This assignment is the last of the semester and it was arguably the most difficult assignment we’ve had in this class. But difficult isn’t a bad thing! Many of the skills that were taught in previous assignments (rule of thirds, interviewing, editing, etc..) all came into play for this grand finale. We were required to create a 2-4 minute video project, where we needed to interview at least 2 people and have at least 5 seconds of ambient noise.

Taylor and I chose to do this project on Bright Agrotech. Although only 4 years old, this company is very successful and has a very inspiring and empowering message.

Taylor knew about Bright Agrotech and thought it would make a good story. And he was right! Although at first, I was confused about what the business was, I ended up being extremely impressed. Being at the greenhouse and having a visual of what Noah was talking about was helpful – I’m hoping the B-roll footage will be enough of a visual for viewers. Also, he mentioned there is a plant tower at Big Hollow Food Co-op downtown, so I stopped by and got some footage of their tower.

For Noah’s interview, Taylor and I set up the tripod and placed a chair in front of some plants so we would have a nice background. However, when Noah saw the chair, he said he would rather stand. The tripod wasn’t tall enough to film Noah (he is a very tall man and the tripod is only 4 feet tall). So Taylor held the camera steadily for over 5 minutes. I think it is very important that the person you are interviewing feels comfortable and I’m thankful Taylor had such a steady hold on the camera.

I really enjoyed going to the greenhouse and meeting Sam and Noah and learning about something so interesting! I did not enjoy the editing process. At all. Normally, I love to edit. However, I had major computer problems. My computer kept randomly shutting off and my editing program (Nero) was glitchy. When I played back what I had edited so far, the video was choppy and the audio wasn’t in sync with the video. I had to export the project 4 times so I could see the progress I had made and look to see what changes I needed to make. It took me 13 hours to edit, which seems far too long for a 4 minute video.

It was also challenging because I had to figure out how to condense so much information into 4 minutes. There was a lot that Noah and Sam spoke about that didn’t make it to the final cut. Deciding what parts of the interviews to keep and what parts to cut was difficult.

I would love to use video in my future career and I hope that whatever job I have will provide me with some good video equipment! I think working at a news station would be fun. Definitely behind the scenes stuff for me.

This was a fun project and a good way to end a great semester!

Tweet, Tweet!

In today’s social media crazed world, Twitter is a new and important tool that journalists everywhere use. This live tweeting assignment required us to go to an event and report what was happening via Twitter. The event I covered was a Noah Gundersen concert in LA, California at the El Rey theatre.

The concert was incredible. Noah Gundersen is one of my favorite musicians and seeing him perform live was so amazing. Because I was so personally invested in this concert, it made reporting difficult. I had to make sure all of my tweets were professional and stating the facts of the concert. I wanted to tweet, “this is the best night of my life!!!” but I resisted.twitter

Doing live tweeting did make me more aware of some aspects of the concert that I might not have been aware of otherwise. For an example, I wouldn’t have been aware of the number of people in attendance. I also obviously wouldn’t have interviewed people about their thoughts on the concert.

I don’t think I learned anything about Twitter, specifically. I’ve had an account since 2009. But this was my first live tweeting experience and so I definitely feel like I learned how it is done. If I was asked to live tweet an event sometime in the future, I would feel more confident about that because of this experience.

Nothing surprised me about this assignment, other than it was difficult to focus on the concert and on Twitter at the same time. Something I would have done differently was my lack of hashtags in my live tweets the first time around. I had to go back and add hashtags to the tweets.

In my future career, whatever that might be, I’m positive that social media will be a huge part of my job. Whether it is promoting myself in a professional manner or promoting the company I work for, social media is pretty much essential in today’s society.

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the class was to increase my news diet. Since then, I have begun following news sources on my personal Twitter account – BBC, CNN, New York Times – and it has really helped my news diet. Twitter is pretty amazing.

SoundSlides: Swing Dancing

This assignment was a collaboration of the skills we have learned in our previous assignments on photo and audio journalism. It was a great experience – to take what we have learned so far and create an actual news story.

