A few days a week the sound of children stomping, singing and clapping fills a large green egg at the Columbia Public Library. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning the library has Family Story Time. Parents bring their three to five year old children to come listen to three stories. Chriss Jones, one of the storytellers, says, “I like being able to act out the stories because it gives the children permission to act them out as well.”
As a student-athlete whose season is in the spring, I will probably never get to experience a full spring break like many other college students. It doesn’t bother me too much and typically I like the weekly training schedule that leads up to a meet each weekend. When I tell people that I don’t get a spring break (I actually get two days), they usually tell me how they feel sorry for me and how I’m missing out. But I knew what I was signing up for and I knew I had sacrificed the life of a regular college student when I signed my letter of intent, not just for spring break, but every other day of the school year as well.
Still though, there is one thing I miss out on that I really wish I had an opportunity to participate in, alternative spring break. Alternative spring break is a one week trip during regular spring break to go volunteer in a city or area that needs it. Students join together to volunteer, doing everything from rebuilding a city to shoveling and raking trails for forest hiking. This link, http://studenttravel.about.com/od/springbreakvolunteers/qt/alternate_sprin.htm, gives a more in depth view of what alternative spring break is. I’ve heard from a few of my friends that have gone that is an awesome experience. Volunteers bond together while helping others and for me, helping others makes me feel about as good as anything else, including baking on a Florida beach in 80 degree weather.
I saw a tweet from the official Mizzou twitter account regarding alternative spring break that said “more students than ever before have chosen to volunteer.” Apparently, I’m not alone in the satisfaction I get from helping others.
A couple weeks ago, in our bi-weekly student-athlete advisory committee meeting, the idea of a student-athlete alternative spring break came up. Of course, when they asked what teams could potentially go, there were only two or three out of 20, and they were all fall sports. Since there were so many that couldn’t go during spring, we brought up the idea of an alternative winter break and from the looks of it, I may finally be able to go. We’ll see what hurdles my schedule tries to throw in my way, but I can always make time for a good cause, especially if it takes me away from a harsh Missouri winter.
This week in J2150 we talked about the importance of audio in telling stories. We watched several videos of former KOMU journalist Sarah Hill as she explained some of the important aspects of writing for the ear. Hill repeatedly talked about how the regular viewer consumes a television news story. She said that typically as a person is going about their business, they aren’t paying that much attention to the specifics of a TV news story. They usually find it to be background noise as a reporter drones on and on, but she says that there is one tool that can really capture the a viewer’s attention, audio.
In our recent lectures and labs I have heard the perspective that audio is just as important as video, if not more important. So why is this? I researched the topic and found this blog post – http://storytelling101.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/sound-more-important-tha-video-say-it-aint-so/. This article supports the idea that audio can be more important than video. The writer says “A visual can be striking, haunting or empowering, but sound is what stirs emotions and creates tension.” He references a scary movie, where as someone slowly walks down a hallway, the music heightens the tension much more than if the video was there alone.
Having both audio and video for a story is probably the best option. But if I really considered which one I would prefer if I had to choose, I would choose audio. I think this holds true for many people. Sound can be far more compelling in conveying emotion in a story or giving people something that will grab their attention. I think as I collect audio for my audio slideshow this week, I’ll really enjoy the challenge of finding the right audio to convey my story.
This week, Mark Swanson from the strategic communications department came and spoke with us about strat comm and gave us a general picture of what us strat comm students could expect in our future coursework and careers. I am leaning toward advertising, so when he began speaking specifically on advertising and what it entails I perked up and payed attention. Not that I wasn’t paying attention before, I just wanted to make sure I collect the most information as possible about a career path before I take the dive.
One point that Swanson had on his presentation as that “Advertising tells series about a brand.” He also labeled it as an art of persuasion and used the phrase “truth well told.” In a way, this seems like a roundabout approach to just phrasing it as “lying.” But maybe I’ve been influenced by the popular notion that puts advertisers right up next to lawyers in the dishonesty spectrum.
