Monday, December 21, 2009

Internship with My Eugene

This winter I will be starting an internship with the community news site My Eugene. Jaculynn Peterson, who runs the site out of her home, interviewed me over the phone yesterday and told me a bit about it.

She started the site when she was new to the city, and used it to record her discoveries about her new home. She now has between six and 10 thousand unique visitors per month, and receives far more story suggestions than she can keep up with on her own.

She has decided to take on a number of interns and to redesign and expand the site. She says we will work on group projects as well as individual assignments. She plans to schedule a team meeting soon so that we can all meet each other and to discuss the plans in more detail.

I think this is going to be a great opportunity for me to get experience with local, non-commercial, multimedia journalism, and work with some like-minded people.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The New York Times Continues to Embrace New Tools

Yesterday I was reading a fascinating article about Nancy Meyers, one of the very few successful female Hollywood directors, on the New York Times Magazine website. I came across a word that I didn't know and highlighted it, with the intention of pasting into a search engine, when a little speech bubble with a question mark in it popped up, as if the word itself was beckoning me to ask it about itself. I had never seen this before, and was intrigued. I clicked the bubble and a reference page opened up in a new window!

After playing around with it a bit, I've found that your results will vary. Sometimes you'll get entries from multiple dictionaries and a thesaurus, sometimes just one basic dictionary definition. Results for proper names are mixed: selecting the Beatles yields entries from Columbia Encyclopedia, the Fine Arts Dictionary, and WordNet, but nothing comes up for film score composerHans Zimmer or the recent film "The Dark Knight." Nothing comes up for "Skyping" and "cougar" has only one definition (which does not apply to the word's use in the article).

It's an imperfect tool, but I imagine it will improve with time. Innovations like this are what make the New York Times website one of the best news sources. The New York Times is one of the few big papers that has truly embraced the move to digital and is using new technology to make news more accessible. Rather than dumbing down the writing to reach a broader audience, the paper (news entity? news organization?) continues to produce thought-provoking, original stories, and has simply made it easier for readers to look up the words they don't know!

The New York Times, like all legacy media, has faced and will continue to face many challenges as technology and the demands of consumers change, but has demonstrated that it is pragmatic and adaptable, and I believe that it will continue to be one of the most respected and widely-read national news sources.

The New York Times' website is more appealing than the print paper, not just because it is free and easy to access, but because it encourages and rewards its readers' curiosity in ways a print edition never could. If anything, this is evidence that the future of journalism is not the bleak, watered-down drivel that many fear it will be. If those who truly care about good journalism work towards using new tools to make news better, rather than seeing them as a threat, the journalism of the future could be far better than any we have known.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Multi-Media Non-Profit News Group Update

Last night myself and 11 other We Make the Media attendees interested in forming a multi-media non-profit in Portland met to discuss further plans for the organization.

After much discussion, the group decided as a next step to break into two subgroups, which will work on the organization's values, and on researching existing non-profit news organizations, respectively. Both subgroups plan to meet again in the next couple of weeks to get started, and the whole group will get back together at the end of January to report back on what has been accomplished, and to select a name for the organization. One member also volunteered to meet with a lawyer to discuss filing for 501C3 status.

There was also discussion of merging the group with another breakout group from WMTM. This group, headed by Think Out Loud host Emily Harris, is focused on local investigative journalism, and seemingly has a lot of overlapping goals with our group.

Other things we discussed that will begin to take shape over the next few months are constructing a business model and putting together a board of directors.

We elected Colin Lovett, who put together a Google site for the group, chair, and I volunteered to be secretary. My meeting minutes should make future blog posts about our meetings easy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finals Week Begins

I spent most of the weekend working on my J331 group dramatic short. We are nearly done shooting it, and I started editing yesterday. The rough cut of the first scene I edited is up on Vimeo.

We are meeting with our actors at noon tomorrow to get the last few shots we need, and then we can focus on editing (and our other finals). I have a paper for my Media Aesthetics class due on Tuesday, and then I can devote all my time to the short films.

I'm really happy with how both of them are looking and am pleasantly surprised at how well the members of my group work together. We're hoping to get the last of our editing done on Wednesday, so that we can relax and start celebrating before our class screening on Thursday evening.

