Wednesday, April 26, 2006
RCADE Workshop II: DVD Studio Pro
My instructor, Casey Timmeny, took the class through a step by step analysis of the software. DVD Studio Pro allows you to create a personal DVD from home movies and pictures. It allows you to create individual chapters and menus just like a professional movie DVD right from your home computer.
The software allows you to make slideshows for your pictures. It allows you to take home movies and burn them onto DVD. So whether you have old pictures, home movies, wedding, birthday or anniversary media, it can be made into a DVD right in your house.
Mr. Timmeny was very impressive in his knowledge and wherewithall in terms of handling the software. He obviosuly was very computer savy, but exercised termendous patience when dealing with no so savy students, such as myself. He graduated from Fairfield in 1999 and has worked for the MSG Network and Martha Stewart's television. He returned to the Fairfield Media Center in 2001 as a broadcast mediator.
If not for anything, I found this workshop to be very interesting in terms of how easy it was. I feel very confident that I can make my own DVD if I wanted to right in the computer lab. It was very simple once it was explained to me. Overall, it was an informative experience.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Gralnick
For the upcoming ENW350 Digital Writing class at Fairfield University, Jeff Gralnick will be the guest lecturer in the hopes of sharing his wealth of knowledge of digital media with the class.
Gralnick is the special Special Consultant for Internet and New Technology at NBC News. Previously an employee of both ABC and CBS news, he now works primarily for NBC news and NBCnews.com. With over 47 years of experience in the news business, his insights and wisdom will help shine some light on both print and internet news questions the students may have. He has seen everythiing from the first man space flight to being a special reporter for the Vietnam war. Hopefully, a class full of college students should not be too hard to handle.
With regards to potential questions, I have some that I believe will not only help me, but the class as well.
A. Can you describe how your work day now differs from your initial years of working for a news source with regards to the use of technology?
B. Is NBC news ahead of behind of the curve with regards to technology?
C. Has technology brought about any negative effects on professional journalism?
D. What is the most important technological innovation, in your opinion, for journalism?
This site is a unique and innovative one for its use web design that is interactive the world over. Any person with access to the internet has the chance to view and edit what millions of other can view and edit also. The true innovation is the ability for any user to participate in providing information to the site.
My favorite Wikipedia page was the page about Australia. Here, you can get an entire history of the political, social, and geographical of the country. It is amazing how much information about a relatively simple country has been compiled. There is text describing the rich history. There are images of the flag, the topography and the geography. There are sidebars with information regarding capitals, territories, populations, and governments. It is very informative.
Randomly, my girlfriend and I were talking and somehow the topic of how cheese was made arose. We had no idea of what the cheese making process entailed so I put wikipedia to the test. Alas, the cheese mystery was solved!
In terms of editing an actual page on Wikipedia, I went with what I know best and that is baseball. I played in the "sandbox" which is an practice editing page and I wrote about the New York Mets, my favorite team. In the interesting facts section, I included how many time the Mets have been no-hit and by which pitchers. It was really great to add my knowledge to a public site and being able to share information about a topic I love.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Web Journalism: The Great Beyond
James Stovall’s (The guy to the left) Web Journalism, after the preliminary chapters, delves further into the unlimited potential of online news reporting. Chapters 5, 6, 10, and 12 combine tips for old-fashioned reporting with advice on how to apply such techniques to internet reporting.
Chapter five focuses on the basics of news writing. Whether you are writing for print copy, a television news program, or a blog, there is a uniform writing technique according to Stovall:
-The writing must be precise and accurate as best as possible.
-The writing must be clear and readable
-Get to the point. Write concisely and don’t use too many words.
-Know your audience. Cater to their needs.
-Use the inverted pyramid to list information (most important info at the beginning)
This chapter was helpful because Stovall did review the basics, but also gave interesting web advice in terms of using hypertext, links, and graphics. He explained that the internet allows a reader to see more forms of media so we as writers should exploit that.
Chapter six discusses editing. A print editor has the most important job because he or she decides what stories should be printed, whether the structure and grammar of a story are proper, and what appeals most to a reader. An online editor has many similar responsibilities, plus additional ones. The editor must decide on the headlines for the site as well as sidebars. He must decide on sidebar information as well what links would properly aide a story. This was an interesting chapter because it explained how technology not only changed the median in which news is reported, but it changed the roles of those involved in news reporting as well.
Chapter ten focuses on web design. It is so important, as it is with print media, that the presentation of a website or weblog is aesthetically appealing to the reader. The color of the background and text could affect the reader’s eye. The layout should be easily accessible to the reader in terms of finding links and archives. The print should be large to highlight what an author would want someone to read. An editor should utilize graphics, texts, and blank space to make the site as appealing to the reader as possible. This was informative for our own work in this class so we can figure out what is most aesthetically pleasing to readers.
