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.

Students or employees?

Former Northwestern Quarterback Kain Colter throws the ball in a game last season. Colter supports the unionization attempt and is proud of what his team has accomplished. Photo taken from www.chicagonow.com.

Former Northwestern Quarterback Kain Colter throws the ball in a game last season. Colter supports the unionization attempt and is proud of what his team has accomplished. Photo taken from http://www.chicagonow.com.

As a Chicago-native, the National Labor Relations Board’s attempt to unionize Northwestern University’s scholarship football players piqued my interest more than it may have piqued others’. After a Board official ruled that the players were employees last month, the team voted Friday, April 25.

 

Northwestern officials strongly oppose the formation of a union and many players feel as if they would be betraying the University if they approved the proposition. Others, however, feel that unionizing would eliminate sports-related medical bills and losing scholarships to injuries.

 

Although it is not expected to pass, union supporters are glad Northwestern has broken the ice for potential schools to follow.

 

Almost the moment the story was broken, I immediately began to hear opinions regarding the proposal. These comments came from friends who attend the University, political pundits, and my family. While part of me does not want to accept a reality in which college students are literally paid to go to school, I understand some aspects of the union argument. I believe that a form of guaranteed insurance for all players, rather than unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, and a portion of the sports department’s revenue, would be a better option.

 

Like many modern controversial ideas, the debate will likely fall down party lines, but I think all Americans will agree that college players deserve to be kept healthy before all else.

“Let’s (not) take a selfie”

With Ellen’s historic Twitter-crashing image, President Obama and Vice President Biden’s most recent snapshot, and even Pope Francis getting in on the action, there is no question that 2014 has become the year of the selfie. Galvanized by the invention of front-facing smartphone cameras, the “selfie” has gained a dominant presence on almost all forms of social media.

President Obama and Vice President Biden, Pope Francis, and Ellen DeGeneres accompanied by a host of other celebrities have all joined in on the selfie trend. Each of the above pictures is sure to have earned thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of favorites, likes, and retweets, promoting the self-indulgent nature of the selfie. Photos taken from nbcnews.com, entertainment.time.com, and philly.com.

President Obama and Vice President Biden, Pope Francis, and Ellen DeGeneres accompanied by a host of other celebrities have all joined in on the selfie trend. Each of the above pictures is sure to have earned thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of favorites, likes, and retweets, promoting the self-indulgent nature of the selfie. Photos taken from nbcnews.com, entertainment.time.com, and philly.com.

 

Whether the subject is simply frustrated while studying for an exam or participating in #selfiesunday on Instagram, a selfie seems appropriate in just about every situation. In fact, it has become so prevalent, that Bryant University in Rhode Island has had to issue a statement banning graduates from snapping a picture while accepting their diplomas.

 

In my opinion, the advent of the selfie directly correlates with the growing narcissism, which stems from posting pictures on social media. According to data from Samsung, selfies make up one-third of all photographs taken by people aged 18-24, 36% of these are admittedly altered, and 14% are digitally enhanced. These pictures are posted simply to garner the greatest number of likes, favorites, or praising comments on social media sites.

 

While I admit I have taken my fair share of selfies, I do not approve of the mindset they are promoting in young adults. They are increasing the imagined need for approval by as many Facebook “friends” as possible, which, in turn, is creating a generation of adults with low self-esteem.

 

I believe that other organizations, businesses, and financial institutions should follow Bryant University’s lead in this situation and prohibit the next poor quality, open-mouthed photo shared on the Internet.

Greek week fling offers groupings a chance to shine

In Greek Week’s final week, the groupings showcase their acting, dancing, and singing abilities at Jesse Hall Auditorium in their Fling performances. Tonight at 6 P.M., five groupings will display their theme, a movie with an abnormal genre, in a 15 minute skit. Lucie Williams, a fifth-year Senior at the University and Director of Fling and Finance for Greek Week stated,

“I think it [Fling] is an event that really showcases all the varied talents in the Greek community. [Last night,] it was cool to see the different groupings come in ready to go and work really hard on stage.”

 

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Greek Week Director of Fling and Finance Lucie Williams assigns roles to other members of Greek Week SteerCo before the second night of Fling performances Tues., April 15, in Jesse Hall Auditorium. Williams expected the performance, which began at 6 P.M., to run as seamlessly as the previous night.

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Fling performances are held in Jesse Hall auditorium April 14 through 16.

Cut

Former University of Missouri wide receiver, Dorial Green-Bechkam, was dismissed from the team Monday following a statement released by head coach Gary Pinkel. Green-Beckham has no plan as of yet for what to do prior to his dismissal.

Former University of Missouri wide receiver, Dorial Green-Bechkam, was dismissed from the team Monday following a statement released by head coach Gary Pinkel. Green-Beckham has no plan as of yet for what to do prior to his dismissal. Photo taken from http://www.cbssports.com

Not only professional athletes, actors, and singers have been facing situations which involve potential criminal charges in recent news. Unfortunately, former University of Missouri football player Dorial Green-Beckham was suspended indefinitely from the team Monday and dismissed Friday, after police arrived to a Columbia apartment complex, which had reported Green-Beckham forcing his way into a woman’s apartment and pushing her down several stairs. This was not the college player’s first brush with the law as he was arrested in January for marijuana possession. The temporarily grounded rising star plans to attend counseling during his break from the Tigers.

 

When asked to release a statement regarding his dismissal, Green-Beckham declared that he was “young and dumb.”

 

This worrisome trend of college-level athletes having multiple run-ins with the law should send a message to universities nationwide. The centers for higher education should take more care to ensure that their athletes are aware of their occupation. Each and every incident that involves a player breaking the law tarnishes that specific player’s reputation as well as that of their alma mater and even the reputation of the institution as a whole.

 

“Young and dumb” cannot be permitted as an excuse for athletes such as DGB when small children previously admired him as an accessible public figure.

The Evolution of Spring Break

When I was younger, Spring Break was always a time to escape from school, relax, and gear up for the end of the semester. Most of my breaks consisted of my family and I traveling down to Florida to either visit my grandparents’ condo or spend several days in Disney World. However, after I entered college, I realized that Spring Break no longer seemed like a time to rejuvenate and spend time with family, but instead, consisted of hordes of students caravanning down south to party for a week straight.

 

While I do not judge what anyone decides to do with his or her time and I do plan on spending at least one Spring Break with my sorority sisters, it is extremely interesting to me how drastic the contrast is between high school and college breaks.

 

College students on Spring Break enjoy a concert on the beach in Cancun, Mexico. Every year, thousands of students descend on popular tropical destinations for a week-long party on the beach. Photo taken from http://www.studentcity.com.

College students on Spring Break enjoy a concert on the beach in Cancun, Mexico. Every year, thousands of students descend on popular tropical destinations for a week-long party on the beach. Photo taken from http://www.studentcity.com.

The influx of students to Florida, Alabama, Texas, and even Mexico has led some popular destinations to enforce strict rules to curb wild behavior. Although some parents believe my generation is the most immoral yet, warm weather locations like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, cracked down on Spring Breakers in the late 1980s. More recently, Cancun, Mexico began requiring students to sign a code of conduct upon entering the country.

 

I see nothing wrong with students wanting to let loose after a demanding first half of the semester, but I believe more locations should consider following Cancun’s example to prevent potentially dangerous situations that occur when thousands of college students descend on a beach.