Bringing an Image to Life

PhotoBlog (1 of 1)I really appreciated the Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency by Mindy McAdams. As a photographer who is transitioning into blogging and videography, I found the guidance invaluable.

As a blogger, I found McAdams’s advice on reaching out to the community helpful. I’m new to the scene (both as a blogger and as a UW-Madison student), and meeting other Madison bloggers helped me define my own blog’s message.

McAdams’s guidance for RSS feeds was also helpful, and I’m now an active member in the blog-o-sphere because of it.

As a videographer, I loved the simple cues McAdams offered for newbies. I’m experienced in creating compelling visual compositions in one frame, but I have difficulty translating photography into a narrative.

In photographic stories, the transitions between images are unspoken, and the viewer is left to connect the dots. It’s easier, both as a photographer and an audience, to fill in the blank. Continue reading

Branding is for Cows

Photo by Kait Vosswinkel

Photo by Kait Vosswinkel

I’m all about new media. I’ve studied and worked as a photographer for eight years, now, and my favorite aspect of online news is the ability that we have, as journalists, to combine multiple media elements that create beautiful, inspiring and interactive stories.

That being said, I’m also wary of the dehumanization that new media can cause.

Twitter, for example, can be useful as a professional tool, but as a purely social medium, it’s seems unhealthy for the human psyche – a time-glut and a way to socially disconnect during awkward parties or bus rides.

When I’m not using Twitter to follow an event or a group, I find some of the content witty and entertaining, but most is sadly narcissistic. The structure of Twitter creates a constant demand for attention, and fosters a cultural A.D.D. that is only exacerbated by all of the other social media networks out there today. I’m most often shrugged off as a grouchy stick-in-the-mud when I share my concerns, but thankfully, Ezra Klein and Nick Beaudrot have taken up the argument as well, and their complaints over content quality have gained traction.

I’m also wary of “branding.” It upsets me to hear about “branding yourself” like it upsets me to hear that Howard Shultz wrote Starbucks its own biography, describing the company’s “fight for its life.”

This anthropomorphic use of branding worries me because, in this million-mile-an-hour digital rat race, we are losing some aspects of our humanity. Starbucks is not a “he” or a “she,” and I am not a product. I’m not selling myself. I’m a human being with certain strengths and flaws, and if you want to understand that, take some time to get to know me. Read my work. Check out my photography. Continue reading

More visual stimulation for the Marijuana article

Gerald Thompson holds up a bag of marijuana on the steps of the State Capitol in Denver on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. Marijuana for recreational use became legal in Colorado Monday, when the governor took a purposely low-key procedural step of declaring the voter-approved change part of the state constitution. (Aaron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

Although the Denver Post’s article on the legalization of Marijuana is a well-executed Q&A, the visuals are somewhat lacking.

The article covers a number of important bases, from state-v-federal legality to legal possession and use of marijuana. These facts are well cited, with links to an extensive set of supporting articles and primary documents, however visuals would’ve helped get the point across.

Some of the numbers and statistics surrounding the new laws governing marijuana use in Colorado could’ve been put into a quick chart or graph in order to help readers understand some of the basic elements behind what they’re reading.

Photos surrounding the event were visually descriptive and extremely well-done, however, more statistical information shown through charts, graphs or other visual aids would’ve been helpful to readers.

Planet Money: Economics in Plain English

There seems to be a general aversion to the study of economics in the undergraduate world.

After taking Algebra three times, I completely understand. Math is not my friend. Then, there is the entirely foreign vocabulary.  Sub-prime lending, hedge funds, and shell companies? If you don’t own a home  or invest in stocks and bonds, the language can be cumbersome and intimidating!

The underlying concepts, however, are fundamental to our daily lives, and can be captivating. Thankfully, there is a group of journalists that is dedicated to bridging the gap between the incomprehensible and the obvious.

NPR’s Planet Money podcast promises their audience a healthy dose of economics in plain English. They bring compelling arguments surrounding our modern economy to the surface by asking deceptively simple questions like “Where do dollars come from?” or “Why did bankers destroy the world?.”

In each brief podcast, a small team of curious and educated individuals breaks it down. “Why did bankers destroy the world? It’s complicated but here goes…” I won’t ruin it for you, but it’s systemic. Shocker.

As a convert, I have to urge you – take a look! I no longer fear economics, and even math has become a bit more potable. They’re 10 minutes long; it’s not a big commitment. You might even laugh out loud.