Friday, August 17, 2007

In conclusion ...

I can't believe the week has come and gone that fast ...

I learned so many new things this week, I almost feel like I was part of something illegal. Like some top secret, backwoods, underground information that I'm supposed to share with the world, yet not tell the world how I got it.

Whether it be John-John challenging a speaker on if his online publication was actually making money (it wasn't) on the first day or Team 7's constant clowning at the end, the week was full of memories.

The feeling of discovery when Mark Briggs introduced us to RSS feeds or Al Tompkins divulging new sites we can go to find damn near any information we needed was unmatched.

I think Mindy McAdams is my new secret girlfriend. She could've taught something all 6 days and I wouldn't have tired of it. Especially on how to use and edit audio for the web. I connected with that instantly because that's the stuff I've been wanting to do at my paper, especially now that I'll be doing sports. But Soundslides are such a powerful way of telling a story that I'm completely enamored with the idea.

The video info we received was informative as well. I know it's been a long time since I was able to do any video editing work but I feel like that's another future challenge that I'll be looking forward to tackling.

To the staff, instructors and presenters who organized the event, I'm very appreciative of everything. Kate, thanks for allowing me to be one of the first 21.

Yvette - my Nashville momma - thanks for taking care of everything as you always do. You're my homegirl.

Aunt Pearl, I only saw you for a couple days, but it was definitely good to see and talk to you for a bit.

John Seigenthaler - my favorite white man - thanks again for everything. Wikipedia can't hold a candle to who you truly are ...

And I also want to send a big thanks to Robbie Morganfield, who is leaving the Freedom Forum and Diversity Institute at the end of the month to pursue another chapter in his life on the East Coast. Robbie is the one who helped mold me as one - of about 80 other aspiring journalists (including Martin and Leah) - of many bold journalists taking knowledge into newsrooms all across the nation and keeping the "old guard" on their toes. I owe him a deep gratitude and put it down, Deacon Morganfield!!!

Okay, class. We're armed and dangerous with all kinds of potent information. Let's get to shootin'!!!!!!

Whatever endeavors you choose to partake in the future, just make it happen.

Thanks for a great week everybody!!!

Jonathan Babalola

The Noblesville (Ind.) Daily Times

- "I don't know the key to success, but I do know the key to failure is trying to make everybody happy."

The Cherry on Top

What a whirlwind of new information, training and terminology this has been. These projects were great fun. And it's been so satisfying to see the finished products. We rock.

Thank you Freedom Forum for throwing me into this, putting awesome equipment at my fingertips and for bringing such gracious, knowledgeable teachers and colleagues to guide me through.

And the cherry on top -- Despite many complications and setbacks, I was able to finish my Sound Slide project this morning with the help of Tom Costello and his trusty Mac. Thank you Tom. Most satisfying.

I can't wait to go back to my newsroom and pitch my first Sound Slides project. I've got lots of ideas...

~Tonya Alanez


Team 5 ... (myself, Tonya Alanez and Tate' Finn) ... worked on our video presentation and it was three styles (though at times clashing) which came together and put together a pretty outstanding 80-second video piece. Big thanks to Glenn Hartong from The Cincinnati Enquirer, Thomas Costello from Asbury Park Press and Anne Saul from Gannett for all their help. I haven't done any video editing since my senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison- more than a decade ago and YES, I'm repping U-Dub- so things have definitely changed. I think we were all excited with how the final product came out although the project would've been perfect with just a little more
WHITE BALANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(And yes, people, John Siegenthaler is a white man, not Cablinasian liked he looked on our project.)

Jonathan Babalola
Noblesville (Ind.) Daily Times

seminar reflections...

Last year I went to Poynter for a seminar on untold stories. My colleagues and I participated in a variety of lectures and assignments tailored to challenge how we view our sources and how we frame their stories.
By the end of that week-long training, our group leader said we had gone from "untold" to "well told."
I feel that same sense of accomplishment with the Freedom Forum's online training. I arrived last Sunday in Nashville with no prior experience using a flash drive or holding a microphone. I was unsure of journalism and its future direction.
What a difference a week makes.
I blogged. I told stories through sounds. I can compose a photo. I also can shoot video and will never underestimate white balance, clear audio, lighting and the need for enough B-roll.
The work involved in producing an audio slideshow or video presentation is long and detailed. It requires good planning, patience and precision.
The principles of journalism are unchanged. I've only picked up new skills and tools to enhance a reader's experience with stories. I'm excited about these platforms.
Thank you, thank you, Kate for making the seminar happen. Thank you speakers and trainers for your time and support.
Tom Costello and Glenn Hartong: You guys rock! Thanks for believing in Team 1 despite our 40-minute delay beginning our first interview.
Mindy McAdams: I'd move to Florida to take your classes.
Amy Eisman: "Dudette," thanks for your critique of my newspaper's Web site. Noted. I'll pass on to the staff.
Al Tompkins: Great dialogue about ethics in the online world. I had wondered whether our newsroom had guidelines but had not thought to ask. That's changed.
John Siegenthaler: Thanks for your wisdom and strong convictions. You are an inspiration.
-Jenny Espino

In my own words

This might be my only chance to editorialize on something, so I'm going to take this opportunity to say how I feel.

