Alpha Delta Pi Raising Awareness of Autism

Alpha Delta Pi is hosting an autism fundraiser this week for their Greek Week pairings charity.

Greek Week is a University of Missouri tradition that includes inter-fraternity and inter-sorority sports competitions, as well as assigning each sorority and fraternity a charity to raise money for during the week. This year, Alpha Delta Pi was paired with Ella’s Hope, a local autism awareness foundation founded by a University of Missouri graduate.

All week long, members of Alpha Delta Pi and the two fraternities that are also paired with Ella’s Hope will be holding their fundraiser during the day at Speaker’s Circle. They will be passing out autism awareness fliers, informing passers-by that April is National Autism Awareness Month, and selling wristbands and baked goods.

Sophomore Alpha Delta Pi Greek Week service chair Lauren Oberle said she enjoys helping Ella’s Hope.

“I honestly didn’t hear much about autism before this, and this really got me into it,” Oberle said. “As people come by they’ll ask questions about it and raise awareness. It’s definitely a good cause.”

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Two more photos

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I lack anything funny to say. It’s ok, the picture of Erin is funny enough.

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Proof our j2150 professor has supernatural powers!

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Look at that unearthly glow behind him. Clearly the mothership coming to bring him home…

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Wildlife of Columbia, Mo.

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Here we observe the American college student in her natural habitat: playing with an iPhone while Facebook-chatting people who are way cooler than her…

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Week 8 Reflection: Writing for the Ear

The most interesting thing we discussed this week was writing for the ear, and how to write script for a video project. This is important because if you can’t write and plan the sequence of your video, it doesn’t matter if you have all the video-shooting talent in the world.

One of the biggest things I learned was that you have to write for the ear, a different style from writing for print. For example, you cannot throw a ton of numbers into the video script, because the ear doesn’t process numbers very well. Also, you don’t want to use a ton of names, because viewers can’t go back to the top of a story like they would in a print story if they forgot who a person in the story was.

Because I am taking J2100 and J2150 concurrently, it will be interesting to learn both different styles of writing at the same time. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

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Week 6 Reflection: Excited to Start Learning Video

This week we started what I’ve been looking forward to learning about most in J2150: video. I love challenges, and video is definitely going to be a challenge, because it combines all of the elements of journalism into one.

Of course, there’s the obvious: I have to figure out how to arrange my clips in a way to present a story, just like if I was writing a story after an interview. This is the area of journalism that I feel is my biggest strength. However, it is always still a challenge, because the way you arrange a story can make a difference between a good story and a seemingly pointless one.

There’s also the photography aspect. I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m not exactly a great photographer. When you get into video, that aspect gets even tougher, because you have to hold your shots, make sure you capture things while they’re moving, etc. This added complexity means that attention to detail is even more crucial when taking video than it is when taking a picture.

Audio is another aspect that could be challenging, but it’s something I found myself to be pretty good at doing. When I did my audio project last week, I felt like Audacity wasn’t that tough to use, and I feel like I did rather well at cutting the interview. Of course, I lacked ambient sound because when I was taking ambient sound of my subject putting her gun together, I thought I had hit record twice but it turned out I had only hit it once. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this error until after I was already back at the dorm, and it was too late to go back to her cousin’s house to use the guns.

All in all, working with video is something that will be a major part of my life as I go through the Convergence sequence, and I’m embracing the challenge of embarking down this road.

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Week 5 Reflection: A Blog About Blogging

This week’s lecture was about something I know a good deal about, but still need to learn a lot about: building and maintaining an internet presence.  I took quite a bit away from this lecture, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Frequency of posts

One thing I learned from Amy’s lecture was that I should blog as frequently as possible. This makes sense to me, because it gives readers more content to read, and it makes them more likely to come back. If I’m visiting a site that’s updated several times a day, I’m likely to visit it at least once per day. If I know a site isn’t updated more than once every two weeks, I’m rarely ever going to visit it.

One example of this is the NFL rumor/news site ProFootballTalk.com, a blog that is updated with a new post nearly every fifteen minutes during the day. Because I follow NFL news so closely, I usually have that site open in a tab at all times and refresh it often. Meanwhile, there was a music site I used to visit (I don’t even remember the name of it anymore) that started posting MP3s with continually less frequency. After about a month of not posting any new MP3s, they never received a visit from me again.

Multimedia

Another thing I learned is to always find some way to incorporate multimedia into my blog post. It gets the reader’s attention, and it makes the post more visually appealing. This is something that is extremely important, and I learned a lesson about its importance over the summer. I write for a blog called Xtrapointfootball.com, and one night I saw a breaking news story that a woman had complained because she saw Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger urinating on a golf course. After getting more information, I put together a blog post criticizing Roethlisberger, who was already the subject of sexual assault allegations twice in one year, for not understanding that his role in the spotlight as a celebrity limits what he can do in public. I was one of the first bloggers to get up a post about this incident, so when you searched “Roethlisberger” on Google, my article was the first on the results page because it was at the top of Google News results for Roethlisberger’s name.

