For the first assignment where we were required to write a six-hundred word article, I chose to write about up and coming veganism in Leeds. I discussed how Leeds hosted a Yorkshire Vegan Festival and how the transition continues to grow and span worldwide.
To gain some primary sources, I did have some difficulty setting up a meeting with a vegan restaurant owner. When I reached out and heard back from the owner of “Cantina” in Leeds, I was asked to provide pieces of my previous work which has never happened to me before. Thus, this ended up falling through as a possible primary source for my article.
However, it did go upwards for me from there after I took the initiative to attend the Great Vegan Festival to take photographs which made great use for my article. As well, when I reached out to a number of vegan restaurants in Toronto, I heard back from the owner of one restaurant who provided me with great quotes for my article.
For the Instagram carousel, I struggled most with ensuring that the post did not sound sound too repetitive altogether. With the more research I did, I found more statements, photos, and information that I could add to the slides.
Throughout both assignments, gathering primary sources became a clear challenge when I would be ignored by managers and owners. Thus, by not giving up and encouraging myself to push for connections, I acquired the skill of perseverance which I intend on using in further assignments.
Throughout the workshops, the feedback I have received has enabled me to gain a better idea of what my final article will look like. During week seven, we were assigned a post titled “Portfolio Research One” where we had to brainstorm possible story ideas for our final article. I was deciding between two different story ideas for the article and as one to one feedback was offered during this workshop, I was given advice that confirmed which idea felt as though it had more substance to it.
Over the last nine weeks I feel as though I have organized my time well to keep up with the weekly tasks. Although I have been able to build a relatively structured blog, I have struggled most with the formation of the final six-hundred word article. As I went back and forth with different ideas, I was not sure which story idea would give me the best collection of primary sources.
Given the opportunity to go back to the very first week and give myself advice, I would tell myself to put more effort into reading printed news. Going that extra mile to thoroughly understand the overall structure of print news means that you are more likely to write an article that contains all necessary aspects of a publishable story.
Philip Bromwell has worked as a mobile journalist for RTE News and Current Affairs for the past twelve months (Lin, 2015). As a mobile journalist, you aim every day to visually tell a story through an electronic device. An example of Bromwell’s work covers a story about The King of Coffee: Seivijus “Elvis” Matiejunas who represented Ireland at the World Latte Art Championships in Australia (15-18 May 2014). The entire story was recorded on an iPhone 5S (Lin, 2015).
Unfortunately with mobile journalism, the overall quality of a news story is not always guaranteed. For instance, you could own an older model iPhone that does not capture an image or video to the best degree that the newest make of the iPhone. Furthermore, the scenery of the video may affect the quality of the story regarding the sound and ability to hear the speaker.
To improve the quality of phone shots or videos, it is a good idea to purchase a “selfie stick” to hold while recording a video. This will prevent any shaky hands whilst holding the phone which would inevitably alter the quality of the recording.
If I was standing outside the Leeds train station and noticed a protest with individuals from the organization “PETA” present, I would take advantage of the situation and capture photographs, videos, and possibly any interviews that could bring a story altogether. City protests are a journalists perfect opportunity to obtain a worthy story as it notifies the public about something they previously were not aware of.
I have found that working and publishing content through social media has been clear and simple to follow. During this week, we were given the task to publish a “practice” Instagram story post looking at the different candidates in the upcoming election. Using the website called “Canva”, I was able to transfer the research I found about the candidate to the website smoothly.
As I used to play Football, the scouting process meant that you had to create a credible portfolio for university. This meant that the school specifically hires someone to check your social media accounts to confirm that you have not posted something which would find you to be inadequate. One of my teammates was on the path to play at a university until the Social Media Representative found partying and inappropriate photographs on her Instagram account.
Currently, my use of social media would not classify as inappropriate or improper. However, it does reflect a “university student’s” account which includes photographs of my friends and the events we attend. To professionalize my account, I intent to focus on posting images that reflect my key interests. For instance, because I am vegan, I could start posting more “blog-type” photos with captions writing about the lifestyle I have chosen.
As I knew about the allotment society at Leeds Beckett university, I was lucky enough to discover that one of my housemates is a part of the group. Thus, it was not a challenge to gather my quotes to use as a worthy primary source. I knew that I wanted to record the interview, and with the interviewee’s permission, we spoke on the phone where I could track down anything important that I missed.
The process of collecting my primary source through a phone call was more beneficial than if I had done it via email or text message. This strategy enables you to have full, authentic quotes from the interviewee. On the other hand, through text or email, the person has the time to alter a response that might not be as credible. For instance, when I asked my interviewee why she enjoys gardening, I was able to collect a full quote that stated, “I like to be outdoors as it gives you the time away from the stresses of life”.
