UW Holiday Market

On December 2, the University of Wyoming hosted the annual UW Holiday Market. This event was held in the Wyoming Union, and was free and open to the public. My group decided that this would be a very neat event to cover, mostly because it had a different news angle than many of the other groups in the class. We realized that the news angle would be less hard-hitting, and more about the event in general. There were over 70 vendors to interview, hundreds of patrons, and even the event organizers.

I thought that this was an enjoyable experience, because it gave me a chance to see an event like this from a different perspective. I wasn’t attending this event as a patron, and so I wasn’t looking around at things to buy. Instead, I was attending the event and looking for people to interview to make the story better. I thought that this was something unique to try, and something I actually thoroughly enjoyed. I thought the only part of the assignment that was difficult was when we were coming up with the narration. It was tough to decide what the viewer might need to know, and important to keep it succinct and relevant.

I was surprised with how much I actually enjoyed the experience. I didn’t think at first that I would like having to interview strangers and make a story out of the market, but it turned out to be something that I did like to do. It was great hearing the different perspectives of the vendors and customers, and what their views of the market were. People at the event were genuinely happy to be there, and I found that to be great!

In a future career, I see video as being an integral part of the job. I think that video is so neat because it can give a perspective that other mediums can’t. Video can show the viewer what the event looked like, and also give an image of the people behind the interviews. I think that it will be important to know how to interview, edit, and assemble a high-quality production for the viewer.

Here is the video:

UW Multicultural Graduation – Live Tweeting

On December 5, 2013, I attended the Fall 2013 Multicultural Graduation Ceremony at the University of Wyoming. When I arrived at the event, I immediately realized that this was a very unique program that not very many people know about on UW’s campus. Students in attendance were graduating students from UW, from any cultural background. There were students from Wyoming, students from the United States, and students from all across the world. The neat thing was that it was a much smaller event than what might be seen at a traditional commencement ceremony.

Because this was so unique, I felt as though this would be a good opportunity to live-tweet the event, and tweet updates to Twitter so that my followers could be made aware of the great event. So, I sat in the back row, and pulled out my phone to start sending tweets. At first, it was very awkward to be on my phone the entire time. I felt as though I should have been attentive and engaged in the event as a spectator, but instead I was there as a reporter. This was a very new feeling, and one that took some getting used to.

After a few tweets, I found myself truly enjoying what I was doing. It was neat to be able to start seeing the event through a different set of eyes, and listen for things that people who were not in attendance might find interesting. I began to listen for good quotes from speakers, and finding a good way to explain to the people on twitter what I was seeing happen.

I learned that it wasn’t such a bad thing to sit at an event and not be a full participant. There was actually one instance where a man leaned over to me and asked me why I was on my phone the whole time. After I explained to him what I was doing, he was extremely intrigued and interested, and wanted to know all about this project. It was then that I realized that live-tweeting can serve a great function in spreading a story to a mass audience.

In the future, I would think that Twitter and other social media sites can serve a function of making news more accessible to a broader audience. I imagine that this will be a very important part of my career, and that I will have to be proficient in using social media effectively. This assignment helped me start down the path of understanding it, and I’m sure there will be more to come.

To see my first live-tweet or any of my Twitter, see my twitter feed here.

SoundSlides with Skater Guy

For this project, I teamed up with two classmates (Nichole Grady and Alex Landt) to create a SoundSlides video. The purpose of this video was to combine the skills from my last few posts into one, adding photos and sound editing together to make the SoundSlide. We got together and decided to interview a sort of local figure on the University of Wyoming campus. Most people refer to this man as “Skater Guy,” but we now know him by his name of Matt Groathouse.

Our thought with this interview was that it could shed some light on this figure that many people only know by the nickname that the campus has given him. Too often, people just walk across campus and see this man doing wild tricks on his skateboard, but that’s all they know about him. We were lucky to get him to sit down for an interview, and then to take some pictures of him. Combined, the interview and photos made for one very interesting SoundSlide.

One of the most interesting things was that while I was taking pictures and walking across campus, Matt kept talking to Nichole as she had the recorder running. It was a neat element of the interview, because we were able to capture random soundbites as the thoughts came to Matt, and continue the interview beyond the questions that we had come up with.

After the conclusion of the interview and photo session, it was fairly simple to put the project together. Alex, being the expert at the audio editing, quickly edited everything down to a succinct story. We then picked our favorite pictures, and loaded it all into the SoundSlides program. The program essentially did all the work! All I had to do was to move a few photos around and adjust some lengths, then add the captions and title, and the project was completed!

