The End

It’s kind of hard to believe that this is the last week of class. It feels like it was just last week when I walked into the computer lab and was told not to eat or drink anything in there because Mizzou would hunt me down and fine me. Since then, I’ve had both apples and cookies in the lab. It was a good semester, and I’m leaving knowing a lot more than I did when I started.

I’ve learned a lot about the camera– mostly how to delete bad pictures from it, but some other things as well.

I’ve learned not to flirt while using the voice recorder because then the evidence of your failure is crystal clear.

I’ve learned that when you are walking briskly with a tripod, you can pretty much get in any building you want.

I’ve learned that technology can sense fear and will fail you right before deadline.

I learned that Pharrell is 42 years old. That doesn’t have anything to do with multimedia; it was just something I learned this semester.

I learned that online lessons are more online suggestions.

I’ve become much more aware of background noise and how it will screw me up.

I (re)learned the importance of Thank You notes.

I found out that for every good photo, you end up with about 10-15 bad ones.

I learned that journalism is a crazy profession, but you can be very happy doing it.

All in all, it was a great semester. Choosing the 9:00 a.m. lab section for J2150 was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in college.

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Technology in Journalism

I started studying journalism because I liked writing, not because I enjoy coding.

I spent most of our computer-related classes in high school playing bubble shooter. I figured that I could google whatever I missed and still pass the class. But now that I am in college, I am supposed to be cultivating “skills” that will “help” me get a “job.”

It has been kind of tough for me to pick up. Writing isn’t too bad because I write in the language I speak– English. But now, with this coding nonsense, I feel like I’m typing long, complicated gibberish to communicate simple ideas.

I really need to start buckling down if I want to actually learn this skill and be successful in the future.

But then again, it’s not like Google will ever go down…hmm…

Greatness: An Evening With Common

For my mobile section project, I covered Greatness: An Evening With Common. I recorded all of the media on my phone, conducted two interviews, and created an interactive photo all from my phone. I also tweeted throughout the event, and eventually put all of the media on my computer to create a 30-second video from what I had captured. It is pretty cool looking at everything you can create all laid out in front of you.

I had trouble editing the video. For some reason, the transitions look like they cut out for a split second, and I do not know why. I also had to leave my interview of title out completely because, for another unknown reason, when I put it into premiere, it didn’t have any audio. Some of the interview of title can be seen in my interactive though.

Tweets should be read from bottom up, right to left (or the exact opposite way we traditionally read things)

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The Danger of Listening to Common

For the mobile section of J2150, we had to cover an event of our choosing with only our phone. We had to take pictures and video, send tweets, record audio, and do two interviews with my iPhone. I chose to cover Greatness: An Evening With Common at the Missouri Theater. I figured it would be a cool event to cover. Common is a great artist, there were a lot of people excited about him coming, and there was nothing else going on that Wednesday night.

Little did I know what I was getting into…

After listening to Common, I have decided that I no longer want to be a journalist; I want to pursue a rap career.

Each thing common said was wiser than the last, and the evening was probably equal parts speech and applause. The danger of listening to Common is that he is too inspirational. He made me question a lot of my life decisions– mostly why am I just sitting here taking pictures with my phone and not rapping.

He opened up the evening by freestyling about Columbia and Mizzou. Then he told us about growing up on the South-side of Chicago. Then opened up to us about believing in ourselves and telling us we were all meant for something great. Then he took questions (and pictures) with the audience.

All in all, it was a great event, and Common seems like a great guy…

…I just wish he wouldn’t have made me question so many important things in one sitting.

Beckett, do you even know what you are talking about?

Dear Samuel Beckett,

How are you doing? I am doing well. Or at least, I was…then I read Endgame.

Beckett, seriously, does this play even mean anything? You originally wrote the play in French, right? Then translated it to English? Do you even speak French? Or were you the kid in class that only memorized key phrases and made it seem like you spoke French? Because, after reading Endgame, it seems like you only knew the words “finished” and “window.”

At the beginning of the play, Clov wonders at what point individual grains make up a heap. After I finished Endgame, I wondered at what point individual words make up a play. Have you seen a play before, Beckett? This was nothing like the play (sic) I have seen in the past. It didn’t even have an old, Jewish man trying to cut off a pound of flesh from a Venetian merchant. And yes– the only play I have seen is The Merchant of Venice.

People want to break out of their own cycles, so they pay good money to go out to the theater for a night. And what do you do? You write a play about the cyclical nature of life. That’s a real dick move.

Audiences want Zookeeper and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 because Kevin James doesn’t force us to think about our place in the world. The only thing Kevin James forces is himself into his clothes. But since you didn’t write Zookeeper (or its much anticipated sequel), I was forced to think about some things.

