Megan Elliott

Online Blog

Reflecting December 13, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 6:28 pm

I would say that this has been one of my more challenging semesters.  My school work has definitely kept me busy this semester and it has been a challenge to try and manage everything.  My online journalism class has been one of my favorite classes that I have taken since being at UW.  It opened my mind up to the world of journalism and the possibilities that go along with being a communications major.

I would say that my favorite project was the group Soundslides.  I really enjoyed working with Sara Whittle and learning about the Trollbeads, which are a very unique part of Laramie.  It also gave me my first taste of melding audio and photojournalism together which I really enjoyed.

As far as my future goes, I believe that this course will be extremely beneficial.  Many of the internships that I have been applying for have been looking for individuals who are familiar with social media and blogs, as well as photography and audio so that they can promote a certain service or product in a more unique fashion.  This class has given me some of the tools I need in order to be an appealing candidate when applying for internships in the future.

As for my future academically, I am definitely considering taking on a journalism minor.  I really enjoyed this class and a journalism minor could probably be beneficial in the future.

 

Individual Soundslides November 15, 2011

After my experience doing a group Soundslides project, it was time to venture out on my own.  This assignment was the same as our previous Soundslides assignment, however the major difference was that we were not allowed to have a partner.  I think partners make everything easier.  I really enjoy working in a group because I feel like I can bounce ideas off another person and we are able to split the work 50/50, which is a definite luxury when it comes to crazy schedules.  That being said, there are some perks to working on your own.  One of them being able to do things your way and not having to consider your partner’s views or opinions.

 

Working on this project alone was surprisingly easy.  The hardest part was coming up with an interesting idea.  I was literally laying in bed one night stressing out about this project when it hit me like a ton of bricks: I should do a project about the international student body at UW.

 

I thought it would interesting to focus on international students just because I feel as if they are over looked.  I have worked with a few international students, and threw them I was able to get these spectacular interviews.  I wanted to show a few international students and maybe give some background on where they were fun and how they have become involved within the university.  All 3 of the students that I have interviewed are involved with international events or programs.  Vanessa Baguet is the former president of the International Student Association, and Gisele Dias hosts Samba work shops on campus.  Alex Sbatella has lived in Laramie since he was 15 and knows a lot international students and attends almost every international event.

 

Editing this audio was not easy.  I wanted to focus on one theme but there was a lot of content within all of my interviews. It was really difficult to edit everything down.  I ultimately decided to stick to discussing the involvement of many international students and various events that go on during the school year.

 

I think if I were to do anything differently, I would definitely try to get more pictures.  I was under a time crunch and I didn’t get all the pictures that I had originally wanted to.  Other than that, I am happy with how my project turned out.

 

Soundslides Critique November 2, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 11:27 pm
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We had to critique 3 different Soundslides projects.  Critiquing is never an easy thing, but I always enjoy some constructive feedback.  I was also interested in viewing the other Soundslides projects.  It was really interesting to hear a lot of the stories and to view other students’ work.

Zach Greubel & Peter Stevens

I really liked the fact that you did your project on The Library.  I love going to eat or get a drink at The Library, and it was very interesting to hear how they make the beer.  I have never tried that Honey Ale, but I think I might the next time I am in there.

As far as the audio goes, it was a little difficult to hear everything clearly.  I could not hear the interview of Pete Hegg very well so I did not get a lot out of that.  Hearing the machinery in the background also made it difficult to hear Mitch Kunce. Also, the editing wasn’t as clean as it could be and I could tell where the clip was made.

I really liked your photos. I thought they were timed very well and went well with the interview.  I thought you could have gotten a little more creative, since The Library has a lot of character but overall I really enjoyed looking at all of your photos.

Your story was really great. You had a great consistency with all of your quotes and it flowed really well.

Marie Smith & Caleb Tillapaugh

I thought your profile on two of Laramie’s artists was very interesting.  I have noticed a lot of art around Laramie, but I feel as if it is not broadcasted enough around town, so I think your profile on these two artists was very exciting and intriguing.

The audio flowed really smoothly and you did a really great job editing.  I found listening to your interviews very calming in a way. There was no background or white noise which I thought was really nice and added a calming effect to your project. The only thing I would critique when it comes to your audio be that during Travis Ivey’s interview, there were parts that were easy to hear and other parts that were softer than others which made it difficult to understand what he was saying.

