Saturday, September 22, 2012

Keeping Up with Social Media

Nancy Loo's lecture on using social media to interact with others reminded me that I love social media... in theory.

I have successfully used Twitter previously to interact with not only readers in my past internship, but other reporters and the new organization's main Twitter handle. I love being able to send out quirky pictures for Fourth of July gold cart parades or information on flooded community pharmacies (both real life examples), but sometimes I fall behind.

Sometimes I am slow to updated my LinkedIn account or will neglect my other blog for months on end. I was excited to begin this blog thinking I' be engaged throughout the week, but I consistently find myself leaving posts (like this one) till Saturday on deadline. I have also neglected to up the image or the "about me" section of this blog.

Maybe successful bloggers have an inherent drive and a natural strength that they've found in blogging or maybe they make weekly goals and schedules. How do successful bloggers keep up to date?

"Taking on Tosca": A Self-Narrative

The New York Time's "Taking on Tosca" was an excellent example of a self-narrative profile.

The videography, even in the low lights of a opera house, is clear and high quality. The reporter allows for the singer's voice to be heard clearly without the audio mishaps of mishandled microphones or cords. There was strategically cuts between the signer's talking explanation and performance as not to overwhelm watchers. In addition, the interviews with the singer and play director show clear visuals with a lower depth of field as to focus on the speaker and not have items in the background distract from their faces.

Asides from the technical aspect, I appreciate the use of self-narratives as a way of allowing people to tell their own stories. While in this specific example it is easy to allow a source to tell their own story, I feel this is always a far more insightful way of approaching storytelling, especially in a multimedia platform.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Beyond the Awkward Silences

As a full-time reporting intern for the Tampa Bay Times, I was constantly out and about talking to sources for profiles or wadding through flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby. I loved the constant interaction and meeting new people for every story.

At the same time I had photographer envy. It seems like they just got to hang in the background of ever story scene I wrote and just visually document. They talked to sources and gathered some info, but they seemed come and go as they pleased.

For this reason I was excited to start my multimedia project on the Necropolis haunted house. For my three photo assignment I was relieved to not be going through the whole in-depth interviewing multiple people aspect along with having to write it all in a few hours for the next day.

But I failed to anticipate just how awkward being a photographer, a seemingly silent figure in the background, could be. As a writer I'm use to moving between observing and asking bold questions. I learned very quickly that people are wary of photographers and at times where there is not much movement or noise (like work meetings like the one at today's Necropolis shoot) it can be awkward to be moving around going shutter-happy.

I hope to either acclimate to this better or improve my social skills as a photographer and who better to do this with than the ragtag cast of haunted house actors?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Through the Lens: Seeing Red

The "Seeing Red" assignment was a useful way to ease myself back into shutter-happy mode. I have not been able to take photos at my leisure for a while and I hope to make it a bigger habit, if not for my professional development then for my entertainment. Here are the top three shots form the assignment:

Getting back to photography also made me think a lot about some of my heroes in the realm of photography and journalism. I doubt I would ever focus enough on photojournalism to hold my own against their work, but it is always good to keep them in mind for inspiration.

The Miami Herald's photographer Patrick Farrell has always been one of those heroes. As a Miami native, I have grown up with the paper and in high school read it literally every morning after my car ride to school. When the Haiti Earthquake hit, not only did I see each of his photos come out in the daily editions, but I helped cover local relief efforts in the newsroom. I was thrilled, but not surprised, to see the announcement that he had won a Pulitzer for his Haiti coverage. Not only were they quality photos, but I saw first hand how much the coverage meant to my community.

Here is a link to multimedia inside view of the photographs:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How Wedding Media can be Significant for LGBTQ Individuals

Woman in a large hat and colorful shift stand in the foreground. Behind her her son holds a rainbow pride flag.
Barbara Sinclair of Brooksville, Fla. and son Dean Whitcomb march in the St. Pete Pride parade representing the Hernando County chapter of PFLAG.               Photo by Laura Herrera
Because of Monday’s lecture, I began to think about what is worth telling through multimedia.
After watching the MediaStorm piece, A Thousand More, it is really hard to imagine anything I might work on in J2150 as significant in comparison to the story of 9-year-old Philip Mayer who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. But I'm working towards it.

I have a guilty pleasure when it comes to anything wedding related. From alternative wedding blogs, like Offbeat Bride, to ‘Say Yes to the Dress,’ I love seeing weddings come together. One of my favorite indulgences is the New York Times’ Vows section.

NYT Vows is basically soon-to-be-wed couples telling the stories of how they found each other. While these are beautifully put together multimedia stories (I wouldn’t expect anything less from the New York Times), I’d categorize them as fairly insignificant. How does a couple getting married compare to the unique story of Philip Mayer?

While it would be unreasonable to ever compare the two, I realized NYT Vows does inadvertently add important social commentary when it comes to sharing the stories of queer* couples.

Most wedding coverage is really hetero-normative. It’s rare, though not unheard of, to see queer couples featured on mainstream wedding shows. NYT Vows is not only more proportional in the population they feature, but because queer couples are able to share their own stories they have the ability to politicize their story as much or as little as they want.

Interestingly enough, every story of a queer couple I have watched has included a political reference. Some talk in-depth about how they never imagined marriage would be a legal reality for them. For others, it is as simple as “Thank you, Governor Cuomo.” This shows the unique cultural environment queer relationships form under in the United States.

To me, that seems pretty significant.

*Queer in this context is used as an umbrella term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other identities.