I'm usually nervous before showing final projects, but so far I'm feeling pretty good about these, even with quite a bit of work still ahead of my group. I suppose because it's a group project, I don't feel like there's quite so much attention on me, but I think a big part of it is that I am finally starting to feel like I know what I'm doing. Even earlier this term I felt overwhelmed even with relatively small projects, but this time, once I got focused, I really felt like I knew exactly what needed to be done.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Twitter as an original source

Criticism of the Oregonian's reporting on Ted Wheeler's ski injury sparked a Twitter discussion on the ethics of quoting Twitter posts.

Ian Malkasian (@ianmal) wrote "running stories w/ twitter as a primary source is risky & in my mind poor journalistic judgment." In another Tweet he posed the question"in the absence of no other corroborating info. is the twitter stream of an elected official on the record?"I re-Tweeted the question and got a few responses.

Betsy Richter (@betsywhim) replied "yes. In the Wheeler case, you have the photograph, which corroborates his story, plus the Tweets from his wife. plus he's already gone on record as stating communicating via Twitter/Facebook fosters government transparency/good comms practice."

T.A. Barnhart wrote "Ted thinks so."

Ronald Morgan (@rhyzome) answered "Um, yeah, as is an email, phone call or any other media."

Suzi Steffen (@SuziSteffen) directed me to an episode of OPB's(@opb) Think Out Loud (@thinkoutloudopb) from October, in which Ted Wheeler, who was a guest on the show, discussed his thoughts on the the benefits of using social media such as Twitter and Facebook. "When you read the Tweets, they come from me directly, warts and all.... What you see on Twitter is what you get. That is your county chair." He goes on to say that Tweets are governed by the same public records laws as e-mail and other public communications. "I just assume that everything that I put out there is public information..." he explained. He did note that the law has not been able to keep up with technology, so this may not always be the case.

I'm interested to hear more thoughts and opinions on this topic.

Oregon Live is Anything But

The Oregonian's web site,, failed to report on Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler's broken back resulting from a ski accident, hours after Wheeler broke the story via Twitter this morning until about 3PM. Shortly after Wheeler's Twitter post appeared the story was reported by Our PDX, KGW, and Matt Davis' blog on the Portland Mercury's Blogtown. At 2:52, after Multnomah County issued a press release , Oregon Live posted their story, which contained no original information, and did not mention Twitter. Many on Twitter are wondering what their excuse is. The Portland Tribune, which beat the Oregonian by a couple of hours, at least attempted to reach Wheeler for comment, and posted a link to his web site, which they noted includes a link to his Twitter page.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

WMTM Still Going Strong

A week after the We Make the Media conference in Portland, an active online discussion continues via Twitter, Google Groups, and Google Wave. Participants include many from the Portland metro area, but also a number of people like myself who aren't as centrally located, who could not stay so involved if follow-up discussion was limited to face-to-face meetings. That attendees remain so engaged suggests that the conference may have achieved what its organizers set out to do. Members of a few, if not all of the planning groups that formed at the conference, are working on ideas online and have concrete plans to meet again in person, and are also brainstorming with people from the other groups. It's too early to speculate about the success of the proposed ideas, but it seems clear that something good will come of all this!

Friday, November 27, 2009

J331 Shorts Well Underway

On Wednesday my J331 production group conducted three more interviews and shot a lot of B-roll footage for our short documentary.

I watched some footage with Jenica, one of my group members, and discovered that the first few minutes of one of our tapes is useless. Not sure what's wrong with it, but it's really jerky and the sound is distorted. The footage was from our interview with the University president and our establishing shots of Johnson Hall where we met with him. We shot the interview on two cameras, so as long as we got decent sound on the other one, we should be okay. If not, we'll only have half the interview to select sound bytes from. We will definitely have to reshoot the establishing shots, but that shouldn't take long. We are very fortunate that Johnson is right by Allen Hall, so we won't have to haul equipment all the way across campus.

I think we're going to try to get one more interview next week and then we can start editing this project and start shooting our dramatic short, which is due at the same time.

I've asked Rose and Tim from UFO to be our actors, but haven't figured out our shooting schedule. Tim sprained his ankle the other day, so I'll have to find out if he's still going to be able to do it. I also need to finish writing the last scene this weekend and get a storyboard together.

This class really takes up a lot of my time, but I think it's worth it. At this point I'm feeling much more comfortable with the equipment than I did at the beginning of the term. I feel pretty confident about my shooting abilities. I'm still not as comfortable with editing as I'd like to be, but maybe by the end of these projects that will change.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We Make the Media

I dragged myself out of bed early Saturday morning to attend We Make the Media, my second conference at the Turnbull Center. My husband was nice enough to drop me off before he headed over to Blitz Ladd to watch the Ohio State v. Michigan game with some of our other friends from Columbus.

