Moving on after 2150

Mizzou journalism is a roller coaster. Much of what we learn is as we go. Sometimes it is difficult, but almost always it is worth it.

This class has helped me grow as a multimedia journalist. Where I have seen myself grow the most is in video.

I never realized how much work goes into a 2 minute video. To achieve a 5-shot sequence,  the videographer needs a lot of shots. Many times when I shot my video I realized that I did not have quite the variety I desired.

The video about Ozark Mountain Biscuits is where I felt I grew the most. I focused on getting a variety of shots and sort of planned the video as I went so that I would ensure I had what I needed.

I thought the final project turned out great. It was visually appealing as well as informative, which is the goal of our whole project.

I hope to use my knowledge of how people’s minds process video to better assess what works for advertising purposes.

Unfortunately the only thing in the class that I felt should be changed is something I am quite sure cannot be changed. The quizzes cover too much material. It is impossible to expect us to read all of the material for every single one of the quizzes. We have just too much going on.

Overall, this was my favorite journalism class so far. It taught me a lot about multimedia as well as story telling. This class I learned more about being a journalist than any other journalism class here at Mizzou.

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Transgender Identity, the Transition

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Photo by Carly Tubridy
Dallas Denny spoke to students in Leadership Auditorium Wednesday night.

Dallas Denny spoke to students about transgender identity Wednesday night in the Student Center.

In her presentation called “I’m not screwed up enough managing trans identity: then and now,” Denny spoke to a group of about 20 students about how  transgender identity has changed in her lifetime.

The LGBTQ resource center at Mizzou sponsored the event as a key note speaker for transgender awareness week.

When transexualism was first being explored, mainstream medicine believed people who wanted to change genders were “collusion with delusion;” transsexuals were seen as sick.

Doctors told Dallas she was not ‘screwed up enough’ to be transsexual.

As someone who had two degrees and had been married at one time there was no way she was sick enough to be transgender.

“I was the ultimate authority on who I was,” Dallas said.

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Photo by Carly Tubridy
Dallas Denny hopes to continue to make the transition easier for transgender people.

When reassignment treatments started, gender clinics would only give hormones to people that fit stereotypical gender roles or who they felt would physically harm themselves if they did not receive treatment.

Since the doctors did not feel Dallas fit these roles, she was turned away from the clinic.
Dallas knew she wanted to transition when she was 13. She took the initiative to start taking hormones during the 80s when she felt safe. She eventually had surgery to become a women.

“I’ve always listened to my inner voice” Dallas said.

While she was making her transition, Dallas recalls just three labels people were pressured to choose: cross-dresser, drag queens, and transsexuals.

These labels made it difficult for people who weren’t sure where they fit to find their own identity.

Dallas spoke about the importance of support when coming out or transitioning.

“You can lose friends, you lose family members, you can be kicked out of church groups and its a hard time in your life,” Dallas said.

Dallas didn’t speak with her parents for 13 years after her gender change. Her father passed during that time.

Years after her own journey, Dallas is happy to see the transition period get easier for newer generations of the LGBTQ community.

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News is Objective, Right?

As journalists it is easy to say we are objective even if we’re not; we are taught to be objective, so we think that we are.

As consumers, it is difficult see these biases because consumers tend to consume news that aligns with their own personal views.

Consumers often look to have their opinions reinforced rather than questioned.

Thus a circle of ignorance arises. A bias consumer hears bias news, which further bias thoughts.

Then finger pointing begins. Liberal consumers feel that conservative media outlets are bias but “know” that liberal media outlets are telling the entire story, while conservative consumers feel that liberal media outlets are objective and “know” that conservative media outlets have the whole story.

If mainstream journalism did its job and stayed objective, this cycle would be stopped as soon as the consumer checked the news.

The most frustrating part, as a journalist, is to know that much of the problem lies with poor journalism.

David Carr of New York Times wrote an article called, “It’s Not Just Political Districts. Our News Is Gerrymandered, Too.” Carr’s article discusses this same problem of bias media here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/12/business/media/when-our-news-is-gerrymandered-too.html?_r=3&.

