Self Evaluation

At the start of this class, my expectations for this course were to learn Adobe Photoshop, Facebook and Twitter live and strengthening my web writing. Although we hardly reviewed Photoshop in class, I learned how to use Twitter Live and I practiced media writing to a point where I feel comfortable with it.

Learning Outcomes

I wanted to come away from this course with a loaded toolbox with varying media skills, and I feel like this course did just that. This course was a stepping stone for utilizing multimedia production skills; it was nice not having to use high-tech or high quality equipment. I learned about photography, video and audio editing just by using my phone apps.

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This photo was from blog post 2: Creative Devices. This is my favorite photo I have taken over the course of this class.

Some media skills I learned from this course were that I was not proficient in before were photography, live-tweeting, how to make a Google My Map and how to use WordPress. I have run personal social media accounts before, but never a blog. I have a brief understanding of Wix, but I definitely prefer WordPress for the sake of user-friendliness. While on the subject of user-friendliness, creating a Google My Map was surprisingly simple, even though I had never heard of it before a couple months ago. Twitter? Of all the social medias, Twitter is foreign to me. I gained a better understanding of how to use Twitter before and during my live-tweeting assignment.

Some soft skills I gained from this course were perspective-taking, problem solving, listening well and interpersonal communication. Due to the high amount of interviews we conducted for this course, I applied interpersonal communication and listening well to the interviewing process. Many of these assignments involved creating content in the moment, which is true of the photojournalism assignment, the audio interview and the live-tweeting. Perspective-taking and problem solving were the most prevalent in these assignments because I had to think about what message to send, how to account for time or how to frame a moment on camera.

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This photo was taken for my third blog post: photojournalism.

Past Assignments

The most meaningful assignment in this course was the photojournalism assignment. This course paved the way for other assignments, such as the live-tweeting and the video project. Learning about the different types of photos (e.g. general news, sports action, etc.) was something I didn’t know about before. Learning the different types of photography helped me decide on a perspective to take for various assignments.

The most challenging assignment was the video assignment. I have filmed and edited before, but my ability to frame and export videos was rusty after just one semester. My biggest struggles when it comes to media production are sizing and exporting; and exporting the video to YouTube seemed impossible at one point.

This photo was taken during our video project in the Union Breezeway.

If I could do it all again…

The biggest recurring theme I found myself reflecting on was time; how to utilize it, how to make time and how to allot time towards assignments. Whether I was trying to fill a 5 minute audio interview or find events to attend that would fit in my schedule, time was of the essence. Now that I know the time that is required to create media content, I would have forewarned my day-one-of-class-self. These assignments take time, much more time than I originally thought.

A final piece of advice I would give myself, on day one and now, would be to keep practicing the skills learned in this course. I seldom use Twitter, but I might work for a company that relies heavily on tweets. Taking photos and videos can be practiced anywhere you go. Although some aspects of assignments seemed hard and I just wanted to be done with them forever, I know that if I keep practicing and applying the skills that I’ve learned from this course, i will only get better.

Video Storytelling

Video, the combination of picture and audio. Video is a great way for viewers to see and experience an event, the life of another person, or to learn about something new. Making a video takes time and preparation, as well as making decisions while in the filming process. I will begin this post by explaining the process to creating this video.

  • Finding an event to film. My partner Cara and I wanted to make a video covering an event. The event that fit into both of our time frames was the event ‘Donut Stress.’ This event is held by the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership (CSIL) during finals week each semester.
  • Deciding what angle to tell this story in. At face value, filming UW staff giving away free donuts and testing supplies seems mundane. We decided to learn more about this event through an interview with a CSIL member to make viewers aware of what the event was about, the duration, and the preparation that goes into providing dozens of donuts each morning.
  • In-progress film decisions. We weren’t sure who we wanted to interview for our second interview, so we decided to film a student. This was tricky because the students who were participating in Donut Stress were on their way to take a test or go to a study session. We luckily found a willing participant who had time to spare for a quick interview. Since students were coming and going so quickly, creating B-roll of students grabbing donuts or test supplies was a waiting game.
  • Editing. This project took about 2 1/2 hours to edit. When putting this video together, we wanted to have a good balance of interviews and B-roll.
Students can take free donuts, a cup of coffee, scantrons and bluebooks for free in the Union Breezeway.

How was this Experience?

What I enjoyed about this project was finding a creative way to present this event in filming and in editing. I was impressed at how we arranged the final product; it was a smart, well planned way to present this event. I also enjoyed just being there at the event as well. It took me back to being a freshman and taking the free food and supplies. Since my partner and I were so involved while the event was taking place, students thought we were in charge of running the table, which gave us both a good laugh.

