Website Design

A website design course at the University of Wyoming

Tag: ethics (page 1 of 2)

Social Media Management for Journalism, PR, and Advertising

How Social Media is Used by the Big Three Media Fields

Social media is for you. The aspiring journalist, sports commentator, marketing executive, advertising director, or public relations manager, all of these fields rely on social media now.

You can use social media:

  • To help you create a presence and voice
  • To promote your stories or your products
  • To search for story ideas and sources
  • To network with others in your field
  • To engage with your audience, start a conversation

No doubt, social media is changing our media world. Let’s review some resources.

Please choose to review either the journalists, PR, or advertising sections below. Review each link in your chosen section. Write down 3 things that you’d like to share with the class about what you learned from reading these articles in your section.

There are also some helpful hints that could apply to journalism, public relations, and advertising. Keep up to date on these hints for social media at Social Media Examiner. Here are some of the most helpful posts and lessons that I’ve discovered on this website:

Critical Analysis and Comparison of Two Organizations’ Social Media Management

Blog Post #8 Due on Fri. Nov. 4 by 11:59 p.m. | Presentations of Results on Monday and Wednesday

For Blog Post 8, you will write a critical analysis and comparison of two organizations’ social media management styles. Download Blog Post 8 for details. Here’s the short version of the assignment:

  • As you sit down to do your analysis, be sure to review these links above that we’ve reviewed.
  • Use the specific advice offered in these articles as you conduct your analysis.
  • Examine the 6 major social media platforms noted in the assignment: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
  • Take notes of your experience. Your notes should be grounded in the advice from the articles. Your notes will be the basis and foundation for your blog post.
  • Answer all required questions in the assignment (broadly speaking, you must compare the organizations’ social media presence, suggest three reasons why each organization is using social media effectively, and three pieces of advice for each organization).

A Focus on Twitter: Basics to Understand Before Your Live Tweeting Assignment (Blog Post #9)

Know the basics. @username, #topic, and RTs (retweets).

Establish a voice. There is a lot of noise out there. To get engaged and get noticed, you’ll need to decide what “face” you want to reveal to the Twittersphere.

  • For me, @klandreville, my twitter voice is related to political communication and news research, teaching, and education.
  • For @Anna_Rader, one of our guest speakers, her voice is “NPR junkie, music lover, cinephile, Wyomingite, nerd. Digital Media Coordinator @WYPublicRadio and Digital Producer of @HumaNatureShow. Opinions are my own.”
  • Brainstorm about your Twitter voice.

Once you have a voice and identity in mind, find similar people to follow. To engage with a like-minded community, search for people to follow at “Who To Follow.” Twitter will suggest some people after you write your identity summary and begin posting.

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, 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.
  • 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 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.”

Crowdsource. Use followers for information. Make a call or solicit them for information.

  • Find anecdotes and exemplars for stories. Denver Post did this to find the human face to their story on parents stealing their childrens’ identities and then raiding their credit.
  • Collect data using Google Docs to create a Google Form. Then, share link on social media for quick, informal surveys. Denver Post used this technique to find people live-blog their responses to the first 2012 presidential debate in Denver.

 

Picture1

The Denver Post crowdsourced for their article on parents stealing their children’s identity.

 

Social Media Management. Monitor social media across Twitter and other platforms with the following tools:

More Advice from Twitter Experts at the BBC Journalism Academy: Below is a summary of the best tips.

  • Keep tweets simple.
  • Promote your content and work. Ask a simple question and link to the content. The idea is to intrigue, not give away all the content.
  • Avoid “clickbait” which is perceived as a marketing ploy and game to people.
  • Do not tweet too much of one side of an argument. It appears as if you are promoting them. Be balanced, even with Twitter content and attention.
  • Do not use too many hashtags (limit to two). It drowns the message.
  • Use images and videos if they add to the content. No stock photos or mundane photos.
  • Be helpful, open, honest and authentic. Be funny (in a professional and clever way) and social.
  • Think dialogue, not monologue.
  • Don’t retweet without reading and checking the retweeted content first.
  • Check the grammar and spelling!
  • “The don’ts? Don’t tweet angry, vengeful or drunk. Always be yourself.”  — @tomfordyce, chief sports writer @BBCSport

Live-Tweeting Practice

We will practice live-tweeting another speech: Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality to the UN.

