Blog 9- Live Tweeting

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1. Give a brief summary of the assignment and the event you reported.

This assignment was to give us the experience of “live tweeting” an event.  We were assigned to select a newsworthy event and report it live via Twitter.  The event I chose was the Wyoming Public Radio open house and bluegrass performance by Big Hollow Bluegrass.  WPR was celebrating 50 years in production, and Tom Wilhelm, the voice of the Ranch Radio show on Saturdays was celebrating 36 years on the air as well.  It was a lovely event with cookies and good music.
2. What did you enjoy about the experience? What did you not enjoy?

For this assignment, I enjoyed attending the event and listening (and playing) good music with good people.  I like WPR and the programs they run, so it was nice to get to spread the word about them briefly.  I did not like tweeting, however.  I don’t like constantly being on my phone, distracting from the actual event that is going on.  I didn’t like the word limit, and I wasn’t able to take a nice picture with my phone in the dismal basement that they keep the radio studio in.
3. What did you learn? What surprised you? What do you wish you could have done differently?

I don’t think I really know how to tweet, since it is not a form of media that I consume.  I wrote 10 mini-headlines that briefly depicted what was going on.  I’m not sure that’s what a tweet is, but I tried my best.  Nothing really surprised me, aside from how limiting of a media format it is.
4. How do you see yourself using social media in a future career?

I doubt I will use social media regarding my career.  I am hoping to work outside in a very remote location, preferably without access to the internet.  In fact, I used my uwyo email address to register for Twitter because I know that the address will become invalid after I graduate in May.  I will probably develop a website with my music portfolio on it to better advertise for music lessons, but that’s as social as I get.

Blog 10: Final Project

 

1. Give a brief summary of the assignment and the event you reported.

This assignment was to create a 2-4 minute video and edit it in Adobe Premier.  It was supposed to give us experience in the editing process, interviewing, and organization.  My partner and I decided to create a promotional video for the Chinese minor program here at the University of Wyoming.  We chose this because my partner is taking some of the classes involved and really likes them.  A promotional video for a good and useful program seemed like a good subject for our project.
2. What did you enjoy about the experience? What did you not enjoy?

I enjoyed learning about the Chinese program and talking with our interviewees.  Aside from that, I really did not enjoy this project at all.  The editing process, which took up most of our time, was incredibly frustrating and tedious.  We had to learn how to use a complex and counter-intuitive program with little to no instruction in a very short amount of time.  I do not like technology, social media, or anything to do with most of what we’ve been working on in class, but that’s just my personal opinion.  This project was one of the most frustrating assignments I have ever worked on and I do not see myself ever using these skills. I definitely do not want to use Adobe Premier again.  If I were hired as a communication specialist and asked to do a job like this again, I would tell my employers that I didn’t know anything about this process and delegate the task to a teenager.
3. What surprised you? What do you wish you could have done differently?

I was surprised how difficult the computer program was.  Nothing seemed to make sense.  The design process was easy enough; so was organizing our questions to our interviewees, but Adobe Premier was such a pain to try to navigate!  I had to get my 19 year old roommate to figure out how to export it, because none of the google searches I did had anything helpful. I don’t know if I could have done anything differently…it was just an aggravating experience start to finish.

4. How do you see yourself using video in a future career?

I don’t ever see myself using video in the future.  I hope I never have to.  I’m sure a lot of people enjoy this kind of thing, and that’s great…I’ll leave all the video stuff to them, and I will get a job outside and never spend more than 1 hour at a time looking at a computer screen ever again.

Social Media Comparison

 

This blog post is meant to analyze the differences, and the effectiveness, in the social media presence of two small businesses in Laramie, WY.  The two organizations, Sweet Pickles Children’s store and The Curiosity Shoppe, both had Facebook pages. Sweet Pickles had an Instagram, (though many people posted about the Curiosity Shoppe on Instagram) and neither company has a twitter account.  I chose these two organizations because they are close to where I live and have a direct impact on the Laramie community.  Small town businesses often struggle to find money for advertising, given their limited resources available, and social media has proven to be a boon to the companies by offering a free and easy way to get their name out there.

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Promotional picture uploaded to Sweet Pickles’ Instagram account.

