I would like to do a video covering the University Street Fair.  I think it would be fun to showcase performers (balloon artists, painters, singers, jugglers, etc.), show the different food and craft venues and interview visitors and sellers.

Similarly, I think it would be fun to cover the cheese festival going on at Pike Place Market.  I have never been and would like to see what the event is all about.  I could talk to the cheese makers, tasters, etc.

One of my “good” choices was the rush for seafood video posted by The New York Times.  After analyzing this pick using the five-shot method, I still think it was done pretty well, though I realize there is still room for improvement.

There are many five-shot sequences throughout the film which makes it flow really well.  For example, in the very beginning of the clip it show a man’s hands as he prepares to eat his meal, then it cuts to his face and ends with a medium shot of him talking about the seafood in a New Orleans restaurant.

The five-shot sequence is also done in reverse.  For example, at the fish market it shows a woman talking about her work (medium shot of her face and upper body), moves down to her arms and then finally shows a close-up of her hands grabbing fish from a bucket.

Though five-shot sequences were in there a few times, the film could have had a better variety of shots.  The majority of the film focused on people cooking/working and giving testimonies.  It would have been nice for the journalist to get more scene-setting shots.  They could have zoomed out and shown the busy fish market or shown the outside of the seafood restaurant and the busy New Orleans streets.  I think the personality of the New Orleans seafood culture was captured, but it would have added to the video to give better visuals of the atmosphere surrounding it.

After reviewing a few broadcast news sites (CNN’s, KOMO’s and NBC’s), I noticed that each of them is catering to a certain demographic, and therefore they display homepage news differently.

KOMO 4’s website has a lot of Seattle area news.  The stories on the homepage are shorter, the top story is usually localized and there aren’t many editorials.  It doesn’t seem like the producers are trying to reach a specific age group, political group etc., the website simply wants to deliver quick news.

CNN’s homepage plays only national and international stories, which makes sense.  I noticed that many of the stories focus Obama, mainly casting him in a positive light, showing that CNN may lean to the left.  CNN also has investigative journalism series on its site, which I really like.  Since it has a larger staff and more funding than local stations, its staff can produce some really neat stories that local stations usually don’t have time to do.

NBC’s main site isn’t very news heavy (if were discounting MSNBC, which is on cable).  The main page for NBC plays up its television shows, funny video clips and maybe has story or two from its morning talk show Today.  Its news and sports section is actually quite sparse.  I actually would be most likely to visit this site because I like to get my actual news from newspaper sites rather than broadcast stations.  It’s obvious that NBC is trying to market themselves more as an entertainment channel than a news source.

This week I decided to start following some journalists at one of the most successful newspapers in the country – The New York Times.  I’m sure they have a lot of wisdom to share.

1. @JamesEstrin – blogger and editor

bio: New York Times Lens Blog Editor and Senior Staff Photographer

2. @KSchulten – blogger and editor

bio: former h.s. teacher and literacy consultant, now editor of the New York Times Learning Network blog. (Follow the blog’s tweets at nytimeslearning.)

3. @davidjoachim – editor

bio: Banking editor at The New York Times

4. @NYTimesRich – columnist

bio: Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times

5. @NYTimesFriedman – columnist

bio: NY Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author of Lexus and the Olive Tree and From Beirut to Jerusalem.

  • This video from The New York Times is a good example of a feature news story.  The editing was great.  Though no added transitions were used in between shots, the clips flow very well.  Additionally, the sound quality is very nice.  The camera person picked up great natural sizzling cooking/restaurant sounds and faded them out nicely in order to do voice overs.  Also, when the video has people giving testimonies, the camera person followed the rule of thirds when framing his or her subject like Mark Briggs suggested.
  • This video from The Seattle Times was also done well.  Briggs talks about planning out your story before you shoot, and you can tell that the cameraman did that here.  The interviews flow together very well (the speakers are nicely framed), and they all tell a story about the different types of art available at the erotic art show (followed by footage of art examples).
  • This video, also from The Seattle Times, isn’t particularly special, but I think it is a great example of breaking news footage.  The cameraman couldn’t have had a lot of time to plan out is story because he had to rush to get to the scene while investigators were still present, and yet he still managed to get a wide range of shots to recreate the atmosphere.  Like Briggs said is necessary, this cameraman got a wide shot to set the stage the of motel, medium shots, close ups and good background noise.

I decided to take my photos on Earth Day.  I thought there would be quite a bit of tabling going on in Red Square, but most of the activities were going on near the HUB.  However, I did find one group handing out recyclable/compostable Coca-Cola products.  I decided my photo “story” would be about UW students getting excited about compostable products.  My goal was to take pictures of the students handing out products, students enjoying the products and other items in Red Square that were eco-friendly such as the recycle bins.  My goal was to take pictures from many different angles because the Coca-Cola display was pretty small, and I didn’t want my viewers to get bored looking through 40 photos.

