Multimedia Journalists – One and All

Multimedia storytelling was the focus of the 2009 Boot Camp for incoming graduate journalism students. From day one they began learning the digital landscape of the changing media industry and blogged about their experiences as they learned to write for the Web, take photos, and do audio, slideshow and video projects.
Boot Camp 09 Class

An all-star cast of media professionals from USA Today, the Washington Post, Associated Press, Politico, CBS News, Gannett, and WAMU-FM, shared their expertise with the students. Ten of the experts were SOC alums, from the highest levels of network television and the Web, to the newly-graduated and employed.

Technology provided students the opportunity to skype in interviews from Iraq (with alum Rawand Darwesh) and from New York City (with alum Susan Zirinsky). SOC professors were generous with their time as were adjuncts. Students were introduced to SOC’s influential centers, including the Investigative Reporting Workshop, J-Lab, and the Center for Social Media.

Students went on location to Washington, D.C. hot spots such as Politico, Associated Press and the Newseum. The students come from more than 20 states and internationally from India, South Africa and South America.


BBQ Ends Boot Camp at Chez Olmsted

The 2009 SOC Graduate Journalism Boot Camp ended on Friday afternoon August 14th with a barbecue at Chez Olmsted in Northwest Washington. Burgers, (beef and turkey), hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, home-made cookies, ice-cream and a flow of cool drinks flowed.

SOC alum and CBS executive producer skypes with students

Susan Zirinsky, an AU alum and executive producer at CBS, spoke with students via Skype about her role in journalism and making a documentary about Walter Cronkite. After some technological difficulties with the sound quality, students asked Zirinsky about her career path and choices in the journalism industry.

Watch the following clip to hear Zirinsky discuss how CBS went about making the Cronkite special.

Five rules to create good video

Rob Roberts, a senior video editor at USA TODAY, spoke to the journalism Boot Camp students about creating videos. After viewing and discussing strengths and weaknesses of several videos, Roberts asked what kinds of stories work well on video such as performances and sports–topics similar to Deborah Bolling’s suggestions for good audio stories.

Video should include emotion and a sense of character, according to Roberts. Additionally, video should incorporate compelling images that put the story in better context than words can describe and can help viewers to have a direct connection with the people being filmed, he said. While video does help people see for themselves, video often times doesn’t let the viewer hear the whole story and can seem manipulative, Roberts said.

In addition to offering several techniques such as shooting by using the rule of thirds and capturing an environmental portrait, Roberts gave five rules to follow in order to create good video.

Watch the clip below to learn about the five rules.

Students hold conference call with alum

By: Juan Pawiroredjo

Rawand Darwesh was supposed to Skype
with students but students interviewed
him over a conference call.

Rawand Darwesh is an alumnus of American University, School of Communication and currently resides in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He spoke of the situation in Iraq and gave a different point of view as opposed to what he called “The CNN effect.” The CNN effect reveres to the imagery large corporate media companies focus on, in order to get favorable viewer ratings.

It was nice to hear that certain parts of Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, have not been affected by the war. Many people live in peace everyday and still have a very normal life. These regions have however, been confronted with the many displaced people who fled the War affected areas.

Rawand also presented a fresh perspective on the love-hate relationship the Iraqi’s have with the USA. Many Iraqi’s were filled with joy towards the USA when they freed the people from the infamous leader Saddam Hussein. Later the relationship between these two countries took a turn for the worse. As Rawand spoke of the gratitude the Iraqi’s had towards the soldiers of the USA, I couldn’t help but recall the images of joy many Iraqi’s displayed when the retreat of the United States’ soldiers was announced. I guess there are always two sides to every story.

This article was originally posted here.

Check out some photos from the day:

Journalism jobs are often far from journalism

Jim Asendio is the News Director for WAMU. During his discussion with the journalism graduate students, he mentioned how as the director his job is more administrative work than journalism work at times.

Asendio talks about the management and administrative work that he does at WAMU in the clip below.

Opportunities arise from grad school skill sets

AU alum Keosha Johnson met with students to discuss her life after grad school. After earning a competitive internship with NBC News in New York City, Johnson had several opportunities open up to her because of the skills she learned while at American University.

While working on the American Observer, the online magazine run by the journalism students, Johnson learned some Web production skills that made her resume stand out to one of her bosses. She was offered the chance to work on a soft launch of a new site because of her skills.

In the following video, Johnson speaks about her exciting opportunity.