Overall, I thought that this was a very exciting project. We were able to get to know someone that many students talk about, but don’t take the time to talk with. We then got a personal skating session by Matt, and then assembled the pieces together to make a great story. I wouldn’t change anything about the project, mostly because it all came together to make a very enjoyable experience!

Alex Landt – UW Triathlete

After recording the interview that is located in my last post, I went through an editing process to shorten it down to only the pertinent information. Using a free software called Audacity, I edited the recording down to two minutes, and removed all of myself from the interview.

I thought that this was a really neat experience for me, to go through the program and learn how to cut certain parts of a recording. This was difficult to do at some points, since there were a few places where the interviewee (Alex) had words very close together, and these were the places where cuts needed to be made. I found out that if I zoomed far enough into the audio file, I could get the exact point where a word ended and the next one started, and made that the place where I would cut the audio.

I thoroughly enjoyed cutting the audio down to a shorter version, but the tough part was deciding what was important and what was not. There were a few separate spots where I thought that the story was important, and I had to go back through the audio to sacrifice some of the story. Overall, I realized that it was truly the most important pieces of the interview that made the story. This made me realize that these are decisions journalists make every day. They must include only the most relevant information, and choose to go without the rest.

The most surprising part of the entire project was how easy it was. I was a little nervous that the program was going to be difficult to navigate, but it was actually very easy to accomplish everything that I needed. Other than that, this assignment was one that I actually truly enjoyed. There were no major problems, and I would have no issues with doing another assignment similar to this one. I like the audio aspect, and all of the different pieces that I learned with editing audio.


Getting to know Alex Landt

For this class project, I interviewed my classmate Alex Landt. As the audio interview tells, Alex took some time to tell me about his experience as a member of the UW Triathlon Club. I felt as though this interview was a really awesome opportunity to try my hand at the other side of the interviewing process. For my line of work, I am often being interviewed by journalists, and this was a unique first experience for me! It was great to ask the questions and let someone else answer, as opposed to being asked the questions.

After I interviewed Alex, he interviewed me as well on a different topic. This was something that I am used to, and so it wasn’t too intimidating or difficult. The nice part was that the topic I was interviewed on was the UW Water Polo Club, which is something I enjoy doing outside of my normal work life. I thoroughly enjoyed being asked questions about the team, and enjoyed shedding some light on a less popular sport in the state of Wyoming.

From this experience, I learned how to interview someone, while making sure that the background noises remained minimal, and keeping the volume of Alex at a reasonable level. For me, it was also hard to remain silent while Alex was talking. I am not used to having a sort of one-way conversation, and so not responding to his answers throughout the process was more difficult than I imagined it would be!

I enjoyed being able to ask some questions, and then sit back and listen to the answers. I could tell that Alex was passionate about the sport just by the way he talked about it. It was extremely neat to hear him go on about something he loves, and I’m sure if there was more time, the interview could have lasted much longer!

Overall, I felt the interview went very smoothly. I think that his answers coupled with my questions made for a very informative session. I struggled at first because I had a list of set questions, and realized that I would be bouncing all over the place if I stuck with my list. After the first few questions, I began to listen closely to what he was saying so that I could ask relevant follow-up questions. I thought that this assignment was truly enjoyable, and opened my eyes to something that every journalist does on a frequent basis!

Photojournalism on Campus

Assistant Dean of Students Helen Alatorre looks at homecoming t-shirts in the Wyoming Union on Monday. This week is the official UW Homecoming Week.

I took this photo when I was walking through the University Store on Monday for the same exact reason. I was wanting to buy an official homecoming T-shirt, and in doing so I noticed that this woman was looking through the racks for a shirt for herself. As I took the photo, I noticed that she was a little confused as to what I was doing. Thankfully, when I told her that it was for a class, she was more than willing to allow me to use the photo. I also thought that this photo was a great example of contrast, with her black outfit and the bright yellow shirts breaking the photo in half vertically.

UW Students participated Tuesday in a competition to fill up buckets with water from a sponge. The winner of the competition earned points toward an overall score for a week’s worth of activities.