Chapter twelve discussed the major legal issues concerned with web journalism. Decency, privacy, free speech, and intellectual property are all hazy fields which have created many legal battlegrounds that are unsettled. There are few definitive laws regulating the internet which has caused major unresolved legal issues. Decency was an important issue because youths have access to inappropriate materials which the government is trying to regulate. This chapter was interesting because the internet is a relatively new medium and the government has not clearly defined its limitation. It will be interesting in the future to watch how law will affect the future of web journalism.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Tradition Versus Innovation: James Stovall's Web Journalism
Journalism is no longer confined to the pages of a newspaper of the screen of a television. The internet has opened up a whole new forum for mass communication, education, and news. James Stovall, the head of the journalism program at the University of Alabama for the past 25 years, has seen first hand the transition of journalism onto websites. In his book, Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium, Stovall shares his vast knowledge of journalism in all its facets. As an English major, I found his insights enlightening and refreshing. The first four chapters of his book exude these qualities.
Chapter One discusses the benefits of using web sites as a news medium. Specifically, the web has a limitless capacity, great flexibility, immediacy, permanence, and interactivity.
These ideas clicked with me because it is a combination of all these aspects that make the internet the primary source of my news. Web sites have a distinct advantage in terms of immediacy. Newspapers have to wait until the mornings or sometimes late afternoons to print news. News shows have to wait until they air.
The internet can provide immediate information as soon as it is published. It is quick and can provide pictures, video, and link to more information.
As an English major, the capactiy issue is a major one. A writer is now not limited to a set amount of type space and a newscaster is limited to a certain number of minutes to report on a story. A writer can write as much or as little as he or she chooses. There are few structural rules that bind a blog writer providing a truly freeing writing experience.
CNN.com is my main news source and this exemplifies everything Stovall was speaking of. The site is well-written, limitless in terms of information, provides media in all forms (e.g. pictures, video), and most importantly it delivers quick and accurate news. It has all the feautres chapter one speaks of.
Chapter two goes on to speak about the varying types of news websites. There are sites that are updated frequently, several times a day, like CNN.com, which could be the consumate news source. There are also moderately updated websites, like on a weekly basis, also. As Stovall states that blogs are a form of reporting, I have my doubts. My blog post consist of me talking about books I exclusively have read and people I have interacted with. I have not really reported on politics or social events. MY news is not important to many and I do not consider it reporting.
Chapter three delves into the major differences between web journalism and other forms of journalism. The elimination of deadlines was perhaps the most intriguing comment Stovall made. He states that with the easy of publication on the internet, news can be published at any time and would not have to wait to be printed on paper or read aloud on the 6 or 10 o'clock news. I find that to be inheritantly true. Online writers do not have to rush their work. They can pace themselves, fact check extensively, and make their work public when they feel the work is ready. It is a definate positive to be an online journalist.
Chapter four reverts to the fundamentals of journalism and how a majority of them still apply to web journalism. There should be quick, interesting paragraphs that draw the reader to keep reading. The author's words should be sharp and well-written. Headlines, summaries, and polls are still a major component of journalism.
Overall, Stovall's opinion was a proper one in my opinion. His old-school journalistic style has obviously had to adapt to this technological revolution, but it appears to be a smooth transition. He appreciates the benefits of web journalism, warns of the risks, and appeals to some traditional standards to still be in effect.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Yes, You Maye
Blogging has been used to discuss issues such as Desperate Housewives, how to make a soufflé, and how Kobe Bryant single-handedly ruined the Lakers. This, for many, suggests that weblogs are created for trivial and trite purposes only. These people have not come across Radley Balko’s blog. Balko is addressing a court case in Mississippi that sentenced a young man to death row.
His site, the agitator.com, has used this form of expression to potentially save a man's life.
Balko is researching and discussing the case of Cory Maye (pictured right), a man accused of shooting a police officer during a drug raid at Maye’s house which killed the cop. Balko, an analyst for the Cato Institute, has done tremendous amounts of research regarding obtaining court documents and referencing the prosecuting and defending attorneys. His goal is to get the attention of mainstream media.
The word is spreading through Balko’s blog and others are taking to his cause. A blog called Battlepanda is tracking the coverage of this case around the country. Although there are not many credible news sources reporting on the article, one can find several weblogs on the issue.
May sites have been created to proclaim his innocence or to simply question the legal system's swiftness in making such a decision.
This demonstrates the power blogging potentially has. A young, black man on death row who thought his life would be an afterthought, if thought of at all, by most is now the subject of an internet revolution. Instead of television shows or cooking, blogs can address justice and human liberties. A man’s life could be saved because one eager writer decided it would be an interesting topic to write about.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Buster Olney Has the Best Blog on the Web
This makes me want to play catch everytime I read it.
Spring has sprung, but not because of the weather. Major League Baseball has began its long season as most, if not all teams, by now have reported to their respective spring training facilities. The best blog to keep up with all the happenings in the league without question is Buster Olney's Blog on ESPN.com.
In his most recent posting, Olney addresses the major loopholes that still remain in the MLB's revamped drug testing policy. He sites that the use of human growth hormone is banned, but there is no truly accurate way to test for that substance.
Secondly, there is no penalty if a player test positive for a new designer steroid.
Thirdly, test are based of the person themselves. There is no investigation about how they went about cheating e.g. study a needle found in a locker.
Finally, a player arrives at the ballpark and is told that he must provide a urine sample. He is unsupervised until he fills the sample, thus he could easily find a buddy to provide said sample.
