Last week in our Journalism 1550 class, we watched a video from Poynter Institute that talked about ways to improve natural sound stories. We are just wrapping up a project with the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (MNNS) in which each of us paired up with another student and went out into the community to profile a MANDI award-nominated project. My partner, Tess Quinlan, summed up my own thoughts eloquently in her own blog post.
As we learned from Darren Durlach, host of the Poynter "webinar" we viewed, Tess and I needed more of a narrator in our piece. We had four different voices telling the story of our assigned project. Certain people we used had stronger quotes than others, so I wish we would have gotten more quotes from the stronger sources instead. Looking back, I believe it would have added so much more to the story.
But, the reporting part of that project is over, so there is no point in wishing we could have done something better. I decided instead to take the lessons I learned from that project, and apply it to my current journalism project. While we were watching the Poynter video, we were told by our professor to think about our recently wrapped up MNNS project and our current One at Marquette project.
One at Marquette is a project inspired by the New York Times' "One in Eight Million", in which we were to find an interesting character here at Marquette and profile him or her using audio, picture and text. I've already finished the different parts of this project months ago. And although I didn't realize it at the time, my poorly done audio was really very lucky on my part.
After watching this video, I decided to start my entire project over. Although I had a hard time parting with the pictures I took, I had no problem scratching my current audio and text story. This video inspired me. I am doing a piece on the co-president of an improv troupe, so I realized that I need to get into my story the most natural sound that goes along with improv – laughter. So, at his show this past Friday, I recorded some of my subject's jokes and the laughter from the audience that went with it.
Poynter's examples of natural sound stories were compelling pieces, as well. This made me realize that my current text was not compelling. At all. I have to get deeper in to what my subject's feelings for his improv troupe and comedy as a whole. I was getting so many ideas at the time of watching this video that I had to fight my urge to jot them down and actually pay attention.
This Poynter video may have been too late for my MNNS story, but it came just in time to save my One at Marquette story, and I cannot wait to see how these tips will pay off.
In my Digital Journalism II (Journalism 1550) class, our professor has mentioned that we will partner up with a classmate to create a multimedia story for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Honestly, I find this project to be the most intimidating of our upcoming projects for Journalism 1550. I think the fact that we, as a class, will go out into the community is what makes it intimidating. I am used to staying within the safe confines of my school to find a story. I know that journalism is all about going out into the community to find the story and I am excited to be able to do that, but it's a little scary doing it for the first time. I was able to take a look at last semester's Journalism 1550's projects, which are on display on my professor's blog. Here is a picture from www.herblowe.com of last semester's students working on their projects. While I enjoyed looking at these stories, I wondered how the pairs found their specific subject. Were they assigned to that person, or did they have to find a story within the community?
The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (MNNS) itself is a pretty cool website. I've personally never seen a website like it – I think it is really great to have a website that breaks down news from Milwaukee's various neighborhoods. I don't know much about Milwaukee so this, along with my upcoming class project will be a great way to learn about the city. I was really excited about one particular story I found. The MNNS website featured a story about concerts being held at The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, which is better known as "The Domes." I have always wondered what happens at The Domes and, thanks to MNNS, I know that I will be seeing a Beatles tribute band on Feb. 23.
However, I was a little confused about one thing. I read in the website that the MNNS provides news about the five communities in Milwaukee. In the website's navigation bar, there are only three communities listed – Clarke Square, Lindsay Heights and Layton Boulevard West. These communities are referred to as the "pilot" communities. How long will it be until two more communities are included?
Regardless of some questions and concerns with this project, I am excited to be a part of it.