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.