Photo slideshow

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Photo slideshow

Photo slide show for Lindenwood’s annual Greek Olympics.

Jason Hood: Master of Music

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Jason Hood has been a student at Lindenwood University for the past eight years. He is a graduate student in music education who will be celebrating his graduation this May. Hood is a member of Phi Mu Alpha, an international men’s music fraternity and he has close ties with Sigma Alpha Iota, the women’s music fraternity on campus. He has been loyal to the music department at Lindenwood and has served as a grad assistant in the Fine and Performing Arts building. Hood is an accomplished musician with perfect pitch, meaning he has the ability to identify notes and know whether they are sharp or flat. Hood said his hope is to one day be a professor of music at Lindenwood.

BFA students showcase artwork

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Artwork

Guests admire artwork by John Harman in Lindenwood's Fine and Performing Arts building (FPA).

For art students at Lindenwood University, one of the necessities to receive a BFA or MFA is to hold an art exhibition to showcase their work.

“Basically, an artist does not have a complete experience of creation until the artwork is received by someone else,” said John Troy, department chair of studio art. “Art does not exist in a vacuum. It has to be seen.”

gallery

A small crowd enjoys artwork and food at the Hendren Gallery.

Troy explained that among the many reasons for including a show as part of the curriculum is the students’ need to learn how to present their work and provide a reception for guests.

Five undergraduate students opened their shows on April 26. Catriona Lake and Tom Thornberry, both studio art majors, presented their work in the Hendren Gallery at Studio West. The second floor of the Scheidegger Center housed the work of graphic design majors Gina Jackson, Kris Coulson and John Harman.

Preparing for an art show requires hours of work, as the students must create new pieces to show along with previous work. When showing dozens of pieces, the time adds up.

“Some pieces can take a couple hours and others can take days,” Coulson said. “If it’s a logo, the whole thought process is pretty lengthy.”

guests and artwork

Friends of Catriona Lake talk in front of Lake's paintings.

Lake, a painter who explores color in simplistic compositions, said she can she can sometimes spend weeks on a piece trying to get it just right.

“When I look at it again, I see a new thing that needs to be added or changed. It’s a process,” she said.

In addition to creating the pieces, students are required to frame and hang their work as well as adjust the lighting to properly illuminate their pieces. For many students, setting up is harder than creating the work.

“The hardest part of it was lighting it because I didn’t know anything about lighting until my instructor helped me,” Lake said.

Thornberry and Coulson agreed that framing and hanging their pieces was a difficult process.

A semester’s worth of preparation came to an end for the five artists at their opening receptions Thursday evening as friends, family, professors and fellow art students came to admire artwork and show support.

artwork

A guest walks along a wall in the FPA that bears graphic design pieces by Gina Jackson.

Lindenwood art student Vincent Perez said though he doesn’t know Lake personally, he is familiar with her work.

“I’ve never talked to her before, but I’ve seen some of her work in the classrooms and it’s really great,” he said.

His favorite piece in the show was “Glow,” close-up image of a light-colored pumpkin.

“I like her combination of colors,” Perez said.

Harmon’s mother, Pat, was one of the many family members in attendance.

“A lot of [his work] I haven’t seen. I didn’t know what he’s been doing lately and I’ve enjoyed seeing all of it,” she said.

The BFA Exhibition comes as a relief to art students who put so much effort into their work.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking at first,” Harman said, “but now that

Artwork

Charcoal drawings by Tom Thornberry hang in the Hendren Gallery.

people are looking at it and commenting on it, I’m pretty happy.”

Student exhibitions remain on display for ten days before they are taken down for the next group of student artists to display their creative talent.

“It’s a really good culmination experience,” Thornberry said. “All your hard work gets put into place.”

Telling a story with multimedia (Content review)

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Stories used to be told by word of mouth or written word. In the 21st Century, journalists have more outlets to present a story.

In addition to a traditional text-based story, reporters can:

Events that have a more visual aspect can be recorded in photographs and presented as a slide-show or recorded as video. Emotion can be conveyed in an audio interview and distributed as a podcast. Each new medium offers something extra to the audience that can’t be captured in plain text.

Tools

A multimedia journalist needs an array of gadgets and accessories when reporting. The traditional pen and notebook won’t cut it.

