Monday, April 20, 2009

Tackling the Non-linear Assignment

It's interesting that after every blog, twitter, in-class assignment, midterm, final, feature story, slideshow, audio story and website design that I've endured over this year combine, it all comes down to the non-linear story assignment. This assignment will combine virtually every aspect that has previously come my way and now the time has come to put it to the test. For my final project of MCOM 257-258, I'm generating ideas for how I want to approach it. I already know that I'm going to combine every assignment that relates to my beat which is student stress including my feature story, audio story, and slideshow presentation. These three will serve as my branches that viewers can see once they choose a particular branch. I imagine the trunk of my tree will serve as a long blurb that highlights the purpose of the branches and how they each contain a piece to discovering a different avenue of stress.

I'm actually amazed at myself. When I first began my beat on stress, I thought I would have to end up changing my beat because I figured that I only could take it so far, but I've managed to tell a different story each and everytime on a beat in which I originally thought had one perspective. What concerns me the most is my additional two stories. I haven't really brainstormed on what to talk about next and in what capacity to tell it. The stories only have to be 250 words long which is doable, but I really don't know who or what to talk about. Secondly, I'm concerned with how to incorporate a map on my webpage. I would like to use one, but I'm unsure about how to incorporate it considering what my beat is. Change or something new intimidates me. I fear not being able to accomplish or producing my very best work, but I'm willing and ready to handle the next phase before reaching the end. With a little more time, I will have ideas, meanwhile I need to brainstorm.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brainstorming a slideshow

For my slideshow presentation about an interesting person, I am literally stuck and I'm not sure where to look. My beat is on student stress here at Towson, but I'm having trouble finding someone who can be seen as interesting and more importantly being worthy of two minutes. This assignment is challenging to say the least, but as always, I pull through in a clutch. I want to take a different angle for this story and develop a focus taking stress management to a new light, so I am open to ideas from anyone and please feel free to contribute.

Possible idea:
Charles Matthews, a chemistry teacher at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School has been teaching in the Baltimore City Public School System for over 35 years. From school year to school year he says he's going to retire, but always summons the strengh to start off another school year. He has acquired multiple degrees and certifications and has had an amazing journey thoughout his lifetime. Matthews spends day-in and day-out at school even on weekends. He enjoys the love of teaching, but dealing with teenagers at 68 years old is no walk in the park. Over the past several years, Mervo has experienced arson, vandalism, theft and much more. For this story, I want to focus on how a veteran teacher in the Baltimore City Public School systems deals with the stress from students while working in an unpredictable learning environment.

-This is only the idea that I have so far, I thought it was worthy of two minutes because he's very knowledgeable and has experienced multiple school years of stress over the years, if I'm going to do this, I still need to appropriately fine tune it more. If there any suggestions, please contact me.

Put a smile on your face and laugh your stress away

There are many times when we all deal with stress, but have no idea how to cope with it. Believe it or not, the answer lies within you; it's the explosive yawn that can sometimes leave you in tears. Give up? It's Laughter! Laughter is the best medicine to cure matters that constantly stress you out from day to day. According to the article, Stress Management-TOP 5 Ways to Bring Laughter Into Your Life, laughter brings people together, allows you to maintain a healthy perspective on life and it's simply contageous. Have ever been overwhelmingly stressed out about school, jobs, or relationships, but then all of sudden started laughing? After a few hours or so, you felt the weight on your shoulders seem a little lighter and you began to breathe again and reclaim your life. In the article by Michael Authur Moore, he explains 5 ways to brighten your days with laughter:

1.) The Media
2.) The Fun Friend Sydrome
3.) Look at the Bright Side
4.) The Internet
5.) New Experiences