In the article, Carr writes, “More often than not, when we tune in to cable or fire up the Web, we are staring into the mirror, not looking out a window. If we did look out a window, we’d see government officials talking past and around one another as they all fall down a flight of stairs, perhaps a perfect reflection of the people they represent.”

Carr articulates how consumers are unable to leave their own bubble of biases to better educate themselves.

As a whole journalists need to work towards a more objective state. To do that, it is important to forget personal opinions for the sake of the consumers.

Being objective is the only way to ensure consumers really make an informed decision.

Sometimes I feel this objectiveness has been lost because leaning one way or another will get better ratings.

Ratings and clicks have overtaken the original purpose of journalism.

In this day and age, when information is so readily accessible there is no excuse for uninformed or bias media.

It is time that media outlets change as a whole to better reflect the entire truth rather than the truth they choose to believe or the truth that will appeal to their audience.

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We Give Voice to Those Who Cannot Shout

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Censoring journalism is the most detrimental thing a society can do for itself.

While the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, photography was completely banned. In many other countries with underdeveloped governments or dictatorships journalism is hindered or even entirely blocked.

“Frame by Frame” is a documentary about the recent advances in journalism in Afghanistan. To know more about the film, watch http://www.upworthy.com/dear-religious-extremists-the-cameras-are-staying-and-thats-final-2?c=upw1.

This film is interesting because of its timing. As troops pull out of Afghanistan, so does international media. The work of internal journalists is more important than ever.

After a time of censorship, “Frame by Frame” follows four photojournalists who refuse to be silenced.

Now that the Taliban’s reign is over journalism is allowed to flourish.

Censorship has so many repercussions. No matter how much people complain about the media and their negative affects on society, the positive affects are irreplaceable.

Disseminating information is an important part of society.  Journalists are watchdogs and must be able to get information to the public or there can’t be change.

Corrupt governments, crime, and injustice can only be brought down if no one knows about it.

Censorship doesn’t just hurt this generation but also the next as they live with no documentation of their history.

As Afghanistan moves forward, a chunk of their history will only have been covered by those outside their own country. That is the result of censorship.

Today other countries face the same problem, which poses the questions: how do we document events? and how does the public spark change?

Without uncensored journalism those questions cannot be fulfilled.

Pulitzer Prize winner Massoud Hossaini says, “We try to be voice for those people who cannot shout.”

Journalism gives people voices, and with those voices inspires change.

Hossaini mentions that during the time of censorship in Afghanistan everyone tried to record whatever they could just to have some sort of documentation.

Citizen journalism can help get a nation through a time of censorship. As technology advances, so does the ability of citizen journalists.

Citizen journalism can help fight censorship that the world still sees today. With just a phone anyone can video or photograph an event.

These kinds of people can be the voice to those who cannot shout.

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‘Non-essential’ Government Jobs Cause Hole in Economy When Removed

When the government shuts down, government jobs are sorted into ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ jobs. Non-essential jobs are suspended until the government reconvenes.

The problem with this is that what the government constitutes as not essential very well could be essential to the people affected by it.

According to http://www.npr.org/blogs/the two way/2013/10/09/231086726/county-in-utah-threatens-takeover-of-national-parkareas?utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=20131013&utm_source=mostemailed, San Juan county feels that national parks are essential. 70% of the county’s business comes from national parks, monuments, recreation areas and other federally owned land.

The town decided to retake their park and reopen it.

I think their decision was spot on. They were fully prepared to fund what was necessary to start the park.

San Juan’s economy is dependent on these national parks. Shutting them down for an extended period of time would be highly detrimental to the community

The government shutdown was caused by stubbornness and unwillingness to resolve a disagreement. It would be irresponsible to hurt Utah’s economy because of that.

How the government is allowed to shut down in the first place is beyond me.

Fall break is usually a very busy time for the national parks in San Juan.

Governor Herbert said, “This is just…common sense. And frankly we ought to be finding solutions to keep them open rather than saying why they have to be closed.”