Is it all cyclical, Beckett? Have I just been living the same day over and over again within my own, two-windowed version of life? Have I really accomplished anything? How often have I come close? How many times have I dressed to leave, only to stay? Clov and Hamm accomplish nothing in the time we see them. Yeah, they talk to each other and Clov occasionally carries something, but no work is done; neither Clov nor Hamm apply force to anything outside of their shelter to create change. They are just waiting for the end.

I guess that’s all they can do: wait. There is no suicide in a chess match, only waiting for your opponent to take you. But after that, a new game starts. Is that the only way something new can start? By ending? Hamm ponders out loud, “Perhaps I could go on with my story, end it and begin another.” I find that line interesting, even though (much like the rest of the play) I am not entirely sure what he means by it. Can we end our current stories to start fresh ones? Is one person capable of leading multiple stories? Are stories the same as lives? Are you getting any of this down there, Beckett?

Another line that supports the necessity of finishing one thing before starting something else comes at the beginning of the play. Clov stands on stage and states, “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished.” So after Clov says “finished” about ten times (reinforcing my theory that it was one of the only French words you knew), the play starts. It quite literally can’t start until Clov is finished with his finishing.

One of the last things Hamm says is, “The end is the beginning, and yet you go on.” What does he mean here? Life is fairly short. Is he saying that despite the fleeting nature of life, we still persevere and continue on with it? It also could mean that since life is so short, what we choose to do with it is actually extremely important. If our lives had no end, our choices wouldn’t be nearly as important. If we didn’t die, our endless, individual days would continue. Only after we die do they finally become a little heap.

I’ve got a lot of questions in there for you. Like I said, I was doing fine until I read Endgame. But the unexamined life is not worth living, right?

-Ben

P.S. I loved you in Quantum Leap. It was cancelled too soon.

The Millennial Swiss Army Knife

The world of mobile journalism is an exciting one. It is a world full of fast apps and faster women– mostly the app thing though.

I have to say, I am pretty excited about learning all of the things that are possible in mobile journalism. Up to this point, my mobile journalism consisted of occasionally posting a photo of my cat to Instagram (search using #cat). But with apps like ThingLink, Stellar, and FiLMiC Pro, it’s nice to take a step back and say things like, “Wow, I actually made something interesting,” and, “The pictures of my cat will be so much better now!”

Other than that, I don’t really have much to say on the matter. It’s fun. It’s exciting. I’m now constantly on the prowl for mobile journalistic opportunities…

…and cat photos.

The Truth About Bathroom Sinks

We started learning how to use special photo and editing apps today to create new and exciting ways to tell stories. I got all of the content this morning during class, which took about half an hour. I spent about another half an hour putting it all together. It’s pretty exciting knowing I can create something like this in only an hour with a cell phone.

Spring Break: Journalism Edition

Mike: Hey man, you want to head to Daytona Beach for the break?!?!!

Jeff: Nah man, I can’t. I’ve gotta follow some leads!

Mike: Ahhhh, man I know what you’re talking about– the ladies!

Jeff: No… I mean for an actual story that I’m writing.

Mike:

That’s how Spring Break goes for a lot of journalism majors. They don’t listen get to listen to the ocean, and they can only get a tan if the fluorescent lightbulbs above their desks are greater than 60 watts.

They do have the option of writing outside now since the weather is getting nicer, but we live in the Midwest. So although the weather is getting nicer, it’s not getting any more consistent.

And being journalism majors, they are sure to check social media constantly for any breaking news stories or hot, new information. Unfortunately, this also means they are constantly seeing pictures and videos of all their friends on the beach, in the city, and just generally more fun places than a desk.

But that’s ok. Because although there might be some haters out there, we all know that we are doing something that matters.

Halfway Home

We are halfway done in J2150. It is weird seeing that typed out in front of me, because it still feels like we just started. Some similarities between Week 1 and Week 9:

  • I don’t know anybody’s name
  • I can’t spell “Perreault” correctly the first time
  • I’m painfully alone

However, a lot of things have changed. I can now work a camera. I know how to edit video. I learned how to give my female friends beards on Photoshop.

It has actually been a lot of fun going out, interviewing people, shooting video, taking pictures, then coming back home and trying to make a compelling story with everything I have. It’s a story I have power over; I completely control how it is seen and interpreted. In J2100, I felt that way with the stories I wrote as well, but there is something different about seeing all the video and pictures come together in a creative, informative way.

Also, quite frankly, this class kicks the shit out of what my friends in the business school have to do.

“Oh man, I have a Calc II test at 8:00 p.m. tonight.”

Wow, that sucks.

I have to go interview really interesting people and edit footage.

Not to mention, I have gotten in great shape from carrying tripods and cameras around (see: The J-School Workout).

It is nice to be in a class where I can so quickly see how much I’ve learned. This is how you work a camera; five photos are due by the end of the week. This is how you white balance a camera; interview with b-roll is due next Wednesday. I’m excited to see what the second half of this class will bring.