Reporting Across Multimedia is No Walk in the Park

There’s plenty of room for improvement, or so say the number of views of my blog. Fortunately, I’ve come a long way in working with multimedia.

Most Viewed Post

My most viewed blog post on the 2012 Presidential Election has–drum roll, please—a whole whopping FOUR views. Not too thrilled, to say the least. Though, I should have advertised my blog more through Facebook and Twitter. I suspect writing about the Presidential Election and linking to other blogs is the reason why I have all four of my views. Also, maybe because the election was such a controversial subject and some were undecided as to who to vote for.

Least Viewed Post

All of my other posts during the fall semester have received only one view, which I’m sure is from my reporting writing across media professor, Dr. Daniels. Yet again, probably due to my lack of linking my blog to social media sites. The topics I wrote on may also have contributed to such few blog views. In the future, I think writing on controversial topics is the best route to go to draw more attention to my blog.

Favorite Blog Post by a Classmate

My favorite blog post of the semester  is from my fellow classmate, Erin Armstrong, “Better Read than Dead.” I love to read, so seeing that other people are just as passionate as I am about the written word is exciting. I love finding more books to add to my “must read” list, too.

Reading is so under-rated, while television is incredibly over-rated. Getting lost in a book can offer the best escape when school is stressful or life gets tough. Something Erin said resonates with how I perceive diving into great books:

Reading has always been part of my life as more than an escape but as a chance to encounter new ideas and alternative realities and sit in the mind of a character doing things you could only imagine. 

The enlightening world of literature offers insight into every facet of life. I’m adding Neil Gaiman and David Foster Wallace to my list now.

Lessons I’ve Learned about Cross Platform/Multimedia:

  1. Never underestimate the power of knowing how to work with multimedia. In today’s world, so much attention is focused on videos, recordings and pictures to go hand-in-hand with a written story. Having the knowledge on how to report across different multimedia is the most marketable characteristic to have when entering the workforce.
  2. Keep learning. Technology is constantly evolving, so to keep up with the times and stay in the game, remaining eager to learn is essential.
  3. Here’s a cheesy one: never give up. There were times over the past semester when I was so frustrated, I almost gave up on trying to figure out how to do something. I stayed strong, though I’m certain some of my projects weren’t quite up to par. I’m glad I persisted, though. There are some things I’m not good at, but at least I get the gist on how to do them.

What I Want to Improve on:

  1. Definitely my blogging. Looking back at past blogs, I see room for improvement, specifically in content. I want my blogs to entertain, not put to sleep.
  2. Videography. I really enjoy photography, so I tend to focus more effort in that domain. In all honesty, I need to improve my videography skills, seeing as much of the video I took during my reporting writing across media class is mediocre at best.
  3. Timeliness. I want to blog more often to maybe help build readership.
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Interactive C-SPAN Bus Visits Local Tuscaloosa Schoo

The C-SPAN Bus, touring the nation to educate middle school, high school and college students about the cable network, made a stop in Tuscaloosa, Ala. today, beginning at Central High School and later moving to Trinity United Methodist Church.

C-SPAN Bus Visits Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Jennifer Curran, a marketing representative for C-SPAN (Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network), travels with the bus and speaks

to students across the United States. She also judges their documentary competition for middle school and high school students. This year, the competition theme is “Dear Mr. President,” prompting students to inform President Obama about issues important to them. Winners receive monetary prizes.

Curran was kind enough to set aside time to speak with my reporting writing across media class before Central high school students came aboard the bus. She explained what C-SPAN is, describing it as an unbiased, unpartisan, commercial-less nonprofit cable network that features newsworthy political meetings in a “fly on the wall” manner–meaning there is no reporter interpreting what is discussed during the meeting covered.  Basically, a camera crew goes around the United States filming important government meetings from beginning to end, or, as Curran says, from “gable-to-gable.”

Though the bus appears big, the interior is packed with computers, televisions and cabinets, making the quarters a tight squeeze for a big group like ours. Remarkably, my class as well as a high school class was able to fit inside. Unfortunately, I only had my measly iphone for taking pictures and video, so here are some more clear pictures from News-Sun.

All in all, I think the C-SPAN Bus is a great tool to educate young students about becoming active within their community. Giving those who are often neglected a voice is an experience beneficial to society as a whole, providing the world with multiple perspectives that would otherwise never be heard.

Another ‘Bombshell’ for Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret received backlash from the Native American community Wednesday night after model Karlie Kloss strutted down the runway decked out in a traditional Native American headdress during the lingerie company’s annual fashion show.

Sadly, this is not the first offense for the lingerie brand in the ethnicity department. As I wrote in a previous blog post, Victoria’s Secret first encountered attacks back in September over their “Go East” lingerie line that portrayed model Rosie Huntington Whiteley as a Geisha, “mocking” Asian culture.

To add insult to injury, some believe that Kloss donned the headdress as a slight to her ex-boyfriend, St. Louis Ram’s quarterback Sam Bradford, who is a member of the Native American Cherokee tribe. Surely, no person could be so cruel. The model took to her Twitter following the incident saying:

Personally, I don’t believe Kloss intentionally chose to wear the controversial accessory, but was merely doing as she was told. Victoria’s Secret, on the other hand, should know better by now considering this isn’t the first time the brand has come under fire for the same affront. VS continues to demonstrate inconsiderate and insensitive behavior, but apologized for the blunder.