I tweeted from my phone (not one of those new-fangled smart ones) throughout the day, but left my laptop at home. I'm kind of sad that I missed out on reading all the Twitter discussion that went on during the conference (which I did read as soon as I got home), but am also glad that I was able to focus my attention on what was actually being said in the room. I think the tweeters made a lot of good observations, but I also thought some of the comments were rather dismissive and disrespectful of the older attendees, who were less media savvy, but very experienced and knowledgeable in other areas, and certainly every bit as passionate about working for change as the younger crowd.

After checking in, I ran out for some coffee and made it back in plenty of time to get seated and somewhat caffeinated before Joe Smith took the floor and introduced keynote speaker Steven A. Smith, a seasoned newspaper man who grew up in Portland and Eugene, and attended U of O and Ohio State (I'm always intrigued by the number of people who seem to move back and forth between these two O states). Everything he said about the industry was in line with what I've been hearing at school and at other conferences: everything's going electronic, there are serious funding problems that no one's figured out how to handle yet, shrinking newsrooms are leading to a decline in the quality and quantity of news being produced, small local papers are doing the best, etc.

Next a panel of media professionals introduced the topics of the breakout groups and then Joe Smith opened the floor up to the roomful of journalists, who had more to say (much of which they had already been tweeting) than I think he anticipated. One of the proposed breakout groups was replaced by an "Unconference" group that planned to tackle a number of the issues that attendees felt were being overlooked.

I decided to go to the OPB group, which was focused on expanding the organization and possibly forming a new non-profit. There were about 15 people who stayed for the duration of the session, and about 10 more who popped in briefly, often just long enough to share their opinions and avoid hearing those of others. It was kind of strange, I thought. I was also surprised by how much hostility developed during the session.

There was certainly a divide, which was apparent the whole day, between those who were more into new media, and more open to new methods, and the more old-school crowd, who seemed not to take Twitter and blogs very seriously, which I think fueled some productive discussion about the role of citizen journalists and how they can be included without dismissing or hurting "real" journalists (or how we can even make such distinctions), and how to be more inclusive of marginalized groups in the media; but there also seemed to be some tension that I had a hard time placing. I suppose when you put that many smart, vocal people in a room you're bound to have some clashes of personality. I certainly came away with a better understanding of the range of opinions on a number of topics, and hope others did, too.

In the end, I think our group came up with some good ideas about how to improve OPB, but there wasn't much discussion about forming a new non-profit, and after our group representative presented to the room, Joe Smith suggested that OPB move ahead with some of the proposed actions, but that we not continue to discuss it as a group.

After all the groups presented, individuals formed more specific proposals for actions, which all of the attendees voted on by way of a complex hand-rasing system. I think new technology could have saved a lot of time and frustration there. I'd certainly jump at the opportunity to use the iclicker I was required to spend upwards of $30 on for my Grammar for Journalists class last year (and have never used since).

Over the course of the afternoon, there was a noticeable decline in the size of the group. I'm not sure how many people left because of other obligations, and how many just felt that nothing productive was going to come from the conference.

Finally, after about eight hours of trying to figure out how such a large group of people with such disparate ideas could take action together to improve the outlook of journalism in Portland, we broke into smaller groups once more to make concrete plans.

I joined a group that plans to create a new non-profit multi-media entity. Ron Buel, one of the conference organizers and founding editor and publisher of Willamette Week (and another UO alum), was appointed discussion leader. I think we may collaborate with some of the other groups. We're planning to meet again in three weeks. Hope this goes somewhere!

Lots of others are blogging about this event. I'll add to this list as I find more:

Thoughts From the Spiral
Carla Axtman on Blue Oregon
360 Convos
Reporting 1 Blog
Civics 21
Still a Newspaper Man
Joe Wilson
Oregon Media Central
Ran Dum Thots

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Electronic Media FInal Projects

For my Video Production class I am working with a group on two final projects: an evergreen documentary and a dramatic short. For the documentary we are doing a piece on the new Services for Student Athletes building that is currently under construction on the corner of Agate and 13th.

We've done three interviews this week: one with a cheerleader who uses SSA, one with an SSA tutor, and one with the university's new president Richard Lariviere.

