“Heyoon” Reflection

This was the first time I had listened to a piece of audio and really tried to dissect it in my head. I’ve always taken certain things about audio for granted, I’ve never considered the effort and thought that goes into creating a scene through only sound.

In the beginning of the piece, when we are first introduced to Heyoon through the teenagers visiting it, the scene is created so well. The sounds of car doors, footsteps, the lighter, the talking and whispering, really immerse you into the piece. That scene in particular really stood out to me. I felt like I could perfectly picture what was happening in my head. I had trouble distinguishing between natural sound and ambient sound. I think that these are natural sounds. I’m left wondering how to classify the background music, is that ambient sound? Different background music is used throughout various points in the piece. Each is cleverly placed and reflects the tone of the scene it is in.

The narration is by Roman Mars, but the majority of the story is from the point of view of Alex Goldman, who grew up in Ann Arbor. There are various sound bites from his friends that would visit Heyoon with him, and eventually from Peter Heydon, the owner of Heyoon. Alex Goldman’s words come off as if he’s reading them from a story book. The narrator links the sound bites from Alex Goldman well while adding in information that gives the listener more information to help them understand the story better, or give them information that they wouldn’t have received through Goldman’s storytelling. The different sound bites from Alex’s friends and other people who visited Heyoon illustrate how magical this place was for many people, not just for Alex. When we are introduced to Peter Heydon, and it is revealed that the idea behind Heyoon was the product of a night of alcohol shared between friends, we can almost draw a parallel between Heydon and Goldman, as Goldman does.

In the end, it is revealed that the scenes where the group of people are going to Heyoon is a recreation, and did not actually take place at Heyoon. This came as kind of a shock to me, I wasn’t anticipating that twist. I think that this is still journalism, the actual words that make up the meat and potatoes of the piece come from witnesses who did have those lived experiences. The extra things added to create the scene do just that, they create the scene and give the listener a more exciting and captivating listening experience. The listener is being lied to, but it doesn’t change anything about the story. However, by adding this fictional component the journalism takes on another dimension, to me it makes it a blend between journalism and something else. I would say storytelling, but journalism already is storytelling and the added elements to this piece simply enhance the storytelling. I guess this is gray area and I’m not sure how to classify it.

 

 

 

Storytelling Multimedia Review

The piece of multimedia journalism that I will be reviewing in an article from Vox entitled “How a heroin epidemic among white Americans led to a softer war on drugs,” written by German Lopez.

The article discusses how lawmakers have responded to the marked increase in overdoses and addiction to opioid painkillers and heroin. Lopez then goes on to explain how in recent times the demographics of the majority involved in this crisis have switched from the demographics of drug addicts from the 1970s and 80s. Today, the greater part of those suffering from addiction to these drugs are white, middle to upper class individuals rather than urban, low-income, minorities. It is then explained that this change in demographic might be cause for the softer drug control and punishments inflicted that exist today. Rather than strictly and harshly punish the addict, programs are now in place to help the addict overcome their addiction so that they can return to normal life.

This opening leads the reader to believe that softer policies are a direct relation to the race and class of today’s addicts. However, as the piece progresses, Lopez reveals that another possible reason for the softer policies is that people in legislature feel a deeper connection to the drug problem because it is not uncommon for it to affect someone they know. And, because of the class status of the affected, the parents and loved ones of an addict may be in a better position to help affect change. They may be better acquainted with the process of contacting their state’s legislatures. This, while still a race and class bias, it is more of a subconscious bias. Lopez then goes on to explain that in addition that that, lawmakers had begun to ease up on drug sentences to help with the stress put on state budgets due to high incarceration rates.

I believe that Lopez’s intention was to show the reader the possible connection to less harsh sentences for drug addiction/possession related crime and the mostly white, higher-income heroin epidemic. I think Lopez does a good job explaining this connection to the reader. He acknowledges and there could be other factors related to this, and shares those factors, but the reader can still gain an understanding that it might not all simply be a coincidence. The sequence in which he revealed each potential reason for the softer war on drugs was well done. Each explanation was placed in such a way that the reader didn’t automatically write off the beginning argument that it could be related to racial bias, which could be done by some people.

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/11/1/9647704/heroin-epidemic-war-on-drugs

 

Humans of Columbia Experience

The Humans of Columbia project has proved kind of difficult for me to pull off. I keep making major errors in my filming, but each time I learn something so even though it’s frustrating it’s not for nothing. So far I’ve gone out to film twice. Multiple times during the interviews my subject moved so that part of their head is cut off in the frame. So far I’ve gone out twice and interviewed four people, and I’m planning on going out again and trying some more. I get better with each interview, I’m learning while doing.