I did a google search for all of the social media platforms that these business might partake in, and found that though they both had Facebook accounts, only Sweet Pickles had an Instagram account.  Though, the Curiosity Shoppe has an actual website that was very helpful.   Both of the Facebook pages looked almost identical, in the amount of advertisements, promotions, and interactions on the site.  Even though the Curiosity Shoppe doesn’t have it’s own Instagram account, many people made posts about the Curiosity Shoppe, so the photos were less professional, but showed a lot of happy customers and social interaction.  Sweet Pickles’ highly regulated Instagram page looked more professional, and because of that they had more canned ads and promotional posters that didn’t even show products or people.  The differences in the Curiosity Shoppe’s Facebook page vs. it’s actual website, was that the website seemed more drab, as though it was catering to a more mature audience, whereas their Facebook page had a much younger, energetic attitude.  Sweet Pickle’s used the same image for their profiles pictures on both their Instagram and Facebook pages, which made them a lot easier to find on social media, and recognize that it was the same company.  There are a lot of “Curiosity Shoppes” around America, I found out.  Both companies used social media for promotional purposes, telling customers about new products and seasonal specials that they were promoting.

One of the main pieces of advice I found in this video, is that social media allows companies to interact in real time with their customers, which is apparently always a good thing.  However, I notice that neither of the Facebook pages had much customer interaction, though Sweet Pickles seemed to have more likes and reactions than The Curiosity Shoppe.

Three things the companies do well: 

The Curiosity Shoppe: They regularly post new products, their website was very informative, and there were pictures of customers enjoying their time browsing the shop.

Sweet Pickles: Made regular posts about products and events, they shared posts and worked with the Downtown Laramie association, and they had good photos on Instagram.

Three things they could improve on:

The Curiosity Shoppe: They should get an Instagram account, post more variety of photos, and interact with customers and the Downtown association more.

Sweet Pickles:  They should interact with customers on Facebook more, should show more photos of their actual products, and they should probably have an actual website.

After listening to the Social Media panel in class last week, I really became aware of how useful social media is to small companies and organizations.  It has really become a vital aspect of organizing events, sales, and bringing communities together to boost the local economy.  I’m not sure if anyone anticipated this happening 15 years ago, but it has become such an integral part of business communication, I’m not sure how companies could afford to be without it now.

 

Edited Audio

  1. Describe your audio editing experience.

Editing Choi’s interview was both easy and a challenge.  There was a lot of space between her sentences, and more space between her words than a more fluent English speaker might have.  This made editing out dead space easy since there are distinct pauses in her speech.  However, it was still not enough to get a 5 minute audio file down to 2 minutes.  I did not want to edit out too much of what she had to say, because I thought all of it was valuable, but at the same time I still needed to get it down to 2 minutes.  I decided to try to edit out some of the times she repeats or reiterates what she says, and I hope it comes out sounding natural.  I also did not want to edit out anything that was important to her to say, or pertinent to her story.  I felt really guilty whenever I edited out even the smallest filler word because I felt that those pauses added to the authenticity of our conversation.

  1. What did you enjoy and not enjoy?

I enjoyed learning how to use Audacity, and figuring out that whole process.  There’s still so much I could have done with it if I was able to go longer than 2 minutes (which I did anyway).  I wish I would have had the chance to get more creative with it like the website we used as an example for this project.

  1. Did anything surprise you?

Nothing too much really surprised me about this project.  I didn’t expect to feel such pressure when it came to editing her words though, because I wanted to keep all of it.

  1. Do you wish you could have done anything different? Or do you wish something went more smoothly?

In the future, if I ever do something like this again, I would like to be able to include more character into the edited version, such as the “ums” and “likes” in between phrases.  I would also like to be able to add background music and even possibly some photos to the next project like this.

Raw Audio

This is the unedited interview with Eunjoo Choi.  Here she discusses some of the differences between student culture in America and South Korea.

Over the summer I interviewed a lot of people for my internship with the Powder River Basin Resource Council.  I always found these interviews to be exciting, because you get to meet new people, hear their stories, and let them do the talking.  All I had to do, was ask insightful questions and take good notes.  Never before had I used a recording device to preserve the interviews, because I knew that I wouldn’t want to go back and listen to the entire thing again.  I just made sure that my notes were detailed enough.