We did the first two on Monday evening at the current SSA building. It was a struggle to lug all our gear(two cameras, two tripods, a light kit, a shotgun mic, a boom pole, some extra cords) all the way from Allen Hall to Mac Court, but we managed. We didn't have much space in the room they let us use, but we made it work. The interviews went smoothly and we finished on schedule.

This afternoon we did our third interview, and that was a little more challenging. We were all a little nervous about interviewing the University President, and we had only a half hour to set up and conduct the interview. The room provided for us was spacious and allowed us more control over our setup than the previous one. We closed all the shades to block out the sunlight and set up three point lighting. We rearranged the furniture a little bit and got our cameras set up. All of this took slightly longer than we anticipated, but we got everything looking really nice.

We informed the receptionist that we were ready and President Lariviere came in and sat down. We got him miked and let him look at our question list, and were just about to start shooting when all of our lights went out. Someone in the office flipped a breaker and they came back on, but we lost some valuable time. We conducted the interview as best we could in the short time we had left, and we all felt that we got some good sound bytes, but it was certainly a nerve-racking experience.

We're planning to do a few more interviews in the next week and then focus our attention on shooting the dramatic short.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'In the Rain' Almost Finished!

We only have one scene left to shoot for "In the Rain" and then we begin the post-production phase. We began this project with no budget, and have all been working for free and paying for things (food, gas, lighting equipment, wardrobe, props, etc.) out-of-pocket as we go. In hopes of being able to refund the cast and crew for some of their expenses and of being able to promote and distribute the film when it's finished, I decided to give the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo a try.

We have all worked very hard to make this film a reality. Most of us are students, and are broke, so we'd be thrilled if we got back some of the money we put into it, and more importantly if we could afford to promote the film and get DVDs made so that people will get to see what we've done! If you can spare even a few dollars and would like to support our efforts, it would be a tremendous help to us!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

the State of the Film Industry

I spent the weekend in Portland, where I attended the What is Film? conference at the UO's Turnbull Center. I learned a lot about the global, national, and northwest film industries. The focus of the conference was on changes in the industry, especially of the technological variety.

Much of the discussion was focused on problems the industry faces "in the digital age," (keynote speaker Bryce Zabel joked during his presentation that "in the digital age" is now tacked onto the end of conference panels in much the same manor as "in bed" is tacked onto the end of cookie fortunes).

Funding problems for both Hollywood and independent film were a hot topic. Hollywood is having increasing problems as the move to digital formats makes piracy more common. For indies the greatest challenges are coming up with start up money and getting a film distributed in the first place. Today I heard about the tremendous jump in popularity Double Edge Films' new movie Ink experienced as the result of illegal file sharing. They are responding positively. Could this be the new marketing model for indie films or will this be damaging to them in the long run?

While funding and distribution problems are certainly daunting, I was most disheartened by how few of the filmmakers at the conference were women. All three of the keynote speakers were men, as were the majority of panelists. There were a lot of women on the academic panels, but almost none on the Friday panels that focused on working in the industry. In an area like the pacific northwest, known for its progressive values, I expected women to be better represented.

Friday night I checked out some short films (some of them quite good) that the Northwest Film Center showed as part of the Northwest Film and Video Festival. I was pleased to see that a number of the filmmakers, including Heather Harlow, director of best of show winner Nous Deux Encore, were women.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Word Clouds

Wordle: The Next Journalist
As someone who loves both language and visual communication, I am a huge fan of word clouds, which I'm suddenly seeing everywhere! I saw a Wordle image on Male Hipster Leering and was immediately intrigued. Above is a Wordle image of this blog. I think I really lucked out with the color scheme!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy....

@MYMHM on Twitter was nice enough to send me a Google Wave invitation in exchange for retweeting a link to their latest episode, which I was happy to do. It took a few days for the invitation to arrive in my inbox, which gave me a chance to read about it a bit, mostly on Twitter, which did little to clarify for me exactly what it does. I finally got to try it out today, but so few people have access to it yet that it's difficult to tell how functional or cool it is yet. I am intrigued, at the very least.

At tonight's University Film Organization we did a lot of planning, and should be pretty busy for the next few weeks.

Tomorrow we are shooting more of a short written by club member Rose Guess, which we started on a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday night a couple of club members and I are driving up to Portland for the weekend to attend What is Film?, which I am very excited about. If we have time, we may go check out the Northwest Film Center's 36th NW Film and Video Festival, though I fear we have too much else to do.

We have also broken into two small groups to make music videos for folk musician Will Hobbs of Portland and metal band Straitjacket Seduction of Columbus, Ohio. We will start pre-production next week in club.

