The 30-minute long story A Shadow Remains really made me cry and laugh when I watched it. At first I just saw a less than 2-minute trailer and I was immediately absorbed by it. Then I watched the full story although it is long and it costs. I would like to define this story as one about family love, about relationship between parents and children. The story tells us how the deaths of parents can affect a child emotionally.

Structured chronologically, the story combines stills and videos. The whole story is just like a film, which unfolds the story of this family. I was actually already grabbed by the first several scenes and the very first few sentences. The old video clips showing the wedding of the subject’s parents, his beautiful mom as the bride, and his baby sister during the first minute are edited and put together in a way as if the subject is dreaming of them or thinking about them. They seem so real but so far. Especially when they are accompanied with the sentences about how he cannot believe they are not here anymore, it really made me cry. What is more amazing is that such scenes repeat several times later in the story, which really makes audience feel that he is always dreaming of such scenes and thinking of those he loves so much. The audience are really involved emotionally. I also like photos of empty beds or chairs where the subject’s parents used to rest, which makes audience heart-broken.

The subject is the narrator of this story throughout the whole video. One of the things I love most is that he is not expressing how he felt sad and lost all the time. He did tell some really funny stories about his dad, such as how his dad made fun of fat people or how his dad worried that his mom was having a new boyfriend. It made audience nearly see what kind of people his parents are. Also, some of the sentences he used really touched our heart powerfully. One of them is: And I have always lived with the things that she left — her books and her toys and the memory of her, the shadow of her.

This story doesn’t use much natural sound. Maybe the only natural sound used is at the end of the story. We can hear how the subject’s little daughter running and playing with her father and there is sound of the sea. I think this is good because it makes audience feel that these are the only things that are real now and these are the things the subject have at present. The scenes about his parents are only memories. However, the next generation seems to be a new bond between parents and children, even between the subject himself and his parents because he found something in his daughter resembling his parents.

 

 

 

(1) Editing audio pieces is one of the most essential parts in making sure a good story is told in a coherent and interesting way through sound. The Chapter 6 of Jonathan Kern’s book Sound Reporting gives us a detailed explanation on what audio story editors usually do and how they can do their job efficiently.

  •  Story editors have to make sure that the reporters have actually got a story and help the reporters to focus the story. One of the good ways to do that is to let the reporters to tell the story with one sentence (page 93).
  • Story editors also need to make sure that the story will be interesting enough to grab audience’s attention. Editors can provide reporters with unique perspectives formed through editors’ experience. In that way, editors are playing a role of a guide helping reporters focus the story in a better way (page 94).
  • Editors should edit the story by ears because it is the ears audience will use to absorb the story. Besides text or scripts, audio editors should also make sure the SOUND is intelligible and interesting to audience when it is aired (page 99-page 102).
  • When editors do copyediting, they should make sure audience will not be confused by who is talking and what is happening. The audience are learning about the story merely with their ears so it can be confusing if a speaker is not identified or the quotes are structured in  a way which causes confusing identifications. The confusing identifications are especially likely to happen when two sources sound alike. Audience may take sentences said by one of the sources as what another source said (page 109).

(2) The Chapter 12 of Kenneth Kobre’s book Photo Journalism: The Professional’s Approach tells how sound and photos can accompany each other to deliver a compelling story.

  • Subjects’ own voices are much powerful than captions. Accents or the way a person talks can all reveal certain perspectives of someone’s stories, including where he or she is from and how well he or she is educated (page 270).
  • It is important to get a 60-second pure ambient sound because it may be useful in later editing work. It can be added as a pause (page 276).
  • During audio interviews, reporters should play a role of directing  the conversations so that they can get everything they want for a vivid story. Techniques include asking follow-up questions, asking questions in pairs and letting interviewees to repeat reporters’ questions (page 280).
  • I am amazed by how the journalists did the Kingsley’s Crossing story. They just followed the whole process of a young man’s journey all the way from Africa to Europe. The courage, the efforts and the pains of the two journalists are really admirable. They paid a lot in order to make a compelling story told to everyone in this world (page 282-page 285).