Through Facebook, I intend on finding my future contacts to use as primary sources for the articles I will write. As we learned in today’s lecture, finding groups on Facebook is a great way to not only spark a news story, but to gather credible contacts to use as primary sources. In addition, I will continue to take advantage of the people I know, and the connections I can establish to further build a strong collection of primary sources.
Groups/Organisations for Possible Primary Sources:
Vegan/Vegetarian Society – President: Hanna Little – Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Primary research are the original facts, statistics, or quotes that someone collects during the research while secondary sources are found in news articles, published research and other forms of media. It is best to collect more primary research as these sources give the authentic feedback which will best support your story. For instance, if someone is writing about the homeless in a specific area, readers will be less interested in the analytical statistics, and more curious about the quotes you have collected from a homeless person.
What stood out to me most while learning about various interviewing tips were the technical tips specifically. I tend to forget just how important these are and in the worst case, you could come home from an interview, check the recording and realize you forgot to press “start”. Turning my phone on airplane mode, positioning the mic, picking a quiet place to interview, and always checking the recording before the interviewee leaves are just a few that serve as important reminders before you enter your interview.
I also think that the factor of respect and politeness during the interview is extremely important. This person has taken time out of their day to help you with a story, therefore they deserve the utmost respect.
The main difference I have observed from reading traditional, online, and printed news is the length of the news content. While comparing the three types, what stuck out the most is how long printed news is, while online print is much shorter in length. However, I understand the length differentiation considering the amount of time readers actually spend reading the entire article. Online articles have to fight for readers attention which means they have to find the balance of worthy news condensed into a shorter format.
As Jakob Neilsen suggests that 79% of web users simply scan content, this means there is a descending statistic in how many printed newspapers are being purchased. When people cannot even take the time to read an entire online news source, this only means there is no desire to even pick up a printed article which is longer in length.
Going out and finding news sources was challenging, but beneficial in the end. Luckily for me, I managed to put together my story, as one of my flatmates is a part of the allotment group. Still, I found it difficult to coordinate a time where we could sit down, and I could collect the quotes to establish a worthy story.
Learning about the use of images online has been both interesting and surprising. When I have used images in the past, I had not thought about how the different formats (JPEG, GIF, PNG) have a specific purpose. I would tend to just stick to using images from google that best match the topics I was writing about. However, now having learned the use of GIFS has allowed me to match the animation that best compliments the subject I am writing about.
Being a visual person, I really enjoyed the process of learning, editing, and inserting the images onto my blog. When I am reading something like a published article, my mind instantly visualizes what the writer is discussing. Thus, I definitely looked forward to the addition of photographs to my blog.
As the editing process using photoshop was completely new to me, I discovered the helpful tips on how to use it which has now taught me a quick, simple way to format your photo the way you think looks best with the text.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn how simple it is to cite photos that have been taken by someone else. Furthermore, I was happy to find out that there are many free and easily accessible sites where I can find many photos to add onto my blog. Websites such as Pizabay, Pexels, MorgueFile, and Unsplash are just a few I look forward to exploring.
In saying all of this, we are very lucky to be living in such a digital era where our mobile phones serve as a constant camera. With that being said, I am excited to be able to capture my own photographs that will serve just as good of a purpose as finding a photo online. All the while making it easier, as I will not have to think about crediting someone for the use of the photo.
As I have used WordPress for academic assessments in the past, I found little difficulty navigating the site. However, when I have prior used the site, we were not given the opportunity to really dive into the different uses. For instance, categorizing my posts this week was something new for me. Over the past week I have struggled to remember that you can only use the black dashboard instead of the blue one, although now I do my best to remember to add, “/wp-admin” to the end of my URL each time.
In the first week I had not yet had the opportunity to explore the themes offered by the site while my focus has been on becoming more familiar with the uses. Now, having gained more understanding, I have browsed through the themes and chose one that felt would match with who I am. Thus, this is how I chose to improve my blog.
I am very happy with the visual aspect of my site now. However, I am still navigating how to customize my home page so that I have the certain posts that everyone sees when they first open my blog.
Entering this course, my view of the journalism industry has always been fully understanding the vital role journalists play in our every day lives. Certain people have warned me about the industry, stating their opinion that the career is not a steady one, and that I will face many challenges. However, like any profession, you will face challenges that provide learning experiences to grow from. Journalism is not dying, and throughout the first week of this course, this has been confirmed learning about the many platforms news stories are provided from.
I definitely think that learning about the statistics of how people read online was the most surprising thing I have come across thus far. Hearing that, “79% of our test users always scanned any new page they came across, and only 16% read word-by-word,” according to Jakob Nielsen – Nielsen Norman Group, was both interesting and alarming to digest.
Given the fact that I love to write, I am really looking forward to understanding the structure of digital publishing, how it works, and creating my own content. To be able to gain the skills to practice digital publishing is something I know will become a massive benefit for the following years of university, as well as after graduating.