Some things that were not enjoyable about this experience was being unable to edit the text on the title graphics. We tried and tried to change the text on the title graphic, but we eventually gave up and chose something else instead. The sizing of the video caused some problems toon when reshaping the framing of one scene, the following clip would be framed differently. We were able to overcome this, but some scenes are shot closer to the camera than I wanted. Lastly, we had trouble exporting our video to upload to YouTube; this was due to both low disc space and YouTube not supporting certain file types.

When trying to upload this video to YouTube, the last 45 seconds did not upload correctly, which is why the video is only 1:47 in length.

Go to the video here

Surprises and Critiques

The most surprising aspect of this assignment, like past assignments, was the amount of time needed for this project. Two minutes seems like it should take at least 5 minutes worth of filming, but we spent about 20-30 minutes filming.

Another thing that surprised me was how simple compiling the clips was. A lot of the time editing was trimming the clips and cleaning up transitions, which was the most time consuming. Arranging the clips in the right order helps set the scene for what the video is going to look like.

If I could go back and do this video project again, I would have liked to have a microphone. There was plenty of ambient noise where we were filming, which made the interviews hard to hear at times. We adjusted the volume on the audio tracks, which helped a bit, but not enough.

A Career in Video…?

During my internship this semester, I was able to practice film editing. Despite the frustrations that came with editing this assignment, I enjoy editing video and feel like I can do it well. While I still need additional practice on filming my own video, I feel I could use the skills in video editing to edit video and audio stories. I was originally interested in a PR career, but I feel like a career in media is also a viable option for me.

Instagram promotion

Instagram promotion is a great social media platform to promote your work, or a company’s work, in an aesthetic way. Creating the artwork for the promotions was very simple with Canva. Any theme under the sun could be found on Canva; for example, I found a good quality map background for my web writing story about studying abroad. Overall, Canva is very user-friendly for creating high quality, aesthetically pleasing promotional graphics. Canva and Instagram go hand-in-hand.

My Instagram profile

For this assignment, I made a new Instagram account. In the future, I would like to add more of my digital work from my other courses.

Prior Expertise

I have a good understanding of how to use Instagram; I have had an account since 2013, but I didn’t use it much until 2016. I know how to post, search hashtags and how Instagram Stories work (although I seldom use them).

Last semester, I learned how to use Canva from a friend and from practicing on my own. On a mobile platform or an iPad, using Canva is tricky and not as controlled as using it on a laptop.

Promotional Strategies

The captions on this post were insightful without giving the entire post away. The promotional strategy I relied on the most was using aesthetics to create interest. On some of the thumbnails, I used photos from the blogs that the reader would be able to recognize if they read the blog post.

Typically, people say ‘link in my bio’ to get people to look at their page. I have the link on my profile, but I shared each additional link to make it easier for the viewer to find the specific post.

The color scheme across the board are cool colors, which was not intentional. However, these cool colors are relaxing and inviting without being too overly bright and flashy.

Challenges and Surprises

When I was making the posts, I thought they would only take about 5 minutes to create. Each post took about 10 minutes to create; thinking of appropriate hashtags, ordering the pictures in a specific way and writing good captions. Although these posts were short, I was surprised by the amount of detail each one required.

The biggest challenge was getting the Canva graphics to sync to my phone photo gallery. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t make a post on Instagram on the computer, I had to use my phone to make the posts. This was a time consuming process, but once the graphics were synced, it was smooth sailing.

Career use

I enjoyed making the graphics for this assignment the most. I would love to continue making these graphics for a company’s Instagram. I have been leaning towards graphic design as a potential career path, and this assignment was good practice. Instagram Stories are much more successful than Snapchat or Facebook stories, so I would like to have more practice using Instagram Stories for PR or other promotional reasons.

Live Tweeting Experience

Of all the major social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat), Twitter is the site I use the least and am the least familiar with. I was curious how I would be able to cover and promote an event through this site, and through this assignment I learned that Twitter is a great way to make several short updates. In this blog, I will share what went well, what could have been better and what I learned from live tweeting.

Third Annual Pints for the Planet

First, here is a brief overview of the event I went to. The event I live tweeted was an Earth Day event, called Pints for the Planet, at Coal Creek Tap. For every pizza and pint sold between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., $1 was donated to the Sierra Club chapter in Wyoming. The Sierra Club is an environmental organization that works to preserve public lands, national parks, bodies of water and wildlife. Members of the Sierra Club were present to talk to about organization and answer any questions.

