This weekend I was in Atlanta for the SEC championship (where I saw our fearless J2150J leader, Shane Epping, snapping away), and I saw multimedia in action. I saw photos hogging the end zones and sidelines. I saw the gravity-defying, cable camera floating above the players and CBS’s huge cameras taking down every play and fan reaction in real-time. I reveled in the big screens, that my cheering face and dancing body showed up on multiple times. I showed up on national television as CBS cut to some b-roll of reactions in the crowd, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch captured my exasperation that graced its Sunday edition.
Of course, being the informed journonerd that I am now, I couldn’t help but notice how the game was covered, what pictures were taken, the camera work, etc. Heck, it’s to the point that Ryan and I looked at each other in our Honors Identity in Modern Nation class and said “rack focus” in unison during an episode of The Wire.
This class accumulated into the creation of a website over a topic, place, thing, whatever. My group went with the topic of disabilities. We, especially Madi, really wanted to do something on hook-up culture, that I thought we could tweak into a site over relationships in college, but we figured it might not be visual enough. Yet, for some reason, we thought that talking about one disabled person, different resources and different disability related clubs on campus was something more visual…
We struggled for a week trying to get in contact with different people in the disabilities community on campus, which ended up just being a wild goose chase that led us to pretty much the same 3 people every time. Madi finally got ahold of our CCC, Gina Ceylan and set up an interview with her. I got ahold of Office of Disability Services and set up an interview with their Director. We contacted the leader of the club MU Student Exceptions, Hayden Kristal, and were able to come and get some b-roll and pictures of that. The Sunday after a full week in and our project finally seemed to be starting.
When we came into class on that Thursday of week two of the project for our “rough draft,” rough seemed too generous of a word. My interview with ODS was scheduled for the next day, Veronike’s section was lacking content and contacts, and Madi had to still search through her hour long interview with Gina and continue to get b-roll. (P.S. if I hear the word ‘b-roll’ I just shudder in disgust because of how Madi only talked about her quest for more b-roll during the entire process. BUT YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH B-ROLL, OH BOY).
Shane told us we were in trouble. My stomach sank. Shane told us that we should just scrap the whole thing. My stomach felt like it dropped out of my body completely.
Honestly, I was not in love with our project. I was so excited to start this final project because I was excited to do a full project on something interesting and to get into its many facets. I had become bored during the first half of the semester with my little projects because there is really only so much you can talk about with a tiny, yet awesomely styled, boutique. I had so much apathy for our final project when Shane told us to scrap it that I kind of wished we did just to get some new life in a possibly more multimedia-oriented story. Believe me, I love the idea of our story of exposing a group of people that isn’t normally exposed but I don’t think we had enough to work with for the type of project we had to do.
Madi had a lot of the ground work done for her part, so she pushed for us to continue with our topic just in a different frame. Shane wanted us to go all MediaStorm on it by doing amazing videos on our three Central Compelling Characters. Madi’s CCC stayed as Gina (who is blind) , I took on Hayden (who is deaf) and Veronike covered Marie Dwyer (who has ADHD).
We had some requirements to fulfill, such as a gallery that I took care of. I was supposed to have a video in a MediaStorm style of Hayden talking about his experiences of doing drag with sign language but that fell through right around deadline because Hayden couldn’t get together with me to film things. So, instead I had to create a video out of b-roll (OH MY GOD STOP), an impromptu video interview from when we took photos and an audio clip. This video almost killed me because I had to edit every single verbal response Madi out of the video interview. I did the best I could to string together different clips in a makeshift new style video. The result is a little choppy and something that I am only proud of in the sense that I pulled it off.
This project tested my patience. I had just come off a great group project experience in J2000 with people I had never met prior to the project that are now my friends. I went into this project thinking that with my class stacked with friends and good journalists and hard workers that I would be set. I love Madi and Veronike as journalists and as people, but working them proved to be tougher than I thought it would be because our styles of leadership (or lack thereof) and group work ethic were very different. There were many times were I was stressed thinking that I was letting my group down, even though a lot of the things ware contact issues that were out of my control.
This project taught me that I have to push through crushing apathy for how a story is framed or how a group is working together to make something that shares a story that is for the information of the people. I shed a decent amount of tears trying to make something I was proud of, which is probably good prep for the Missourian next semester, just to realize that it doesn’t matter if it makes me extraordinarily proud, just as long as it serves the people. I know I am getting really Kovach and Rosentiel on you right now, but that was kind of the only thing that helped me push through. I know I am not the best at multimedia stuff, hence why I want to work at a magazine, but I enjoyed learning all the techniques. I especially enjoyed living out my pipe dream of being a photographer by taking photos for the different assignments. I feel like I have enough understanding to work from in the increasingly digital journalism world.
J2150 and I had a twisted relationship. We have broken up, which makes me happy and sad. We had a lot of good times together and a lot of really crappy times too. J2150 challenged me as a person, a storyteller and as a journalist. It taught me a lot and tested my sanity. I am happy to be free but I will never forget what we had.
Fall Out Boy said it best, so here are the memories in the website.