Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

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.

This isn't the first time I have been on the cover of the newspaper with only a black sports bra and black and gold paint.

This isn’t the first time I have been on the cover of the newspaper with only a black sports bra and black and gold paint.

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.

Final Project: Diversabilities

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Hate is a strong word

(This has some feels so be prepared for non-multimedia related content to follow)

I hate everything.

Well, not everything, but most things. And by most things, I mean things that are enough to plague my mind.

I hate feeling disconnected and out of the loop. I thrive on human contact and social situations. Don’t cut off my air supply.

I hate anxiety. I hate the feeling of my stomach twisting and churning like a washcloth being wrung out by weathered hands of a woman whose laugh lines reveal more of a frown these days. I hate feeling my shoulder muscles, slowly but surely, tense and raise up to nearly meet my ears with a friendly handshake. I hate not being able to sit still and pacing around the room, trying to slow down my breathing as if that will slow down my race car mind.

I hate apathy, something that I felt too much these past weeks. Ironic to say, but too real to feel. It is a hurdle that my short legs can’t get over and my body stops myself mid-run, preventing me from dealing with the aforementioned anxiety. I hate how it makes me feel like I will never be good enough, but, I guess, why even try?

I hate the inadequacy I feel, making feel an outsider even among friends. Success seems like it lies on a completely different plane than my trajectory. Even when I do see it I am unsure if it is the newest version, possibly lagging behind the newest precedence.

I hate comparisons, even though I sometimes do it myself. I hate knowing how stupid and wrong it is to try to measure myself on a scale that wasn’t built for me, yet I do it anyway. Sometimes that scale was one that was built for me in the past that I seem to not fit. I hate how illogical that seems to my confused standards.

I hate decisions. I mean, choosing my clothing or other small things aren’t usually an issue. It’s when you make me choose between two things that I am trying so hard to formulate a win-all solution that will still lose. I hate when these decisions prevent me from doing something I love over another love. I hate seeing that losing score after trying so hard from the sidelines.

I hate crying. I hate how it makes me feel weak and stupid, even though it feels good and I know I need it. I hate how it makes my throat feel like a wool sweater with a drawstring around the neck that just keeps getting pulled tighter. I hate trying to wipe my face and making sure that no make up is smeared so people won’t know that my facade is cracked and leaking.

I hate ignorance. I hate how people don’t understand how things work and what things mean. I am no teacher and I don’t know it all, not even most, either. I just know to not speak on things I am not educated about and not assume, yet if I even accidentally seem to be assuming, I am called out. I hate people not understanding what feminism is today and not trying to. I hate people expecting things to be a certain way or certain races to be a lesser and for me to agree with it.

I hate being 19. I hate how pointless it is and how little it means to me and how I forget that is my age half the time. I hate how I can still be represented as a teenager, plagued with the stereotypes shown on a Lowes commercial of being disconnected, tuning out with music and phones. I hate how my age shows on my face and I have to prove myself to those that are 20, 21, 22 and older that I am mature. I hate how it separates me from those of legal age, my friends who make decisions at the same level as me.

I hate how society puts people in boxes that even I can’t not see and use to hold my bias. I hate how these boxes make it hard for me to consider doing somethings without the fear of being judged.

I hate not having a focus, structure, lane for my mind to run in. I hate how I can love individuals but hate them in a group. I hate how I can give chances to people who don’t deserve it and turn down those who do because of my pettiness.

I hate how my insecurities come up to get me, even though I try so hard for them not to exist. I hate how many times I typed “hate” in this and how it hit my soul and confused it with the meaning of a word as blunt as child safety scissors.

Hate is a strong word but I really, really don’t like it.

CPOwhY am I not this talented?

Kevin Cook of MU won the Interpretive Project Gold in this year's CPOY.

Kevin Cook of MU won the Interpretive Project Gold in this year’s CPOY.

This past Tuesday my J2150 class had the opportunity to sit in on the darkened Tucker Forum in Gannett Hall of the timeless J-School to watch the trials and triumphs of talented college photographers click pass our eyes. It was CPOY68.