Modern journalists may be expected to carry:

  • a camera (still or video)
  • an audio recorder
  • a microphone
  • headphones
  • a tripod
  • lighting equipment
  • memory cards
  • and, of course, plenty of extra batteries

Technology does post the problem of something going wrong. Any one of these items could malfunction, die, or run out of memory space. Journalists now have more to worry about than their pen running out of ink.

All these tools serve a purpose. Though not all are required, each accessory adds better quality. Lavalier and boom microphones record better audio than the microphone on the camera. A tripod will stabilize a shaky camera hand and lighting equipment will ensure a well-lit photograph.

However, when the content is more important than the quality, such as during a breaking news event, a journalist may rely on what she can get, even if it is of a lower quality. Some news stations have found that the audience prefers raw footage over edited content.

Techniques

Regardless of how much expensive equipment a journalist possesses, he will not produce good content without the proper techniques.

The picture plane has been divided into thirds. The man in the photograph is positioned so that he is at the cross-hairs of the dividing lines. This composition is more visually pleasing than if he had been framed in the center.

Framing is important for visual content. Whether shooting still photographs, or video, the rule of thirds should be considered. The picture plane should be divided into thirds vertically and horizontally. The area of focus (in most cases a person performing an action or being interviewed) should rest on one of the imaginary lines separating the thirds.

In video, head room and nose room is especially important. A person facing to the right should have extra space on her right in the frame. She should also have plenty of space above her head, but not too much to make her appear short.

For audio, it is important to let the interviewee do the talking. Encourage the subject to continue speaking with a simple nod rather than a verbal cue. Before getting to the meat of the interview, take some time to record ambient sound to use in the background and to establish the scene.

Putting it all together

One of the benefits of multimedia is the ability to combine techniques. Audio and visual storytelling naturally overlap in video production, but still photos can be added as well.  Audio and photography can be combined to create an audio slideshow. Databases can be combined with maps to organize information by location.

A story can be told many different ways. By combining media, the audience can get a full view of the aspects involved and gain new perspectives of the world around them.

A Modern Photographer

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Johnny Andrews , staff photographer for The Post-Dispatch  spoke to journalism students at Lindenwood University on March 22. He gave advice on finding stories and using multimedia to captivate an audience.

Be a Platypus

As I’ve learned in my Writing for Converged Media class, modern journalists need to wear many hats and have a diverse range of media skills. Andrews is no exception to this rule. He not only takes still photos for The Post-Dispatch, he also shoots and edits video. Andrews called having multiple skills being a “platypus.” Just like a platypus is a hybrid of different kinds of animals, a modern journalist must be a technological hybrid.

Andrews said that adapting to new technology was the key to staying in business. He knew photographers and reporters who got laid off because they refused to shoot video. According to Andrews, 80 percent of news outlets require reporters and photographers to have multiple skills.

Find Your Own Stories

Like some reporters who are reluctant to embrace new technology and new skills, Andrews said he was unhappy about doing video at first. Much of his reluctance came from the stories he got assigned. He gave the example of his boss telling him to film a preview story for an upcoming car show. Since the cars had not arrived yet, all he could film was an empty show room.

Andrews became more interested in video after he got a chance to look for his own stories. He encouraged the class to do the same by searching for topics we’re interested in. Andrews showed several videos he made spotlighting local bands. This was a project he wanted to do. Because he did it so well, The Post-Dispatch sponsored the projects.

Andrews also finds many of his stories by simply driving around and seeing what he can find. Some of his best feature stories have come from unexpected encounters. He shared another story about driving down the street and seeing a group of kids playing instruments on the sidewalk. That chance sighting turned into a valuable feature story about a music group for inner-city children.

Embrace Social Media

social media links

The ability to share media via social sites is how content becomes popular.

The importance of social media has been stressed in my Writing for Converged Media class. Though it has many uses, Andrews focused on social media’s ability to spread content and gain popularity. On his personal site, he allows his content to be shared and embedded on other sites which gives his work many more views. He said The Post-Dispatch is more “protective” of its media and does not allow its videos to be embedded on other sites. This prevents the story from becoming popular online.

Be Curious

Curiosity, Andrews said, is one of the most important qualities of a professional journalist.

If you’re not curious, you will be a general assignment reporter.

Andrews gets his best stories from curiosity. If he had not stopped his car and investigated the children playing music on the sidewalk, he would have missed out on a great story.

Good reporters follow what their editors tell them, but great reporters go out and find their own stories.