We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way.

The blog Native Appropriations, a forum for discussing all things related to indigenous culture, called VS out for “…their egregious cultural appropriation, stereotyping, and marginalizing of Native peoples,” as well as several other designer brands and celebrities for making similar mistakes.

Earlier this week, the band No Doubt was hit with criticism over their newly released music video for “Looking Hot” in which Gwen Stefani wears the traditional Cherokee headdress. The band members played “cowboys and indians” in the video, offending the Native American community. The band removed the video shortly after its debut and sent out a public apology.

In retrospect, I’m sure each offender feels bad for their mistake and will–hopefully–think twice next time before they dress or behave in an offensive manner. Honestly, it is hard to catch actions or thoughts that may be offensive to some cultures, which leads me to question whether or not culturally diversifying one’s staff would benefit the media relations for a company.

Swinging and Swaying Voters: May the Best Candidate Win

All yesterday, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were blowing up with this quote:

I’m predicting Obama will get an early lead tomorrow until all of the Republicans get off work to vote.

It’s interesting, especially considering both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are at a “dead heat.” I guess the fact that I’m going to school in the ever-so-conservative state of Alabama explains why the quote is everywhere I look.

 

 

 

 

 

As of last night, President Obama was in the lead in the swing states, such as Ohio and Nevada. The polls also show his lead over Romney overall. Another determining factor in the 2012 Election are the single women voters. Women outnumber men at the polls, but there is a difference in those who are married and those who are single as to which candidate women vote for. Single women seem to favor President Obama, primarily for the Democratic party’s stance on women’s reproductive rights and health related issues.

One other determining factor that I’m sad to say is race. Right now, I’m watching the Today show and one of the commentators on the election just said, “I would hate for President Obama to wake up tomorrow morning having lost the presidential election because of a lack of black voters at the poll.” Voting for a presidential candidate based on their race instead of their stance on platforms is ethically and morally wrong. I’m offended that any one would make such a statement.

The 2012 Election is sure to be one for the books with all of the money each candidate has spent and the close call on who will win. As the Hunger Games say, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

Hurricane Sandy Provides a New Topic of Discussion for Presidential Candidates

A mere six days away from the 2012 Presidential Elections, Hurricane Sandy strikes the northeast coast, providing a new campaign for candidates Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

The hurricane has claimed 39 lives as of October 30 and left destruction in its path. Both presidential candidates are making sure to speak out about the natural disaster, letting the residents effected by Sandy know they care. Or at least making themselves out to seem like they care.

President Obama didn’t hesitate to show compassion this week when visiting New Jersey and New York. His concern appears genuine, similar to that of the 2012 tornado that destroyed Tuscaloosa, Ala. There are claims that his visits to the northeastern states hit by Sandy are a new addition to his campaign fro re-election. 

Personally, I believe the President’s sympathy and consideration is the real deal, though it probably does help his campaign. Nonetheless, as President of the United States, Obama is simply doing his job as the leader of our country. The fact that he is also speaking today with New Jersey’s republican governor, Chris Christie, instead of using the air time to campaign shows gumption and authentic care for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Mitt Romney, on the otherhand, is spending the remaining days of his campaign in Florida, the most divided state.

 

Jose Antonio Vargas to visit The University of Alabama at Birmingham, ‘Let’s Talk Immigration’

An undocumented immigrant, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas speaks up about the recently implemented Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act on Oct. 30 from 7-9 p.m. at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

The act, also referred to as HB 56, was passed by the Alabama Legislature on June 2, 2011 and was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley on June 9, 2011. Having faced much opposition over the past year, the law has received criticism on its effectiveness. The law is said to:

  • Enforce undocumented immigration laws
  • Allow police to check ID’s for immigration status
  • Checks immigration status for receiving benefits
  • Looks into the immigration status of employees in state-wide businesses

While the provisions of the law seem harmless and somewhat fair given the taxes citizens pay that undocumented workers and immigrants don’t pay, HB 56 is called an embarrassment for the state of Alabama . To a certain extent, I agree and here’s why:

  1. HB 56 leads to racial profiling. A person of a certain race is not necessarily illegal just because they look foreign. Granting law enforcement the ability to pull over any person based on their ethnicity only perpetuates the bad rap the state of Alabama already has for racial discrimination.
  2. The law distracts police officers from their responsibility of protecting society. If our law enforcement is out searching for undocumented immigrants, who is fighting crime and upholding justice? Sadly, “super heros” don’t exist. Police officers are the real super heros.
  3. If undocumented workers willing to perform unpopular, manually laborious jobs are deported, who will take over? Men and women immigrants of all races who have yet to obtain legal status in the United States are not taking any of the positions being fought for, so why get mad? It’s frustrating hearing U.S. citizens say, “They’re taking all of our jobs,” when in reality, they’re taking the jobs nobody wants. If anything, U.S. citizens should appreciate undocumented workers’ efforts.