In addition to all of that, I have plenty of classwork to keep me occupied right now. My third video assignment for J331 is due next Monday. I also have exams on Monday and Tuesday and a project for my Media Aesthetics class due Tuesday.

I really can't afford to slack at all, as I am trying to bring up my GPA in order to increase my chances of getting into a graduate program next year (not that I'm sure yet that that's what I want to do). I will also have to take the GRE very soon.

I hope I can make it through the rest of the term without getting swine flu!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

J Skills in the Media Convergence Era

Thanks, WoodysWorldTV, for tweeting this video, in which Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal discusses finding and building an audience and marketing your work.

These are the same points that many of the panelists made at the Oregon Society of Professional Journalists' Building a Better Journalist conference at U of O last weekend. Many professional journalists today are struggling to make digital media work for them. While tools such as blogs and social media sites can be hugely beneficial to journalists, and are becoming increasingly necessary, they present a substantial challenge.

I feel very fortunate to be starting to get a handle on digital media while I'm in school, rather than trying to learn it all on the job. As an Electronic Media major, I'm learning a lot about broadcast in my classes, but so far, discussion of how to produce media for the web has been peripheral. I spend many hours a week exploring these tools on my own, and while I use many of them regularly, I'm still learning how to use them effectively. It's sometimes difficult to determine what's worth spending time on and what's just a fad or only of real use for socializing with friends.

I first heard about Twitter about a year ago when I attended the OSPJ's 2008 conference here in Eugene. I joined immediately, mostly out of curiosity. It wasn't until recently that I began to use it regularly. When Twitter comes up in conversation, people often scoff, but I'm really impressed with how useful it's becoming for me. In addition to getting news updates from the New York Times, NPR, and various other major outlets, I get a lot of useful information from individuals working in media, which I can't imagine having found elsewhere. It's incredible the breadth of information I can get in a few minutes just by scrolling through recent tweets:links to videos, articles, and blogs; event listings; professional advice; etc.

The downside is that it has taken quite a lot of time for me to get to the point where sites like this are really becoming useful to me, and I still have a lot to learn. Learning to use something like Twitter effectively is akin to learning a new language. In addition to becoming able to communicate very concisely (tweets are limited to 140 characters) there are conventions and tags one must learn to use in order to communicate effectively. For example using "RT" to denote that something is a "retweet" and using "#" to create a "hashtag."

New social media sites crop up all the time, and it can be overwhelming trying to determine in which ones it's worth becoming literate. The newest one I've joined is Cinchcast, which is a lot like Twitter, but allows users to post photos and to record audio directly via their phones. So far users can only post mobile photos using an iPhone application, so people like myself, who don't have iPhones can only upload photos from their computers, but the site's developers are extremely responsive to user feedback, and are working on improving it so that it's more useful. There aren't many people using it yet, and a huge portion of the posts at the moment are "test" posts form new users trying to figure out how the site works. I'm excited about the site's potential, but only time will tell whether it will become as popular and useful as Twitter.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Video Production

Last February, which you may note is when I stopped writing here, the University Film Organization began shooting a feature length film called In the Rain. I am director of photography for the project, and as it turns out, that's a big job.

It's been especially tough because the club has almost no funding, which means we have to use all our own equipment, which is far from professional. It can be really frustrating for me going from working on small class projects with really nice cameras, tripods, lights, etc. to working on a huge long-term project without such things. I often find that I'm unable to do what I would like to because what we have is inadequate. Even doing simple moving shots like tilts and pans is near impossible if your tripod doesn't allow for smooth movement.

We planned to finish production before the end of the school year, but that didn't happen, and then many members of our cast and crew left for the summer. We have just begun shooting again, and only have about 10 scenes left before the film goes into post-production. We've been keeping a production blog, which contains a lot of photos and updates about our progress.

I've been elected president of the club for the 2009/2010 school year, and that has been keeping me pretty busy. We have a lot of new members this year, some of whom bring a lot of skills to the table. I'm really excited about working with them, as well as our returning members from last year.

I have started looking for video production internships, and am not having much luck so far. I hope to start one this winter or spring. Chambers isn't offering any right now, but said they might in the spring, so I guess I'll have to keep checking back with them. I'd really like to get some hands-on experience using professional equipment in a professional environment.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Keep printing?