Report from a journalistic point of view. Type out your tweets and try to keep them less than 140 characters.

Photojournalism Basics

Purpose

Photojournalism is our window to the world around us. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The purpose of photojournalism is to capture the people and events that make the news. Photojournalism can supplement a text story or can serve as a stand-alone story.

We remember news stories in images because they are powerful and emotional.

Categories

The following categories are defined by the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) and included in the Best of Photography competitions. The College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) Awards also use these categories.

Feature (Enterprise): A photograph of a ‘found situation’ that features strong human interest elements, or a fresh view of an everyday scene. A picture that uses humor or focuses on the lighter side of life is well suited for this category. Examples

Portrait: A single photograph that captures a unique aspect of a local figure’s character and personality. Examples

Sports Action: A peak action picture that captures the spirit of a sports competition—either on the part of an individual or an athletic team. Examples

Sports Feature: A sports-related feature picture that depicts the jubilation of victory or the agony of defeat. The event covered should be separate from the game action or outside of the field of play. Examples

General News: Recognizing that much of the daily news coverage is planned in advance, we seek to reward outstanding achievement based on creativity and timing at organized events such as general meetings, promotional events and staged coverage opportunities. Examples

Spot News: An event that is not planned, so the photographer must react on instinct and news judgment. This picture may be of a breaking news event, or a part of issue coverage. Examples

Photojournalism Tips

The creative devices tips still apply to photojournalism. Other helpful hints are found below (adapted from Ch. 7 in our book and R. M. Thornburg’s suggestions in Producing Online News).

  1. Have a working camera with you at all times. Recall that AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post photographer, said that the best camera is the camera in your hands.
  2. Have one clear subject in your photo. The subject should be in focus and stand out from everything else in the photo. A street is not a subject. Seven people walking down the sidewalk is not a subject. One person walking down the street is a subject. Note: This rule is sometimes meant to be broken. You can take great photos of a mass crowd or a group of people, however, more skill is required. It’s easier to stick with the rules as you’re learning. Then, break them later when you know what you’re doing more.
  3. Take a lot of photos. For every subject, take 10 photos. **I can’t emphasize this enough. Move around and take a lot of photos!**
  4. Act natural. Make yourself comfortable and invisible.
  5. Move around without violating Tip 4.
  6. Place subjects so that they are moving or looking into the photo, rather than out of it. For example, if a person is pointing to the right, be sure he is at the left of your photo.
  7. Keep the light behind you so the subject’s face is lit (unless deliberately creating a shadow out of the subject).
  8. Avoid using the flash as much as possible. Use natural light.
  9. If you’re shooting sports action, then avoid evening or low-light conditions (the photos will be blurry)!
  10. Be aware of the background. Make sure there are no trees or objects protruding from your subject’s head or limbs. And, make sure there are no photobombs.

Ethics

According to the President Emeritus of the NPPA Alicia Wagner Calzada, photojournalists must live up to a high standard because ethics are “what sets us apart from art and advertising.”

She notes that when journalists are reporting, they should not cave-in to pressure from people who ask, “what do you want me to do?” Journalists should instruct people to continue their behavior as if they were not present.

Our guest speaker, AAron Ontiveroz, also noted that photojournalism is capturing history the way that the stories actually unfolded. You are telling the story with images. You are not supposed to manipulate the story. These are reasons why there is a code of ethics.

Copied from the NPPA Code of Ethics

  1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
  3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
  5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
  6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
  7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
  8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
  9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

Breaking Ethics Codes

Following ethics codes is about establishing and maintaining the trust of our audience. The cases below illustrate when that trust was broken.