We had the ability to sit in on the editing session for the Feature category, which had photos that would accompany a feature story, or as CPOY puts it, saying,  “A candid picture of a found situation containing strong human interest, a fresh view of the ordinary or humor. In all cases the dignity of the subject must be respected.” We saw the panel of judges, ranging from those who hailed from National Geographic to The New York Times, trudge through hundreds of photos with a chorus dominated by “out” to get it down to 38 to finally get it down to the Gold, Silver, Bronze and three Award of Excellence recipients. They would all shift through the photos, taking composition, caption, story presence, emotion, etc. into account before they clicked their clickers to get a majority vote of “in” or “out.” It reminded me a lot of Project Runway in that way. Heck, one of their promotional mini buttons (one that I added to my backpack button hall of fame) just had the word “out” repeated in tiny print over the entire glossy surface.

I was in complete awe that my peers created such pieces of artistic photo-j wonder. I was also baffled by how these judges could quickly go through these photos, just throwing away photos that I thought were wonderful. I mean, all of these are wonderful compared to the kind of photography I do (more like iPhoneagraphy). Speaking of iPhoneagraphy, Kevin Cook of the MU got silver in the Feature category that we were watching and also placed gold in the Interpretative Project in which he used his iPhone to capture images around Philly. His iPhoneagraphy puts any white girl’s selfie to shame (I mean, that does a good job of doing that by itself). But, in all seriousness, it was interesting to such beauty, emotion, art and storytelling capacity coming from a device that usually promotes self-absorption. And, I think the true talent comes from that, using something that is unconventional to capture unconventionally beautiful images.

This once again invigorated my secret dream to be a world-reknown fashion photographer, something that is such a reoccurring pipe dream thanks to my interaction with photo-j at the J-School. Oh, don’t tell me “Veronica, you could do it if you really want to” because my craft needs so much work and writing is what I feel like I excel at anyways (honestly, I excel at talking but that is neither here nor there). But, in a way, the photos were doing their job. They were invoking strong, chill-inducing feelings in me. Some photos made me stifle laughter (I had to be quiet so they could judge), smile, feel a tinge of pain in my heart, be washed with sadness or just be in awe and excitement. The fact that MU was the backdrop for this gathering of art and the esteemed judges of it makes me feel so inspired by my school, which is something I have been needing lately. Just like photography, sometimes you need just need a new perspective to be inspired and make something beautiful.

Call me on my STRIPES phone

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STRIPES car hats hang on the wall on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 in the
STRIPES house. Drivers are advised to not drive over 55 mph because the car hats can fall off at that speed.

Columbia, Mo.– Supportive Tigers Riding In Pursuit of Ensuring Safety, better known to a slew of intoxicated MU as STRIPES is where I am spending this game night. I volunteer for STRIPES at least 5 times a semester doing everything from driving cars, being the passenger that deals with navigation and to taking phone calls for the first time tonight. STRIPES was something I joined because I thought it was fantastic that my school had a confidential, free safe-rides service. Plus, I am someone that loves to help people in anyway and never wants anyone sto endanger themselves and others by driving drunk. The fact that I have such an awesome STRIPES family now is just another warm-fuzzy that can be added to the warm-fuzzy of helping people.
In fact, one of my many STRIPES friends is sitting next to me doing phones as well. Josh Gilmer, MU sophomore, is similar to many of the men that volunteer for STRIPES in listing driving the nice AVIS rental cars as his favorite part about being in the organization.

Have you seen my car? It’s crappy.

says Gilmer.

Those fancy push-to-start cars are a nice change of pace to my 2002 Saturn S2 Coupe (is your car discontinued and have three doors? Didn’t think so), but personally I love being a passenger more. The nights that I will forever remember as part of my college experience are when I have been dying laughing with one of my good friends as the driver and me as the passenger as drunk people say ridiculous things. I have a note in my phone just dedicated to all the crazy things they say.

This week and next week are membership recruitment weeks and I only can gush over STRIPES. I mean, free food, fun people, and helping keep drunk drivers off the road isn’t enough to get you involved, I don’t know what will.

So, call me maybe.

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Josh Gilmer, MU sophmore, works the phones in the STRIPES house on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. On busy nights, up to three people will be phoning.

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Handmade and official STRIPES banners and posters are usually on display throughout the STRIPES house, but the recent renovations keep the main house walls on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 bare except for the new orange paint.

Halloweak

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This week was referred to many as “Halloweek” or the Thursday, Friday and Saturday were called “Halloweekend” but the way people went about their costumes was “Halloweak” in my eyes.