As I was walking across campus on Tuesday, I stumbled upon this photo (as well as the next one). I asked around and found out that this was part of a week’s worth of activities designed to get students more involved in homecoming. This event was a student relay, where groups of students got together and participated in a fun relay where they had to perform various activities. This specific portion required the students to dunk a sponge into a bucket full of water and run to an empty bucket where they squeezed out all the water to fill the other bucket. It was really exciting as these students were cheered on by their respective groups! I liked this photo because it used rule of thirds, with the subjects on the right side of the photo, and also with the full buckets of water on the left side.

A UW student tries to lasso a bull dummy as part of a relay race on Prexy’s Pasture.

As another activity in the student relay, students had to try to lasso a bull dummy. There was tape all around the dummy at a distance of ten feet, and the students were required to lasso the dummy around both horns or the neck. Once this activity was completed, the next member of the relay race could begin their competition. At the end of the event, the students were given a score that would go towards their overall score at the completion of the week. I thought that this was a sort of unique and interesting sport that was happening at the heart of UW’s campus.

UW Students Amanda Tetherow (front) and Amy Andreen studied for exams in a UW computer lab on Monday. This week is midterm week for some students at UW.

As I was going to a computer lab in the Wyoming Union to type a paper for a class, I realized that this could be a perfect opportunity to snap a photo! I took this picture of two other students, who just like me, were working on class assignments. After asking them for some more information, I found out that they were both studying for midterms for their classes. I shared with them that I was happy to not have any exams until next week, and that I didn’t realize that some students had midterms this week. I was happy that the photo turned out well, and that it used and interesting view of rule of thirds. I also thought that it showed leading lines, in that the computers against the right side of the screen lead my eyes toward the background of the photo.

UW Students Jim Meyer (front) and Kara Nazminia discuss issues regarding tuition.

While I was at work, one of my colleagues was having a meeting concerning tuition in our conference room. I felt as though this would be a great feature picture, because it had two students who were discussing a major issue on campus. I asked them if they would mind having me take some pictures, and thankfully they both agreed. It was a little awkward being in a meeting and taking pictures of people while they were talking, but I was happy that the picture turned out well.

Creative Photography

photo 1

Trees on campus begin to turn to their fall colors. Fall officially began on Sept. 22.

The photo above is titled “Fall Trees.” The creative device used in this photo is texture. The viewer of the photo can see this texture in the leaves, and how it adds to the overall aesthetics of the picture. Other dominant devices that are found in this photo are that of color, as seen in the yellow leaves in the foreground, and contrasted by the green leaves in the background. There is also rule of thirds used in this picture, with the yellow trees on the right side of the photo.

photo 2

Found between Laramie and Centennial, Wyo., this building appears to have been abandoned for some time.

The above photo is titled “Abandoned Sanctuary.” This photo is a great example of symmetry, as shown not only on the building itself, but also on the shadow that is cast onto the ground. The left side of the building identically matches the right side of the building. This is also a great example of light, due to the sun high in the sky, and the shadow on the ground. The color in this photo is also very neat, as the blue sky matches up with the green of the grass.


photo 3

This stop sign is found between Laramie and Centennial, Wyo.

The above photo is simply titled “Stop!” I found that this photo is a great example of the dominant device of rule of thirds. The stop sign is neatly placed on the right side of the photo, which draws the viewers attention to the sign as opposed to the rest of the picture. I also like the lighting in the photo, as it makes the stop sign nice and bright. The final piece that I think is neat is the color, and the way that the red of the sign pops with the bright blue background of the sky.


photo 4

Sean Meenan, a passenger at the Laramie Airport, hugs his wife Melanie goodbye.

The above photo is titled “Goodbye.” I took this photo just after dropping my brother off at the airport. I pleased to capture this moment, that was a man hugging his wife goodbye. This was a photo in which I did some experimentation. I tried to capture the balancing elements of the photo, which were two individuals hugging. I also thought that this was a photo that showed some symmetry, with the two arms wrapped around each other. Finally, I thought this was a good example of intentional cropping, where I did not include all of the subjects’ body in the photo.


photo 5

A popular candy, these “Mike and Ikes” were found in a local Laramie grocery store.

This final photo is called “candy,” and was taken at a local Laramie, Wyo. grocery store. I thought that this was a very good representation of color as the dominant device. The colors on all of the candies seem to pop out of the photo, with each individual color holding its own weight in the photo. This was also a good example of focus, as the background of the photo is not very easily recognizable.

Overall, I thought that this assignment was fairly neat. I found myself photographing all sorts of things that I normally would not take a picture of. When I am using social media sites such as Instagram, I often find myself searching for good pictures to post. I felt as though this assignment helped me see the potential photographing opportunities that have always existed, and gave me an opportunity to take advantage of them.

