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Video Storytelling Project

14 Nov

Video Storytelling

The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. Video is not just on TV anymore — you can find video stories online and on mobile devices as well. You’ll work in teams of two for this project. Let’s partner up and review the project instructions.

1. Pre-Production (Before You Shoot)

Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video. This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of motion.

Identify your sources. Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.

Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story. Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.

“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling. Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than here about it from an interviewee.

Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots. For suggestions, see Production, below.

Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story. Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the Soundslides project and the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?

2. Production (When You’re On-Location)

Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event). This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.

Shoot B-roll. B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s meet should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.

Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources. When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud? Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.

Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters. If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.

Shoot a variety of camera shots. Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below.

  • Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
  • Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
  • Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
  • Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
  • Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
  • Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
  • Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
  • Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
  • Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
  • Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.

 

Optional: Camera movement techniques. Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experinece with video or unless you have a high-quality video camear. If you decide to use camea movements, see the techniques below:

  • Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa.
  • Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
  • Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
  • Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.

 

Composition concerns: Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!

3. Post-Production (The Editing Process)

Editing programs. You have access to Adobe Premiere Elements in this lab, CR 207, as well as Ross Hall 423 (next to my office) and the IT building computer lab. However, you are free to use another editing program, such as iMovie, FinalCutPro, or Windows Movie Maker. Adobe Premiere and FinalCutPro are the industry standards for video editing. iMovie is pretty good for being a standard software on a MacBook. Windows Movie Maker is pretty awful and I don’t recommend it unless you have no other options. Also, consider downloading  a trial version of Adobe Premiere.

Conceptual Editing. You want to brainstorm and plan out your story before you begin with technical editing. You want to have the story flow ironed out first. If you’re stuck, think about how you’d tell a friend your story. What did you start with? What else did you tell your friend? How does the story end? Also, search for sound bites that address the who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.

The video editing process is similar to the audio editing process. Remember the tips associated with audio editing.

Keep your story focused — it’s supposed to be about 2-4 minutes.

Project Requirements

Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work.

  • At least 2 sources
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
  • Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
  • Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
  • Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the speaker self-identifies themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end
  • Editing is smooth

 

Video Storytelling Examples From Past Classes

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-Event Story with Reporter Narration – Zachary Laux and Cameron Patey
Online Gaming

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-Event Story Without Reporter Narration – Nic Behnke and Shane Staley
Snowy Range – New Terrain Park

Example of Journalistic Approach to an Event Story without Reporter Narration – Tiffany Le Gal and Anna Rader
MLK Jr. Days of Dialogue/March @ University of Wyoming

Example of Promotional Approach – Courtney Gifford, Travis Hoff, Sam Weinstein
Border War: The ROTC Story

 
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Student Work: Soundslides Projects

12 Nov

Alex Breckenridge and Scottie Melton

Dani Esquivel and William Bailey

Rachel Vliem and Rachel Wagner

Brittany Hamilton and Sami Jo Heitsch

Brett Kahler, Alex Landt, and Nichole Grady

Boyd Deuel and Miles Englehart

Denise Caskey and Jeff Nelson

Chris Banks and Keavy Ferrall

Alex Bradfield and Ashlyn Mazur

Sarah Dvorak and Carolyn Hageman

 
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Live Tweeting Events

07 Nov

Now that you know more about how to use social media for storytelling, we are going to live-report a newsworthy event using Twitter. Let’s take a look at the Blog Post 9 – Live Tweeting Project

It will be helpful to do a practice run first. Let’s watch Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech. First, open a Word file. I want you to type as much as information, notes, and direct quotes that you can from the speech.

Then, we’re going to take class time to create as many 140-character tweets as possible (with the hashtag #SteveJobs included in each tweet). Highlight the first sentence or two in your file. Is it 140 characters? How should you edit it? Is it important enough to tweet?

Aim for at least 10 tweets, but more is better. If this was a live event, your audience would want as many direct quotes from Jobs as possible.

After you’re done, we’ll share our tweets as a class by going around the room. This should give you an idea of the key moments of the speech. And you should double-check to ensure you captured those key moments of the speech in tweets you have written in your Word file.

This exercise should help you understand the process of live-tweeting.

Also, be sure that you charge your smartphone before attending the event. If your phone runs out of battery and you’re supposed to be live-tweeting an event, that is no excuse to a boss in the future.