Even though other articles went up and my article disappeared from the top of the list, the picture that my editor posted with the article was an excellent one, so the picture, which linked to my article, stayed up at the top of Google News well after the text link to my article had slipped from the top of the page. This brought us a ton of hits.

For this reason, whenever I write an article, I also make sure to find good pictures, because I know from experience that audiences love pictures.

 

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Week 4 J2150 Reflection

This week’s lecture was spent discussing audio slideshows. This will probably be a shorter blog post than usual, just because I don’t have that strong of an opinion on audio slideshows yet. I think they’re without a doubt a great way to tell a story and can be extremely effective when used well.

One thing about audio slideshows is that they require a little bit more of a time investment for the consumer. While you can read at your own leisure, or just skim through the article if you choose to, you have to sit through the entire audio slideshow in order to find out everything the story is telling. Also, a lot of people tend to read the news while at work or in other public places. This means that in order to view an audio slideshow, you would need headphones.

While those are some of the disadvantages of audio slideshows, I believe the advantages outweigh them. Pictures and sound both have an enormous impact on the human mind that written words will never have. For this reason, a good audio slideshow can tell a story much more movingly than a typical news article could.

All in all, I am looking forward to starting to work with audio slideshows, and cannot wait to get to work!

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Week 3 Reflection

Unfortunately, we did not have any labs this week due to the “Snowpocalypse” that shut us down for most of the week. However, we did get to have a very interesting lecture about some photography ethics. There were two things that really stood out to me from the lecture.

Altering a Photograph

During the lecture, Steve explained to us that if you alter a photograph digitally, it is a serious offense that will usually cost you your job. This surprised me at first, because I had always looked at photography as an art form more than anything. When Steve said this, it made me pause and realize that photography is more than just a form of art. Photojournalism is a real form of journalism, and it has to be used to tell the truth in a non-biased manner. Visual reactions are even stronger than reactions to written material, so

Time magazine darkened Simpson's skin

photography could potentially be even more influential than an inaccurately written story. For example, the Time cover we saw showed how the editors of Time chose to make O.J. Simpson’s skin much darker than it really was, and used the lighting to make his eyes look more sinister. This is dangerous, because it played on racial stereotypes. Whether it was done intentionally or unintentionally, it’s still dangerous, because it exploits subconscious racial biases that are embedded in the American psyche. That is powerful, and it means that photojournalists have a serious responsibility.

Credibility

One thing Steve pointed out during the lecture was that if you alter a photograph like Time did and get caught, it doesn’t affect just you, but all journalists. First of all, it obviously affects your credibility. Secondly, it hurts the credibility of the news organization for which you work. Ultimately though, it affects the credibility of the journalism profession as a whole because people already don’t trust the media. When a scandal like this comes out, it confirms the skeptics’ beliefs that the media is untrustworthy, so people are less likely to believe what the media says.

For these reasons, Spiderman’s Uncle Ben’s words that “with great power comes great responsibility” apply to photojournalists as well as superheroes.

Photojournalist by day, superhero by night...

 

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Week 2 Reflection

My thoughts on Week 2 of J2150:

Multimedia Presentation

During the lecture, Dr. Rice showed us the audio slideshow of a couple who gave birth to a child with a birth defect that caused its lifespan to be drastically shortened. The mixture of photos, audio, and video was emotionally compelling to the point where I felt like I was almost a captive audience, because I could not avert my gaze. It was extremely powerful, and it made me understand how well a multimedia project can truly convey a story more compellingly than any single medium could.

Photographic Techniques

Quite possibly the most interesting immediately applicable skill I learned was how to stabilize the camera without a tripod. My hands tend to shake pretty badly, so I thought photography was going to be a nightmare for me. Thankfully, Steve’s suggestion of tucking my non-shooting hand underneath my underarm while resting the camera on my shoulder really seemed to help me with that. This helps me a lot, and I am excited about that. The concept of the Rule of Thirds was intriguing as well, and that leads me to my next topic.

Photography as a Form of Art

I love art. I have an eye for it, but I never had the fine motor control to ever be a remotely decent painter or artist. With what we’ve learned about photographic composition, I’ve learned that photography is a pretty great for of art for those of us who have shaky hands. The Rule of Thirds is what really intrigued me the most. The idea of stepping outside of my comfort zone and putting the subject somewhere other than the center of the photograph was eye-opening, and it helped me a lot with my “Red” assignment. I just think it’s incredible that I can take people and objects, and make them part of something bigger. It’s a fun process, and I’m looking forward to really delving into it.

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