The photos you took were really nice.  They flowed with the audio really well, and were very aesthetically pleasing. I loved the photo of the shoe painting hanging in Maddie Costigan’s apartment, as well as all of the photos of the street art in downtown Laramie.

As far as the story telling aspect, I thought you did a good job of profiling two Laramie artists.  Your story was really interesting and very well done.  It did not have the 5 second ambient noise, which might have added something interesting to the audio, but overall I really enjoyed listening and viewing the photos.

Alex Edwards & Ashlee Oslund

I really liked your profile of the Geological Museum here on campus.  I have never been inside of it, but I have definitely partaken in throwing pinecones inside the dinosaur’s mouth.

Your audio flowed really well, and you did a really great job of editing.  I like the different ambient noise and music inserts through out the audio.  I think the interviews did a really great job of explaining the museum itself as well as how it is unique to Wyoming and the University.

The photos were also really great.  I had no idea about “Big Al” so it was great that you were able to incorporate an image of him within your project to show the size of him as well as his importance.  The photos flowed well with the audio and the timing was on point.

Your story as a whole was really interesting.  As I said before, I have never been inside the museum, so it was nice to get to hear a little about it and to realize how interesting it must be.  Your profile of the museum did a good job of showing something unique to UW as well as the Laramie community.

 

Group Soundslides Project

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 10:41 pm
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Please click HERE to view my group Soundslides project

It’s time for another group project…and this time I was lucky enough to be partnered with the lovely Miss Sara Whittle once again. This project combines everything that we have been working on in class up to this point.  We got the opportunity to add images to our audio, which I was really looking forward to.

Sara and I decided that we would focus our project on Trollbeads. Trollbeads are essentially an updated charm bracelet.  They had quite the following in the 70’s, but fizzled out.  However, within the past several years, they have regained  a large following and can be seen worn by several celebrities.  Trollbeads, have since found their way to Laramie, WY and can be found in the Curriosity Shoppe downtown.  There are several women in town that have hundreds of beads, making their collections worth several thousand dollars.  Due to the popularity of Trollbeads we thought this would be an excellent project.  Every bead has a story and a special meaning to the owner and we thought that casting a light on that would make for some really great quotes and a great interview.  The beads themselves are also very aesthetically pleasing and made for great photos to add to our Soundslides.

Coming up with the story idea was the easy part.  Actually trying to find time to schedule the interviews was very difficult. All the women we interviewed are very busy and it was a challenge to try squeeze in an interview.  We also had camera troubles that we did not discover until after the fact, and had to hustle to get the needed pictures.

Editing also proved problematic.  Sara and I learned the hard way that you should be constantly hitting save, in order to prevent 2 hours of editing being deleted within a matter of seconds.

Though we encountered some challenges, this project was a great experience.  I got to meet several very interesting people and learn about their bracelets.  I loved the interviewing process. Their stories were all very interesting and I am very appreciative that they all agreed to share their experiences.

Our next assignment is doing an individual Soundslides project.  I must say, I am very nervous about this.  It is quite a bit of work and I am a little nervous about how I am going to juggle all of it.  I think my biggest challenge will be coming up with an interesting idea.  I want to do something that is unique to Laramie, or the University.  Although I am very apprehensive about our next assignment, I learned a lot during this experience that I hope to use during my next assignment.

 

Brainstorming Ideas October 13, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 11:46 am
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As our next assignment quickly approaches, brain storming is essential in order to have a successful audio story.  I’m really excited to work with Sara Whittle again on our next group project.  We began discussing possible ideas that would make for a great story the other day in class, but what better to capture our ideas than to put them online?

 

For our first possible story we began talking about The Curiosity Shop in town.  Sara already knew about the giant Trollbead event that they will be hosting in town later on this month and thought it would make for a great story.  Apparently Trollbeads are beads that are much more representative of charms that can be added to bracelets.  They have a huge cult following and are very popular amongst a variety of Laramie residents and would be a great way to showcase some of the collection of some of the colletors’ in town.  Possible resources include getting in contact with The Curiosity Shop and photographing their Trollbead event as well as possibly interviewing the owner of the shop, or the Trollbead glassblower that they will be featuring during the event.  We also had the idea of getting in contact with a few of the collectors in town and interviewing them as well as photographing their collections.