Vargas’ speech on HB 56 in the Alumni Auditorium at UAB’s Hill Center should be interesting and will allow Alabamians to see a different perspective, on of an openly undocumented immigrant.

 

Round Two of the 2012 Presidential Debate

Tonight President Barack Obama and republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney go for round two of their tete-a-tete in the 2012 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hampstead, New York.

The two presidential candidates will address foreign and domestic questions from undecided United State citizens. President Obama needs to pick up his game during tonight’s debate to make up for his big flop two weeks ago.

Here’s the first 2012 Presidential Debate:

First 2012 Presidential Debate

Never too Young

The Bryant Conference Center at The University of Alabama hosted the 13th annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference themed “Partner. Inspire. Change.” Sept. 30-Oct. 3, bringing together universities and communities from all over the country.

The event was a great way to showcase the way local and national communities have come together to better their homes. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one speech, but Dr. George Daniels, my reporting and writing across media professor, was able to attend several speeches.

As an active member of the Tuscaloosa community, Dr. Daniels watched several of his students, both past and present, display their hard work and dedication to changing the community at the NOSC 2012. Knowing that young children are already working to better the place they call home is a comforting thought for the future.

Although I was unable to attend the majority of the festivities, I was able to hear one discussion on “Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods” given by Notre Dame faculty member Maria McKenna, three Tennessee high school students and Thomas Davis in the Wilson room of the Bryant Conference Center. The discussion was slightly dry, but seeing HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS impacting their hometown’s government was inspirational.

Seeing such young people influencing their community makes me realize that at the old age of 21, I, too, may change the world around me. I don’t need to be a high powered, authority figure to make a difference.

Having the courage, confidence in one’s own ability and volition to see a problem and fix it is the core to improving a community, even the world. THAT is beautiful.

Victoria Secret Causes Racial Controversy Over “Go East” Lingerie: Much ado about nothing?

 Victoria Secret is receiving accusations of demonstrating racism through  their new “Sexy Little Things” collection called “Go East,” intimate apparel inspired by oriental influences.

The lingerie retailer removed the collection off of their website after a feminist website called Bust came across a blog on Racialicious by 26-year-old Nina Jancito, a non-profit development manager, bashing the latest “Sexy Little Geisha” design donned by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

“When someone creates a collection like this, making inauthentic references to ‘Eastern culture’…it reinforces a narrative that says that all Asian cultures–and their women–are exotic, far away but easy to access,” Jancito wrote. “It’s a troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation and humanization of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women.”

Jancito makes a strong argument (obviously, since the company removed the collection from their website), but I think she’s chalking the situation up to be way more than what was intended. The company was taking a fashion cue from a culture and came up with something different from other lingerie companies–in short, doing what Victoria Secret does best. 

Then again, Jancito is right in a sense: if society allows big-time retail companies like Victoria’s Secret to continue to perpetuate racial and social stereotypes, there will be no end to them. Taking a stand against the powerful is the only way to ensure the stigmas are put to rest. So what may seem like no big deal at first glance may really be something quite influential on the mentality of today’s society and how they perceive individuals.

Although what Jancito did was the right thing to do in the end, I still say don’t take everything so seriously; you’ll never be able to enjoy life.

For those who don’t know, I’m blonde. When I saw this bumper sticker, I thought it was hilarious, so I took a picture of it. I know it’s not near as serious a topic as race, but it’s a minor example of how we should all relax and laugh at how silly stereotypes are.

 

Best of Luck, Alabama: Voters Say Yes to Trust Fund Referendum

Alabamians voted in favor of the Trust Fund Referendum Tuesday evening, which will transfer $437 million from the state’s Trust Fund to its General Fund to cover the expenses of non-education related services, such as Medicaid and prisons.

At 10:20 p.m., the Associated Press reported 65 percent of voters chose yes. What. Were. They. Thinking. 

A temporary fix to a soon to be ongoing–and possibly bigger–problem, the amendment will only aid the state for the next three years, during which $145.8 million of the sum pulled from the Trust Fund will go towards General Fund spending each year. Yes, the thought of Governor Bentley making budget cuts towards the education fund is a terrifying idea, especially when the state of Alabama ranked as the 45th dumbest state from 2006-2007. Yes, the thought of children state wide getting kicked off Medicaid and not receiving the medical attention every child needs is devastating. That doesn’t justify voting in favor of the amendment.

What many are not taking into account are the multiple ways the state could save money and avoid pilfering from the Trust Fund. For one, the state would save an estimated $48 million simply by switching from paper checks to electronic. Another proposal from Governor Bentley’s Commission on Improving State Government found the state could save an additional $82 million by allowing some government employees retire early.

What really irks me the most are the scare tactics those involved with the Keep Alabama Working committee used to frighten those on the border of the subject to vote yes. One threat they stated was the early release of convicts due to insufficient funding for the prisons. That’s not okay.

I guess we’ll see where the state is three years down the road.

Here’s a video by award-winning journalist Quin Hillyer better explaining the Trust Fund Referendum:

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