 
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UW Athletics Internships

07 Nov

UW Athletics will have the following internships available starting next semester:

1.       Wyoming Athletics Marketing Internship – One (1) position open

2.       Wyoming Athletics Social Media Internships – Four (4) positions open

Interested students should contact Nick Popplewell for more information and to setup interviews. See his contact information below:

Nick Popplewell
Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Branding
University of Wyoming Athletics
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, Wyoming 82071
(307) 766-5236 Office
(307) 766-5414 Fax
Twitter @nickpopplewell

 
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Twitter and Social Media for Journalism, PR, and Advertising

05 Nov

Twitter and social media are for you. The aspiring journalist, sports commentator, marketing executive, advertising director, public relations manager. You can use Twitter and social media to help you create a presence and garner an audience. No doubt, social media is changing journalism (watch a quick video about how social media changes news reporting), public relations (watch a quick video from a VP of PR), and advertising (watch a video about the challenges of social media advertising).

Let’s tackle Twitter first. A video introduction.

Some uses:

    • Know the basics. @username, #topic, and RTs (retweets).
    • Share and gather information. For professional use, you can use it to quickly share and gather information real-time (e.g., promote events) with people interested in your writing, journalism, company, etc. Retweet relevant information to your field as well. Retweeting build followers.
    • Brand management. You can use it to hear and address praise and complaints about your writing or company. Search for your favorite (or least favorite) companies to see how they’re using Twitter and Facebook.
      • For example, Southwest is known for their fantastic customer service. Twitter and Facebook only help that image.
    • Contribute to the community. Actively search and share information related to your field. Followers will be happy and more informed. And they may retweet, which brings you more followers.
      • For example, AEJMC (a nonprofit mass media association) shares valuable information about journalism, multimedia, public relations, and advertising to followers.
    • Start a story and use visual writing. Live events can be tweeted and facebooked while on the scene. Stories you’re working on can be previewed with tidbits and snippets of writing. Direct people to the full story. Use strong verbs, adjectives, and visuals.
      • For example, Joanna Smith, a Toronto Star reporter covering the Haitian earthquake last January, wrote a series of earthquake-related tweets. She created an unraveling narrative through each snapshot.
      • “Was in b-room getting dressed when heard my name. Tremor. Ran outside through sliding door. All still now. Safe. Roosters crowing.”
      • “Fugitives from prison caught looting, taken from police, beaten, dragged thru street, died slowly and set on fire in pile of garbage.”
    • Engage with the community. There are live chats via Twitter. It can be a learning environment. Retweet all relevant information to your field.
      • For example, there are live chats on Twitter about journalism. Search for #journchat. I searched this recently and found that people were sharing the information that LinkedIn is the top social media website for journalists because it’s easy to network professionally and keep tabs on potential news sources. If you’re an aspiring journalist, you should strongly consider getting a LindedIn account. It’s a popular way to learn about potential jobs too.
      • For example, ask questions relevant to your field. Laurel Papworth (@SilkCharm) asked, “Dear #PRChat PR people how is #BigData affecting your industry relationships with journalists? #Journchat #RunningScaredYet? :P
    • State your opinions, but be professional. Everything you say on Twitter can be retweeted (unless you have your settings on private). Facebook profiles can be viewed (and I assume that they can be hacked too). Everything lives forever online. All of your tweets can be searched (see Topsy and SnapBird). Be paranoid about that.
      • For example, one student was tweeting about dislike of a professor’s course and the professor engaged the student to suggest what the professor should improve. You be the judge about the conversation tone.
      • Student Tweets: (1) UUUGGGGHHHHHH She is working my nerves!! I hate new professors!! (2) I swear [professor's name] is too much for me! (3) Soooo I can’t talk too bad about my professor on twitter anymore…because now we have to follow her ass!!
      • Professor: @StudentName After reading your multiple tweets about your disappointment in my teaching style, what would you recommend I do differently?
      • Her follower responded: Double yikes! I hope your student realizes you are also followed by PR execs who make hiring decisions…”
    • Represent. One tip from Intel Corporation’s social media guidelines:
      • “Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as an Intel employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about Intel by our shareholders, customers, and the general public-and perceptions about you by your colleagues and managers. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with Intel’s values and professional standards.”
    • Social Media Management. Monitor social media across Twitter and other platforms with the following tools:

Now start connecting, start following, start tweeting, start your social media presence!