  1. Brian Walski from the LA Times combined two photos to create a more aggressive and confrontational presentation of the situation.
  2. Time magazine made OJ Simpson look more sinister by manipulating the color, burning the corners and shrinking the prisoner ID number on his mugshot. Newsweek did not alter the photo.
  3. Klavs Bo Christensen, a Danish photojournalist, was disqualified from a photo competition because of using too much color saturation.
    denmark_contest_images
  4. See more examples of sketchy photojournalism.

Basic Photo Editing Tips

Photo Editing Tips

Now that you’ve seen some evidence of what NOT to do, let’s review the basic photo editing tools in Photoshop. While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP. Also, you can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop.

Cropping: Crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.

Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. There is an option to keep the constrain proportions option checked.

Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.

Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.

Clone Stamp: The Clone Stamp looks like a stamp icon in the toolbar and can be used to clone a specific area of the photo. You can then paste the cloned area to another part of the photo. This is not a very appropriate tool for photojournalists because you may clone a person or object into the photo, which is not a good idea. It may be helpful if you plan on going into strategic communication though.

Spot Healing Brush: This looks like a BandAid. It can correct small blemishes in your photo, such as stains on shirts, red eye, and strange light reflections. For photojournalism, the use of this tool is not recommended unless your editor gives you permission. Otherwise, this tool is useful for cleaning up portraits and creating strategic communication visuals.

Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.

Just because you can edit your photos, doesn’t mean that you should. You want to capture the photo in a way that does not require editing. However, if you do edit, be sure you follow good common sense and do not go past the ethical boundaries of photojournalism.

Avoid wondering into strategic communication image editing for this Blog Post 5- Photojournalism.

Good luck being photojournalists for the week!

Story Idea for Blog Post 3: World War II Heart Mountain Internment Camp Prisoner

Phi Alpha Theta/History Club invites you to a talk by Sam Mihara, World War II Heart Mountain Internment Camp Prisoner. Mihara will speak on the story of his family, the rational for creating the camps, and important lessons learned from the experience.

Thurs. Sept. 25 @ 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Classroom Building, Room 310

This event is sponsored by ASUW, the Department of History, and the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research

Download the Flyer Here

Contact Information
Renee M. Laegreid
Associate Professor, History of the American West
University of Wyoming
Department of History
Dept. 3198; 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
(307) 766-5101
rlaegrei@uwyo.edu

Photo Editing for Journalism and Strategic Communication

Photo Editing Tips

Now that you’ve seen some evidence of what NOT to do, let’s review the basic photo editing tools in Photoshop. While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP. Also, you can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop.

Cropping: Crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.

Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. There is an option to keep the constrain proportions option checked.

Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.

Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.

Clone Stamp: The Clone Stamp looks like a stamp icon in the toolbar and can be used to clone a specific area of the photo. You can then paste the cloned area to another part of the photo. This is not a very appropriate tool for photojournalists because you may clone a person or object into the photo, which is not a good idea. It may be helpful if you plan on going into strategic communication though.

Spot Healing Brush: This looks like a BandAid. It can correct small blemishes in your photo, such as stains on shirts, red eye, and strange light reflections. For photojournalism, the use of this tool is not recommended unless your editor gives you permission. Otherwise, this tool is useful for cleaning up portraits and creating strategic communication visuals.

Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.

Just because you can edit your photos, doesn’t mean that you should. You want to capture the photo in a way that does not require editing. However, if you do edit, be sure you follow good common sense and do not go past the ethical boundaries of photojournalism.

Avoid wondering into strategic communication image editing for this Blog Post 5- Photojournalism.

Good luck being photojournalists for the week!

Photography Basics

For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on photography and photojournalism. First things first, we’ll learn about the basics of photography and forever-useful creative devices.

Creative Devices for Composition

Good photojournalism begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
  2. Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
  3. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  4. Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
  5. Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunrise light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer on skin.