Maybe I’m wrong, but last time I checked this was the sentiment of the general population. But if I want to be sure, I figure I should research the topic and either try to clear my potentially future field of it’s bad name or to confirm people’s preconceived notions of dishonesty and abusiveness. The article – http://bigorangeslide.com/2011/01/is-advertising-evil/ dissects some of the arguments against and for advertising and eventually the writer comes to the conclusion that advertising is just another “way to communicate.” He puts the responsibility on the consumer not the company putting out the message. This is something I really agree with. I find that the sole responsibility lands on the person consuming the media, although it is nearly impossible to avoid advertising. Advertising to unethically to impoverished and vulnerable audiences is another story and I think this is such a negatively viewed practice nowadays that it has become rare. But that being said, everyone has a choice, and once people grasp that and realize there isn’t some evil force out to get them at every turn, then these “evil” and “dishonest” professions won’t seem so bad.
In lecture this week we listened to three different speakers from separate emphasis areas within the J-School. We listened to Amy Simons, from the convergence journalism department, Brian Kratzer, from the photojournalism department and Jen Rowe from the magazine department. Monday I was notified that I had just been accepted into the strategic communications emphasis area so it was fitting that different areas within the J-School were coming to talk to us about their respective programs.
The areas of magazine and photojournalism are pretty straightforward as to what they’re about, but I never really investigated much into convergence journalism. From the lecture, it seemed to me that it was a plethora of different journalism areas all mixed into one comprehensive emphasis. I wanted to know more about where convergence journalism came from and what those who have an emphasis in convergence end up doing. Amy Simons said that convergence students “learn how to report, edit and produce with the story and the audience in mind,” and “skills can translate into any (non)traditional newsroom.” I found a similar definition searching the internet, “print, broadcast, and online news staffs forging partnerships in which journalists work and distribute content across several news platforms.” (http://jamesed.com/2011/06/what-is-convergent-journalism/).
This still seems pretty broad, but I think that is exactly what convergence journalism is intended for. It is taking several different types of media and packaging them to best engage an audience. I’ve talked to a few convergence majors and they spoke about how difficult some of the classes could be and I can see why. Right now in J2150 I’m having trouble learning to use video, photo and writing while learning to report and edit. I cant imagine how much the curriculum intensifies in the later years of schooling for convergence majors. Luckily, I may never know, but I think this variety of knowledge may be very appealing to employers and is something I should consider.
A scary thing happened this week during our J2150 lecture. One of our classmates had a seizure in the middle of lecture. A student sitting next to her supported her, another student stood up and yelled “this girl is having a seizure!” and another called an ambulance. Luckily, she recovered a minute or so after. It had been nearly 13 years since I had experienced a classmate abruptly having a seizure, but it was still as frightening as the first time.
After she was ushered out of the lecture hall, everything began to calm down and we got back to our lecture. Once things got quiet I recalled that just a few days before one of my teammates told me a similar story of a girl having a seizure in his class. Likewise, most students froze up while a few took action. Along with his account, I have heard a few other stories of students suddenly having seizures within this past school year. This got me wondering how often this happens, and when it does happen, what are people suppose to do?
I looked up some basic seizure protocol (http://home.wsd.wednet.edu/WSD/online_forms/sn_pdf/SN-30-07%20Seizure%20Protocol.pdf) so that maybe next time I’ll be more prepared if it does happen. It’s much easier said than done in such a stressful situation but it’s still better to have some preparation than none at all. But still, is this a more common occasion than I realize? What if that student was driving at the time? Are there different types of seizures? Mizzou’s Handbook of Disabilities (http://dps.missouri.edu/resources/Handbook/seizure.pdf) answers many of the questions related to seizures and provides helpful information about dealing with the occurrence.
I couldn’t find any information as to the frequency of seizures at Mizzou, but In a school of 30,000 plus students it has to happen a few times a semester. I think some kind of protocol or lessons on how to help those suffering from seizures should be offered. Or at least educate faculty about it. That way not everyone sits and stares in fear while a few clueless yet brave students try to do something.