I have found that people are generally pretty eager to talk about themselves, their beliefs and their experiences.  Rarely did I ever have an issue with getting my interviewees to talk in the past.  Eunjoo had a lot of insightful things to say about the differences between students in Wyoming, versus students in her hometown of Seoul, South Korea.  We each practiced our interview a little bit before recording, making sure that we covered all aspects of the assignment.  She was very worried about her English speaking skills, but I assured her, it was far better than my Korean would ever be.

It was a weird feeling for me to be interviewed though, because I am used to being the one asking questions.  I already had an idea of the things I wanted to say, and it was topic that I was familiar with, so I felt that the information I had was well versed.  Eunjoo is an enjoyable person to talk to, so the interview went very smoothly for the both of us.

Having completed both interviews fairly smoothly, I’m not sure what I would have done differently.  We both tried to test the sound quality through our earphones, as was suggested in the assignment, but we found that with the headphones plugged in, we could not record audio.  I used my low-grade, Wal-mart trac-phone to record the interview, and it did a pretty good job.  I have used this device in the past to record brief music lines to learn later, or to preserve and memorize.  The technology available today that just sits in our pockets is pretty amazing.

Photojournalism

Sports Action:  I stumbled upon this because I usually go bouldering at Half-Acre, and because I wasn’t that interested in the football game this weekend, I decided to take a picture of an alternative sport.  The shot was difficult to get because of the huge light in the background, and the fact that she kept moving around.  My camera phone isn’t very good, and I was trying to get an intense angle of her that mimicked the reach of the shade in the background of the man catching a ball.  I don’t think I felt much while I was taking the picture.  I was happy for Kaitlin when she reached the top of the bouldering line, but other than that, frustration about getting a good shot.  The creative device I tried to use was leading lines, because I’m trying to accentuate her reach by taking the shot close to her feet.  She really wasn’t that far off the ground (you are only allowed to boulder up to 12 feet), so the drama is less intense.  I also wanted to mimic the pattern of the shade behind her by capturing her when she was in a similar position.

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Reaching: UW student Kaitlin Kreuger practices bouldering at Half-Acre gym in between morning classes.

Feature Photo: As I was studying in Coe Library, I walked past a study room full of a rather diverse group of women.  They were being rather loud (you could hear them from outside the study room) but they all sounded really excited, learning and discussing the concepts for their class.  The atmosphere was exciting, and it was really neat to hear them discussing the things they were learning about, and sharing their different ideas and experiences with each other.  I felt really awkward asking if I could take their picture.  There are a couple creative devices in this picture, including the rule of thirds (picture is weighted to the right), focus (Adaljeeza is the only one in focus), and background (the plane white board allows you to focus on the emotions of the people).

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Misery Loves Company: (left to right) Devon, Odessa, Jaimee and Adaljeeza are studying in Coe Library for an upcoming midterm for a class called Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in the Media.

As I left Online Journalism class last week I saw this guy skating in front of me down an empty path.  He was moving in these beautiful, sweeping motions back and forth, and the grace with which he skated made me stop and watch.  By the time I thought to get my phone out and take a picture, not only had students filled the picture, but also a utility truck.  It was a fleeting moment of simplistic beauty in an otherwise mundane practice.  The creative device I tried to implement here was the rule of thirds, as he is teetering on the right hand side of the frame and heading left, so it doesn’t feel like he’s about to go out of the frame.

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Moseying to Class: UW student side-walk surfs to his next class on a warm October afternoon.

The Homecoming parade passed right in front of my house Saturday morning, so I enjoyed my coffee on the front steps while strangers threw candy and key chains in my yard.  It was a charming display of local pride, that a couple of my other roommates came out for as well.  I got to work with the pony in my Equine Behavior class, and everybody who has ever worked with a pony knows how difficult they can be, and pony Joe is no exception.  I felt a sense of schadenfreude, happy that I was not the one tasked with dealing with him that day.  I used the rule of thirds in this, because the photo is weighted to the left, and they are headed to the right.  It is a poor example of framing because there is a tree coming out of the handlers’ heads.

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Cowboy Joe is a Prick: UW’s token pony walks in the Homecoming parade last Saturday with his handlers and Cowboy Joe the mascot.