Before I made a map using Google Fusion Table, I had to change the data in the spreadsheet into an appropriate format, which was the most time-consuming part for me this time. I  hadn’t use Excel much before, so I had to learn lots of very basic functions. It took lots of effort but it was amazing that I realized how much Excel can do. Then I imported the csv file into Google Fusion Table. Changing the style in info window and styles of markers completely happened in Google Fusion Table. Within only a few steps, I successfully personalized the map. I think it is really a good tool to use when we make maps in the future, because it is free and simple.

 

(1) The Chapter 5 of Jonathan Kern’s book Sound Reporting tells us what a field producer for audio does and how to become an effective field producer.

  •  One of the things which amaze me most is how many things field producers have to do and how many skills are required for them. Not only do they have to suggest story ideas, arrange interviews and outline the story, they also need to be in charge of technical aspects. Producer Sarah Beyer Kelly summarized that “It’s like being a parent.” That job really requires lots of skills. The field producer is almost in charge of every aspect of the story (page 73).
  • Field producers should be able to collaborate with reporters or hosts effectively. When they are assigned to a new place, it is often the case that they have to work with reporters or hosts. That requires effective collaboration and communication to make sure a good story will be generated (page 74 and 77).
  • Usually we are not able to go back to the same place a second time and sometimes it is hard to predict what kind of sound will be useful. It is important for field producers to keep their eyes and ears open and never miss any part which may be useful. A good solution is to record sound in different settings and at different distances (page 81).
  • Sometimes it is important to record a sentence saying where the piece is recorded or what it is like on the scene in case producers are not able to identify the sound later.Field producers may not remember when and where some of the pieces are recorded. They need effective ways to make sure they won’t feel confused or lose any interesting things ( page 83).
  •  Field producers should have the ability to solve unexpected troubles. They should think of back-up plans ahead of time (page 91).

(2) The chapter 10 of Kenneth Kobre’s book Photo Journalism: The Professional’s Approach gives us several excellent examples of how photojournalists cover issues with photo stories.

  • Photojournalists need to do huge amount of researches and preparing work in order to identify and photograph an issue. They may need to get some statistics first and try to talk to as many people related to that issue as possible. In the case of nursing home on page 207, it is hard to find a nursing home where owners and managers are willing to let the nursing home be taken pictures of. However, the photographer talked to so many people and did so much work to gain access to one or two nursing homes (page 207).
  • Photojournalists may need to spend time with staff in police department or hospital and return to their sources from time to time in order to get a story idea for a feature beat (page 213).
  • The alcohol story on page 208 impresses me because I can see how much research the photojournalist has done in order to presents audience with a full picture of the issue.

excel

Firstly, I use Python and Beautiful soup to gather the high temperatures through the year of 2010 in Nashville, TN. At first, I tried the airport EWR. However, there is always an error message when I use Python to load the data. Then I tried the airport BNA and it works well. I get the high temperatures in Nashville in 365 days and import them into Excel. Then I made a line chart, as appeared on this page. I identify the high and low temperatures with Sort and attached labels. However, another difficulty I encountered is that I cannot format the months in the x-axis as the right format. Later I found out that I did not make right selections in the Scale part. This is my first try of using programming to gather data and visualize them. I think it is amazing. I encountered some difficulties during this process but the result makes me excited. I think we need to be really careful and patient when we do every step in Terminal or Excel and finally it will work just well. On the contrary, a little error or omission may make things go totally wrong.

In the Chapter 8 of Nathan Yau’s book Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics, Yau gives us an introduction of how to use several tools to visualize spatial relationships. In fact, visualizing spatial relationships never occurred to me before when I thought about data journalism. However, it is a very essential part of visualizing data. Several tips I learn in this chapter as well as some experience and confusions are as followed:

(1) Maps are similar to any other statistical graphic. We can use those tools to tell many stories in maps and visualize those stories. And we can also introduce time into maps. We can personalize the maps in several ways. The goal is just to tell a vivid story (page 272).