PS – If you’re interested in using Social Media for Activism, please download a PowerPoint presentation that I made to the Good Mule conference in November 2012.

 
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Campus Activities Center Marketing Intern, Spring 2014

04 Nov

Campus Activities Center Marketing Intern, Spring 2014

The Campus Activities Center in the Wyoming Union has the following student employee job opening. Interested individuals need to submit a résumé and cover letter detailing work and involvement history and how it relates to this position.  Departmental approval is needed to get internship credit.

Deadline for applying is Friday, November30th by 5:00 p.m. MST and should be emailed to Rachel Nedved at rnedved@uwyo.edu.

Campus Activities Center Marketing Intern (Hiring 2 Positions)

Hours – Approximately 8-10 hours a week, renewed on a semester basis

THIS IS AN UNPAID INTERNSHIP

Job duties include:

  • Assist Marketing Coordinator with marketing and promotions of Campus Activities Center (CAC) events, specifically for Student Activities Council (SAC) and Friday Night Fever (FNF) weekly events.
  • Assist Marketing Coordinator in developing a comprehensive marketing plan for these programs.
  • Assist Marketing Coordinator with market research geared towards gaining a better understanding of student programming interests and effective and efficient marketing strategies. Research conducted using a variety of methods that will include survey tools and focus groups.
  • Assist in developing and overseeing social media marketing, including the management of a Facebook and Twitter account.
  • Develop a strong understanding of new technologies and their use for marketing and advertising.
  • Coordinate with SAC and FNF committees to implement marketing for each weekly event.  This will include weekly tabling in the Union, Washakie and other buildings on campus.
  • Assist in developing and implementing programming board recruitment campaigns.
  • Attend weekly meetings with Marketing Coordinator and CAC staff.
 
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Posted in media careers

 

Internship and Experience Opportunity

28 Oct

Leading Engaged Activists Forward (LEAF) is accepting applications from students interested in participating in the spring session of the LEAF Progressive Organizing program. Internship opportunities are available.

Please see the attached flyers for more details.

LEAF Poster

 

 
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Posted in media careers

 

Audio Tips; Gathering Audio and Photos Together

24 Oct

Audio Tips

As you finish your first audio editing project and you begin your Soundslides project, please consider these tips from previous students of COJO 3530.

  1. During the audio interview, leave a brief pause after the interviewee finishes answering a question and before you begin your next question. Giving more pause will leave you more room for editing. [Adrienne Morency]
  2. Ask the interviewee to summarize or rephrase your question before answering it. And ask them to answer in complete sentences. This helps with storytelling without a narrator. [Alexandria Newman, Nic Behnke]
  3. Ensure you place the audio recorder close enough to the interviewee’s mouth so that their voice does not fade in and out during the interview. You want an even voice level during the interview, unless they’re expressing emotion. [Audrey Jensen]
  4. Resist the urge to respond or comment to your interviewee during and after everything he/she says–that means more editing for yourself or not being able to use the audio at all. [Bailey Gallo, Brooke Eades, Cameron Patey]
  5. Triple-check for any background noise that may negatively impact the interview. [Brooke Eades]
  6. Get your interviewee to clarify points that the listener may not understand or follow because of not having the context of the question. [Cameron Patey]
  7. Use the zoom feature extensively during your editing, it really helps get the cut to be as flawless as possible. [Anna Rader, Dyann Diercks, Egla Negussie, Rachel Ross]
  8. Build, don’t destroy: While editing, instead of taking the original interview and cutting it down, do the reverse. Take a blank audio track and then create an interview from the original. [Tiffany Le Gal]
  9. While editing, write down the points in the track that you’re working on. That way when you go back and listen to it, you can listen for the cut/transition and move things around faster by referencing those breaks in your notes. [Tom Hesse]
  10. Decide how you want to organize your story before you begin editing; know what the beginning, middle, and end should be before you begin editing. [Tracie Perkins]

 

Soundslides: Audio + Photos

When you gather audio and photos for a news story, you are making the story more marketable. Your story can now be told with images, with sound, or with both. Not only will you have captions for your photos, but you’ll have a voice and ambient noise that compliment the captions.

