The Long Road to Multimedia Knowledge: A Semester in the Life of a Journalism 410 Student

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illinoisI cannot believe the semester is almost over, but as it comes to an end, I cannot help but reflect on the past several months and how much I have accomplished. Coming into Journalism 410 at the University of Illinois, I was actually pretty excited. I had seen many aspects of news media such as radio, magazine writing and new/editorial writing. However, I had never had much experience with photojournalism or video journalism. I was anxious to use a nice camera and get some editing experience because I had always wanted to. However, once we were required to do Project one, which was just a basic slide show of images to get us acclimated with the equipment, all of this proved to be a little scary.

Project One: Slow and Steady Start

Click to see project one!

I knew I needed to pick a subject that I thought would have a variety of angle possibilities and interesting shots. I decided to go with the rock climbing wall at the ARC on campus. This subject definitely proved to have good shots like I expected, but the hardest part for me was figuring out how to use the tripod and how get those low angles of people climbing high, close to the top of the wall. The videos I took were very shaky, and overall I was a little disappointed in my first experience with the camera equipment. Click the picture on the right to see for yourself!

Projects Two and Three: Getting the Hang of It

The second and third project definitely helped me gain some confidence. We needed to pick a theme for our project and stick to it for these two projects. Project two consisted of only stills and project three used those same stills but added natural sound. I picked the cemetery for these projects because I thought I could get some pretty powerful shots due to the emotions already associated with cemeteries. Check out the stills I captured HERE!

This photo stuck with me the most after this shoot.

The hardest part was finding natural sound because cemeteries are pretty quiet. See if you can pick up on what natural sounds I was able to capture by watching PROJECT THREE.'

Project Four: Hard Enough For You Yet?

Project 4 added a new element to multimedia: a beginning, middle and end. We were required to do a 'How-to' piece showing our audience how to do something using only stills with lower-thirds in a minute or less. I picked beer pong because I thought it was a fun topic that college students, my main audience, would enjoy watching. This was not the easiest of tasks though. A minute seemed like a long time until I started shooting and trying to figure out the best way to display the steps in an understandable and thorough manner. Let's see if you can understand how to play beer pong after my short how-to piece. Click the image below to check it out!

Click to see project four!


Project Five: Wait, This is Actually Enjoyable?

I absolutely loved project five, though I'didn’t'love it at first. This project was different than the other projects in that it had to have news values and tell a story using only video. At first I was going to film a new specialty show on WPGU, the student run radio station at the University of Illinois. However, the show happened to be on a day when I was really sick, so I'couldn’t'make it. Therefore, I had to move to my 'plan B' which was similar, but focused on a specific on-air personality at

K-Fer killing the compeititon
K-Fer killing the competition

WPGU, Kelly Ferry aka K-Fer. She had been getting a lot of attention because of her vulgar, edgy style that pushed the boundaries. Kelly had also just entered a nation competition for “best radio personality.” She was wonderful to work with and I ended up getting amazing sound bites, natural sound and B-Roll. I was extremely proud of my work and ended up sharing it with K-Fer and her friends, who gave me great, positive feedback. See for yourself! Check out K-Fer pushing the boundaries in my PROJECT FIVE!

The Final Project: The Bittersweet Ending

The final package was a daunting task that combined everything we learned in the class including:

  • Video
  • Stills
  • Lower thirds
  • A-roll
  • B-roll
  • SOTs
  • Transitions
  • A variety of angles
  • And many other things

It also added a new aspect: our voice on tape. The topic of this complete package had to relate to technological determinism, which states that technology determines social and cultural norms rather than people determining technology. Basically, technology evolves on its own. I was actually very lucky because we were discussing this topic in my Social Aspects of Technology class which ultimately helped me decide on my topic:'The Filter Bubble. To sum it up, the Filter Bubble is a concept coined by Eli Pariser in his book 'The Filter Bubble” and it is basically the idea that search engines and other places on the web have become so highly personalized that they often suggest only the things that we want to see or intended to see. To read more about how the Filter Bubble affects search engines check out this'article!

The cover of Eli Pariser’s Book

Though the Filter Bubble can be an advantage because it makes it easier for us to navigate these webpages and find things that interest us, it can also cause a disadvantage by creating an invisible bubble on the web making us unable to see opinions, views, or interests other than our own. The Filter Bubble even affects how we receive our news. Worried about that?'Click here!

According to Pariser in his book,

'personalization'filters serve up a kind of invisible auto-propaganda, indoctrinating us with our own'ideas'leaving us oblivious to the dangers'lurking in the dark territory unknown''(page 15).

To find out more about the Filter Bubble, **check out this blog**'written by Eli Pariser himself!

With this topic, I basically thought it was newsworthy because it is very current and discusses an idea that not a lot of people are aware of yet, though it affects anyone who uses Facebook or Google or a myriad of other websites. I also decided this would be a good video piece because visuals could definitely help to explain the topic in a simple way. Once I came up with this topic, I was ready to move forward and come up with sources. I thought it was important to discuss the legal aspects of the Filter Bubble and also get an expert on the topic. The two men I chose, Dr. Steven Helle and Professor Les Gasser proved to be great choices. Steven Helle brought an entertaining aspect to the story and Les Gasser definitely had great knowledge of the topic and was great at explaining it in a simple way. To check out Les Gasser’s entire interview HERE.'

The piece definitely took a lot of work, but having the whole thing come together was one of my most rewarding experiences this semester. To see my final project in all of its glory, click HERE!

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