When I was tweeting this event, I was trying to capture it through a PR lens. I wanted people to know what the event was, when it was happening and why people should attend. I used tactics to incentivize viewers such as promoting the free raffle and trying to create a sense of urgency. The event was only two hours long, so I tried to encourage viewers to attend before it was over.

Now that I have explained the event and the approach I took in live tweeting it, I will share what went well.

The Good

This assignment allowed me to practice my interviewing skills. Some interviews were very informative, some were not helpful at all and some interviews gave me some good content to work with. I felt confident enough to ask the staff or customers if I could interview them. Since the venue was so small, people were catching on about my project. I had people approach me and ask me what I was working on, this lead to several conversations about the versatility of social media.

I was able to practice different tactics when writing posts, and trying several different techniques was good practice. I conducted about 5 interviews (two of which were informal), I took video, used photos, created a sense of urgency and I also created a meme that was inspired by a very short interview I had with a customer. I was not only able to use people as my content, but people helped inspire my content as well.

The Not as Good

Coal Creek Tap is a very crowded venue, so a couple of interviews were hard to hear. I also had trouble getting good lighting for one of my photos. Rob Joyce, the Conservation Organizer for Sierra Club, had a small bench next to a window which caused the photo to be very back-lit. I was able to clear up the photo with a bright filter, but not as well as I hoped.

I have never used Twitter Live video before today. I was able to record video and share it to my page, but I was never able to figure out how to add a caption to the videos. I tried to leave a comment saying what was happening in the video, but sometimes this didn’t work.

What I Learned

  • I need to practice using Twitter more. Although it isn’t my favorite social media platform, it’s still important to know how to utilize every feature of it (especially the live video feature).
  • Word travels fast in a small venue. There was a good sized group of people who caught wind of my assignment and wanted to chat about it. This made the interviewing process much more casual and I was able to hear so many different stories about people’s experiences with nature.
  • Twitter posts can’t be edited like Facebook posts can. I had to scrap a post entirely because I forgot to include a hashtag.
  • Keep track of your personal belongings. I lost my car keys sometime in the afternoon, so I walked about 10 blocks from home to the venue. Luckily, the rain storms were on pause and it was mostly a straight shot to get there.
  • Twitter is simple to use when giving short updates. In any event, there’s something happening all the time. This allowed me to tweet different things that were happening (e.g. the raffle, customers buying pints and the Sierra Club members promoting their club) in a quick way.

Tweeting this event was great practice for utilizing Twitter for live content. I strongly disliked Twitter before, but being able to practice different types of tweets in one setting helped me appreciate the platform more.

Google My Maps: America’s Hidden Gems

When you think of going on vacation, the first places that come to mind are places like New York City, Las Vegas, Hollywood, or even Denver. These cities are definitely popular with tourists, but there are dozens of beautiful, fun cities slipping under the radar.

My dream is to travel to as many countries, states and cities as I can. I have traveled to many different cities in my lifetime, some more recognized and heavily populated than others. Although there are still some major cities on my bucket list to see, there are lesser known, hidden gem cities in the U.S. that deserve an honorable mention as well.

On this Google My Map I have charted 5 Underrated U.S. cities that would be a great location for your next upcoming vacation. Along with attractions, such as food, art, sightseeing or attractions, the safety score for each city will be included. Safehome.org rates a city’s overall safety based on 6 factors: population, violent crime and violent crime trend, property crime and property crime trend and citizen to officer ratio.

So, in no particular order, here is a look at the fun things to do in the top 5 underrated U.S. cities.

Asheville, North Carolina

The city of Asheville is surrounded by nature and wildlife. Photo courtesy of Google.

Asheville, North Carolina is a place to visit if you are a tourist who enjoys outdoor adventures. Asheville has a great appreciation for outdoor life, natural parks and wildlife. The state parks tourists can visit are Chimney Rock Park, Pisgah National Forest and Mount Mitchell State Park; all complete with hiking trails and scenic nature.

Safehome.org gives Asheville a 62.41% safety rating.

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is an art-centric town on the water. Baltimore contains 20+ museums, studio exhibitions and theatric centers (combined) for the art-loving tourist. Sports fans can enjoy this city as well, because the baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, offers ticket discount opportunities for their games.

Safehome.org gives Baltimore a score of 56.56%

Boulder, Colorado

The Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder has a variety of restaurants and novelty shops. Photo courtesy of Google.