We’ll be working with Soundslides to combine our audio and photography skills. You’ll be working in groups to get an idea of how to balance everything. It will help to have one person focusing on photography and one person on audio. However, in a future job position, you may to do both tasks, so don’t neglect learning about your partner’s task. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or comments to your partner if you think it will improve the story. At the end of the experience, ask your partner for their advice and tips so that you can excel at the task you didn’t do this time around.

The topic can be on anything! It can be about sports, science, the environment, technology, health, politics, economics, community affairs, the university, or a personality profile.

For story ideas, you can check out UW’s calendar of events, UW’s public outreach, UW’s news and announcements, and the Laramie Boomerang. The story does not have to be university-related, but that’s where many of you may want to start brainstorming.

Basically, you’re doing an audio story with photos. The audio should tell the story in an engaging way and your photos and captions should compliment your audio story. Of course, your audio story should answer the the who, what, where, and when. But, more importantly, your audio should relay information that is compelling and emotional. It should also tell us how and why. It should make us think and feel the story.

Remember that the audience is more forgiving with the photography compared to the audio. If the audio is done poorly with harsh edits and a confusing storyline, then the audience loses interest and forgets about the great photos you have.

The captions should have all the essential information of the photo: who, what, where, and when. A reader should be able to read the captions and understand the basics of the story without listening to the audio.

Let’s take a look at the Blog Post 8 – Soundslides Project assignment details.

Tips for Gathering Audio and Photos

When you’re on-location and reporting the story, you should consider what to gather first: the audio or the photos. Of course, if you go to report the story with your partner, then you both can get started at the same time. The photographer can take relevant photos while the audio journalist interviews the subject. However, when you are working alone in the future…

Collect the photos first if:

  1. You think the light is perfect
  2. You think the light will soon fade
  3. You think the subject is quiet and needs to loosen up before the audio interview
  4. You want to get a feel for the subject’s job, hobby, etc. before interviewing them about it.

Collect the audio first if:

  1. You find the subject is nervous about getting their picture taken
  2. The subject is very chatty and is eager to talk with you
  3. The light is not great and you want to wait to see if the light improves

When working alone, you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably miss a great photo while gathering audio, and you’ll likely miss a great quote while gathering photos.

And that’s OK.

Just remember to gather more information than you think you need.
If you need to gather a second round of photos, then don’t be afraid to do so. If you need to re-interview the subject after first collecting audio and then taking photos, then don’t afraid to ask for 5 more minutes of their time.

Importance of matching photos with audio:
If you collect a great quote, then be sure to also get supporting photos for the quote. If you collect a great photo, be sure to gather audio from the subject that is related to the photo.

Plan for having one photo for every 7 to 9 seconds of audio.
That will help you determine how many great shots you need while on assignment. Thus, for a 2-minute story, you’ll need about 15 photos on the screen for 8 seconds each. For a 3-minute story, you’ll need about 22 photos. And for a 4-minute story, you’ll need 30 photos. For this assignment, your story needs to be between 2 and 4 minutes.

Keep track of what you shoot and what you record.
If you get a photo of a truck driver starting up his semi, then collect audio of the hum and roar of the semi’s engine. Finally, record the truck driver’s answer to your question of how he copes with the loud noises associated with trucking.

You’ll notice that some of your photos lead to more interview questions and ideas of what kind of audio to collect. You’ll notice that some of your audio and ambient noise lead to more photo ideas.

This blog post was based on MediaStorm’s tips on collecting audio and photos. Check them out for more information.

Examples

With that in mind, here are some examples of Soundslides stories.

Here are some student examples of Soundslides stories.

Brooke Eades (The Nutcracker)
Egla Negussie (Dangers of I-80)
Dyann Diercks (UW band)
Jessica Romero and Hailey Hawkes (about Roller Derby)

And please see the Soundslides tutorial on YouTube if you need help with the technology. Here’s another help page for Soundslides as well.

Download a free trial of Soundslides so you can work from home, too.