 

Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as five more suggestions of my own. Some of these are also mentioned in Ch. 7 in the book as well.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Experimentation: Example
  11. Color: Example
  12. Texture: Example
  13. Establishing Size: Example
  14. Contrast: Example
  15. Focus: Example

 

Let’s take a look at some photos on The New York Times Lens photography blog and talk about what kind of devices their photos use.

A note about your rights and duties as a photographer.

  1. In public, you can photograph anyone or anything. If they approach you and request you don’t take their picture, you may respect their request; but, keep in mind that they are in public and they cannot expect any privacy in public (i.e., you can keep taking their picture).
  2. In private residences, businesses, and property, you should get permission. They may not allow photography. **You can always ask for forgiveness rather than permission, though.**
  3. If people ask why you’re taking photos, explain it is for your class blog and schoolwork.

 

Writing Captions

Your subjects’ age and job description are optional in your captions.

If you shoot people, then get names and put them in captions. [Many students neglect this. You NEED names. Unless the person is too far away or completely unrecognizable in the photo.]

A well-written caption adds value and context to the image instead of merely describing the contents of the photo. Consider including information that goes beyond the obvious.

If you capture an event, then who are the key players in the photo and event? When was the event held? What was the purpose of the event? Where was the event held? Why should the viewer care?

If you capture a portrait or photo of a person, tell the viewer more about the person or context of the photo.

(Example of a caption with a person in the photo) Kristen Landreville teaches the Online Journalism class at the University of Wyoming on Tuesday afternoon. She is a professor of communication and journalism and is in her second year of teaching.

(Example of a caption without a person in the photo) Yellow fall leaves litter the lawn on Prexy’s Pasture on Tuesday. The first official day of fall was Saturday.

 

HSI, Day 11: Media Stereotypes & Finalize Flickr Slideshow

Class Discussion & Blog Post

Today we will examine various media stereotypes of the past and discuss if you think any stereotypes have changed.

On your blog, please write a post that answers these questions:

  1. To what extent have gender stereotypes changed?
  2. To what extent have racial stereotypes changed?
  3. What stereotypes on TV exist for people with disabilities?
  4. What stereotypes on TV exist for people who are GLBT?
  5. Please provide some example TV shows from the past decade to illustrate your arguments.

Finish Any Photo Editing & Create Flickr Sets & Embed Into Your Blog

For the remainder of today’s class, let’s finish up any photo editing we need to do. And, let’s make sure we get all of our Flickr slideshows posted to our blog.

HSI, Day 9: Digital Media & Multitasking, HSI Photography Review, & Flickr

Class Discussion & Blog Post

Today we’ll watch a clip from a Frontline documentary about the impacts and implications of digital media use. After the clip, please answer the following questions:

  1. To what extent do you multitask with media during school? Do your teachers allow it?
  2. How about when you’re outside of school; do you multitask with media?
  3. Do you think you’re effective at multitasking? Why or why not?
  4. After watching this clip, do you anticipate multitasking in the future during school? Why or why not?
  5. What are the implications or consequences of multitasking with digital media? Do you see problems for society or for yourself?

HSI Photography: Progress Update

Download your photos and let’s take a look. As I walk around and chat to students about their photography, please talk in small groups with your classmates about your photography.

Photography: Review of Creative Devices

We will go over the creative devices again if I feel it is appropriate and would be helpful.

Flickr Slideshows

Let’s set up our Flickr accounts so we can upload our photos! We will learn how to create a “set” of photos that we can embed into our WordPress blogs. This way, you can share your HSI experience with everyone using your photos.

 

HSI, Day 6: Media & Body Image, Profile Writing, & Audio Editing

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Media & Body Image

Take a look at these magazines.

Advertisements and media imagery plays on our insecurities to make money.

The average female is 5’4 and 165 lbs, yet the average female model is 5’10 and 120 lbs.

The average male is 5’9 and 195 lbs, yet the average male model is at least 6’0 and weighs about 175 lbs.