Sure, I just totally wore out that wordplay in one sentence, but what I am trying to get too is the weak excuses for “clever” or “relevant costumes. The fact that there are people in this world that would dress up in a bloody Trayvon Martin Costume is absolutely disgusting to me. OH and we can’t forget about the loving mother who dressed her child as a Klansman. Yes, people like this do exist and think it is all in good natured fun and tradition to dress up in such ways.

Halloween tends to bring out the insensitivity in people that they disguise as humor. They joke saying things like, “Oh, it is just Halloween, it doesn’t mean anything.” Do you think it “doesn’t mean anything to the social group you are marginalizing? Many people fall culprit to cultural misappropriation when All Hallows Eve rolls around. Cultural misappropriation usually refers to people choosing parts of a culture, usually stereotypical and possibly falsified information, as the major representation and identity. Ladies love to do this with their Native American (or even better, “Indian,” for those that don’t understand geography and correct terms) costumes, complete with headdresses, skimpy beaded dresses, pigtail braids and war paint. Men are more lazy and will throw on a poncho, sombrero, fake mustache and hold maracas or  a burrito. Ladies, it is okay to dress up as “Pocohantas” because that is a character that you are portraying, not just what you think a culture is. Would you get upset if someone of a different culture than you dressed up in something that they deemed as the “norm” for your culture? I am sure you would. So, don’t do it because cultures include real people NOT characters.

I mentioned “skimpy” as a descriptor for the Native American costume, which brings us to the crux of another major Halloween problem. Slut shaming and implied consent also plague this season just as much as Baby Ruth’s and Kit Kats. For teen girls and women, many of our pre-made costume options are limited to those that use the adjectives “sexy,” “slutty” or the tactful “sweetheart” and contain about the same amount of fabric as the comparable costume for an 8-year-old. But, lucky for us, we live in what is considered a free world where we have the freedom to choose how we want to express yourself. If you love wearing short skirts (I do!), then go ahead and do it on Halloween. If it is not your thing, wear a almost complete coverage Hulk costume (also something I have done). But, women that wear the former type of costume are in no way, shape, or form “asking for it.” That doesn’t mean that they will allow people to touch them, squeeze their asses, cat call them, or take advantage of them sexually. If that women wants to hook up with someone, she will because that is her choice. Her clothing is not consent. Her saying so is consent. This all sounds so simple but yet women are still victimized because of some cute, little costume that they were excited to wear.

I went as Miley Cyrus for Halloween (Thursday I wore the teddy bear unitard complete with little bun nubbins for the infamous VMAs Miley. Friday I wore a cropped tank top with white boy short underwear over pantyhose with a handmade wrecking ball for the equally infamous “Wrecking Ball” music video Miley), and when I told people that was who I was going to be the first think they would mention was something along the lines of how little clothing I would be wearing. “Oh, you are wearing that to be a slut.” Yes, my costumes did leave me wearing little clothing. Yes, Miley is notorious for her overtly sexual behaviors. No, neither of those are reasons why I chose the costume. I have been told that I looked like Miley multiple times when I was at the LouFest music festival by strangers because of my hair cut. So, I thought it would be fun to play off such a current cultural icon and embody her, especially her “fuck the system” spirit. Sure, I have had some issues with her use of back up dancers as more like cultural stereotype props, but in general she is raising some good issues about identity and roles to the public in a really interesting way. But, just because I am not wearing that much clothing doesn’t make me a slut. It makes me confident and comfortable and it makes me something that maybe I am not on a daily basis. And, that is what Halloween is all about.

Forget the haters ’cause somebody loves ya

So, last night I was the saddest I have been awhile. I am the type of person that is extremely invested in my sports teams (the Cubs are just a constant heartbreak that I have grown numb to), so I will spiral into sadness when they perform poorly and lose. It doesn’t hurt that I am a Tiger’s Lair coordinator, so it is literally my job to be spirited and put my heart and soul into loving my Tigers.

Last night, my Mizzou Tigers lost in double overtime to the South Carolina Gamecocks (insert phallic joke here). It was a heartbreaking Homecoming game to say the very least. The “ping” of the final field goal off the left upright is still ringing in my mind, but don’t you dare expect me to start badmouthing Andrew Baggett, our kicker.

According to the internet, my sentiment is an anomaly. Many people took to Twitter to beat on Baggett after the game. Sure, there were people, like many of my friends and fellow Tiger’s Lair coordinators, that tweeted their support of Baggett and the team as we head into taking on Tennessee this upcoming Saturday at 6:00. But, the pure hatred and disrespect that I saw Mizzou Nation giving one of their own pissed me off, for lack of better words.

