Intervies

Interviews a two of my class mates and I did of each other. This was our first video project.

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S.P. Sullivan’s Visit to Multimedia Journalism Umass

In class on Tuesday Sean P. Sullivan, an associate producer for Mass Live, and a U-mass Alum, came into class to talk to us about what he does as a journalist. On Mass Live he describes his job as this,

“I’m the multimedia manager for the site, which means when I can get away from my desk I shoot photos and video and record sound. I also write about state and local politics for The Fray, our political blog. I’m a New Jersey native and a UMass alumnus, and I spend a lot of my free time fiddling with cameras.”

He started by describing what he does on the average day. For instance Sullivan wakes up very early in the morning, gets to work, and makes sure that the Mass Live website is running alright. He spends the morning doing that followed by an afternoon of working on projects.

It sounded like Sullivan often has to work at odd hours of the day. For instance, when the tornado hit Springfield this summer he was in charge of making sure all of the news uploaded to the website was running smoothly. Which meant he worked through the evening into the night.

Recently Sullivan put together a retrospective of the Springfield tornado. It was a video of photographs taken after the tornado. Sullivan used interviews from a historian and photojournalist to tie together the montage of pictures.

Sullivan seems passionate about getting people involved in local politics through his journalism. He said he wants local candidates to be more accessible to the public. Online forums called “Ask The Candidates” are used to encourage discussion between voters and electoral candidates. People can post to the story and ask questions. Sullivan said he wants this to be a place where people can realize that elected officials and candidates are approachable people even if they do have big budgets.

He gave our class some great multimedia tips. Like how to download any Youtube video.  What a Topics page is and the barebones of how it works. But two of the tips he gave us stood out more then the others.

Sullivan encouraged us to learn HTML, assuring us that it is easy to learn, saying we could grasp it in a matter of weeks. He said that if we are looking for jobs in multimedia journalism this is a necessary tool to be able to put on our resume. A tool that, even though it seems anything other then, is actually quite simple.

He had also just come back form the ONA conference. Sullivan suggested that we all join, saying that the student membership rate is really affordable. Networking is extremely important in the field of journalism. “I have only had one interview,” Sullivan said. All his other jobs and internships in the field have been gotten through networking.

Don’t network with just anyone though, he cautioned. Make real, face to face, connections with journalists you admire was Sullivan’s advice on the subject.

I thought the presentation made the idea of becoming a journalist more real. It isn’t something that people in a far off place do. It is something that people who have graduated from my university are currently doing.

The women’s panel lacked certain women

I watched the Women, Ethics and Sports Journalism panel at Kent State University. I watched it via their website a few days after the panel. The moderator was Ellyn Angelotti. The panelists were Melissa Ludtke, Marla Ridenour, Andy Baskin, Joel Nielsen, and Julie Engebrecht.

My thoughts on the panel are a mixed bag of feelings. I will focus on what I was critical of, not because I am angry, but because we need to describe our differences so we can come to agreements about how to move forward.

We were introduced to the panelists and heard a little about each of them. Then Melissa Ludtke set the scene of what it was like in the 70’s to be a woman sports journalist. Woman had to essentially walk a line between being feminine but not sensitive. They couldn’t be men, but they had to almost pass as men.

An example of this was when Marla Ridenour explained what happened to her when she had to cover the browns. Ridenour had developed a tool she used for being in men’s locker rooms, in which she would only look at people from the eyes up, never below. So when the Browns decided to start dropping their towels as soon as she walked in Ridenour didn’t notice. They stopped after three tries and a former Brown’s athlete informed her of the event much later.

It was striking to me that in describing this situation, Ridenour seemed unmoved by the fact that she was sexually harassed. The story, appeared to me, to be discussing the tools she crafted to survive. I don’t want to force anyone to feel something they don’t, I also don’t understand the reasoning behind avoiding to call it what it was. This raised may questions for me. Did she not feel safe in that space calling it that? Does she not view it as such? Is their a strategic reason she doesn’t chooses to call it sexual harassment?

The feel of the panel overall was that their isn’t enough access for female sports journalists. This is where I start to feel really muddled about the panel. I thought the issues raised were important and useful. I also thought that a huge issue was missing. Race.

All of the panelists appeared white to me. None of them talked about what it means for women of color sports journalists. I am going to assume that the panelists agree that oppression exists, otherwise this panel wouldn’t be necessary. So how do we talk about one oppression and not the other. How is one more useful then the other.

If we are going to say women need to have space and a voice in sports journalism we cannot ignore women of color. The panelists should have been more carefully chosen. As was clear in the fact that we not only lacked any information of the experiences of women of color but one of the panelists made an extremely racist comment and it went unchecked.

Andy Baskin said that one of the few times he has headlined a woman athlete was when Serena Williams had a ‘tantrum’. Framed in a different light that ‘tantrum’ was a response to the intense, continued, racism Williams and her sister where feeling from the sports league and the journalists reporting her story.

I don’t want to deny that talking about oppression is hard. I also don’t want to ignore the huge portion of this panel that was missing. Where were the women of color in the Kent State Women, Ethics and Sports Journalism Panel?

Welcome

I am taking Multimedia Journalism at Umass Amherst with Professor Steve Fox. The class is a hands on course in multimedia journalism, during which we learn how to use many different tools to report the news.

Multimedia journalism is amazing in that with the rise of social networking sites the news is accountable to the general public in a whole new way. Journalists’ reports need to match what the general public is tweeting and bloging about, otherwise the same journalists that appeared to be trustworthy sources just a decade ago end up seeming almost manipulative.

This new type of journalism is really exciting in that it not only holds journalists accountable, but anyone with computer access can become a journalists. Pictures of police brutality are uploaded to flicker minutes after they happen. Video’s of protests hit youtube within hours of being filmed. Blogs are a new form of text news, and twitter can be used as a news ticker if you know where to look and who to follow.

In short, I am taking this class to learn how to use the tools of this newly forming participatory journalism. It is an exciting time in the history of information and journalism and I want to be as aware of the potential as possible.