Coming into this course, I was not sure exactly what I would be learning in this course. I had heard before-hand that we would be focusing on the more technical side of journalism, but I did not know what the specifics entailed. Having gone through the majority of the course this semester, I can truly say that I have gained skills that I did not possess before. I now have valuable experience in areas like photojournalism , video journalism and audio journalism. Regarding which of these areas I feel that I am the strongest, I would have to say that I feel strongest in photojournalism. I feel I was really able to grasp the idea of creating a story through still images. I enjoyed taking the photos and editing them and making captions that tied all of them together. Photojournalism is without a doubt the area where I feel the strongest.
The area where I feel my strengths could be improved upon is audio journalism. This could be due to the fact this is the area that we worked on most recently, so I an still working on grasping it. I did have some trouble operating the zoom recorder, but once I got it up and running it seemed simple enough. I think mastering the zoom recorder and other aspects of audio journalism will be something that I focus on for the final project. I feel that working in my group will help me reach my goal of mastering all three areas we have focused on this semester. I know that my partners feel comfortable with all the areas we have covered, so I am sure that when we work as a team, we will all gain valuable knowledge and skills. I feel that this final project will really go a long way in my mastering the technical side of journalism.
For my week nine blog post, I chose to comment on an NPR.com interview with Al Gore. The story is called “In The Age Of Fake News And Alternative Facts, Al Gore Remains Optimistic.” Here is a link to his interview. http://www.npr.org/2017/03/14/520162882/in-the-age-of-fake-news-and-alternative-facts-al-gore-remains-optimistic
This interview is mostly surrounded about how Gore feels about how political and societal life can still advance in this advanced age of technology, specifically focusing on how the internet affects society. One very interesting comment Gore made was how he felt we as a society have witnessed “an erosion of the line between news and entertainment.” I think Gore hit the nail right on the head with this statement. I believe that people in society, as well as in the media, find a sort of entertaining value when they see a catastrophe on their screen. And maybe not even a catastrophe, maybe just regular news, but they see it less as a tool to inform, and more as a way to be entertained, the way someone watches a reality tv show simply to be entertained.
Despite this somewhat bleak and pessimistic outlook on our society today, Gore remains optimistic that that internet, as well as the free press, will do more to help our society as opposed to harm it. Gore said that people are complaining about the internet and social media the same way people complained about the printing press revolution. Gore clearly believes that the internet and social media are not eroding our society, but are allowing people to become more informed, and are being to become more informed almost instantaneously.
Regarding nats and ambient sounds, there doesn’t seem to be much of either. It seems to be simply a straight-forward interview, with no special audio tricks or added effects. I personally believe that if a few effects and ambient sounds had been added, this interview would gain so much more depth.
For this week’s blog post, I decided to focus on a Nov. 17, 2015 GQ.com question and answer interview between Bill Simmons and President Barack Obama. The interview starts with a pretty basic and cliché question “if you could go back to 2008, what would you tell yourself?” and is greeting by an equally cliché answer “you’re going to be busy.” Then the questions become a little more complex. Simmons asks Obama if at any point during his first three years did he feel overwhelmed by the gravity of the job he was tasked to accomplish by being President of the United States. Obama reassures the reader, and undoubtedly Simmons, by saying that he had a firm grasp of the job at hand and said he was able to keep an even temperament even when he was at his busiest. Simmons does a great job at asking questions that evoke answers from Obama that humanize him, that let the reader gain a sense of what the man is like when he is not practicing his duties as president. He asks Obama about his relationship to his wife and kids, as well as his well-documented love for sports. The interview really gives us a sense as to what Obama is like as a man. This is newsworthy because we gain an insight as to how the White House reacted to certain events such as Ferguson and Charleston. We, as readers, are able to gain a glimpse into what goes through the mind of a president as he prepares to issue a statement on divisive issues such as racial violence and police brutality. One question I would have liked Simmons to ask Obama would be “Does all the harsh criticism that is flung at you ever get inside your head and affect you in any way?” I feel that would have evoked an interesting response.
TV News Segment Critique
For my blog post this week, I decided to watch was an MSNBC special detailing the life of man who is in solitary confinement.
The quality of the special was very evident from the moment I switched on to program. The prisoner gave answers that made the watcher want to know more about his life, about how he got into this position in his life, and what it is like to live in solitary confinement. The interviewer was clearly asking intelligent and informed questions. So clearly the reporter had done their homework before conducting this report. The B-roll for this segment was especially good. Even though the segment was on a man who was in solitary confinement, the producers were able to fill the spot will lively video and video that kept viewer interested. It was plainly evident that whoever edited this special knew which quotes and pieces of video would affect the audience. One such instance was when they showed the prisoner when he was playing basketball. The prisoner said that this time was especially important to him because he only gets thirty minutes a day outside of his cell. He said he didn’t even mind that he could play by himself, because it meant so much to him to be able to be outside of his tiny cell. One image and quote that really stuck in mind was when the prisoner said that everyday, the most freedom he was able to look forward to was looking outside a 1-inch crack between two walls that showed the outside world. He said that the train outside reminded him of how he used to commute home. This special was very moving and very effective. The journalistic method and the quality of the production made this a very good piece of news video.