Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | September 27, 2010

Writing a feature story is harder than it seems

The article on Rob Gifford was one of the hardest assignments I’ve ever been given, but I have never felt so proud of something before. Given it wasn’t my best work, but I was thrilled that I had been able to finish an article in such a short amount of time. That assignment also showed me that I’m finally learning how to take notes. I was able to get down many the major quotes even while he was talking about something else.

This week in Harrower I read about the different styles of feature articles and I must admit that I didn’t know so many of them existed. It’s interesting to learn that there are more than just a few ways to write an article. It also made me intrigued to look into writing and making the graphics for the sidebars and infographics. They seem so simple, but they are as informative as the articles.

I also find it interesting that the more I learn about the news the more I notice in the world. Such as reading an article and noticing where the quotes are and how they are attributed or watching the news to see what the feature story is. The more I learn the more I notice and the more I notice the more I want to learn. It’s an interesting cycle that I hope will continue as the semester moves along.

At first I was hesitant to all the assignments I’d have in this class, but slowly as the semester progresses I find myself loving the numerous assignments. The articles I have to write with a deadline are teaching me how to write accurately and quickly. While these Harrower assignments teach me the basics and the technicalities of writing an article. It’s also amazing to watch all my work come together and improve as the weeks go on, I’m excited to see my writing improve in the future.

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | September 19, 2010

Are leads more important than headlines?

Another week has ended and I have learned even more about reporting. This week we were asked to attend the Call to Honor and write an article with a deadline of only a few hours. I had never been assigned anything like this before, so when I found myself staring at the clock I knew it was something I would have to get used to.

I noticed a difference in the way I took notes at the Call to Honor compared to the way I took them when Charlie Cook spoke. For one, I knew I would have to write an interesting article on the event and therefore I needed an interesting twist.

I am so glad that we were able to have the deadline as part of the assignment because it forced me to write an interesting article in a short amount of time, it’s a skill that will be have to learned over time though.

Reading Harrower definitely helps when taking notes and writing articles because it gives hints on how to do it effectively. I’m glad we have the Harrower assignments each week because it helps me learn how to become a better reporter.

The further we delve into reporting in this class the more I am able to understand about newspaper articles. As I read leads, headlines, etc. now I am picking up on what works versus what doesn’t.

The more I learn, the more I pick up on, and the more I want to read articles to learn how to write them better. It’s also really exciting to read an article that sounds similar to something I’ve written because it makes me feel like I’m on the right track. This year when I read about news writing I discovered that my favorite part of writing an article is the lead. It’s interesting, short, and can be funny. I like it because it’s clever and draws the reader in, while the rest of the article informs the reader, which I’m not as good at yet.

Although I am hoping that in the future I find writing entire articles as enjoyable as I find writing leads.

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | September 13, 2010

Note taking: A journalist’s most valuable trait

In the past week I have learned a valuable lesson, the ability to take notes during a presentation. In theory it sounds like an easy task, but I found that it was rather difficult. Last Tuesday I was asked to attend the Charlie Cook event for this class and take notes so I could write an article on the event the next day in class.

The Harrower assignment this week focused on reporting, which fit well with our assignment last week. It told me the best way to take notes in order to write interesting articles. The point that was emphasized the most was writing down detailed, interesting quotations. This is where I struggled. I found it hard to pick out the quotes that would be the most interesting and most useful in an article. I wrote down quotes that I thought were interesting, but weren’t useful when writing the article, in the future I will have to listen more closely to get the interesting quotes.

Reporting has started to become a new interest in my life. As I read more about the kind of person that a reporter needs to be and the type of writing a reporter does, I find myself taking a liking to it more and more. Writing with a deadline, covering interesting stories, and sharing them with readers sounds like an exciting line of work.

I have never thought about going into journalism, but last week I felt as if I had a real feel for it. Before Charlie Cook began his presentation on the House turning over to the Republicans I was able to talk with him. I found myself asking questions and conversing easily. From this conversation I was able to pick out a quote to use in my article that made it more personal. While I was talking to him I didn’t feel uneasy and as if I could carry on an important conversation. It was a new feeling for me and I think I am going to go with my gut and seriously think about going into journalism.

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | September 6, 2010

Short Snippets or Endless Editorials: How Do You Like Your News?

The first chapter in Inside Reporting was a review of the journalism section of COM 100. It was refreshing to read and know that I had retained all the information. Chapter two had more in-depth explanations for what happened in the newsroom that I didn’t know before reading it. In general I like Harrower because his book can be read like a magazine, on the other hand I was easily distracted by it. The graphics that accompanied the explanations which made the passage easy to follow and remember.

As I read through these chapters and the history of media, I realized how drastically media has changed. The spreading of news has gone from word of mouth to long newspaper articles to quick twitter updates. I think it’s the reduced attention span of most Americans that has caused the media to change. No one has the time or focus to read long newspaper articles, so they have started tweeting their headlines instead. In this way I’m surprised newspapers still exist and I think they may disappear in another ten years.

The newest generation of people in their young twenties hardly read the paper. I know that I’ve never read through an entire newspaper in one sitting and I could probably count on one hand the number of people I know that read a newspaper daily. Our generation acquires news differently and in faster ways. Whenever I think about reading a newspaper I always think about twitter and how much faster it is and therefore leaving me more time to do other things.

Although after reading this week’s Harrower assignment I have started to change my view on newspapers. At first I thought they weren’t being read and were a waste of paper. Now I understand what they do for the news industry and I feel like I am missing something by not reading a paper daily.