The Homecoming parade came right in front of my house Saturday morning.  I have always enjoyed a good drumline, so I was really excited to see them walk past.  I love the descending size of the drums as they walk past in this picture.  The device I employed here is symmetry, because of the uniformity of the drummers and their drums.  Too bad they walked into a shadow as I took the picture.

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Drumline: UW Drum Corps marches during the Homecoming parade last Saturday on Grand Avenue.

What surprised me the most about this assignment, was that I realized how adverse I am to taking photos of people.  I’m constantly taking pictures of a cool tree, or a spider web in the sun, but never are humans in any of my pictures.  I was also really shy about asking to take people’s photos, so I think that was the most difficult thing for me.  I would have used a better camera…action shots are really difficult to take with a cheap Wal-Mart phone.  I also would have gotten closer to my subjects to take the picture.

Creative Devices round II

 

 

 

 

 

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The Main Stage: the band, J’ Shogren and the Shanghi’d perform at the Higher Ground Fair last Sunday. This is an example of framing, as they are framed within the stage.

 

 

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Medicine Ridge: the creation of depth allows the viewer to understand the vastness of the landscape because of the angle at which the ridge is being viewed.
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The Peak: the rule of thirds keeps this post interesting while also giving the viewer a chance to comprehend the vastness of the background.

 

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Native Grasses: the focus on this picture realizes the depth of the frame as well as the detail of the individual seeds of the grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Worse than a Bite: the use of texture in this image focuses on the rich patterns in the texture of the bard of this fir tree on the UW campus.

Creative Devices

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Perspective and texture

 

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Contrast and Balancing

 

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Perspective and Repeating lines

 

 

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Patterns and Colors

 

 

 

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This is me just dicking around because the paper suggested to stand on something and I might secretly be a mountain goat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire on the Mountain

The Snowy mountain range, just west of Laramie, is most certainly a land of many uses. Residents from all over the state of Wyoming and well into Colorado go to the Snowy Mountains to hunt, fish, camp, harvest their Christmas trees, ski, snowboard, or snow-mobile.  The national forest is also home to a multitude of native species, both flora and fauna.  The streams and lakes are full of fish, and elk and moose wander aimlessly through high mountain meadows.  It would be easy to believe there was not another human on the earth while camping in the remote regions of the national forest.  However, the beautiful ecosystems that residents and tourists both enjoy teeter on a very fragile brink between “wild and beautiful” and “if we don’t do something, it will all be lost.”

“Elk Mountain is in worse condition than the rest of the Snowies.  The dead fall is so thick under there, tree on top of tree on top of tree, that the light doesn’t even reach the ground.  You can’t hardly walk through it, let alone ride through it,” says Bill Wells, a ranch hand on Elk Mountain Ranch just out of Hanna, Wyoming.  Wells is certain that if any of the neighboring forests caught fire, it would mean the end of Elk Mountain Ranch.

The lack of human influence can be detrimental to a forest, such as in the Snowy Range.  Across the Rocky Mountain West, pine beetles have killed 11.8 million acres of forest.  At least 75% of forest loss is attributed to the pine beetle, not forest fires, logging, or other diseases.  Good forest management practices, such as Free Thinning methods, allows the trees to be used for the timber industry, but still leaves healthy trees enough space to grow.  Different sizes, ages, and spaces between trees can prevent the spread of disease, infestation, and reduce the harmful effects of a forest fire.

A healthy forest has four layers in it’s ecosystem.  Each of these layers are vital to a healthy forest.  If one of these layers is either over crowded, or under produced, it can result in detrimental effects for the forest and all of its residents.

Saturday, September 3, a forest fire started in Snake Creek area in the southern part of the Snowy Range, just north of the Colorado border.   Forest fires are essential to the overall health of a forest, especially considering that many coniferous seeds will not sprout unless subject to extreme heat, such as in a fire.  However, when the forest is filled with dead trees due to beetle kill, and a dense under-story, such as is found in the Snowy Range, a forest fire can become very dangerous.

A forest fire has a very important job: to clear out dead timber and overgrown brush that has accumulated in the years without fires.  When this dead timber and ground clutter are allowed to burn, it releases nutrients back into the soil, clears out habitat for large ungulates and promotes the healthy growth of grasses and shrubs that these animals need to survive.  But when the forest is full of dead timber (due to beetle kill or otherwise) and has been allowed to grow a dense under-story, a fire that would normally burn quickly through will instead grow to an unmanageable size.  They would then burn hot enough and long enough to kill the healthy trees, destroy habitat, and spread to human communities.