UW Students Give Back to Laramie

Every year in August, the town of Laramie, Wyo grows in size by about 10,000 people. Students from all around the United States and even the world come to Laramie to attend school at the University of Wyoming. The residents of Laramie, who were used to an entire summer of peace, have to deal with the large influx of people.

Year after year, the residents welcome the students back to Laramie, and some even lend a helping hand in any way they can. Yet all the giving to the students has gone unrewarded in some ways – but not this year.

This year, the UW Service, Leadership, and Community Engagement (SLCE) office has decided it is time for the UW community to give back to Laramie by holding a one-day event of community service called “The Big Event.”


The Big Event started at Texas A&M in 1982. According to the Texas A&M website, the event was started by the former vice president of the student government association Joe Nussbaum.

The website explains that the event was started “as a way for students to say thank you to the surrounding community.” The event has since been adopted at more than 75 institutions across the US.

According to the website, the mission of The Big Event is to “promote campus and community unity as students come together for one day to express their gratitude for the support from the surrounding community.” In 2013, over 17,500 students volunteered at about 1,650 different job sites.

The Big Event at Texas A&M. The first big event was held in 1982. Source: http://bigevent.tamu.edu/about

The Big Event at Texas A&M. The first big event was held in 1982. Source: http://bigevent.tamu.edu/about

The Big Event comes to Wyoming

The idea began in ­June of 2013, when the SLCE office hired their student coordinator for volunteer programs Molly Markow. Markow decided that she wanted to put on a large service event for the community, and brought the idea to her supervisor and volunteer program coordinator Sagan Hunsaker.

“Molly told me that she wanted to put together this project,” Hunsaker said. “We decided to research the idea and found out that other campuses had been putting on similar projects called ‘The Big Event’ all across the country.”

Hunsaker and Markow then got in contact with Texas A&M to find out how the event was organized and decided that UW could also put on The Big Event in the little town of Laramie. However, there was a small roadblock that prevented them from starting: no budget.

Markow decided to contact local businesses to pitch the idea to them, and slowly businesses started to donate to the cause. As the money came in, SLCE began to advertise in newspapers, by radio and created posters and a unique logo.

“Businesses really got behind the idea,” Markow said. “They saw that there was a chance to bring the university and Laramie communities together into one great community.”

The next step was to put together a committee made up of advisers of student organizations all across campus. The committee got to work planning the logistics of the event such as who could apply for assistance, how to get students to volunteer and how best to market the service day.

Once the planning had been completed, it was time to start spreading the word. The SLCE office, members of Fraternity and Sorority Life and students in the Campus Activities Center began to canvas the neighborhood. The students walked streets all over the community and placed door hangers on each house, advertising for residents to apply for assistance from students.

“I get more and more excited to create lasting connections between students and community members, and foster a sense of community between UW and Laramie,” Markow said. “Residents aren’t always keen on the university, and we have had a positive reaction from residents about trying to bring together the greater Laramie community, UW included.”

One big day. One big thanks.

As the news began to spread about The Big Event, a small handful of students got excited about the chance to give back. SLCE decided that students could volunteer as a group, or volunteer individually. Dan Sabirzyanov, a senior in molecular biology and member of student organizations such as Alpha Epsilon Delta and Cardinal Key was excited to sign up.

“We are constantly asking residents to assist our organizations through fundraisers and events,” Sabirzyanov said. “I thought that it would be a really great idea to be able to give back to the community who has helped us in so many ways.”

Student workers in the Wyoming Union were also some of the first to sign up as volunteers.

“The community is supportive with our events asking them to donate clothing or canned food,” Markow said. “I think that we collectively decided that it was our turn to donate our time as a huge ‘thanks’ to the community.”

The Big Event will be Saturday Oct. 5 in Laramie.
Source: http://www.uwyo.edu/slce/programs/thebigevent.html

Two weeks until the event

Today, the SLCE office has received slightly fewer than 50 applications from the community, ranging from jobs such as painting to yard work, and even some cleaning. For pre-registration, the SLCE office has 15 groups of students registered for the event as well as almost 30 individual students.

Hunsaker said that she is very pleased with the number of pre-registrations, but expects to see many more students arrive to register on the day of the event.

“I am most excited to see the interaction between students and community members,” Hunsaker said. “too often studetns are not connected with the community outside of campus, and being abe to give back to the community is going to be very exciting.”

