J2150: My introduction to the world of multimedia journalism

I remember my frustration building last semester when I logged into the application University of Missouri students like myself use to enroll in classes (myZou), only to see the journalism class I had been dying to sign up for (J2100, a news-writing course) would not allow me to enroll. I emailed my advisor, panic-stricken, and was left with only one option: sign up for J2150, a course that explores the rapidly changing field of multimedia journalism.

 

While many of my classmates had several years of experience using the equipment and software required for the class, the closest thing my high school had to a journalism course was our school newspaper. Whenever I thought about my schedule for the spring semester over winter break, I believed without a doubt that I would crash and burn in J2150. I am definitely not the most technologically gifted person, and even considering learning how to manually use a digital camera, camcorder, audio recorder, and several different kinds of editing software caused me to re-think my major more than once.

 

Tattoo artist Morgan Griffin inks a client on Thursday, April 18, 2014. Before taking J2150, I never would have believed that I could have taken a detail shot like the one above.

Tattoo artist Morgan Griffin inks a client on Thursday, April 18, 2014. Before taking J2150, I never would have believed that I could have taken a detail shot like the one above.

However, as each piece of equipment was introduced, and the software along with it, I gained confidence when I received higher grades on projects than expected. I corrected every issue in my work, learning what makes a truly good product in the process. Although I began the semester dreading my photo shoots for our seven-week project, I ended the semester thoroughly enjoying all the time I spent with my subject for our final project.

 

I am still not the biggest fan of editing audio and video, but I know as I improve it will take less time and become less tedious. This class has made me reconsider my original emphasis area (broadcast) and has opened my eyes to the many opportunities convergence offers.

 

It has also taught me that myZou may have had a plan for me all along.

Blind Support

Very few news alerts that appear on my iPhone screen throughout the day actually grab my attention. Normally I take a quick glance and, if nothing pops out at me, I turn my phone over and ignore it. There are a handful of breakings news bulletins, however, that force me to swipe right and read the entire story.

Clayton Lockett poses for a mug shot after being charged with sexually assaulting two teenage women, one of whom he shot twice before burying alive. Lockett's execution did not go as planned Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

Clayton Lockett poses for a mug shot after being charged with sexually assaulting two teenage women, one of whom he shot twice before burying alive. Lockett’s execution did not go as planned Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Photo taken from http://www.krmg.com.

 

On Tuesday night, my jaw dropped when my New York Times app revealed a “botched execution attempt” in Oklahoma. Clayton Lockett, a man convicted of murder and several other charges in 2000, was sentenced to die at 6 P.M. on April 29, 2014. For the first time since 1990, when Oklahoma reinstated the use of lethal injection, the procedure went horribly wrong.

 

Witnesses to Lockett’s execution included family of the victims, various citizens, and a number of reporters; all of whom were quite shaken after the inmate did not die from the deadly cocktail of drugs, but rather a heart attack several minutes later.

 

A recent Gallup poll revealed that a majority of Americans support the death penalty, but the number is down from years past. Although 60% of the country has clicked on a bubble in an online survey, very few will ever watch an execution occur. As former Washington Post reporter Josh White explained, it is journalists’ job to allow the public to “bear witness to executions, as they are part of the justice system that we all, as members of this society, support.”

 

Because they take place behind closed doors, in private facilities, and do not receive much more media coverage than any other event, I do not think Americans fully grasp for what they are providing their opinion. Stories like Lockett’s cause the debate for or against capital punishment to resurface, but no drastic changes to the system will be made.

 

I have trouble making my decision regarding the controversial issue because I understand both sides of the argument, but I firmly believe that citizens should take responsibility for their own opinion.