 
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Posted in audio, COJO 3530, multimedia, photography

 

The Art of Gathering Audio

17 Oct

Gathering audio that is clean, clear, and crisp is no easy task. This post outlines some hints for you to consider before you conduct audio interviews. It is developed from the hints listed on MediaStorm’s audio training page.

Know Your Equipment: Be comfortable operating your audio recorder. You should know where the buttons are without looking at it. You should know what all of the buttons do. If you’re uncomfortable with the audio recorder, your subject will be as well.

Location: Find a quiet location with little background noise. Find a spot with soft surfaces that absorb sound. A couch or fabric chair is better than a wooden chair. Cover a table with a blanket. A car with closed windows is a great location. Avoid hallways and large rooms that echo.

No Ambient Noise During Interview: While you do want to use ambient noise in your audio story, you don’t want the ambient noise to interfere with the person speaking to you. Avoid consistent background noise by picking a small quiet room with carpet and soft chairs. If using the TASCAM, try using to foam covering to see if it helps quiet ambient noise. You want to collect ambient noise separately and not fight it during the interview.

If Ambient Noise is Unavoidable: Press the record button before you begin the formal interview. Allow the recorder to collect the ambient noise without anyone’s voices interrupting the ambient noise. This gives you clean ambient noise to insert into any pauses during the editing process.

Get Close: Put the microphone about 2 inches away from the person’s mouth if you’re recording at a moderate “rec level” (about 5-7 on the TASCAM). You can put the microphone farther away if you’re recording at a higher “rec level” (about 9-10).

Use Headphones: Put your headphones into the headphone jack on your digital audio recorder. Hit the “record” button. Now ask the person to talk. Ensure that you can hear the person clearly. If you can’t hear them clearly, put the microphone closer to their mouth and/or increase the “rec level” to a higher sensitivity. Keep the headphones on your ears during the whole interview. You’ll know exactly how the person sounds the whole time.

Speak Up: Ask the person to speak up and speak louder if you can’t hear them properly and clearly when you have your headphones on.

Don’t Fidget: Do not fidget and play with the audio recorder while gathering sound. The audio recorder picks up the noise when you rub your hands on it. Avoid this by not fidgeting.

Focus: There’s many things to think about while conducting an audio interview. Can you hear them clearly? What are they saying? What’s my next question? Where is the interview going? How can I take the interview in a different direction or somewhere I hadn’t planned if they say something interesting?

But Also Engage: Listen to the person. Make eye contact (don’t look at their mouth). Seem genuinely interested in their story. After they’re done speaking, stay in silence for a moment. They may add more detail to their thoughts. Empathize with them. Share information about yourself with them. This will help them ignore the microphone and their surroundings.

Uh huh: Don’t do it. Avoid saying those filler words during an interview. You don’t want YOUR voice recorded when the person is talking. Instead, nod, smile, use eye contact, and learn forward to encourage the person.

Ask Explanation-Needed Questions: Don’t just ask, “How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a journalist?” You’ll get the answer, “I few years ago.” Ask questions that need more explanation, “What inspired you to become a journalist and when did you make this decision in your life?” You want the person to answer in complete sentences that clearly answer the question, not short phrases that may need a narrator’s explanation.

Ask Again: Don’t be afraid to ask “Why?;” “Please explain that more in-depth.” “Please say that again, I didn’t quite understand the first time.”

Ask Sensory Questions: “Tell me about…”; “What did it sound like when…”; “How did it feel when…”; “What did it smell like…”; “What did it look like when…”; “Describe the scene for me.”

Last Question: Always ask, “Is there anything else I should have asked? Is there anything else you want me to know?”

There is no better way to learn audio reporting than by trying it out for yourself!

 
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Posted in audio, COJO 3530

 

Invitation to Student Roundtable Discussion with AP Reporters

15 Oct

Two AP reporters who specialize in Latino/a, Native American, Women’s, and minority issues are visiting campus next week and will be talking to our class next Tues. Oct. 22.

In addition to guest lecturing next week, they will able be holding a student roundtable discussion on Tues. Oct. 22 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Ross Hall 108/109. This is a great opportunity to have some more personalized time with our guests during their visit.

Here are their resumes:

Felicia Fonseca

Russell Contreras

 
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Posted in COJO 3530, future of journalism, media careers