I also feel as if it’s harder to get away from the news because there are so many outlets. It is so difficult to ignore it that I might as well know as much as I can about what’s going on in the world. I have decided that reading the paper doesn’t tell people what is going on in the world instead it explains what’s going on in the world.

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | May 9, 2010

All’s Unfair in Love and War – A Claymation!

This was the most time consuming of all the projects this semester – but it was absolutely worth it. I decided to make a claymation after the photostory project when I made a stop motion using a chess set. It took that one project for me to really start to love stop motion and I knew that I wanted to try it again for my final project.

I used clay, pipe cleaners, paper, markers, a camera, and a tripod to create this world and the crazy story line. After taking all the pictures needed for the stop motion I edited together the first draft and found that it was a little boring. So after taking some advice into account I added reaction shots and sound effects and it made the project better. After working on this project for so long I am glad to see the finished project and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

After making a stop motion I have decided that although its the most challenging thing I’ve ever done it is the most rewarding. Being able to watch a video that runs (relatively) smoothly based on hundreds of pictures I took is amazing. I know one thing for sure, this summer I am going to use the skills I learned during DMC and from the different projects and make more stop motion videos. I am so happy that this class helped me find something I really enjoyed doing and its a project that I could really sink my teeth into.

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | April 25, 2010

Sunglasses Snatcher

I now have a new found appreciation for directors. It was really difficult to get them to sit still for long enough to get them in focus. They also started to get resteless near the end of the shoot and it was difficult to make them sit down so I could get more than one shot.

I’m glad this was an assignment though because I’ve never had the chance to really work with actors before now. I am proud of how it turned out because I know how much effort and how long it took to get all the different shots.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a camera again!

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | April 19, 2010

Attack of the Squirrel

I did not actually interview the person for this project, but that made it more difficult in the editing process. We had one person interview the other, but that would mean they would overlap each other and sometimes that made it difficult to cut out parts of the interview.

Having two subjects also made focusing challenging because if I tried to focus one the other would move and become out of focus.

The other challenging part of this interview was getting the footage of the squirrels. They moved around a lot and it was hard to find them and keep the camera on them long enough to get a good shot.

Although I must say, sometimes I thought they were going to attack me when they looked straight into the camera…

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | April 7, 2010

The King and His Queen

This project was the perfect opportunity for me to try something new. This something new was a stop motion video of a chess game. At first it was difficult to know where to move the pieces and how far between each position, but it became easier as time went on.

I came up with this idea when I was in Atlanta visiting my cousins and I saw the chess board set up on the table. The way it was set up it looked like a love story between the King and Queen and somehow they weren’t allowed to be together.

Then I thought, why would the chess pieces fight? There had to be a reason and that is when I figured that maybe it was over the Queen. The way I set up the board was the antagonist King (the cloudy side) had taken the protagonist King (the clear side)’s Queen hostage. I just ran with it from there.

In order to create a protagonist and an antagonist just using pictures I tried to make the viewer feel sorry for the Clear King. By putting him on his own and showing him separate from his Queen. Also, by making the opposing team since more hostile (by giving them more order and all the pieces) I tried to give the Clear side the air of being underdogs. This allowed them to be viewed as the protagonists.

After completing this project I have to say that I am proud of how it turned out. I’m looking forward to doing more stop motion videos in the future.

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | March 29, 2010

A Graceful Redemption

This project has been the most difficult for me this semester. The first challenge was simple: what to make a website about? A Graceful Redemption is the book my friend, Joslyn Murgo, and I have recently written. We are in the process of editing it and because it was on my mind I decided to make a website for it.

The next challenge was designing the site on photoshop because I’ve always had difficulties designing things quickly. I went through two or three different layouts before deciding to use this one.

Then there was DreamWeaver. At first it was one of the most brutal programs I’ve worked with, because I had no idea what I was doing. It took a few days, but as soon as I got the hang of DreamWeaver recreating the website design from photoshop in dreamweaver was simple.

A week later I have my finished project and I’m proud of it. It’s definitely something that took a lot of time and effort because I had hardly any experience in the programs I used. Although, after this project I want to go and make another website for the second book we are writing – just because I can.

In the future I want to keep this site updated because hopefully our book will get published. This website will be used to keep people updated on how the book is going (if it will get published) and things like that. I’m excited to see how this website will turn out in the future.

Posted by: Caitlin Cavanaugh | March 8, 2010

Live Life the All Star way….

After all the work that I put into this project I am happy with the final product. I used a lot of photoshop tools for this project, but I definitely used more than others. So here are the top three:

1. Magnetic Lasso: The magnetic lasso tool was my best friend for this project. I had to keep the shoes from the background, or the background from the shoes and I did that using the magnetic lasso. It is a brilliant tool because it sticks to the side of the line I was traveling by so it wasn’t as hard to maneuver as the regular lasso tool.

2. Eye Drop: I used this tool a lot too because I wanted to keep the colors consistent through out the ad. By using the eye drop tool I was able to make the font color the same as the colors of my shoes and socks. I was then able to make the stars the same colors as the font and the shoes. The continuity helps the overall look of the ad.

3. Clone Stamp: This tool was used to complete one of the hardest parts of the project – the toe of the shoe. The toe of the shoe on the right had been cut off in the photograph and in an ad it doesn’t look right, so I made my own toe. I did this by using the clone stamp tool on the other parts of the toe to mimic the rest of it. I have to say I’m really excited that it worked out because it took forever.

This project was my crash course in photoshop. I now feel comfortable doing almost anything in this program and I can’t wait to do more editing in the future!

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