Adventures in Microblogging

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I Phone with TwitterOn Sunday, March 19, I attended an improv show presented by Lindenwood University’s Nick of Time Players. I live blogged the event using my cell phone and Twitter.

Technical Problems

I’m a little behind on technology. My family has never been tech-savy, and while I would love to have the latest gadgets, I have not job to pay for them. My cell phone does have basic mobile internet but when I tried tweeting from it the day before, it crashed and I had to remove the battery to be able to get my phone to work again.

I brought my 5-year-old laptop to the event instead but it’s performance has been degrading over the years. I had forgotten that for some reason my computer no longer can read JavaScript, so I was unable to log onto Twitter. With the show starting in five minutes, I desperately tried my cell phone again and was able to find a way to get Twitter on my phone without causing problems. (My phone did crash a couple of times during the show, but I was able to fix it.)

So my first lesson concerning live blogging is it’s important to have the latest technology for things to go smoothly.

My Experience

Though I think live blogging has its place as an effective breaking news reporting tool, it is not appropriate for all events.

First of all, I felt disrespectful throughout the entire performance. Though I cleared it with one of the members first, I still got several dirty looks from fellow audience members. I tried to be discrete by sitting in the far back corner, but I still drew attention to myself by being the only one not looking at the stage most of the time. People probably thought I was texting which has long been considered rude during performances.

Secondly, I’m fairly sure I missed at least a third of the performance. I hardly had time to even look at the stage. Many times I would be composing a tweet when the audience would explode with laughter. I’d look up from my phone and have no idea what was going on. Since I was the only one not laughing, it furthered people’s opinion that I was not paying attention (which I wasn’t entirely.)

That made me think about reporters and congressmen who tweet during a speech. If I missed funny phrases while tweeting during the improv show, surely reporters miss out on things said during a speech that could add context to what is being said. The reporter could finish a tweet, hear the last part of a sentence and tweet that, but if the meaning of that sentence is changed by the first part that the reporter didn’t hear while he was tweeting, the quote can be taken out of context.

Like I said before, some events call for a person’s undivided attention. Getting the whole story is important before making the information public. Though live blogging can be useful in certain situations, sometimes it’s best to keep your phone in your pocket.

Security for Ron Paul’s LU Visit

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While Lindenwood prepares for the visit of Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul on Saturday, the security department will be working behind the scenes to make sure everything goes according to plan.

With the event open to the public and Ron Paul such a prominent figure, Director of Security Kurt Smith said he expects a large crowd.

“Parking can be limited, especially with students still being here,” Smith said. “The biggest challenge will be making sure the guests can come in safely and find a place to park.”

Smith said he has been working with Lindenwood Student Government (LSGA) President Dan Bedell to find volunteers who are willing to help direct traffic. In addition to student volunteers, St. Charles police officers will be on the scene.

“Lindenwood has hired six off-duty officers to coordinate with their personnel,” Lieutenant David Senter of the St. Charles police department said.

Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate without Secret Service protection. Republican Newt Gingrich just recently acquired protection on Wednesday. According to secretservice.gov, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is responsible for determining what candidates receive Secret Service. She must consult with an advisory committee made up of the speaker of the house, the house majority whip, the senate majority leader, the senate minority leader, and one additional member chosen by the committee.

The committee has not declared Ron Paul a “major candidate.” This decision could possibly be a result of Ron Paul’s not winning any state primaries in 2012.

LU security and the St. Charles police department have plans in place to ensure a safe environment. Officers will be standing by at the entrances to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

“We’re making sure [Congressman] Paul can get in safely and get out afterward,” Smith said.

The political system can cause heated debates and the arrival of a controversial politician can sometimes draw protestors to the scene. Smith said he doesn’t expect any to come out, but is still prepared just in case.

“Ideally we will find a staging area for them away from the entrances where they won’t interfere with anything, but will still be able to exercise their First Amendment rights,” he said.

Anyone who is disruptive during the speech will be escorted out of the building.

Ron Paul will be speaking at 3 p.m. this Saturday. The doors to the Hyland Arena will open to Lindenwood students at 2 p.m. and general admittance will begin at 2:20.

The congressman’s arrival is likely to draw people from the area as well as attract the attention of the media. Smith believes the security team and volunteers will keep things running smoothly.

“We should have plenty of people to get everything coordinated,” he said.

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