What are your thoughts? Please write a blog post that discusses these questions:

  1. To what extent are unrepresentative media images a problem for society? How so?
  2. How do media images affect children, teens, women, and men?
  3. Have you or your friends ever been affected by media images? How so?
  4. If you think this is a problem, what suggestions do you have for solving or minimizing the problem?

Continue Writing the Personality Profile

Keep working on your written personality profile. Aim for 800 to 1,000 words. I’ll work my way around the room and help anyone.

Start Editing the Audio

Once you’re done writing and/or waiting for my help, please start listening to your audio interview and creating a short clip of your partner’s interview. Remember, we shouldn’t hear your voice. Only your partner’s voice should be heard on the audio clip.

HSI, Day 4: Ethics of Banning Books, Audio Gathering Tips, & Interview Day

Class Discussion: Ethics of Banning Books

Our initial discussion today deals with commonly banned/challenged books. First, let’s look at a list of books that are commonly banned. As you can see, the reasons often deal with foul language, racism, sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, and homosexuality.

The sides of the debate are typically either:

  • Pro-censorship: Protect children, protect integrity of character
  • Anti-censorship: Protect free speech

I want to know what you think. Let’s write a quick blog post about your thoughts. Here is the scenario. We’ll watch the clip together and then you’ll write a post that answers the questions below. There are no right or wrong answers; it’s just your thoughts and opinions.

The local public elementary school has banned the children’s book And Tango Makes Three. The book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book follows the six years of their life where they formed a couple and were given an egg to raise.

  • Discuss why you think the book was banned.
  • Discuss both the pro-censorship and anti-censorship viewpoints.
  • Was the ban unwarranted?
  • Or, was the ban appropriate?
  • Do you have any personal experiences with your own school or parents banning books?

— My Thoughts —
Books should not be banned. Parents should decide what books are appropriate for their children, depending on the age and their worldview.

Quick Review: What Should I Do When I Interview Someone?

  1. Be prepared: Inform yourself about the topic, source, and/or interviewee. Do some background research on the story and educate yourself. Informed questions are the best questions.
  2. Practice your interview questions beforehand if you’re nervous or want to feel better-prepared going into the interview. It never hurts to practice. And practice being curious-sounding, professional, and calm rather than accusatory, aggressive, or a know-it-all.
  3. Make small talk before the interview. It relaxes you and the interviewee. And begin the interview with a softball question that you may not care too much about. This will relax the interviewee and yourself.
  4. Keep it conversational. Don’t ask one question after another with no casual feedback and discussion. You want to have a give-and-take, turn-taking conversation, rather than a firing-squad style conversation.
  5. Listen. Really listen to your interviewee talking as you take notes. Think about if you have any follow-up questions about their statements. If you don’t, then move on to the next prepared question.
  6. Prepare a basic outline of questions, but avoid reading them word-for-word. Again, you want to know your questions enough to ask them in a casual way to your interviewee. And you want to ask them when it’s appropriate to in the conversation.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions and the “do you have anything else to add before we finish” question. You want to understand the interviewee and the story well. You want to clarify things so you can clearly explain things to your audience.
  8. Allow silence. Silence is awkward. People fill silence with additional banter. It may be helpful banter for your story.
  9. Make eye contact, smile, and nod to show your interest. Try not to make the “uh huh” and “go on” noises. This is a bad habit and will ruin audio interviews if you engage in those behaviors.
  10. Any other suggestions from you and your classmates?

Audio Gathering Tips

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.

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.

Interview Time Is Here!

Find a quiet place to conduct interviews. Remember to check for background noise because you’ll be recording these interviews with your audio recorder. Don’t be afraid to start over if you want to. You don’t need to get anything perfect the first time around. Stay close to our room and I’ll be walking around to the groups and checking up on everyone.

When you finish the interview, come back to the classroom so we can begin to brainstorm about the profile’s theme and organization.

Older posts

© 2017 Website Design

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