The Big Event is Saturday Oct. 5, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Student volunteers will arrive at work sites at 9 a.m., and return to UW at 12 p.m. for a community barbecue.

Usability of Multimedia

When I first opened up the multimedia story “100 Gallons,” I was met with immediate disappointment. I opened the story in Internet Explorer, and was unable to click on the first link I went to called “How to view.” Even more disappointing was the fact that I could not interact with any part of the page other than to click play on the welcome video. It was at this time that I decided to close the browser window and open Mozilla Firefox to see if I would experience anything different.

After the page loaded on Firefox, I once again went to the bottom of the page to click on the “how to view” link. Success! The link opened up a text box just above the link that explained how to best view the website, but also left the process open-ended. I appreciated this very much, specifically because it allowed me to understand a good way to navigate the page, but also told me that if I decided to wonder off in the process, I could easily find my way back to any part of the site. I then clicked on the link on the bottom right side of the page called “why 100 gallons.” I went here to find out more about the page so that I knew a little bit more about what I was going to be looking at.

The next thing that I did was start to interact with the multimedia on the page. I clicked play on the main video, and then took a pit-stop after about 10 seconds on the first sub-story to get some more information about the topic. In my opinion, this feature was actually one of the neatest on the entire site. As you can see in the picture below, there were small bubbles along the bottom of the video so that I could stop every few seconds and see a sub-story or an interactive feature.

I thought that this website was very easy to navigate, and certainly appreciated that fact. I felt as though it followed all 10 tips that were recommended in class, and I couldn’t complain at any point while navigating the site. In fact, when I wanted to find out who contributed to the site, all I had to do was click the “about” button on the bottom right of the page, and then click the link that brought me to the staff.

Of course, I was a little skeptical about my experience, and so I had my roommate test the site. I started by giving him the hint to use Firefox so that he wouldn’t encounter my same problem, but then let him roam the site on his own. Almost immediately, his experience was step-for-step the same as mine, without any coercion by me! He clicked on the “how to view” link, and then decided to skip the “why 100 gallons” link. Instead, he jumped right in and clicked play on the video. Just like magic, he then clicked on the first sub-story, and then did the same for every sub-story along the way for about the next 10 minutes. When I asked him to find the staff, he was able to do so in just a few seconds.

I was amazed by how his experience and mine were so similar. Other than the internet browser debacle, neither of us encountered any problems. We both found the usability of the site to be very satisfying, and enjoyed the content as well!

If I had to change one thing, it would be to combine some of the sub-stories, or have fewer of them along the way. I found that for both my roommate and myself, we felt that we had a grasp on the purpose of the page after just a few, and didn’t actually feel compelled to visit all of them.

With that small critique, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change any other thing about this site. I give two thumbs way up to Powering a Nation, the company that hosts the site. I would certainly recommend this site to others interested in the content, and not just because of the usability, but also because of the very interesting material.

My News Sources

Every morning after I wake up, one of the first things that I do is flip open my iPad and check into my favorite news source: The Casper Star Tribune. The reason that I enjoy this newspaper is because it is Wyoming’s only state-wide newspaper. Being born and raised in this great cowboy state, I like to check in on what is happening in my local area and across Wyoming. The other great thing about this newspaper is that it includes regional, national, and international news as well.

I truly trust the Casper Star Tribune, since the news that is published comes from a staff of reputable journalists, and they also include plenty of news from the Associated Press. Sure, in many news sources there are certain things that can come out as biased, but this newspaper usually saves that for the editorial section. 

I also really enjoy The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. I have found that this TV show is actually very informative from a comedic perspective, but usually contains much more hard-fact news than some other news sources. I mean, Stephen Colbert is a pundit who makes fun of a lot of other news stations, but usually always supplies very factual information. The best part? I get to catch up on information while getting a good laugh.

As far as news goes for me, many of my friends (including my roommates) don’t like to talk about news that often. However, my dad is a big news guy, and usually tunes into Fox News. Most of the time when we talk about current news, we end up having a long conversation that often ends up in one of us bashing the others news source. I can’t say that I enjoy his news source, and he would say the same about mine!

I think that the only way to settle the long debates is for me to broaden my news horizons. If I want to understand others points of view, then I should at least know what sort of information they are taking in. The long-and-short of this is that there are plenty types of news out there, and there is no good way to know the accuracy of any of the news. However, I would have no problem with being knowledgeable about more news, and I’m sure that it would only serve to make me more informed.