This city is often overlooked and outshined by cities such as Denver. Boulder, just a half hour away from Denver, is a thriving college town surrounded by mountains. Hike on the Boulder Creek path, take a tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory, or observe the Flatiron mountains from Pearl Street mall.

Safehome.org gives Boulder a 78.18% safety rating.

Burlington, Vermont

The Church Street Marketplace of Burlington, Vermont. Photo courtesy of Google.

Burlington, Vermont is another water-side town which overlooks Lake Champlain. Learn more about this “6th great lake,” as some call it, at the Echo Lake Aquarium & Science Center. Church Street Marketplace, which has over 100 stores across a 4 block stretch, is a good place to eat, ride bikes, shop around or take photos.

Safehome.org gives Burlington a 73.11% safety rating

Portland, Maine

Above is the Chay Tattoos shop, located in the heart of downtown Portland. Photo courtesy of Google.

Not to be confused with Portland, Oregon, this Maine city has a great blend of indoor and outdoor activities for tourists to experience. This charming port town is surrounded by beaches, lighthouses and boats. If the indoors is more suiting, popular attractions include the Portland Art Museum, Portland Stage, a theater venue or shopping for handmade crafts from local vendors. Portland has a wide variety of eats, but Maine lobster is a local favorite and a staple in New England culture.

Safehome.org gives Portland a 75.1% score for city safety

Why downsize?

When considering your next vacation, consider giving one of these cities a visit, you never know what kinds of adventure awaits. Smaller, less populated areas are easier to navigate, there is a bigger emphasis on family-owned businesses instead of large corporations, and there is the possibility of having a different adventure than tourists before.

In states such as New York, it’s nearly impossible to find something to do that millions of other people haven’t done before. I have been to New York twice, and believe me it was a great time, but the dense amounts of tourists quickly became overwhelming. I found myself waiting in line, or waiting for an opening, to take the same photo everyone else was taking. When I visit a smaller city, such as Burlington, I feel like I have a clean slate of opportunities to try something that no one else has done.

Of the cities listed above, I have visited three of the five of them. The central-east part of the world is an area I have yet to visit, and I know Baltimore and Asheville are destinations I want to visit in that region.

Traveling is my passion, and my biggest dream in life, and I hope to do as much of it as life will allow me to. These underrated, hidden gem cities are the places I feel the most drawn to, because you never know what kind of adventures await or what people you will meet.

Testing my Ear in Audio Recording

When we first discussed audio, my first thought was, ‘what kind of fancy equipment will I need to buy or rent to get high quality sound?’ Surprisingly, the app that I downloaded did an amazing job of capturing sound at a high quality level. After testing the app, I felt much better about audio interviewing, like it was a much more accessible outlet than I thought it would be.

Trish Schumacher photographs the band during the Cowboy Walk on September 15 before the University of Wyoming vs. Wofford game. Photo credits belong to Ron Schumacher.

Interviewing someone via audio as opposed to pad and paper was much more relaxed. I found it easier to get good direct quotes from the interviewee, which can be hard when you try to write it down, forget a portion, and the interviewee can’t quite word it how they did the first time. I also found it easier to engage with the interviewee instead of focusing on a notepad. Lastly, I found it easier to convey emotions and the nostalgia from the interviewee recollecting their fondest memories.

Interviewing a friend made the process easier. I felt I was able to be more conversational in my questions and not as concerned with being formal. I had a good idea of some of the memories and responses that she would share with me, which came in handy when trying to make the time limit. Luckily, my interviewee has her own office and was able to close the door so there wouldn’t be any ambient noise. Being in a controlled environment made the process of recording stress-free in that regard. She also had padded chairs that were ideal for sitting in and not making too much noise. My interviewee gave me a lot of talking points to work with to craft the edited interview.

The biggest struggle that I encountered while interviewing was time. Five minutes is short, but telling a story can take even less time. I was caught in a predicament where I asked my interviewee to recall her favorite experience photographing the Western Thunder Marching Band and what I thought would be a 5 minute story only came out to be a little over a minute. As I mentioned above, us being friends and having an idea of what she would say made it easier to ‘fluff’ the initial interview.

Schumacher stands among the band members of the Western Thunder Marching band before the Halftime Parade on October 20. This photo was taken by Ron Schumacher.

If I were to do anything differently, I would have had a written list of back up questions. There were moments in my raw interview where I couldn’t think of a follow up question; they were in my head then I quickly forgot. In retrospect, I could have asked for more details about a specific question than a series of short-answer questions. My original focus was going to be about her favorite game or event she photographed, but I decided to just talk about her time as a photographer instead. I was worried about the responses being short, but the compilation of short responses made it easier to create a bigger picture story.

