Just a Student?

Charles Davis mentioned during his presentation on media law that the university has, in the past, attempted to block students’ work from being published. When I heard this, my first thought was, “Why is the university that houses the world’s first school of journalism infringing on the First Amendment rights of its own students?” My second thought was, “I don’t think I’ll be covering anything that controversial while at MU.”

When I go out to do journalism assignments and interview residents of Columbia, I do my best to not step on any toes. People who agree to interviews are gaining nothing; they are just helping me gain experience and complete my projects and articles. I don’t work for a news organization. I don’t have a press pass. To my interview subjects, I am just a random college student prying into their lives.

Although I have the right to publish anything I want, it is not necessarily ethical to publish anything I want. I feel that my status as a student does not allow me to ask tough questions and dig into matters that may be controversial.

However, I also have a problem with this complacency. I fear that I won’t learn about journalism properly if I don’t do it properly during my four years at MU. I don’t want to get too comfortable, because I know it’s unlikely that I will spend my career as a journalist doing glowing profiles on the leaders of non-profits. So here’s my dilemma: as a student of journalism, how far should/can I go in interviews?

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David Gilkey, you’re my hero

I know I’m supposed to write my weekly blog post about Monday’s lecture, but I would much rather write about David Gilkey than Lonny Magazine. So that’s what I’ll do.

I want David Gilkey’s life. I am starting my convergence sequence next semester, and my emphasis area is multimedia producing. If I can land a job that allows me to travel, shoot photos and video, record audio and produce slideshows for the Web, I will be overjoyed.

Gilkey’s work is extremely impressive. I hope to eventually achieve at least a fraction of his skill and professionalism. I can’t imagine the courage it took to stay level-headed and shoot phenomenal photos in the middle of gunfire in Afghanistan. His photos from Haiti also provided a haunting account of the earthquake aftermath. There is a particularly disturbing photo of a man walking through rows of exposed corpses. Gilkey showed, again and again, courage and determination in his photography.

I like that Gilkey spoke about juggling all of his multimedia equipment when out in the field. I experienced the same problem when I tried to simultaneously take photos, shoot video and record audio at the Citizen Jane Film Festival. I tried to condense the equipment into the fewest bags possible, but it was still awkward. There is nothing that can be done about that bulky tripod. I thought I was just being awkward and inexperienced lugging all that equipment around, so I was happy to hear that Gilkey runs into the same problem with equipment. It is also very difficult to decide when to switch between the different pieces of equipment. I hope these logistics and decisions become a bit smoother and more intuitive with experience. At the very least, I will become accustomed to making those decisions.

Loeffler Campaigns in the Rain

 

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Greg Loeffler campaigns for MSA president Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, on Lowry Mall in Columbia, Mo.

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A banner marks the spot where Loeffler and Damico campaign to lead MSA Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, on Lowry Mall in Columbia, Mo.

Greg Loeffler braved Tuesday’s rain to campaign for Missouri Students Association president on Lowry Mall.

Elections began Monday, and vice presidential candidate Lauren Damico stood at the ready with an iPad for students who wanted to vote immediately. Loeffler passed out damp flyers with QR codes for tech-savvy voters.

Loeffler believes diversity is the most important issue facing the MU student body.

“Diversity means a lot of things,” Loeffler said.

If elected, Loeffler and Damico plan to advocate for LGBTQ rights and to work with the existing One Mizzou campaign.

 

Infographics

As people’s expectations for the immediacy of information become higher and higher, Infographics will become more and more relevant. Many people don’t want to read long-winded descriptions of statistics or demographics. Glancing over a well-made infographic that demonstrates rich content, inviting visualization and sophisticated execution can convey key information in a fraction of the time it would take to read an article.

Combining Infographics with mobile technology would be, ultimately, the most efficient way to get information. When I envision my ideal way to digest statistical information, I see an interactive graphic on my smart phone. I could simply tap different parts of the graphic and see more information appear. Infographics look great in static form, but the interactive aspect helps readers personalize the information they get and the way they get that information. Hopefully, this will be common by the time I actually get a smart phone.

I like to think about how fun it would be to design an infographic, but I think the real work comes into play when you have to work with numbers. First, you need to find reliable data. I can imagine this might be difficult because 89 percent of statistics are made up. Then, the data needs to be condensed in a way that is relevant and comprehensive. When designing, parts of the graphic need to be drawn to scale in order to accurately represent the data. Just when I thought being a journalist exempted me from math…

Infographics, besides showing statistics, can also provide instructions. This infographic teaches readers how to properly choose and use sunscreen.

This infographic combines statistics to refute the belief that the HPV vaccine is deadly.

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