At Mizzou, we pride ourselves in our rather cheesy motto of “One Mizzou.” Now, how diversity on campus ties into that is a whole other beast to tackle at a different time, but when it comes down to it, it means that we are all in this together. We are all at Mizzou to learn, celebrate our traditions and triumphs and help pick each other up from our losses and missteps. We have been through our rough entry to the SEC last year and still came back, roaring for more. We were there as Baggett grew and developed as new kicker last year. We started as unranked, cheered our team into the 25 spot, freaked out when we hit 14th and were absolutely baffled and excited when we became number 5.

Now we sit at the number 10 spot, 7-1 and still top of the SEC East. These are all things to be proud of. Think of all these things (and the fact that our volleyball team is 25-0 and 9-0 in SEC play. Wow, just wow!) as our coaches and players push into next week to come back better and stronger. Also, remember your privilege as a fan. You get to sit back and watch through all the good and bad. You don’t live it the same way as the players. They have to deal with not only the fans reactions but themselves. As former athlete myself, I know that myself could be my worst enemy and my biggest ally. I pushed myself to do everything for my team but would beat myself up when I thought I messed up the play or didn’t help them enough. Baggett has to deal with the criticism from supposed loyal fans and also deal with whatever emotions have stricken him. So, you may think that it is hard time for you getting over the loss but multiple that at least 1,000 times over (I don’t want to get too hyperbolical) and that is how the players and Baggett feel.

So, let’s stop the hating and refer to Miley Cyrus’s lyrics (whom I will be taking the persona of this week for Halloween) that title this post and go into this upcoming week ready to be One Mizzou; fans and players together to come back and beat Tennessee.

From one Mizzou obsessed and Truman the Tiger infatuated fan to the rest of Mizzou nation: MIZ!

Are you rapey for some football?

Rape and football are two things that usually don’t go together in my brain because I absolutely adore football (oh, hey #5 Tigers) and I rape culture is something I absolutely hate, as a stated in my last post. But, a lot of times, the hypermasculine complex that can come with sports can be a breeding ground for rape culture. Steubenville is just one example where the star football players were portrayed by the media and town as just good boys “just being boys” and advocating victim blaming by saying the girl should’ve known better. It’s all too typical. The most recent big story is about Maryville, Mo. in which Daisy Coleman, age 14 when she was sexually assaulted and left for dead in the snow last year, and her family are the center of threats by the town and the powerful family of her attacker. He was also a star football player. The first person account from Daisy brought me close to tears, it was so powerful to see her share her story and so horrible to hear.

I was also brought close to tears because of the two recent clery releases we have gotten from Mizzou. The first one detailed how a resident at one of the Rollins complex residence halls heard a knock on her door, answered it thinking it was her friend, and a man forced his way into the room and assaulted her to the point were it injured her. My residents were leaving the building reading the email off their phones saying how scary that was and all I could do was plead them to make sure they didn’t allow anyone in the building they didn’t know after hours and to ALWAYS lock their doors at night. This one especially got me as an RA at an all girls dorm because something like that could easily happen here because our building only has one swipe-in to get in after hours. Some of the other halls have swipe restricted access after the main lobby that separates that from the area of residence to ensure that guests have to be swiped through to get into where people live. Here at Jones, you just have to have some one hold open one of the exterior doors for you and you have free reign to the entire building. Last year, a man some how got in through the underground tunnels between some of the halls and the Dobbs dining hall before they were locked for the night and was creeping around and got into some of the girls’ rooms while they were sleeping because they forgot to lock their door.

Within the same week of getting that clery release, we received another one that was about how a resident of Laws Hall, a hall that is part of the same area as mine, had a resident come forward about her sexual assault that happened a few weeks prior. This frightened me even more because how the proximity to where I live and the fact that these happened in such a short time period. It really hit me how common rape actually can be, even though it is usually not reported. The first release was especially frightening because the man that assaulted her was a stranger to her. That usually is not the case, it is usually someone you know, hence why you may not want to report it.

All I can do at this point is hope and pray that this trend will not continue and continue to educate people as much as I can. If people are educated to not perpetuate rape culture, then it won’t seem as something that is “manly” or okay to do for “power” or even something that is just brushed off as the victim’s fault. If I educate my female residents on how to prevent people getting into the building or endangering themselves in that sense, then I will consider myself successful.