Herbert makes an excellent point. It doesn’t make sense to be closing parks, reducing revenues.

And as a journalist, I feel like other journalists have not been questioning the government enough. Not to say that journalists are not covering the situation, because they are.

But this kind of story, one where they are really looking into communities that cannot sustain a long-term shut down, are not in abundance.

Just where, and who were hit hardest by the decisions of politicians far removed?

Looking at the economy as a whole doesn’t hit home as much as when a journalist delves into the affects at home.

A Google search will show articles detailing how much the US will lose, but how much will San Juan lose? How much will other small communities lose?

I think it is important as journalists to remember that the little person’s perspective is just as important as the governments.

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Trying to be Good

Taste is the best weapon of someone who wants to be successful in a creativity-based industry.

Artists may create something that is not great, but their taste allows them to recognize the fact that it did not live up to their expectations.

Ira Glass advices anyone who is in any kind of creative work to fight against the struggle of the phase where your work does not match your taste in the video Ira Glass on Storytelling, http://vimeo.com/24715531.

Glass hit the nail on the head, and every person in the industry can attest to that.

What is great about being creative is that you have these awesome visions of how something should turn out, but it is hard to perfect the process of making your vision come to life.

I think executing the vision is the hardest part of being successful in our industry. So many people give up because they can’t achieve their vision.

It’s a frustrating feeling knowing that the product does not live up to your own expectations.

I struggle with this constantly. Writing was the first medium that I felt successful at, yet I still feel my work does not live up to my expectations sometimes.

We are in a constant battle of trying to be good.

In a certain sense I disagree with Glass’ sentiment that artists ever get out of this phase. No matter how good someone gets, there is always some aspect that can be improved upon, that does not live up to your original idea.

I feel like artists compromise their original vision and sort of forget that when the final product comes out.

With that said, I do not think that these products are bad. I think that nothing is perfect, thus everything can be improved upon.

Glass says the only way to improve is gathering a huge volume of work. I completely agree. The best way to improve is repetition and practice.

Elementary school teachers that always tell their student practice makes perfect isn’t too far off. A better version would be practice makes really great, and that is the endless cycle of the creative process.

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Ira Glass is an American radio personality who relays his advice on trying to be good in a video on Vimeo.

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Commentary killing credibility?

As social media advances, audience participation is increasingly popular for various media outlets. 

At popsci.com, the team decided to shut down the ability to comment on articles. As the URL suggests, the website is directed at popular science issues. 

Media outlets are facing the same issues; commentators make a huge impact on other viewers’ opinion. The question is whether or not that is helpful or hurtful to journalism. 

Commentary is essential to journalism. As people who are informing the public, it is important to hear the public’s opinion. 

In the case of popsci.com, I feel they have some leeway in this instance. Not everyone has the proper knowledge to be commenting on a science article. They may misinform the audience, and thus spread wrong information. 

Popsci.com explains their decision in an article on their website: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/why-were-shutting-our-comments.

In most cases, however, commentary is very important. It can tell the media what the audience wants to learn about; it can help expose gaps in reporting; it can create conversation about the topic. 

If journalists have the technology to be able to have these affects, it is vital to utilize them. As social media advances, so should online conversation about media. 

Conversation is very important to journalism because conversation can create change. When a social issue arises and a journalist reports on it, a conversation amongst the audience can help spread the issue and create the necessary change.

It is also important to have audience ask questions. A reporter can become too close to their story and possibly leave out information that the audience may not know.

Being able to step back and answer questions can help improve the quality of the story.

Journalists serve the public. Hearing the opinions of the people that are being served is important to the quality of the journalism.

Facebook, twitter, and other social media sites advance this conversation and make it possible to close the break between journalists and the one they serve.

The gap between journalists and their audience previously hurt the overall ability to report affectively. Now with the new technology, that gap is inexcusable. 

While I feel popsci.com did not make a detrimental decision, I do feel it is very important that media outlets, news especially, keep an open forum for conversation.

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