Olney demands that the player's union and the front offices of MLB restruction this new plan to truly make it foolproof. Will it take another strike or congressional intervention to make it happen? Olney can only speculate, but he is well aware of the potential dangers these loopholes leave diehard cheaters.
In closing, Olney provides several bullet points about other happenings in the league with a link to more information about the statement. It is very clever and very informative. If you love baseball, then reading Buster Olney's blog is a must-read every day.
Truth......the David Gudelunas Way
David Gudelunas, a professor of communications at Fairfield University, visited Dr. Sapp and Dr. Simon’s ENW 350 Digital Writing class to discuss his opinion about the evolution about blogs and web-based communication.
He first affirmed that he believes blogs did not begin simply because of technology. They started to give people a voice. That voice could say whatever they wanted to and they could say it anonymously.
It is an opportunity for people to talk about popular culture with other people who they ordinarily would not have the chance to speak with or hear about. The information has the potential to be endless.
Gudelunas went on to go over some of his favorite weblogs and what was so interesting to him. A self-proclaimed avid blog reader, he says he spends hours a day perusing these sites. He was shocked to find that barely any student in the class shared his zeal for this phenomenon.
Gudelunas summed up by believing that blogs main purpose was a quest for truth. That people were on these sites in an effort to find the most information, facts, and opinions on a given topic so they themselves can form a truthful opinion.
Upon questioning, he confessed that he would not want a blog of his own because he is fearful of what his peers might think. Between his students and other faculty, he believes his ideas would be too provocative for Fairfield's Jesuit background to handle. Who know? Maybe he is just saying that while he is posting weblogs anonymously because after all, he has the ability to.
All in all, he provided many great points about blogs but failed to express how this is a permanent part of our society as opposed to a modern trend.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Neuromancer or New Romancer?
Molly quenches the thirst of many science fiction “aficionados,” or nerds. She is a strong, dominant woman who can be powerful, smart, sleek, and, most importantly, sexual. The book is written as entertainment and the audience is very particular. They want action. They want science. They want fantasy. Perhaps most importantly, they want the beautiful girl who they are too afraid to talk to readily accessible in the story.
Although it is not a traditional love story, Molly is the quintessential feminist element. Her relationship with Case blossoms as she gets involved in his life because of the mission. Their interaction leads to passion. That passion is what keeps the readers reading.
Her departure is important for two reasons. It separates the story from a traditional romance in that she leaves at the end. Also, her exeunt enables a possible new beginning for Case. He can maybe find a new love interest for another story or seek to regain Molly.
First of all, Photoshop is an impressive tool for any aspiring photographer. The program has the ability to import any picture and alter it to your liking. You can eliminate red eye, add or subtract colors, alter the background or the subject, and create graphic designs on a image. The possibilities are endless.
The most impressive aspect of the center itself was the staff. They had a full-time staff of what looked like about four or five instructors. Our instructor, Mr. Peter Sarawit, was very knowledgeable about MAC computers and all of their components. He was a good teacher, explaining the details of the program.
Secondly, it was impressive how accessible the center is to the students. The RCADE has three to four workshops every week and Fairfield students just have to sign up. A student can learn an array of things, ranging from Photoshop to film editing. The catalogue is impressive.
Overall, the center does live up to the hype that Fairfield University puts on it and anyone interested in audio or visual departments should definitely look into taking a workshop.
Not So Phan-tastic
“From conversation and experience, I have come to the conclusion that you can put most guys into two separate groups: ‘boob’ guys and ‘ass’ guys.” -Fairfield Mirror, week of February 2.
I know what you’re thinking. “Does journalism get any deeper and more investigative than that? Shove over Brian Williams, there’s a new gun-slinger in town. (By now, my sarcasm should be so overwhelming that you are debating whether or not to keep reading. Please do. I need a good grade.)
Obviously this is a good conversational piece one could have with his or her friends, but to be put in print is outlandish. The goal of the paper is to mold students into journalists, not Joan Rivers. This article was pure smut. She actually tries to delve into the psyche of a male and debate the pros and cons of each group.
My favorite part is the conclusion where so oh so cleverly tries to talk about guys and what they bring to the table sexually. Hopefully, she will never find out because the world is in some trouble if this writer reproduces.
The author offers many insightful tips to future bloggers and also details how he himself advanced so far in this field. His biggest point was that links are what enable blogs to thrive. Links are the key to success. A person may find a link and tell others, leading to a vast web of readership. He stresses that weblogging is a community practice. People must want to be a part of it.
Another important piece of information was that every blog should be an individualistic approach. Every digital author should bring something new and refreshing to the table. Readers will only be interested in works that they have not seen or been a part of before. Creativity is what makes the blogging world go ‘round.
The book is written in a informal manner. It uses prose and verbage that is hip and young which appears consitent with an author of a blog. His book is though he thought of his ideas and merely put pen to paper. Nothing is over thought.
This book was an enjoyable read. It educates, illuminates, and entertains. The not-so-modest author’s (his website is titled Biz Stone, Genius) book can be purchased on at Amazon.com