Sheep ranching – a family legacy

Editing is fun. That isn’t an opinion everyone holds. Typically, I’ve noticed that people get frustrated with editing. It can take hours to edit just a few minutes of something. When I went to school for Film Production and Broadcast Journalism, the aspect I enjoyed the most was editing – whether audio or video footage. I would go into the studio in the afternoon and get completely lost in editing. Hours would pass without me even realizing. I’d leave and it would be dark outside. It was always so disorienting. That’s what happened when I edited this… I didn’t even realize how long it took to edit until I looked at the clock.

First, I edited out my voice. Then, I focused on making sure the story Taylor told was cohesive. I edited out things he said that didn’t make complete sense or didn’t need to be there. Lastly, I went back and cut the long pauses or the filler words, so the story would run more smoothly.

This was my first time using Audacity. In the past, I’ve used Pro Tools when editing audio. But I got the hang of Audacity fairly quickly. This assignment didn’t require much editing, so it wasn’t that difficult. I just needed to edit out my voice and any information that wasn’t pertinent to the topic and make sure the final product was about 2 minutes long. I enjoyed it! I’ve missed editing.

Nothing really surprised me with this assignment. Taylor gave me a great story to work with. I wish I could have turned it into more of a feature piece. If I had gone to the ranch with Taylor, I could have gotten some great sound footage that I could have used to make it more audibly appealing. It would have been amazing to interview his grandfather and father, as well as sisters. I think this could easily be a story you would hear on Wyoming Public Radio – it really encompasses a unique, family oriented, Wyoming narrative.

Overall, I really enjoyed this assignment!

a sheep rancher with many skills – raw audio footage

I met with Taylor in the recording room in the basement of Ross Hall. After figuring out our levels, we began the interviews. Neither one of us knew what the other was going to discuss in our interview. I’ve conducted interviews before but I haven’t ever been interviewed. It was weird for me. I felt like I needed to keep talking – so I kind of just found myself rambling.

Taylor had an interesting story to tell, which made interviewing him easy. I felt like we were having a conversation more than an interview and was authentically interested in what he had to say. I maintained eye contact during the interview and made sure to show him I was interested with what he had to say by communicating with him non-verbally while he was talking (nodding, smiling, etc).

I enjoyed interviewing but not so much being interviewed. I’m not someone who likes to talk about myself so it just felt uncomfortable. Not because of anything he did – he also maintained eye contact with me and cued me non-verbally to let me know he was listening as I was speaking. I guess after the interview, I felt like I could have talked more positively about my grandmother, instead of focusing on the negative aspects of her condition.

Because I don’t know Taylor very well, and I wasn’t sure what he was going to be talking about, I feel like the interview didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped. I feel like if I had a story in mind – whether soft news or hard news – I would have had better direction and have felt more prepared. I had a few questions in mind to ask him. But when he introduced himself as a sheep rancher, the story didn’t need my questions.

Overall, it was a good experience and I’m curious to see how the edited version will turn out!


I did it! I wanted to run and hide every time I approached someone about taking their photo, but I fought my fear, and I did it!

Photo #1 – Feature

Zach Hobart organizes books at Night Heron Coffee Shop on Thursday night.

The above photo is entitled “Books” and was taken after having walked downtown for awhile, trying to find a good shot. Luckily, I got this picture. There’s nothing better than a bookstore, a ladder, and hundreds of books! I asked Zach’s permission before taking the photo – I didn’t want to startle him off the ladder. I took the shot at this angle so I could get the lines of books in the picture. The creative device is leading lines. The rows of books lead to Zach, and beyond.

I felt comfortable taking this photo. There weren’t many people in the bookstore, so I didn’t feel invasive.

Photo #2: Feature

UW students Kate Young (left) and Gretchen Palmquist (right) enjoyed the fall weather Thursday evening in Prexy’s Pasture, while having bible study together.