Earth Day in Red Square

The most challenging part of this assignment was getting good angles.  Many students in Red Square did not want their pictures taken, and therefore would move out of the frame or would give me dirty looks.  I actually had one person from the Coca-Cola tent come up to me and ask me what I was doing (practically telling me to leave).  So I wasn’t really comfortable laying down, or climbing up on objects to get better angles because people were already annoyed with  my presence, and I didn’t want to push it.

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During our class brainstorm session last week for the Habitat project, I agreed to do some stories from the Habitat employees’ perspectives.  I plan on doing one story about how the economy has affected Habitat projects – Has funding decreased?  What challenges have they had to overcome?  How did they make up for the decrease in donations? etc.   This story will be in text format.

I also would like to do an audio story about how working for Habitat has affected the employees.  How has it changed their perspective of the world?  The poor?  The wealthy? What have they learned?  How have they changed? etc.  This will be an audio story.

In order to complete these stories, I have set up interviews next week with both Marty Kooistra, Habitat’s CEO, and the Development Director, Sandi Lynch Holmes.

This week I decided to follow five journalists from around the country who work in the online relm.  They’re helping journalism progress and thrive in this scary time of transition.

1. @BrentDPayne – Experienced in SEO titles!

bio: “Tribune’s Bald SEO Director. I also consult non-media companies via freelance and can even consult other media companies via Tribune. DM/Email me for details.”

2. @Bill80 – Digital master for the Chicago Tribue

bio: “I’m Chicago Tribune’s VP for Digital Stuff.”

3. @BerylLove – Experienced with webinars

bio: “Editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal. Formerly at the Cincinnati Enquirer.”

4. @csebrell – Finds way to market online communication systems

bio: “Director and owner of ITEM:Creative Group, brand champion, communications strategist, dog lover, world traveler”

5. @scottkarp – Knows about the techy side of Web publishing

bio:”CEO of Publish2, Editor of Publishing 2.0″

I just finished reading chapters 7 & 8 of Journalism 2.0 by Mark Briggs.  Most of the material was review from our class discussions, but I thought a few points he made were worth reiterating.

Journalist Mark Briggs

Chapter 7 talked about how to capture a good audio story.  I picked up on the following Audacity sound-editing trick from Briggs.  I remember getting warning messages from Audacity about mono sound, but I never knew what it meant.  Briggs explained:

  • Make it stereo: Some files will be mono, not stereo, meaning you’ll only hear the audio in one side of your headphones. You want to make it stereo so the sound file will play in both sides of speakers and headphones, instead of just one. To make it stereo, click on the Audio Track label next to an upside down triangle (see screen shot.) Then select Split Stereo Trackfrom the drop-down menu.

Second, Briggs reminds people to note the time of interesting quotes while they’re interviewing their sources.  Editing audio can be very time consuming, so a having a rough transcript of the interview is a HUGE time saver.

  • If you make a note of the time when a good quote plays, you’ll save loads of time when you go back to edit the take for the good stuff.

Chapter 8 was also pretty basic, but I appreciated these photo shooting/editing reminders:

  • Fill the frame: When shooting people, don’t leave too much “head room” or space above their heads. The subject’s face should be near the top of the picture, not in the middle.
  • Only edit a copy of the photo — not the original.

Briggs also mentioned an online photo editing Web site – snipshot.com – which I think is a cool free service.

Photo credit (fair use): http://www.wiredjournalists.com/profiles/profile/show?id=MarkBriggs

I found it really difficult to find photo choices that I didn’t like.  But out of all the examples, these photos were my least favorites, though I still believe them to be good.

  • This is a fun photo, but it’s a little cluttered.  The focal point is supposed to be Elvis and the Prime Minister, but my eye gets distracted by the crowd in the background.

Credit: REUTERS/Luke Macgregor

  • This photo (could not be uploaded to page) is also compelling.  It really captures a tragic moment in time.  The only critique I have is that I don’t like where the body is cut off.  It seems a little awkward to me that the man’s legs are abruptly missing.  I’m guessing the photographer wanted to fit the women’s legs in the picture on the left, so he had to do it that way, but I wish the full body was shown.
  • I don’t like the message in this photo.  To me it seems like this man and his family and struggling to survive in the United States, and the photographer captured a condescending scene.  This photo makes him and his family look ghetto; it doesn’t make him seem like a hard worker, which it sounds like he is.

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

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