Final: Skills I’ve learned over the past semester

Brian DeAngelis
Brian DeAngelis, wondering whether or not he will finish his final on time. 5/17/11, SF State

There are many skills I can take away having now finished Digital News Gathering. I’ve learned how to better publish stories with proper SEO, and really the level to which journalism has adapted to suit a consumer who’s already heavily connected through social media.

One of the best skills I practiced this semester was the creation of an audio story. It was fun to see something which started as an OK idea turn into a pretty decent final piece. As such, my audio story on the Queens of the Stone Age show I attended is certainly my favorite piece of work of the semester.

I also learned how to shoot better video, and how to draw an audience in with proper storytelling. Video is a wonderful tool for journalists to use, especially when one knows how to better suit it for the web.

Finally, and this in addition to my internship this semester, I’ve come to greatly understand the use of Twitter and Facebook in regards to spreading the word on a story. It’s really only the news company’s job to “plant the seed” at first, and begin the dialogue on a topic or story, but once its begun, it can be a very powerful force in further spreading a news story.

Health Information and Social Media

This report, published by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, speaks to the use of social media and internet searches when accessing and sharing health information. I found it interesting how much people use social media to learn about certain health conditions, either before or in addition to consulting a physician. I chose to illustrate a select subset of the report, speaking directly about social media and health information.

If an editor were to assign me a story based on this report, it would most likely speak to the growing tread of using the internet and social media in spreading health information, and whether or not it’s a reliable means to gain such information. I would want to interview both physicians as well as those accessing social media for such information, and could incorporate charts as I just have, and most likely video in my interviewing process.

MOS: SF State students thoughts on the Royal Wedding

Here are some SF State students thoughts when asked the question:

What do you think of the media coverage of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? (Was it adequate, too little or too much?)

Those interviewed (in order):

Kelly Goff, senior
Sara Donchey, senior
Caitlin Olson, senior
Meghan Dubitsky, graduating senior
Eric Green, graduating senior

Royal Wedding balcony
The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, April 29, 2011 in St. James’s, London, England, GB. Photo by John Pannell.


Thoughts on NPR’s Morning Edition

Given the arduous commute I so often endure, listening to NPR’s Morning Edition has become somewhat of a ritual.

While I would still place Twitter as my top news source (especially given the immediacy of the platform), during the morning and evening commute NPR definitely places itself in a close second.

For this assignment, listening to Morning Edition was something I had already down, and will certainly continue to do.

One of the main reasons I’ll continue to listen, and why audio still holds its own is two-fold really. Audio news is capable of both gripping your attention in some areas while still letting you continue your task at hand. This is why TV news just doesn’t grab my attention, as (especially with my generation) it demands too much constant attention. Rather, listening to something (much like music) while still free to do other things feels more viable.

Take for example today’s Morning Edition (pop-up), which opened with audio from the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. While I don’t feel the story should have received so much coverage, in some respects it was engaging to hear audio directly from the ceremony itself.

Another great example comes from Thursday’s show (pop-up), opening with the devastation from the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In somewhat “classic” NPR fashion, sounds of chainsaws cutting trees are mixed with the reporter’s voice, giving greater context and immersion into the story.

It’s these examples which are what make NPR (and Morning Edition) such strong reporting, emphasizing very engaging audio to continually pull the listener into the story.