 

Our second idea was to report on child care at the Early Care and Education Center (ECEC) the University of Wyoming. Sara is on the board and it would give us great access to a lot of different interviews with other board members as well as parents of the children.  There is also a great opportunity for some ambient noise as well as some pictures of the children playing.  Some possible problems that we may face though are limited access to the kids.  A disclaimer would have to be signed by the parents allowing us to photograph their children which might be a tad bit difficult, but I think this would be a really great interview and showcase the child care within the university.

 

 

For our final idea we thought showcasing some of the bands at Suite 107 could provide us with a great band profile as well as give us some great photos to use in the story.  There are a few different shows that we can attend before our final project is due.  We have a few different options with this story as well.  We could always go in the direction of showcasing one band in particular which would be a really great way of spreading the word about local talent, or we could just showcase Suite 107 in general which would also be a good way of just showcasing local concerts.  We would of course try to meet with some of the bands and attend their shows as well as try and attend their rehearsals.  This would give us some great pictures as well as some awesome ambient noise.  And of course at the rehearsals would be a great place to conduct an interview and possibly add some ambient noise of them playing acoustically in the background.

 

Audio Critiques October 11, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 8:03 pm

This week’s assignment involved audio critiques.  It was really interesting to listen to the audio interviews that were conducted by other students, as well as learning about the difficulties they faced with editing the interviews and also what they enjoyed most about this assignment.

 

Jordan Dixon

I really enjoyed your interview with Megan Tanaka. I liked hearing about how creative Megan is and how it relates to her major.  Overall, I would say that you edited her interview really well.  In the beginning there was a clip that was a little rough and I could hear some background noise towards the end.  I didn’t really understand the fading at the end, it kind of confused me and I honestly thought that there was something wrong with the speakers on my laptop.  I really liked this interview and I thought it despite a few things here and there that it was done very well, and I really liked the quotes you used.

 

John Czerwinski

I really liked your edited interview, however because there was no identification at the beginning of the interview or in the text that followed, I didn’t know who it was about.  Having said that, all of the stories corresponding to his different tattoos were really interesting and I thought this was a really good interview.  I thought you did a really great job editing this piece.  There was no background noise and all of the clips flowed really smoothly together, which made it sound really professional.  I felt like the part of the interview when he was referring to his parents seeing his tattoos was a little confusing. I didn’t understand who exactly the “they” he was referring to was until the end of that clip.  But overall I really enjoyed listening to this interview and I think it was very well done.

 

As for my own audio profile, done by Sara Whittle, I learned a lot about the way I speak.  During that interview I was very nervous because I wanted to giver her the best interview possible.  Listening back to it, I really wish I had spoken slower or maybe not have been so quick to answer her questions and think about what I was saying a little bit more.  In the future I would hope that I would be more aware of how I sound and not be so nervous.

While conducting my interview with Sara, I wish I had been able to prepare more questions or been able to follow up certain responses a little better.  In an ideal world, I would have been aware of the subject matter of the interview ahead of time instead of several minutes before we decided to conduct the interview.  However, despite the short time limit of the interview and the fact that I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked, I am very happy with the outcome.

I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed the audio assignments.  When we were initially given this assignment I was kind of dreading it and did not think that it was going to be much fun.  I didn’t think that I would end up enjoying this process so much or turing out a piece that I was so proud of.  I really liked the whole interview process, as well as the final editing.  Once the edited interview was complete I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  I had never done anything involving audio or editing before, so I was very proud of myself when I finished editing my interview with Sara and was finally able to publish it to my blog.

 

Edited Interview – Sara Whittle October 6, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 12:27 pm
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Editing a 5 minute audio clip into a 2 minute interview is more challenging than you might think.  I had a lot of good quotes and sound bites in my interview with Sara Whittle, so it was hard to exclude some of them. My ultimate goal in editing this material was to really convey how holiday decorating has grown into a big part of her family’s life as well as an integral part of the Laramie community.

One thing that I really took away from this assignment was how much effort goes into editing audio.  I spent several hours editing this interview and,  it was quite a challenge since not only is this my first time working with Audacity (the editing software) but it is also my first time editing audio period.

It took a lot of patience to edit this down to 2 minutes.  Sara had some really great stories during the interview but I couldn’t include all of them without sacrificing some vital background information.  I really wanted to include the story she had about the college students drunkenly destroying her christmas decorations but I just didn’t have enough space for it and I felt like adding that might not allow me to include other aspects.