The first method is the media. News broadcast such as the evening news focus on violence, war and the economy all of which are sad and depressing things, but you can add laughter into your life by going to see a comedy at the movies or renting a DVD of your favorite comedy. Secondly, the fun friend sydrome. Moore suggest that everyone should have a fun friend who makes an outing between the two of you entertaining and keeps the fun going nonstop. This person makes you laugh and keeps you wanting to be in their company. Third, looking at the bright side. If you find that something is stressing you out look for things that are worth laughing about. It may seem like simple advice, but the more you practice it the more less stressful a situation may appear. Fourth, surf the net. The internet contains a variety of websites, articles and pictures that make you laugh. You know what you enjoy better than anyone, so why not take some time for yourself and find what leaves you in stitches. Finally, explore new experiences. A chance to find something different than the ordinary is an exciting venture. Like the old saying says, you only have one life to live and it's too short to live it stressfully.

Once you've master these techniques, you'll be enjoying life a little less stressfully. There are destined to be harder days than others, but just know that stress is only temporary. Don't little things stop you from enjoying the one and only life you have.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words

In this blog post, I want to discuss editing techniques used in mainstream media and popular networks such as the National Geographic channel. There are a variety of techniques for making a story more compelling and impactful by bringing news home to the audience. Recently, we've all have heard of the devastation caused by the earthquake in Italy and the tragedy of the lives that were lost. Viewers like you and I, who were not there to experience the quake firsthand, cannot imagine the pain and suffering that befell the people of L'Aquila, but with proper editing techniques combined with captivating visual images, it could be made possible for the story to come to life. This clip from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams features a vast amount of editing techniques. It provides natural sound, a variety of shots, sequencing, appropriate spacing and most importantly shots that tell the full story. Once you click on the link to the story, you'll see the destruction caused by the earthquake, natural sound of sirens, victims crying, workmen removing rubble, occasional chatter and construction machines. The shots follow the reporters words to illustrate the story including medium, tight and wide angles. When elements such as these are utilized sequentially, it makes a story come full circle. Click on the link below and see for yourself.

Watch Italy Quake

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stress Revealed: An exclusive feature from students just like you

Hold it! Before you completely pull your hair out, you may wanna check out my feature story on Stress Management at TU. In this feature story, you'll meet two students, right here at Towson, who tell their stories of stressful encounters. Featured inside are TU sophomores, Kevin Stewart and Jasmine Pitts as well as Dr. Jaime Fenton, the coordinator of Eating Disorders at Towson's Counseling Center. Kevin and Jasmine provide tips and experience into their lives as students while Dr. Fenton gives perspective from a professional standpoint elaborating on the subject with answers to key concerns from students like you. There are only seven weeks remaining in the semester, but stress has no time limit. So before you stress and complain about homework, papers or finals take a look and discover how your study habits can improve in no time at all.

For your listening ear

Recently, I completed an audio story continuing my beat on stress here at Towson. My story is entitled, "Its not just TU, students are stressed across Maryland campuses." The purpose of my story was to show stress from a new perspective featuring students from other local colleges and universities. In my story, your introduced to my brother Brandon Wright, a freshman at UMBC who can't find time to get all his daily tasks completed in a stress-free manner. Secondly, you'll meet Joy Williams, a junior at McDaniel College who found unique ways to keep her cool while under intense pressure. Joy's methods are so simple, yet students consistently let stress take over without taking time to breathe in between work loads. I want this story to illustrate that students here at Towson are not alone in their personal fight against stressful situations. I encourage you to take a listen at my audio story and let the weight be lifted off your least for 1:13. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Audio Story-Brainstorming

For my audio story, I haven't quite decided on what I am going to write my story about just yet. My beat blog focuses on student stress here at Towson, but I think that I may want to travel off campus for this story to get a different perspective on what students on other campuses are going through to show variety. I have a few sources in mind that I may want to interview and I will conduct these interviews over spring break. If my story idea is approved, I will be talking to students from McDaniel College, UMBC and College Park. The interview subjects that I have in mind are extremely knowledgeable and could provide excellent soundbites from their rountine ventures. I haven't quite worked out the natural sound that I could grab from the interviews, but I will keep brainstorming and promise to come up with an idea soon. Wish me luck!