RSS

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tweeting McCullough

This time I was asked to find and attend an event, and then live-tweet the event as it was occurring. This was my first real experience with Twitter (I had an account previously, but had never really used it). I loaded up my Twitter account and decided to attend a speech given by two-time Pulitzer prize winner David McCullough, writer of historical books such as 1776 and John Adams (the latter of which was turned into a TV mini-series by HBO).

The cover of one of David McCullough’s books, John Adams. McCullough won the Pulitzer prize for this work in 2002.

Jumping right into a platform that I was not used to was not exactly the easiest thing to do. I think it would take a lot more practice to be good at using the platform to write stories, but I think I was able to capture some good quotes and moments from the speech. I worry about the cohesion of the story as a whole and I feel like I had a hard time making a sensible narrative in the form of tweets, which I had hoped would be easier.

I mostly tweeted direct quotes because they seemed to be the most relevant and interesting parts of the event, though I did tweet the where and the when and elaborated on the who a couple of times especially at the beginning and right before the speech. I wasn’t sure if I should continue to repeat those kinds of things throughout the event or if the earlier tweets sufficed.

The tweeting itself was also a bit more difficult then I imagined. For most of the tweets I was fine on length, though a few of them required me to rework my wording. One was so long that I had to leave out the last period. That was difficult, because as I was trying to edit on a touch screen I felt like I was missing possibly important parts of the speech itself. I also had trouble taking pictures – I tweeted one from right before the talk, but during the actual talk all my phone could pick up were glowing people on the stage because the house lights were down.

Another thing I’d change in the future is the brightness on my screens. I brought both my phone and my Kindle Fire with me, but when the lights went down I had to hastily turn down the brightness on my phone and so never pulled the Kindle out. Thinking ahead, I’d turn the brightness down beforehand next time (it saves on battery life anyway).

I did do two brief interviews, one with an usher before the event started and one with a student afterward. Tweeting these interviews was short and sweet, which I suppose is true of almost anything Twitter-related. In fact, the whole thing felt rather hectic. For most of the speech I felt like I was just frantically typing at my screen, while simultaneously trying to listen to and remember what McCullough was saying.

I’m writing a paper right now in another class about multimedia and the future reporter, and even though I don’t want to be a reporter I know there’s a good chance I’ll be using Twitter and other social media no matter what job I get in the near future. It’s important to know how to use them effectively and to send succinct, meaningful messages on these platforms, even if I only use them to advertise my own writing and work (which I have been doing via a Facebook page for several years.)

For the most part, I enjoyed the project. There were a number of difficulties that I didn’t expect, and the actual reporting was a little stressful, but I think it would be easier to do if I did it a second time. It does make me want to use Twitter more often than I have in the past.

Signing off,

Joshua C. Geiger

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 16, 2013 8:55 pm in New Media

 

Combining Audio and Visual: Islam Awareness Week

For this post I worked with a partner to cover an event both with audio and visuals, putting both together in a single slideshow presentation using Soundslides. The goal was to prove that we could combine the two media effectively. The finished project can be viewed here. (Be aware that for some reason the slideshow only seems to play in Internet Explorer).

Poster for the Awareness week on the University of Wyoming Campus. Picture taken by Chris Anselmo.

Poster for the Awareness week on the University of Wyoming Campus. Picture taken by Chris Anselmo.


My partner and I chose to cover Islam Awareness Week at our University. In order to do so, he and I attended events for much of the week, snapping pictures and taking interviews. My partner did the first interview, and the second we conducted after a panel discussion on “Misconceptions of Islam” on April 2.

We spent a lot of time listening to people speak and taking pictures when we got the chance. We took photos at a tent that the Muslim Student Association (MSA) put up the pasture in the middle of campus as a cultural display, during their panel discussion, and at the Arab-American Night the MSA put together on Thursday, April 4.

My partner and I worked together on a lot of the project. I took most of the pictures because I had a better camera, but he recorded the interviews and in fact did one of the interviews on his own when I couldn’t make it. We both edited audio, spliced it together, and then collaborated on the creation of the slideshow, including where the audio went and in what order to put the pictures.

Once we started working with Soundslides things were a breeze. The most difficult part of the assignment was collecting audio and relevant pictures; the software itself was user friendly and largely intuitive. Attending so many events was both trying and helpful. We had plenty of audio and plenty of opportunities for pictures, but it made for a long week of gathering info.

The story we put together finally became about what the awareness week was meant to inform about. Our interviewees talked a lot about how Islam and Muslims had gotten a bad rap from Western and American media. The week was about inclusiveness and releasing ourselves from ignorance, and so that’s what we included in the audio of the slideshow.

For the photographs, we took pictures of people participating in the week, and of the diversity of the MSA and the University. This was definitely the most difficult part of the assignment. Much of what our subjects talked about was hard to put into a picture, and while our story was [i]about[/i] the awareness week, it really came to be about what the Awareness week could and was meant to do, which was a little hard to capture in photographs.

Had I more time, I would have liked to work with the Soundslides software more and polished our slideshow. I still think the slideshow is pretty good, but there were a few things that could have been smoother. I also realized I forgot to put a full identification in the “voice of” parts of the pictures. Instead all I included was a name, and if I could go back I’d make sure to fix that; it was a really lame thing to forget.

Most of the audio is pretty good, though it would have been nice if we had had more opportunities to get ambient noise. I am satisfied with ambient noise that we got, but more could have been used to improve the project.

I enjoyed doing this project. Especially, again, I enjoyed the audio editing process.

Signing off,

Joshua Geiger