In talking with Sara, I really began to understanding her love of her family as well as community involvement. Having learned that, I ultimately decided it would be best to focus the interview on how her decorations tie into the community as well as how much her family, especially her young daughters, enjoy the decorating.

I enjoyed learning about audio editing and challenging myself in a new way.  As I said before, this is my first experience with audio interviewing and editing so I enjoyed learning something new which could prove to be helpful in the future, whether it be for school or for work.  I however did not enjoy messing with the Audacity software.  It was hard to pick up on it at first, and I still have a lot more to learn.

In terms of what I would have done differently, I probably could have spent more time learning about Audacity.  I’m sure that the way I went about editing things could have been much easier and less of a hassle, but as I said before, I love a challenge.  There were also tiny bits in the interview where the recorder moved, and that noise was picked up on.  Trying to edit all of that out without messing with Sara’s voice was very difficult, but not impossible.  It just took a lot of patience and time.

I really enjoyed this assignment overall.  I liked learning about audio editing and interviewing with an audio recorder.  I also enjoyed getting to know a fellow classmate and learning about something that makes them unique.

 

Raw Audio Interview October 3, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 5:41 pm
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This week’s assignment focused on audio recording and interviewing.  I was lucky enough to be paired up with Sara Whittle, and discussed her passion for decorating her home for the holidays.

We started out by meeting outside of the Wyoming Union and walking the few blocks to Sara’s home.  As we were walking, we began discussing Halloween and our shared love of that oh so spooky holiday.  Once we arrived at her house, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually use to live down the street from her last year.  What was even more ironic, was that I walked by her home on an almost daily basis last year and would always admire how wildly decorated it was; and the fact I would eventually be interviewing her about her passion for holiday decorating made this an even bigger coincidence.

Once we settled into her living room, the recording process began.  We decided it would just be easier to use her Iphone for both interviews, and she would just email me the audio file.  It took a little getting use to, and we had to start and stop  a few times before really getting the hang of things.

I went first, and I must say being the interviewee is a challenge all in its own.  I was very aware of the 5 minute time limit and tried my best to give her a lot of material within that time frame.  I also had to be aware of the rate that I was speaking at.  I naturally am a very fast talker, and I am aware that I do not always speak as clearly as I could, and I really tried to speak as slowly and clearly as I could for her.

I took away a lot from this experience.  I really enjoyed meeting Sara and getting to spend time at her home.  I also learned a lot about the basics of recording.  It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to try and cancel out as much ambient noise as possible.

I enjoyed the whole interview process with Sara.  She made me feel very comfortable and I really liked talking to her.  The only thing I found difficult about this experience was the 5 minute time limit.  5 minutes is not a lot of time and I felt like I could have talked about holiday decorating with her for quite a while.

When it comes to anything I would change, it would probably be just the way I interview.  I should have concentrated more on my speech and speaking more slowly, but other than that I think everything went pretty smoothly and I had a great time doing this assignment.

 

Three Audio Stories September 28, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 10:43 pm
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The Teenage Mother is part of the New York Times multimedia news story, One in 8 Million.  This audio story depicts the life of a teenage mom living in Brooklyn, New York.  Elizabeth Cousins, 16, is the mother to 19-month-old Mahniya.  Cousins talks about the importance of education and how quickly she had to grow up after discovering she was pregnant.  She discusses how becoming pregnant, and a teenage mother, made her focus more on school and her future.  Listening to this audio story reminded me of the popularity of the MTV show “Teen Mom”.  However, unlike that show, Cousins shows that she is fully aware that life as a teenage

One in 8 Million: NY Times

mother is difficult, and she mentions some of the sacrafices she was made for her young daughter. Cousins also makes a point of stating how important an education is.  Reality shows, depicting teen moms, have a knack of making their lives seem slightly glamorous in a way, and do a terrible job (in my opinion at least) of showing the difficulties of raising a child, when they themselves are still children.  This New York times piece did a good job of shining a light on the reality of being a teenage mother.  The journalist did a great job of sticking to one main topic which was education, as well as asking questions about how Cousins’ life has changed and whether or not she is still with her baby’s father.  I felt like it was a good piece and covered a lot in a short segment.  The transitions were good, and she did a good job of capturing Cousins’ personality.  There wasn’t a lot of ambient noise.  At one point during the interview you hear Cousins’ daughter in the background, but it’s such a quick sound that I wasn’t sure if it was part of the story or not; in fact I had to play that part a few times to realize what it was.  I feel like there could have been more ambient noise or at least more obvious ambient noise.