Prescribed burning is one of the many solutions to over-forestation and out-of-control forest fires.  Native Americans have been practicing controlled burns for thousands of years because it promotes the health of the undergrowth, and the animals that feed on it, also providing more healthy game animals for the people.

“Implementing some sort of prescribed burn or thinning project would be one way to mitigate the burn hazard issue on the forest,” says Amiah Warder, and Forest Service biologist who helps with prescribed burning in the Black Hills.

Oregon, with its extensive logging history and culture still has large stands of old growth forest, with clearly identifiable layers.

“The old growth forests are the pinnacle of forest management.  It’s in the unmanaged wilderness areas that you get the serious crown fires,” says Adam Thomas, an Oregon sportsman and frequent visitor of the Cascade Range.

Despite differences in forests, be they deciduous, coniferous, or otherwise, all have similar basic needs when it comes to management.  Water, sunlight, nutrients, and frequent ground clearing, or burns, are just a few.  Humans can make a difference in maintaining the health of our treasured public lands by adequately managing and participating in the growth and development of the forests, just like people have been doing for thousands of years.

 

 

Website Useability

Has anyone ever been frustrated by the organization of a website?  You’re certain that this is where you should be looking for information, but it seems so inaccessible, you just give up and look elsewhere.  Or you found a great website, but when you try to access it on your phone or tablet, it looks so different you can’t find anything you need when you’re on the go?  Chapter 4 of  “The Multimedia Journalist” by Jennifer George-Palilonis describes ways to not only improve your website, but to start off on the right foot.

The navigability and useability (how easy an interface is to use) of a website is key to its success, and the key to success is having a quantifiable goal, or plan.  Developing a strategy for accomplishing the mission of your website before you start will help you stay on track when developing your website.

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The website I observed for this study seemed to follow all of the useability test’s navigational tips we studied in class.  Because it’s about a very complex topic, it must give the readers a lot of background information before convincing their audience to support their cause.  The website was set up in a very linear fashion, so readers are taken through the website in exactly the way the writers intended them to, like a well thought-out lesson plan.  The interactive maps give the reader a very comprehensive visual context of the region, with dialogue boxes that provide more detailed information.  This format ensures the reader grasps all of the information they need in the best possible way to fully comprehend all of the elements that the author wants us to be aware of.

The only real problem I encountered with this website was that the links at the top of the page do not work.  When you click on them, it says you are “Forbidden” to access that page.  However, if you scroll down the page you will see the subheadings listed in that order.  The website avoids using scroll-down bars, excessive links, and layers of navigation.  All of the information is laid out in an intuitive way and allows the reader to observe all available information without navigating away from the main page.   If you’d like to contact the writers, editors, and producers of the website, they are listed at the bottom of the webpage, and are linked to the writer’s personal website.  This took me less than 5 minutes to locate.

When I had my roommate try to navigate the website, she commented that the linear manner in which things were displayed made it easy for her to grasp the overall concepts presented.  Reading left to right, top to bottom, like a normal article, she said she didn’t struggle at all to get all of the information intended without missing integral parts of the story.  She also stated the info graphics were incredibly helpful when the website listed statistics, regions and made comparisons to other countries.  It also didn’t take her long to find where the authors were listed, so our experiences were similar in that.

Three things I would change about this website:

  • The links at the top of the page should work
  • The paragraphs switch from one column to two columns.  I would keep it consistent throughout the page.
  • Perhaps this would be achieved through working links at the top of the page, but I would add a table of content of sorts

Three things I would not change:

  • The pictures are beautiful; they add drama to the site and inspire empathy
  • The info graphics are incredibly helpful in understanding the statistics and putting the numbers into perspective
  • the order that the information is presented in

Overall, I liked the website.  It was very informative, and gave me the opportunity to learn about a topic that I wouldn’t normally seek out.  It was aesthetically pleasing as well as informative.  It appealed to our better nature, while still using statistically significant data.  I hope to be able to emulate the effectiveness of this website in my own writing.