It’s been a fun and busy week here at USM. I have enjoyed every minute of it, and I feel like I know a lot more about journalism and the different areas that are under that umbrella term. I came into the camp with little knowledge about broadcast, photo, and radio journalism, because I have only had a little experience with writing for school newspapers, but what I found out really opened my eyes. I had no idea how involved filming broadcast journalism was, and both the experience of writing and filming it and listening to the panel of broadcast journalists showed me that the news anchor does much more than report the script and look good. We had to write, edit, interview, film, cut, and produce our “package” (segment of news) and I was amazed at how involved it was. That category was the most surprising to me this week, but I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I have made some great friends, one of them who may or may not be obsessively stalking Avril Lavigne, and have learned a lot about working together and creating great journalism as a group. The Fab 5 was awesome, and I loved every minute of working with yall! I will be very sad to leave this camp, but I know that every person here has an amazing future ahead of him or her! I had so much fun learning, playing Just Dance 2, talking to people from all over Mississippi, and getting a taste of college life. I hope that I can take what I learned forward into the rest of my life.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
After only a few days, my fellow campers and I have gained experience in several news media. On the first day, we worked in broadcast journalism, where we scripted and shot a complete news package about a panel that came to speak about the Above the Influence campaign and the Dream of Hattiesburg program, which educates people about drug and alcohol abuse. It was a very serious discussion, but the panelists were nice and gave us a lot of information. I learned a whole lot that day, especially about the process of filming a news segment and piecing it together. It was fun to write the script and create our PSA for the Above the Influence ad campaign, but I don’t think this area is for me. My favorite medium so far has definitely been radio. The sheer contrast between the work environments of the film and radio crews was striking. There seemed to be many more choices in the hands of the radio producer than in the hands of the film producer, because the radio hosts were not held strictly to reporting news. They are able to pick music, make commentary, and add sound effects and recorded clippings wherever they like, which gives them more creative control. Also, they were really friendly and didn’t mind taking the time to help us create a short radio program from the ground up. The fact that the radio station was based mostly on music was also really cool. I talked to one of the producers who had his own metal show from 12 A.M to 4 A.M. and he was able to pick all the music and say pretty much anything he wanted to on it! Also, the director of the station told us about how we are able to create a whole story in the minds of the listeners by using sound effects, such as gravel in a paper bag to sound like troops marching, which adds a whole new level of possibilities to the broadcast. I just think it's cool to be able to create an entire world inside someone's mind using only words and sound effects!
John Belushi in Animal House. Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Many strange and often hilarious depictions of college life exist in the media today, and teenagers are constantly consuming them. But where does fact end and fiction begin? Practically every teenager, myself included, spends junior and senior year of high school taking tests, writing essays, and wondering what the next four years of our lives will be like. This is especially true because I graduated from high school about two weeks ago. Over the past year, bits and pieces of the college experience have been sinking into my brain, and I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of what this next phase of my life will entail. Does that mean that I am prepared for the huge journey that I am about to embark on? Absolutely not. I am still a little nervous, a little overwhelmed, but I am definitely excited. Spending even a couple days at the USM Journalism Workshop, where we have studied that field with college professors in a college setting has laid many of my fears to rest. No, there are not obnoxious frat boys wearing sweatshirts that only say “college” shooting food out of their mouths. And no, a ditzy blonde did not get into Harvard simply by submitting a video of herself lounging in a pool. Life is not like the movies. Rather, the little bit of real college life that I have experienced this week has been filled with interesting panel discussions, fun journalism assignments, and a healthy dose of responsibility and independence that I know will be part of college life. I enjoy being treated like an adult, but I also know that the responsibilities that come with that treatment are very great. Being able to create angles and leads for the stories that I was interested gave me a sense of freedom and self-direction that was exciting and a precursor to the independent work that college brings. Overall, it has been a fun two days and I am looking forward to the rest of the week!