Trish Schumacher photographs the Marching Band marching down the field for pregame at the UW vs. Wofford game. Trish enjoys taking photos of the band from on the field.

I have already began practicing using audio instead of pad and paper. I have an internship with the Facebook page This is Laramie, which covers local news, and a big role in my internship is to conduct interviews. I have had a couple interviewing opportunities since this assignment and I find that audio cuts the work of the interview process in half.

In the future, I could see myself using audio if I were to advertise for a business over the radio. In the PR field, using audio for news releases can be used aside from a written release as a means of promotion. The biggest thing to consider using audio in that career path is being knowledgeable about media laws and rights to record.

Work Hard, Go Far!

Students and advisers share their personal experiences and advice on how to have the most rewarding study abroad experience possible.

Traveling while in school is the prime time for students to explore new places in a cost efficient manner. Studying abroad offers an immersive learning environment to students from all around the world.

The Cheney International Center, located on the main campus, is where students are able to learn more about study abroad and meet with study abroad advisers.

Studying abroad can be an exciting and rewarding experience, both personally and academically. To make the most of the study abroad experience, study abroad adviser Sara J.V. Robinson has the following advice:

“The most important thing is to look at it [study abroad] academically. What are your goals and how will this help your long term goals?”

Sara J.V. Robinson

This is not to say that students can’t go abroad to fulfill credits outside of the major, but rather that the key figure is the ‘studying’ aspect of study abroad.

English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, are a popular destination for students, Robinson said. This factor alone can cause some to blindly apply to a school without looking extensively at the programs offered. “Make sure to look at the website for the university you’re applying to make sure they have the classes you need,” Robinson said.

Above is a map of the world showing the countries where students can study through the university.

Since academics play a large role in studying abroad, it is encouraged to strive for good grades and do well in classes, Robinson said. A minimum GPA of 2.75 is required to be able to go study abroad.

Lastly, plan ahead for the total cost and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Fees include UW tuition fees, cost of living, travelers insurance, passports, airfare and disposable income.

Student Experiences

“You never know what kind of experiences and learning opportunities you’re missing out on until you try it for yourself.”

Isabel Zieres

Isabel Zieres is a third-year journalism major with a minor in Spanish. During the Summer, she took a Spanish Literature class in Buenos Aires, Argentina for her minor.

“Studying abroad helped me better understand the literature we were reading… we were able to visit the places discussed in our literature,” Zieres said.

The Summer class may have only been for a month, but Zieres was able to immerse herself in the language in the big city.

“Being immersed, even for a short period of time, expanded my ability to speak and comprehend Spanish,” Zieres said, “My host mom didn’t speak any English either.”

The biggest personal takeaway for Zieres was a broadened worldview. “This experience gave me a different perspective about Latin America,” Zieres said, “We think, in the United States, that all the countries [in Latin America] are the same, but they’re all different.”

“If you’re thinking about going, do it. It’s something people rarely get to do and it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

Luke Hellmuth

Luke Hellmuth is an alumni of the University of Wyoming who graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice and a minor in International Studies. In the Summer of 2017, Hellmuth took two sociology courses in London to fulfill a major requirement.

“I didn’t have a sociology background, but I still managed to get a 4.0 in London,” Hellmuth said.

Hellmuth had to write about a societal problem for his final assignment. The topic he chose to focus on the Transgender Military Ban, which had recently been announced while he was abroad. While in London, Hellmuth was able to reach out to actual transgender soldiers and see the problem from their perspective.

“I would have never been able to hop on Instagram and said [to the soldiers]: ‘hey, I’m from America, can you help me with this paper?'” Hellmuth said.

Along with the academic progress, Hellmuth also gained street-smarts by exploring the city whenever possible. Being mindful and respetful of the culture is an important part of studying in a new country, Hellmuth said.

“My roommate Charles and I actually explored the culture and the people,” Hellmuth said, “If you’re an introvert, think, ‘these people will never see me again’ and go for it.”

Hellmuth is still in touch with the students and professors who were in the program with him. “It was my professor in London who got the ball rolling for me to think about grad school,” Hellmuth said.

Studying abroad can open doors for students personally and academically, opening them up to a new world of possibility. The values gained by students who have stepped out of their comfort zones and gone abroad is unlike any experience in the Alma Mater.

Knowing how to manage finances, knowing what academic goals need to be reached and stepping outside of the comfort zone are the key factors to having a truly fulfilling study abroad experience.