

The theme of my video package ended up being “The Other Side of Unofficial” which I was really proud of. I wanted to showcase that, on Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, not everyone just went out and got incredibly drunk all day, and didn’t do anything productive. I decided to focus on the events of the frat house mentioned in my audio package, Koinonia Christian Cooperative House, and their volunteer efforts during the event that so often is harshly criticized by many on the outside of the campus event.

During Unofficial, Koin, as it is called by it’s residents, goes into full-overdrive on the volunteering. They hand out water and snacks during the day to people that pass by their house on the corner of Fourth and Daniel St. on campus, and then, at night, put effort into handing out hot dogs once again to people going out and enjoying the holiday. I really wanted to shed a good light on this holiday, rather than just do another typical article on how bad Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day is (depending on who you talk to).

I was happy with the end product of this, as I felt my confidence was a little higher, and I was successful in putting the whole package together!

You can view it here!

The “How To”

My how-to assignment for Assignment 6 wasn’t one of my favorites. I thought that the idea was good, but due to a lot of things coming together I don’t feel that I did as well as I really could have. My idea was pretty interesting, I did “How To Perform a Basic Baseball Swing” and based it off of what I had learned in many years of practicing baseball, and from professional coaches I had been lucky enough to have in the past.

The video quality wasn’t great, but the one thing I think I’m really proud of from this project was that I was able to a) keep good NAT sound in it, of the balls being hit and b) keep good humor in it.

The loose nature of this project really allowed me to infuse some of my personality in it. So despite all of the difficulties I had with coming up with an idea for a How-To video, I really enjoyed getting to make this one as it involved something I loved: baseball.

You can check it out here!

Final Project *Que Dramatic Music*

The final project was awesome, simply. First, I want to shout out my awesome teammates, Emma Li, and Malec Caudell. I really enjoyed working with you guys, and couldn’t have asked for better partners for the final project.

We had some difficulties over the course of this assignment, but it all ended up working out really well. We worked great together as a team, and ended up coming together and making an awesome project, with some help along the way from everyone involved, Professor Collins, and all of our fantastic sources that we used. I really loved making this project, focused on Diversity.
The University of Illinois is hailed as being one of the most diverse countries in America, but we really wanted to investigate this claim and see if it was true or not. I think we reached a pretty good answer.

I especially hope you guys will check this one out: Check out our final project on diversity “Diverse Voices UIUC” here.

P.s. I was really proud of the picture I took of Emma interviewing Dr. Salo, you see it above!

The Semester, As A Whole

Overall, over the course of the semester I’m really excited with the things that I have done, and the things that I have learned. I got a new sense of myself, and all of the great things that I can do if given enough time and a small bit of guidance along the way. I really enjoyed working with everyone in the class, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to do that again someday!

We all had struggles along the way, but with help from each other and fantastic leadership from Professor Collins (who I can honestly say is my favorite professor I’ve ever had), we all got through our issues, and ended up learning more about our skills, and each other.
Overall, I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything else, and I’m so glad that I got to partake in this semester’s class.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.

I leave you with one piece of parting advice: Enjoy every moment of life that you can, even the bad ones. My favorite author, in his great book “Our Town” Thornton Wilder once wrote

“Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?”

Signing off, for the last time, for Off the Shelf and Online Illinois, I’ve been, am, and always will be, Nathaniel Williamson…

…and nothing will ever change that.

If you like the work, I’ll shamelessly plug my sports blogs to you. Follow them!

The Sports Guys Site

Cover 32 NFL Blog

 

Mastering Multimedia

mmm

A photo of myself.

When I received the Journalism 215 syllabus in my email during those last few weeks of summer, I instantly felt a little overwhelmed. It was 14 pages long. Senior year shouldn’t be stressful, right? How was I going to survive this semester? I was a writer not a videographer, photographer, or designer.

As it turns out, I am all of those things.

It just took some time. I had to check my pride a lot. Often times I had to use plan B, plan C, or even plan D when plan A didn’t work out. In the end this class was a very humbling experience. Looking back at all my assignments I’m so proud of my visible progress. I’m actually sad to be finished with this class. That is something so rare for me. It really did feel like a journey.  Continue reading