This seminar has been an eye-opening experience. Not just because I learned a lot about multimedia journalism that I didn't know before. But I gained something that some people in this world simply choose to ignore: a future mindset.

What I mean by this is that some people you encounter on a daily basis would rather stay where they feel most comfortable. They refuse to change. But in reality, they're probably just scared of change.

And, in some ways, I used to be that person. I used to think that I could never be a journalist. But I've learned that when you step out on faith and embrace the future, only good things can happen.

So I am proud of the journalists who came here and recognized the need to learn multimedia, because they understood that in order to survive in this industry -- and to grow -- embracing the future of journalism was necessary.

Anyway, this may be a little abstract. But my point is this: We can't be afraid to think different or else we will never truly know who we can be.

This is Martin Ricard, signing off. Peace.

Crash course

I've spent so much time learning new things at this seminar, I didn't have much time to blog. Here's my grab bag of thoughts on what I learned and what it was like being part of this experience.
The past three days, in particular, have been a blur. We had awesome equipment to work with as we practiced recording audio, shooting pictures, building sound slides, recording video and editing video. Jamming so much learnin' into a few days would drive most people crazy, but this happened to be a very ambitious and fun group. We just laughed and laughed and laughed at our mistakes instead of standing on the sidelines too afraid to take the plunge.
We completed soundslide and video projects in groups. And we're not competitive at all. Everyone says they have the best project. And guess what? Team Four really was the best. And so were the soundslides of Hillsboro Village. At some point, they'll be up on this blog for one and all to see. Enjoy.
Before I drag my tired self back to New Mexico, where it is stunningly cooler than Nashville, I have to thank all the instructors and organizers for being so patient with us. They answered every question under the sun and were really supportive. Mil gracias.

Iliana Limón, The Albuquerque Tribune

Out with the old, in with the new

I tried Sushi for the first time last night in Nashville. I didn't like the avocado rolls very much.
But you know what, it's good to try new things.

I've certainly tried a lot of new things this week at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institutes's Online and Multi-media seminar. I'm not afraid to return to my newsroom, The (Macon, Ga.) Telegraph and pick up a video camera to tell stories anymore.

When I leave here tomorrow I'm committing the next year to becoming an online, multi-media journalist.

Readers are looking on the Internet, and using their cell phones or iPods to get the news. That's where I want to be, right there giving it to them.

I'm proud, and very thankful to be chosen in the first class of 21 journalists to learn blogging, slideshows and online video to tell stories.

Watch for my byline.
In a year from now it will read: Julie Hubbard, online, multi-media, blogger and Education reporter.
Bye guys. It's been a blast!!!

Go ahead, laugh

Left: The members of Team 7, left to right, Blanca Torres, Kevin Abourezk and Salvador Hernandez.

From the minute we laid eyes on each other, we laughed. I somehow ended up on Team 7, a group of three journalists who had a perpetual case of the giggles. We couldn't explain it. We just laughed.

Our assignment was to create an informative video about the online seminar. The result was really just a mismash of bloopers and some talk of the skills we've learned. Our experience taping was full of errors like forgetting to record entire interviews, stopping a subject mid-interview to tack on a microphone and taking shaky pane shots. We sat down to edit and realized our main interview video was botched by a distracting computer screen in the background.

After viewing our end product, our colleagues said we our team was thinking outside the box. They said our project was creative, funny and managed to tell a story. Who says journalism can't be personal, funny and inventive? I have stayed in journalism as long as I have because it keeps me entertained. It should be fun. It should be interesting. It should leave readers and viewers with a happy feeling at the end.

Go ahead, laugh and make them laugh, too.

~Blanca Torres

White balance!!!

"I woke up this morning screaming, 'White balance!'"

Now we all know the fear Jonathan Babalola expressed today after watching his team's video of our weeklong online seminar.

The four main points we all seemed to take from this session on learning how to shoot video are:

1. B-roll
2. White balance
3. Nat (natural) sound
4. Tripod

Kevin Abourezk


I'm extra excited about learning Avid to edit video. But, the key to video editing i've learned is having lots of b-roll, b-roll and more b-roll.

L. Jones

Soundslide SUCCESS!!!!

After countless attempts (on what seemed like every bleepin' computer in the room), Martin and I finally got our Soundslides project to work - almost.
'It's Hot as Hell: A Day in the Life' featured Nashvillians dealing with this oppressive record heat. We had a great time filming and recording and putting the project together.
Even though the final project has a minor glitch in the final scene, I'd say we hooked it up ...
D.I. 8, makin' it happen again!!!!!!!

