Audio Question Response

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Data Visualization Comparison

Data Visualization: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/02/us/politics/what-romney-and-obamas-body-language-says-to-voters.html?hp&_r=0

Text Story: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-presidential-candidates-body-language.html

The New York Times piece “What Romney and Obama’s Body Language Says To Voters” used video, audio, graphics, and text to analyze presidential debates. On the most basic level of a newsworthy story it worked because they provided insight that an ordinary person would not have gained from simply watching the debate. Presenting the piece as a data visualization worked especially well because the content was focused on very visual aspects of a bigger story. The paragraph at the beginning of the piece established importance and context of the rest of the story. The various multimedia aspects were easy to comprehend and follow. Details of the precise hand gestures were established with drawings that could provide a precise understanding of what the movements look like. When selected, each hand gesture included a short text on when and how the gesture was most utilized. All of the aspects came together to provide a comprehensive understanding of what the piece looked to provide. It maintained simplicity while providing the viewer information that was interesting and valuable without requiring a large commitment from the viewer.

The text based piece, “Researchers Analyze Presidential Candidates’ Body Language” left a lot to be desired. Relying mainly on text it left a lot to the reader’s imagination. One thing it did do better was to provide more detail as to when, how and why certain gestures were used. Without any visualization it was unable to give a complete understanding that leaves readers needing to go elsewhere to achieve the same impact the New York Times piece obtained. The content of the piece also relied on external sources with links the reader needed to follow to complete the story.

A piece dedicated to analyzing visuals will always be better served to provide visual aids. Reading about hand gestures in this day and age leaves a lot to be desired when a reader is so acclimated to images and graphs. Text remains necessary to compliment the visuals and give deeper understanding to make simple images newsworthy and interesting.

Photo Essay Critique

http://lightbox.time.com/2013/08/29/treasure-land-the-mines-of-afghanistan-by-yuri-kozyrev/#11

Yuri Kozyrev portrays a mining region in Afghanistan along with the culture and issues it brings with it in “Treasure Land: The Mines of Afghanistan”.

The photo essay was published by Time in their “LightBox” section online. Kozyrev relies heavily on contrast and lighting in his pictures. The first photograph in the essay utilizes an aerial view of the region to establish the scene and give a unique point of view. It helps to emphasize the mountainous and remote aspects of the region. The caption details the barracks that are seen in the photograph as a bright blue contrasting the dark landscape. The image looks to be enhanced with computer editing to help bring the reader’s attention to certain aspects.  

The following photographs use a mixture of composition, lighting, and subject contrast to illustrate the story to the viewer. Picture two has a bright blue sky directly above the dark mountains and mine workers. This is a mid-range shot that gives the viewer a sense of the characters involved along with the setting in an aesthetic way.

The next few pictures are mid-range action shots that show the viewer what the workers look like while at work. The fourth picture again offers an interesting point of view looking up from the inside of one of the caves.

Picture five offers a view of the end result of mining set against the mountains. This again establishes setting while forwarding the story line.

Picture six could be called a decisive moment shot where workers are seen shoveling and drilling into the mountainside and gives the viewer an idea of “how” the minerals are extracted.

The next few photographs establish context in the story. The shot of school children walking and miners taking a break helps to establish  the community in which the story is taking place.

The last couple of photographs help to establish the “why” in the story. The village is mostly an agricultural community and these shots give insight to that. The captions help to understand that farming alone is not enough to bring the area out of poverty.

All of this together comes together to tell a story and gives you the who, what, why, where and how in a way pleasing to the eye that words alone could not tell.

Small Community Makes Big Donations for America’s Pastime

The inaugural Summer Jam on August 2nd drew hundreds of people to the Lascassas Ball Field in Lascassas, Tenn. in an effort to save the baseball and softball fields from being closed down.Image

The event offered live music, giant inflatable toys, a silent auction, a cake walk and a pitch speed contest. The entry fee was based on donations alone and for a donation of $25 or more you would receive a shirt with your entry. All of the proceeds went towards bringing the old lighting systems at the park up to Rutherford county code.

“These lights were put up back in the sixties; we got a lot of poles that are starting to lean. When they were put up the codes were different” Wayne Wood, President of Lascassas Baseball Club, said.

A complaint was filed earlier this year that triggered the State Fire Marshall’s to inspect the lighting systems. Violations with the electrical wiring, use of guide wires and general disrepair were documented. The baseball club was given nine months to complete the upgrade before they would be facing a potential closure.

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 “We’re such a small town, we don’t have a downtown or anything other than a few churches and the elementary school so this is the heart of our community” Deborah McLaughlin, Lascassas baseball mom, said.

The residents of Lascassas and surrounding areas came out in a big way to show their support. Over $20,000 of a potential $60,000 renovation bill was raised strictly from donations at Summer Jam. The Lascassas and Milton Lions Club and Lascassas Volunteer Fire Department were the primary sponsors. Additional help came from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and local businesses donating items for the silent auction.

These are the only baseball fields in the town and each year about 200 children from age’s three to 12 play here in spring and fall. The Lascassas Baseball Club is an independent operation and usually uses entry fees and concessions to pay for utilities, field maintenance and other costs.

If Summer Jam gets picked up as an annual event it plans to remain as a community fundraiser and use donations for various community oriented causes.

Thoughts on JEM230

For one of my summer courses I am taking Media Reporting -JEM230. From this course I expect to cover real life events, and use those events to hone my skills in the field of journalism. Work will range from practicing various information gathering techniques to putting that information into a coherent and relevant piece of journalism. Since the course is being taken in a shortened semester I expect the pace of work to be increased from that of a normal learning environment, but more accurately reflect the workload of a working environment.  My expectations of the course are to become better at information gathering in a field environment using interviewing and observation, and then selecting the right information from what I have gathered to accurately tell the story in my final product.  The instructor has encouraged students to work on areas of reporting that they are having trouble with instead of continuing to focus on things they are already good at. I expect this to lead to a strong learning environment and become a better journalist from this as opposed to cruising through the course just to get a good grade. For assignments I would like to cover smaller events, that are possibly less newsworthy, but will allow me to practice my skills with people and resources that are closer to the core of the story. More prominent stories will be harder to do a complete piece on simply for lack of access to relevant resources and they would also need a lot more research to do properly and the pace of the class will not allow for it. Small quick stories will give me a better opportunity to do a complete piece of journalism and learn about the process from start to finish.