The above photo is entitled “Evening in October” and shows 2 UW students having bible study together, while sitting in the middle of Prexy’s Pasture. This was a cool sight. You can see that the statue is being framed by the building in the background, as well as being framed by the girls. Framing the girls is the bench.

I asked permission to photograph the girls, and then got down in the grass to get some shots. Although the aligning isn’t completely perfect (I couldn’t ask them to reposition), my creative device is symmetry and patterns.

The two girls were very nice and continued with their study, as I took pictures. I was excited – I felt like everything lined up so well, which is why I had to take the shot!

Photo # 3: Feature

UW Student Union custodian Ian Worthing finishes his shift on Wednesday night.

The above photo is entitled “Garbage Bags.” I came across Ian while walking through the Student Union on Wednesday night. I was desperate to find someone to photograph, and when I saw him changing the trash, I thought I could get a cool picture. The orange lanterns hanging from the ceiling created a cool effect, as well as the shape of the garbage bag container, piled with big black bags.

I knelt down to take this photo, so my creative device is viewpoint. Ian was very nice and gave me his information, saying that he is used to people wanting to take pictures of him. He must be a popular custodian!

On my phone, this picture looked clear. When I uploaded it to my computer and saw it on a large screen, I could see that it was somewhat blurry. I like the picture enough to still use it. I think the dim inside lighting in the building, as well as my camera’s quality, caused the blurriness.

 Photo #4: Portrait

Santiago Castillo enjoys a cupcake in Simpon’s Plaza on October 10th.

The above photo is entitled “Cupcake Contemplation.” This little guy was at an event I participated in last week, where I was giving away cupcakes in Simpson’s Plaza. His mom gave him a cupcake and as he tasted the frosting, he truly seemed to be contemplating as to whether or not he thought it was good. I’m happy I had my phone handy so I could take a quick picture of him in his moment of cupcake discovery. His mom was okay with me taking the picture and she ended up wanting a copy. The creative device was the rule of thirds.

Photo #5: Sports

UW vs. Florida game day at War Memorial Stadium on September 20th. Wyoming won 20-19.

The above photo is entitled “Brown and Gold.” This was my first college football game and it was exciting – I cheered and screamed and clapped and had so much fun. I wanted to capture how big the stadium was, as well as the colors. I loved the brown and gold that surrounded me. What I thought was especially cool about this photo is how the hair of the girls sitting in front of me is brown, with a gold reflection. Perfect.

The creative device used with this photograph is depth. The fans sitting in front of me, the football field below and the brown and gold blur of people directly across from me depict of how huge the stadium is.

My Thoughts:

I’ll be honest, this assignment scared me. Taking pictures of strangers made me feel very uncomfortable. But once I got over that fear, I ended up having fun and meeting some interesting people.

The majority of the pictures I shot turned out blurry. I didn’t notice until I had uploaded them to my computer. I don’t think there are tripods for iPods, so I’m not sure how I would fix that problem in the future. However, I think it is time for me to invest in a nice camera that can do both still photography and video.

Creative Devices

This was a difficult assignment for me. I felt like the pictures I produced weren’t that great. Still photography is very new to me, and I struggled with placing the creative devices to different photos. On some, I had a creative device in mind when shooting the picture. On most, I took the picture and tried to figure out the creative device later.

I’m not that proud of my work on this assignment, but that’s okay. It’s all part of learning.

Photo #1 – Framing:

A mid September day in the Snowy Range, near Sugar-loaf Mountain.

The above photo is entitled “Wilderness.” The dominant creative device for this photograph is framing, as the curves of the mountains and the magnitude of the clouds help draw your eyes to the mountain in the middle of the frame.

Photo #2 – Cropping

The finished product of an afternoon of cupcake making.

The above photo, entitled “cupcake bliss,” was taken using the dominant device of cropping. I wanted to capture the texture of the frosting and color of the sprinkles, so I took the picture with my camera at close proximity to the cupcake. This strategy ensures that the cupcake is the focal point of the picture – as there is no background to create a distraction.