Jonathan Babalola
Noblesville (Ind.) Daily Times

In our words ... OK?

Team 7, my team and the best team in the world, just finished editing our video.

What an experience!

Trying to group-shoot and edit video. ... I really had my doubts. But our finished piece is something I'm truly proud of.

Group 7 -- kickin' butt and takin' names!!!

Video: It's not as easy as it looks...

At first it seemed so easy.

In May, I got a few tips on recording video from The Roanoke Times' online producer, Hunter Wilson, then headed out to get started. After a few tries (one involving forgetting to press the record button), I returned with blue-tinted, shaky video of children getting swimming lessons at the Salem Family YMCA.

Hunter, who is a nice guy anyway, smiled politely and reassured me that the video couldn't have been as bad as I thought it was. Somehow he compiled my errant clips into a pretty cool video before the end of the day. I took that to mean video editing was super easy. I was so wrong.

Today, I got a crash course on editing video during the Freedom Forum's online and multimedia seminar. We spent half of the day just learning the basics of editing. Then we actually had to do it. Working in teams of three, each group put together a short video about the program.

Now that my group is done, my head hearts a bit. My brain is numb. I could never have imagined all of the work that goes into producing a minute-long video.

I have given up on ever working in the movie industry. I won't give up on short videos for the Web. Maybe, with practice it will be less difficult, but not easy.

- Marquita Brown

The video Hunter produced is here. Also, many other videos are on the Roanoke Times Web site, under "Multimedia."

Links to my group's video will be posted on the blog.

First blog ever

After a rough start, due to a sudden case of Bell's Palsy, I finally arrived to the seminar on Tuesday. Although I've felt a little dizzy and nauseous from time-to-time, I feel really good about being here. Karen, Kate, Jack, Yvette and all of the Freedom Forum staff have been awesome about helping me get through the week as comfortably as possible. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
The training has been eye-opening experience and has given me a second wind. Learning to use these new online tools is an exciting experience. I can hardly wait to return to my newsroom and share this knowledge with anyone who wants to learn about these great storytelling techniques. As a still photographer, I've felt a little uneasy about using video. This seminar has taught me that it's not the tools that we use that matter. In the end, the story is all that matters.

Back row

Freedom Forum staffers Michelle Hedenskoog, Karen Catone, Kate Kennedy and Jack Marsh listen and learn from the back row.

Faces of online

Erik Layaco
Leah Jones

Scene II

Chips Quinn Scholars Coach Pearl Stewart and Anne Saul of Gannett.

Victor Cristales and Maria St. Louis-Sanchez ponder lighting and setting for video.

It's all about the pizza

Career Coaches Colleen Fitzpatrick (left) and Mary Ann Hogan, known around the Freedom Forum as "Thelma and Louise," noodle over their pizza story.

I had an ah-ha experience re writing and storytelling when Colleen and I did our SoundSlides story How to Make a Pizza:
Making a good story is like making a good pizza.
According to our pizza guy, you have to start with the best fresh ingredients (sort of like starting with a notebook or recorder full of the best fresh information.)
Then you slap the dough into shape to make a shell (sort of like finding a good story shell.)
Then you put just the right amount of topping, evenly distributed -- too little and you get a stupid pizza, too much, and you get a gooey one. (Sounds to me like choosing the right details in the right sequence without over or under doing it to avoid stupidity and goo.)
Then you stick the pizza in the oven to bake for just the right amount of time (kind of like letting your story sink in for a bit before sending it off, to make sure it’s done just right.)
So the next time you go to create a story, think:
It’s all about the pizza.

-- Mary Ann Hogan, Chips Quinn Career Coach

The secret to making great pizza

Empowerment is.......learning to tell stories in new ways.

Intrepid fellow Chips Quinn Coach Mary Ann Hogan and I made our first audio slideshow two days ago. (Yea!)

We sought out Adam Brown at the Mellow Mushroom pizza parlor in Nashville, Tenn., as the lunch crowd was about to hit. Adam tossed the dough as we snapped photos and rolled the recorder.

Click here to learn one of Adam's secrets to making great pizza.

-- Colleen Fitzpatrick, Chips Quinn Career Coach

A little light, please

Anthony Dimaano adjusts lighting for videotaping.

Seminar scenes

Jenny Espino chooses a story idea for audio and photos.

Anthony Dimaano switches from still camera to video camera.

Blanca Torres asks a question.

Working on video

Kevin Abourezk and Sal Hernandez

More SoundSlides Success

Voila! Several more teams have posted their SoundSlides projects:

Historic Belmont Church by Tonya Alanez and Maria St. Louis-Sanchez:

Hillsboro Village by Iliana Limon and Blanca Torres:

Sizzling summer by Jonathan Babalola and Martin Ricard: