Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two hour Tuesday

"Jamie Johnson, an electrician staff member for “Largo Desalato,” adjusts lighting and other objects on the wire ceiling that over hangs the set in the New Studio Theatre in the Center for the Arts Tuesday afternoon. “Largo Desalato” is the current production for Towson University’s theatre arts department and will premiere Friday, May 2."

Tuesday was looking like just another day in the books. Two classes gone by and nothing learned or done. I literally could have stayed in bed and gotten the same amount of nothingness accomplished.

No, it's not my fault for being a lazy college student, it's my professors for failing to interest me and deciding to treat me as a high school student in my liberal arts courses, "OK, let me see your progress on your two-page paper due in the middle of May..." Please.

That all changed when I walked into my into my New Media class in the afternoon.

Instead of sitting in front of a computer for two hours we got a real assignment.

"In two hours you have to find a story on someone with an interesting job on campus, shoot photos (read: produce slide show), write the feature and capture audio (read: record a podcast)...AND put it on your course Web site," our professor said.

However, it would not be graded.

What went through my mind? This is total bull-spit. Why would I waste my afternoon cranking out an entire package for nothing? No grade. Not published. What gives?

"The story chosen by Dr. Lieb for the new Mass Communication Web site will receive up to 11 points, that's one entire story. So if your feature isn't turning out, this could easily replace it."

Now what am I thinking? Screw my current story I am working on and who in the world can I find to interview.

Everyone split into groups of two or three, and then ventured out to find the best story. It's a competition and I am a competitor. These 11 points were mine for the taking.

But what kept racing through my head was: who am I going to profile and can I get this all done before 3 p.m.?

A couple ideas ran through my head, but nothing was sticking.

Time ticked away and at this point we've wasted 30 minutes sitting around. The only images I had taken were of my hand and the only words written were on Facebook. Even with the help of my two other group members, Sharon (The Towerlight editor-in-chief) and Alex (The Towerlight arts editor) we were still drawing blanks.

We've profiled a lot of different students and faculty in the past together for The Towerlight. It was going to be more difficult for us to come up with something fresh and interesting. It was almost a guarantee our peers would seek out the easy, already reported stories.

Time check. 1:15 p.m. and still nothing, so we decided to finally walk around. Some how we started to trek toward the Center for Arts. Then it hit us randomly - the guys that build sets for plays on campus.

After walking into the workshop and then to the set construction, we had are OK and we working away.

As Sharon and Alex reported and captured audio, I shot various photos of the staff drilling, sawing and sanding the set.

It felt like I was on an actual tight deadline as I continually looked at my watch and the back of my camera making sure I had enough images.

Sticking to a tight schedule we rushed back to our computers.

Bing, bam, boom. We cranked out the story, images, podcast, editing, and published it to the Internet in less than two hours.

Although to a degree stressful, we looked at each other after we were done knowing we couldn't have done all this in two hours without each other. We had a blast doing it and we met the deadline with a smile on our faces.

It was by far the most fun I've had in class. Wait, it's the most fun I've had doing in-class work out of class. Wait, does that even make sense?

What I am trying to say is we felt good about the story we found and reported on. It was fun to get out and do what we will be doing post graduation.

While learning things in a classroom is important and useful, I know I've gotten way more from actually reporting and shooting for The Towerlight and as a freelancer.

In addition, it's not often I leave class with a positive look on the rest of the day. But what can I say, I love journalism. The greatest motivator is the deadline.

As for the bonus points, I am pretty confident we took the prize. I peeked at the class Web site long after the deadline and didn't see any other articles or story packages. Well, I did see one, but to be honest, it wasn't that great.

Now the waiting game. Did we succeed or fail? Will the points be ours or another group?

You can check it out for yourself. Writing and reporting courtesy of Sharon Leff and Alex Plimack and images (click main image) and web hosting by yours truly:

Setting the scene


Blogger little brad said...

that photo is sick! i love how the light fixtures create a pattern. badass, my friend. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:30:00 PM  

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