Photo #3 – Leading Lines

The entrance way to Buttes Ranch several miles outside of Laramie, on October 8th.

The above photo is entitled “pathway to blue” and leading lines is the main creative device within the photograph. The road leading to the entrance way to the ranch allows the viewer to naturally look toward the entrance way, and beyond.

Photo #3 – Rule of Thirds

A stop sign found several miles outside of Laramie, on Highway 287.

The photo above is creatively titled “stop sign.” The rule of thirds is the main creative device used in this photo, as the stop sign is positioned to the right of the frame. This creates a more visually interesting aspect to the picture, rather than the sign being placed directly in the middle of the frame.

Photo #5 – Balancing Elements

My grandmother, after lunch in the park last Monday.

This photo is entitled “turquoise autumn” and is a portrait of my grandmother. We were sitting in the park eating lunch, and I thought the color contrast between her black shirt, turquoise necklace and the yellow leaves was visually pleasing. The main creative device used was, I guess, balancing elements. My grandmother is placed to the right and, instead of there being nothing in the background, filling the gap is a car and a house. I’m not sure if balancing elements was the best creative device to use.

Brothers Run Laramie Game Shop

Nerds. They’re everywhere.

Some of them fit the typical nerd stereotype. Others blend in with the rest of the society.

The reality is the nerd culture is diverse, drawing in people of all different crowds. And there is a high demand in society for an environment where nerds can gather together and, well, be nerdy.

Run by two brothers from Gillette, Games Gauntlet, on Garfield St. in Laramie, is a place designed for just that.

Offering Wi-Fi, snacks, different game options and an area to play games, Laramie’s very own nerd shop is a place for socialization and fun – and it brings in a lot of business.

“You see all types of people in here – People who might not always be considered ‘socially acceptable,” said 23-year-old Ben Anderson, co-owner of Games Gauntlet. “The customer base is a mixture of different social clicks, which generally fall under the nerd culture. And there’s a really accepting community in the shop – we have openly gay and transgender people who come here to game with us. And they feel safe here,” he said.

MGT players gather at Games Gauntlet in Laramie for a tournament.

Games Gauntlet opened in August, 2011, after 4 guys, including Ben, saw there was a demand for a nerd shop. “Laramie has a strong gaming community, and it always has,” Ben said.

Donald Anderson, 25, Ben’s brother and business partner, said the original point of starting the shop was to “create a place where people could gather, play games and socialize with one another.”

The biggest demand Donald and Ben face is for a game called Magic the Gathering (MTG).

Donald described MTG as a strategic game, similar to a game of chess, but “without the pawns and bishops and queen. Instead, you get 50,000 different pieces. And from those 50,000, you get to pick and choose which ones you’d like to use.”

But the demand for MTG is beneficial for the Anderson brothers, as over 50% of their sales come from MTG merchandise. “Magic is a product,” Donald said. “After you buy cards, it retains value so you can buy or sell those cards to someone else. The game is ever shifting and ever evolving because people are always playing the game,” he said.

According to an article by Narratively, there are ninety million registered magic players worldwide.

“Magic isn’t going anywhere,” Donald said.

For Ben, MTG has been a part of his life for years. In high school, he and his friends would spend their free time at the local gaming shop in Gillette.

Ben said, “Our moms would pay for us to go for a day of gaming. It didn’t cost much and we’d stay out of trouble.” He added that he sees many high school aged kids and younger come to his shop.

“We do a lot of babysitting,” Donald laughed.

But they are okay with that. “We provide a source of entertainment that isn’t alcohol, bars or drugs,” Ben said.

For Alex Duvall, a college student who recently moved to Laramie, the shop has helped him connect and meet people with common interests. He goes there exclusively to play MTG, saying the atmosphere is “competitive, yet laid back and friendly. Everyone there wants to get better [at magic], but still have a good time.”

The first time Alex went to the shop, he felt welcomed and comfortable right away, saying Donald and Ben are “some of the nicest people I know.”