 

As I was browsing NPR‘s site looking for another great audio story, I stumbled upon a series of audio stories highlighting rape on college campuses.  The audio story “Failed Justice Leaves Rape Victim No Where To Turn” discusses the rape of an Indiana University student, Margaux (no last name was given).  Margaux was raped inside of her dorm room after coming home from a night of heavy drinking with her friends.  She, like many other women, was also a victim of a poor criminal justice system.  Afterreceiving no help from the local police, Margaux was forced to rely on her school to carry out a proper punishment for her rapist.  However, with her school lacking the appropriate resources to conduct a full criminal investigation, it was very hard for Margaux to receive the proper justice.  While listening to this story, I was reminded of several of the sexual assaults that have happened on campus here at UW.  While, it is very unusual for something like this to happen at UW, it does happen, and when it does there is a lot of victim blaming, as well as rumors that persist.  This story just made me think about the actual victim and her family and what they are forced to deal with, and I feel like this story did a good job of highlighting what happens after the rape.  I liked the ambient noise and how it tied into the story, as well as the background given in the first minute or so. It made Margaux and her family relatable and made me empathize with their situation.

 

The Walker, is another audio story from the One in 8 Million multimedia feature.  Maggie Nesciur talks about her love of walking around New York City.  She up to 90 miles a week, and can sometimes cover over 40 miles in a day.  She says she loves walking, and just enjoying the different aspects of New York City.  She talks about how in the city she doesn’t notice how much she has walked,The Walker: One in 8 Million and how she doesn’t even get tired while walking; however in the country, she says she can feel boredom essentially and just doesn’t have the same feeling as being in New York.  I really enjoyed this audio story.  It showed her love of New York City, as well as discussing the variety within New York.  The journalist did a great job of collecting really great quotes, as well as showing how New York can be a calming place.  Many people associate New York with a lot of hustle and bustle, and the journalist did a good job of showing a different side of this famous city.  I wish there had been more ambient noise.  The sound of traffic rushing by or foot steps would have really enhanced this story.

 

Critiques September 21, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 10:29 pm
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This week’s assignment involved peer critiques.  I find that it is always helpful to listen to constructive criticism from your peers, however it’s hard to be the one to give the criticism.  I was assigned to critique Peter Stevens and Megan Tanaka.  I was really impressed with their photojournalism blog posts.  It’s obvious that they both have a talent for photography.

Peter Stevens

I really enjoyed all of your photos. I think you did a great job on both photojournalism assignments.  I really liked your “Spare Time” photo. I thought it did a good job capturing the rule of thirds as well as leading lines.  For your “Campus Disk Golf” photo, I got the sense from your description that this was a really great event to be able to photography.  However, I didn’t really get the idea behind the photo. It was hard for me to understand exactly what was going on before reading your description.  I liked the use of symmetry and view point in your “Cross Training” photo.  I thought you did a good job of capturing the cross-country team’s practice.  “Hail to the Bus Driver” was a good portrait. I felt like the sun blurred the photo a little, but other than that I liked the angle and it captured his personality nicely. I liked “An Absorbing Read” the most.  The leaves did a good job of framing the subject, and you did a good job in capturing how into the subject of your photo was.

Megan Tanaka

I thought you did a really good job on all of your photos, and it was honestly hard to find anything really wrong with any of them.  For “Defense“, I really liked how you focused in on the two boys playing frisbee and the background is a little blurred.  It softens the photo and made me really focus on the frisbee game.  However, there still needed to be a date, time and names in your caption. “Bobbing for Apples” is a really cute photo. I liked how yellow was a constant color in the picture, and the focus on just the water filled troth of apples and the child is really aesthetically pleasing.  “Happy Dancer” did a good job of capturing the child.  It shows how happy she is, and the legs that she is in between help frame the photo nicely.  “Monkeying Around” was another cute photo, and did a good job of capturing the moment. You also did a good job of utilizing the rule of thirds.  I liked the use of black and white in the photo “Studying Hard“.  You also did a good job of utilizing view point by taking the photo at his level, rather then standing above him.  The photo would also work as a good portrait because it does a good job showing how intensely he is concentrating. However, the caption needed a name of the man in the photo.