Archive | May, 2013

A Guide to Survive Virtual300

13 May

Welcome to the #Virtual300 online journalism class. This class will challenge you in countless different ways when it comes to your ability as a journalist and as a multimedia reporter. In your quest to write your “8 Stories” for this class, help along the way can’t hurt. As a former student in this class, I compiled 10 tips that may make your life in this class a little easier.

Tip #1: Learn to write your articles/stories without expressing your own opinion.

This was a major challenge for me throughout the semester. When you get involved in a story or write stories that you are passionate about, it is hard not to sell something or tell people your opinion on it. A good journalist tells the facts, situations and happenings without putting their own feelings on the topic in their story.

This article gives good insight on how to be objective in your writing.

Tip #2: Have multiple sources in your story

Another mistake I made early on in this class was my lack of sources in my story. It is important to have a multitude of sources and interviews for each story. This allows you to capture what you are writing about from a myriad of different angles and viewpoints.

Check out this article which gives great advice on using multiple sources in your stories.

Tip #3: Implement several different types of media into your story

The addition of video, photos, diagrams, slideshows and even sound-bites to your story helps to enhance your story. The key to this enhancement is your ability to implement the different sources of media in the right place and at the right time; and also of course that your media is actually good.

Here is a good blog on starting off  in online journalism (check out step four especially).

Tip #4: DO NOT USE VERTICAL VIDEO

This is a tip that I learned all too well, being that I made the mistake on my first story. When taking a video on an iPhone or camera make sure that you hold it horizontally so that your video, when put on the internet, is full screen. In short, vertical video makes your video look crappy.

Here is a funny video to make you understand.

Tip #5:  Make sure when you film to make it look professional

Another mistake I made several times was panning and zooming while I was filming. All this does is make the viewer dizzy. Try to hold all your shots still and just mix-up the angels and distances for each shot. Mix and match close, medium and long shots throughout your video.

This article gives some tips on how to make better quality web video.

Tip #6: We don’t all have profession equipment, but can still make professional looking stories.

Not everyone is going to have a professional camera, or sound equipment. However, you can still create a professional looking story by using what is at your disposal. Almost everyone now-a-days has an iPhone or some sort of smartphone; it is easy to use this tool to make a story look professional. Check out this article for tips on using your phone for reporting:

Check out this article which has Eight Tips on using the iPhone for Reporting.

Tip #7:  Even if you are using a camera phone, you can still take good pictures.

It is important that in your story you have good quality pictures and pictures that connect with your piece. If you take a picture make sure it adds meaning to the story and is enhancing what the consumer is reading. Even if you are using an iPhone or camera phone you can still take professional looking pictures if you take your time and take appropriate steps, check out the article below:

Here are 10 Photography tips for mastering your Camera Phone:

Tip #8: Make sure you crop and edit your video and pictures before using them.

It is sometimes impossible to take the perfect picture or film and get something exactly the way you want it on the first try. By using a cropping device and video editor you can help improve your photos and videos. It is always a good idea to use these to make small changes to improve what you shot.

Here are 6 apps to crop pictures.

Here are 9 apps to edit video.

Tip #9: Make your sound recordings and interviews high quality.

It is easy when you are recording sound or interview to not realize how bad the quality is. It is important to take specific steps to make your sound recordings sound like they are high quality and professional.

Here are some useful apps to help when you are interviewing:

Tip #10: Download iPhone apps to help with reporting.

 Although your iPhone by itself is a great tool for reporting, you still may be lacking in some departments of reporting. There are several apps that are available that can help benefit you when reporting with your phone. Check out this article on good reporting apps.

Here are some apps for mobile journalists.

These 10 tips can benefit you a lot throughout this class. Try not to get overwhelmed, and always try to put out the best story you can. Now get out there and be a Virtual300 superstar and try not to pull out your hair along the way…

Advertisements

My Course Objectives

13 May

When reflecting on my Online Journalism Class, I think, this was one of the tougher classes I’ve taken because personally it was out of my element. To clarify, I am used to taking classes where the teacher lectures; I take notes, hand in papers, study, and take tests. This class was the complete opposite of that and it required me to work almost exclusively using technology that I wasn’t fully familiar with. Being forced to work out of my normal comfort zone, allowed for me to expand my knowledge of the digital industry and the new aspects involved in online journalism.

Up to this point the only journalism class I had taken was basic reporting, because this class was more centered around print journalism I had never experienced digital publishing. I felt like this course forced me to achieve the first class objective of “understanding various types and methods of digital publishing.” By way of WordPress, Tumblr, and Twitter; I learned to publish my stories, text, and multimedia, by way of the web and mobile devices.

I know it’s hard to believe but before this class I had never used Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr. This is why the second class objective was quite a bit more difficult for me to accomplish than probably most students. The Twitter scavenger hunt was actually the thing that helped me learn and understand Twitter and Instagram the best. Now that we are nearing the end of the semester, I feel like I have certainly have become proficient in terms of social media and blogging.

By way of the text, which is the portion of the class that I enjoyed the most because I felt like it fully explained online journalism and things that I was unaware of; I was able to learn about current trends and expectations that the industry will be requiring of me. I felt like the text allowed time for me to slow down and just learn about things that I didn’t know, instead of just submersing myself in something I was unsure of.

The one portion of the course objectives that I felt I didn’t fully accomplish, was knowing and understanding the power players in the industry. I felt like although I could probably tell you who they are, I never engrossed myself in their work and didn’t follow them closely. Because this objective wasn’t necessarily ever an assignment, I focused more of my energy on the heavy work load I had for this and my other classes.

The incorporation of multimedia into my stories took me a little time to get a grasp of. But by the end of this semester I felt like I had accomplished the course objective. The 8 stories helped me to learn how to make the multimedia fit into my story. It also forced me to become more aware of how important good video and images are to a story.

The last course objective, “be trained and prepared for student reporter/administrator staff position at Lindenlink.com,” was something that I was proud I accomplished. At first WordPress.org was a little overwhelming to me, being that I never used it before. But after having to experience it hands-on and learn somewhat on the fly, it allowed for me to feel quite comfortable with it.

My proudest accomplishment this semester has been my ability to manage the extensive work load that we as grad-students were given. With minimal time to understand fully what was expected of the stories and with the addition of all the graduate work; I was proud that I was able to keep my tasks under control and complete the assignments given to me.

A few times during this semester, especially after spring break, I felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of work I had in this class combined with my other classes. But I was able to manage my time and control the problem by focusing on the work. This accomplishment, I feel, prepares me greatly for a future career because no matter what field you enter you are bound to feel overwhelmed by your work. But the key is controlling and managing your time, and working hard which is exactly what I did this semester.