I've chosen the topic of '"selling" newspapers in a digital age' for my J203 term project. I've just begun my research, and a few days ago came across this excellent blog by Alan Mutter. He has a lot to say about the future of the newspaper business, some of it quite at odds with what I've been hearing elsewhere, for example this: "almost every newspaper company still needs to print newspapers if it wants to stay in business."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The New York Times on Bishop Williamson

In a piece from today's New York Times on Pope Benedict's reinstatement of four bishops, Rachel Donadio wrote"a particularly contentious part of the reinstatement on Saturday was the inclusion of Richard Williamson, a British-born cleric who in an interview last week said he did not believe that six million Jews died in the Nazi gas chambers."

Williamson's Antisemitism, which Telegraph writer Damian Thompson wrote about in his blog last March, is newsworthy, but you would never know it from Donadio's words, or at least not unless you read carefully and made it to the twelfth paragraph, where she explains 'in a November interview broadcast on Swedish television last week and widely available on the Internet, the bishop said that he believed that “the historical evidence” was hugely against the conclusion that millions of Jews had been “deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler.”' The key word here is "millions."

In this quote Williamson denied that "millions" of Jews were killed in gas chambers, which is entirely different from denying, as Donadio wrote before, that 6 million Jews were gassed. If he had said the latter, he would have been factually accurate, and this statement alone would not be evidence of his Holocaust denial.

It has been well documented that Approximately 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, but they did not all die in gas chambers. An estimated 3.5 million, slightly more than half, were killed in this way. The rest died in a variety of other horrific ways including disease that resulted from the unthinkable living conditions in concentration camps, shooting, medical experimentation, and suicide. That they were not all killed in gas chambers does not make their deaths any less horrific nor does it make the Nazis any less guilty.

Most of my Jewish ancestors who did not emigrate to the United States from Eastern Europe were never heard from again, and were probably killed by the Nazis in one way or another, and I cannot say that I would be relieved to learn that their cause of death was not gassing. What matters is that they were murdered in a genocide.

It is important that we get the historical facts right. Repeating false statistics does nothing to rectify the atrocities of the Holocaust or to educate the public about them. We can simply say that 6 million Jews were murdered. That fact is both accurate and devastating.

Donadio should investigate Williamson's anti-Semitism further. His denial of the Holocaust is just the tip of the iceberg. She should also get her facts straight.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama and Adams in the news

I spent the long weekend (no classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day) in Portland, and watched clips from the inauguration on before driving back to Eugene on Tuesday afternoon. I listened to further Obama coverage on KOPB until the signal faded, and then switched to KLCC. It was a little anti-climactic for me, after all the excitement of the campaign and election night, and most of the coverage wasn't too insightful, though All Things Considered had an interesting analysis of Obama's inaugural address including a comparison to speeches of previous presidents.

What's been more interesting in the past few days is the coverage of the Sam Adams scandal, which is getting almost as much attention in Portland's papers as our new president.

Perhaps more interesting than the news coverage itself is the debate that's going on in the comment sections that follow the online stories, such as those on the websites of Willamette Week, who broke the story, and the Oregonian. The response is surprisingly thoughtful and intelligent, expressing a variety of opinions about Adams' actions, whether or not he should step down, and on the media's coverage of the story. That's something you don't get when you pick up a hard copy of the newspaper. I'm really glad to be able to follow the responses of Portlanders from my computer here in Eugene.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Term Begins

I am halfway into my second week of winter term. I think the combination of classes and extracurricular activities I'm participating in are going to keep me pretty busy, which makes me almost relieved that I am not working right now (the restaurant I was at since I moved here just went under). My hope is that I won't have time to spend money.

I am now taking Writing for the Media, the last of my pre-Journalism classes. I think it's going to be challenging, but I expect to learn a lot. I am glad that I took Intro to Media Writing at PCC before transferring. It is a definite bonus to be somewhat familiar with the basic concepts. I got back my first graded assignment today, which I did not edit it as carefully as I should have. I am relieved that we are given the opportunity to resubmit.

I have joined Duck U, for which I get 1 credit, but more importantly I get hands-on experience working with professional equipment. So far I have gotten to work with a pretty nice digital video camera, and have gotten some practice setting up lights.

I am also going to be shooting video for UFO's major project for the year, a feature-length (or close to it) romantic comedy about FBI agents working in Eugene. The film is untitled as of now, but the script was just finished, and we are planning to hold auditions in a couple of weeks. I think this is going to take up a lot of my time, but I think it will be a valuable experience and am looking forward to it.