“They treat their customers, no matter who they are, with the utmost dignity and respect,” Alex said.

Alex, who has been playing MTG since he was 15, says the game is a good way for him to relax. “The shop allows me to both kick back and make new friends, while giving me an outlet for my hyper competitive nature,” he said.

Store owner Ben Anderson helps customers.

Ben and Donald are still amazed that they are successful business owners. “If you want to talk about the American Dream, this is technically that. I had a hobby and I turned it into a job,” Ben said.

“Being a store owner wasn’t high on my ideas list for a future career,” Donald said. “But this is the best job ever.”

Both proud to be “college drop-outs,” they say it is possible to be successful without having a college degree. “Our dad shakes his head every time he thinks of us owning a store,” Donald said. “Our dad is old school – go to college, get a job, make a living.”

“At first, my Dad was opposed to the idea of me opening a store. He didn’t think it would work. Now that it’s working, he’s impressed,” Ben said.

The brothers work well together as partners. “We have similar mindsets,” Ben said. “We can agree on a lot of things and want the shop to head in the same direction. And we trust each other. The only downside is we have similar weaknesses. We both aren’t as organized as we should be.”

But they work together and share responsibilities, using their talents to make the business works.

Donald handles the manual labor, working on remodel and shop design.

Ben handles the numbers. “I’m in charge of budgeting, making sure all the bills are paid – taxes and payroll.” He doesn’t necessarily enjoy this aspect of owning a business, saying, “I hate taxes. Everyone hates taxes though.”

My News Diet

I’ll be honest: typically, I don’t stay up-to-date on current events. I’m someone who tries to surround myself with positivity – and the news isn’t exactly known for its upbeat, feel-good stories. However, since moving in with my grandmother a couple months ago, CNN has been my main source of news. It’s the only station she will watch, so she obviously trusts it. I’m not sure I trust CNN, as it does seem to be rather biased. But, to be fair to CNN, it’s very hard to trust the main stream media in general.

Journalists are people who have their own opinions on different issues, like anyone else. To write a piece with no bias whatsoever is the goal – but is very difficult and doesn’t always happen. When watching or reading news, I often wonder if I’m being informed of the facts of an incident, or an opinion about the facts of an incident.

Entertainment can definitely be informative. Many talk shows will interview the direct source of an incident or present news using humor and satire. Although these shows are definitely slanted as well, they can be informative. The Colbert Report is an example of a show known for it’s political satire. Of course, saying it’s biased is an understatement. However, Colbert does present you with information and even conducts interviews with actual politicians and prominent public figures, such as Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates.

Hillary Clinton appears on "The Colbert Report."
Hillary Clinton appears on “The Colbert Report.”

Social media is also a form of entertainment that is highly informative. Many people first hear of breaking news through Facebook or Twitter. Articles, news stories and opinion pieces are shared on Facebook pages, causing news to reach larger audiences.

The news typically isn’t a topic of conversation within my friend group, unless there’s a story that truly sparks mutual interest. If this were the case, I would talk with someone who shares that interest with me. My older sister and I have great discussions – we talk about free speech, feminism, racism, and current events pertaining to those subjects.

Iranian woman killed on Women’s Day

A good friend of mine is from the Middle East. As a woman living in a country that views her as more of an object than a human being, she has a perspective about feminism that is very different than the perspective found in America. We talk about the women’s rights movement in America vs. other countries (the Hobby Lobby ruling vs. women being brutally killed in Iran).

We also discuss the current events happening in the Middle East and the correlation between violence, sexism and Islam. When it comes to events in the Middle East, her input and the information she provides is more valuable to me than the discussions I hear on CNN because she is a direct source.

Improvements can definitely be made to my news diet, as I hardly have one. The local newspaper is delivered to my house daily and I have access to the internet and cable TV. As I begin researching different news sites on the internet, I plan to set one I like as my home page. Perhaps part of my morning routine will be reading the newspaper to my grandmother every morning. I’m determined to improve my news diet this upcoming semester and become more informed with current events both locally and around the world!