My first interview went well as far as my interaction with the subject goes. I saw him walking down the street, crazy red hair blowing in the wind wearing a tie dye t-shirt and jeans. He looked like he must have something really interesting to say, and he did. His name was Christopher and I caught him as he was on his way back from a court appearance. He is potentially facing 7-15 years in prison for possession of 4.5 pounds of marijuana. His family grows weed for medicinal purposes. When he was a kid his dad was arrested for growing, and after he got out of jail he moved to California where he could practice his trade legally. It was a very interesting story to listen to, Christopher cried at one point during the interview when he was describing a violent encounter with the Columbia police that his uncle had. I was so excited about the interview, but when I went and watched the interview after, I saw that while we were talking he had moved so he’s in the center of the frame rather than to the right. I was really disappointed that the filming turned out so poorly, but even though I might not be able to use the footage, the interaction I had with Christopher meant a lot to me. He obviously had an important story to tell, and he felt comfortable enough with me to fully open up and tell it with such raw emotion. Even though I’m struggling to get my filming right and Premier Pro is the most stressful thing in my life right now, that interview made me excited to majoring in journalism. I have so much to learn, I’m coming into this with no prior knowledge about filming, interviewing, etc. but I know I’ll figure it out as I go.

What Scares Me About Shooting

I have zero experience with video/shooting, or really anything journalism related. My high school didn’t have any sort of journalism related clubs or classes, and none of my extracurricular activities pertained to journalism.

I guess it would be safe to say that everything about shooting scares me at least a little. Even just filming the sequence of a person texting was hard. Working the equipment and the editing program is probably what scares me the most. I’m not the best with technology so I’m really going to have to pay close attention and absorb as much information about those things as I can. Editing sounds really complicated, lots of the discussion about B-roll and such goes over my head, but I know once I have the program and footage in front of me things will start to make a lot more sense.

Talking to strangers doesn’t scare me as much as it might some. I’m pretty outgoing and confident so I think I’ll be able to get over that hump fairly easily. Some people will certainly be harder to talk to than others, but I will be fine.

So far I know I’m not good at shooting or editing, but I think I’ll be good at talking to people. I like talking to people, but more importantly I like listening. I like finding out about peoples’ lives, their hobbies, what gets them out of bed each day. I’m excited to learn how all of these things come together to tell a story.

“Valley Uprising” Multimedia Review

A national park, rocks, and people living free come together in the documentary “Valley Uprising” to tell the story of rock climbers in Yosemite National Park. The film takes the viewer through the different generations of climbers. Through interviews with climbers and old and new footage of the daring feats performed, you are immersed into the wild culture of climbing.

I love the outdoors. I would always rather be outside than in. Last Spring, I spent a week backpacking in Arches National Park and it was the absolute best week of my life. Going to bed with nothing but the moon and stars lighting up the sky was incredible. I could’ve stayed out there for a month and been perfectly content. Because I have such a strong relationship with the outdoors, I think it was easy for me to be instantly entranced with “Valley Uprising.” However, the story is told in such a way that I find it hard to imagine most people wouldn’t enjoy the documentary regardless of their hobbies and passions.

The storytelling kept the viewer engaged through the entirety of the film. Each generation of climbers had different techniques and goals associated with their adventures. Old videos from each decade along with photographs and interviews brought the viewer into Yosemite Valley. My emotions connected with the individuals I saw climbing on the screen in front of me. When they were celebrating an accomplishment, I felt that joy. When they were frustrated with the park rangers and law enforcement trying to keep them from performing some “dangerous” tasks, I felt their anger and frustration. That is what really stuck with me as a storyteller. The documentary made me feel as though I had personal stakes in what I was watching, even though I’ve never been to Yosemite (hopefully one day) and I’m not a rock climber. It made me feel part of something.

 

First Week of School Drama

Last May I was elected President of the Mizzou Triathlon Club Race Team. That position, along with my class schedule and living in my own apartment for the first time gave me more responsibilities than I’ve ever had before. This realization hit me with a wave of stress that dominated my first week of sophomore year.

Wednesday night was the climax of my stress. I was driving my 2004 Honda Civic across town on my way to a mandatory club sports meeting at the rec for club presidents when my gas light went on. I had just inherited this car from my grandmother and was not familiar with how far the car could go on an empty tank. I pulled into a gas station close to campus and reached down next to the driver’s seat to push the lever that opens my gas tank door. To my horror the door wouldn’t open. I pushed as hard as I could on the lever, I tried to pry the door open with my key, but nothing would open the door. In a panic I called my dad, my mom, and my boyfriend, none of whom answered their phones’. I looked at my watch, it was 4:45 and the meeting started at 5. Tears in my eyes I got in my car and drove to campus. As I was pulling into a spot in the parking garage, my dad returned my call. As soon as I heard his voice I lost it. Through my sniffling I tried to explain my problem to him. He tried to calm me down over the phone, but because he was 1,400 miles away back home in Maine, his words had little effect. I hung up the phone and walked into my meeting trying to keep my red, tear-stained face down.

Once the meeting ended I called a friend and he met me in the garage by my car. After a hunt through Walmart for 10mm socket wrench, we returned to the car with a full tool box in hand. Using a YouTube video as a guide, we were able to remove part of the interior of my car to expose the cable that connected to the gas tank door and successfully opened the door. By the time we cleaned up the tools and filled up my tank, it was almost 11pm. Exhausted and relived, I drove home without worry of running out of gas.

Living off campus has its pros and cons. While I am so happy to have a car this year and the freedom that comes with it, I never considered what it would be like to have car problems and not have my dad there to help me, in person. I’ve learned a lot in just this one week, but the most important thing I’ve learned is that even though my parents are so far away, I’m not alone. They truly are just a phone call away, and I have amazing friends here in Columbia who will always be there to help me.