(2) Mapping is one kind of visualizing data, so we need to get our data first. In other statistical graphics, we deal with x- and y- coordinates. In mapping, we deal with latitude and longitude. To map a point, the essential things we need to get is such data (page 273).

(3) The thing I find very interesting when I read through all those examples is how Alaska and Hawaii are missed out at first and how they are found on page 279. If we use the “state” database, they are just omitted. I think this example gives us a lesson that we should always be careful and considerate when we deal with data. It is very likely that we miss one single point and we will give a totally wrong picture.

(4) On many occasions, we present changes through maps. One way we often adopt is that we use multiple pictures to show such changes. However, sometimes it would be better if we use one single map to tell how things have changed. One single map can make the change more obvious. I like the example on page 307 which presents that a single map can tell us population living in urban areas changed the most in Africa (page 305-page 307).

(5) I have searched the tutorials online which teach me how to use google map API. It is not so hard to get the meaning of the codes written. Through the tutorials, I have got a API key in my google account and tried to change some part of the code, such as the longitude, latitude and the map type. Then I can get maps of different locations. This process happens during the tutorial. However, I think the problem is that I still do not fully understand the meaning of API and I don’t know what programs I should run to use google map API. I have only got a sense of what the codes are like so far, but the problem is I don’t know how to start mapping with this tool at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most articles on data journalism right now point out the importance of development of data journalism today. It is a valuable addition to traditional journalism. They also point out that the reality right now is that it is not so widely integrated in newsrooms nationwide.

(1) Now let us just have a look at how people view the data journalism now: Why does data journalism matter today?

Several factors create grounds for the mushrooming of data journalism. First of all, there are so many tools available today to process and visualize data. The good thing is that a great number of them are easy to learn and use. The second thing is that journalists today can get access to large amount of information and data so easily. There are sources such as Data. gov where journalists get information they need. The problem we are facing today is not that we lack information but is that we lack processing of information. Journalists’ job is the latter.

Now that we have those advantageous conditions, why not add a well-designed graphic to a textual story? Data visualization has advantages including people getting answers quickly and people paying attention to things easily to be ignored. Data journalism provides every journalist with an excellent opportunity to tell a story in an unusual way. Audience just like charts and graphics.

Maybe one of the limitations is that data journalism does cost time and money to invest. It may be too costly for some small and local newsrooms. However, it still worths the input. Even simple and small graphics in a story can be necessary.

(2) Having learnt the attitudes journalists or scholars hold towards data journalism, we need to have a reflection of what opportunities it creates for us and what we should do:

  • We have learnt that data journalism is a trend in journalism story telling and it is necessary for us journalism students to update our toolkit and try to grasp that skill. Those articles have discussed that many journalism schools do not provide data journalism courses and students should do DIY learning of programming. Lucky for me, I have the chance to get in touch with dealing with data and visualizing statistics at our school. I have to make full use of that opportunity.
  • Those articles also point out that it is still “journalism” that should be focused on when we do data visualization. That means we should still pay most of our attention on telling an objective and complete story through data. The goal of using data visualization is to help audience get close to truth. What kind of data should be included requires editorial decisions and we as journalists should really be cautious when we do data journalism. We should never forget to stick to the basic principles of journalism no matter in what format.

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When we try to visualize data, the crucial step after gathering statistics and handling data is to choose appropriate tools to visualize the data, to make graphics to tell a story. Nathan Yau introduces several tools to do that in the Chapter three of the book Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics.

(1) Many of us, especially those new to visualizing data, sometimes may find it tough and boring to learn to use new software and programming. One thing I find really interesting about Yau is that he finds some fun from doing this. I can learn from him and try to find my fun in visualizing those numbers in aspects such as choosing colors or choosing the graphics (page 55).

(2) The out-of-the-box Visualization tools are really easy to use. They are good tools to orientate beginners towards visualizing data. I have tried Microsoft Excel. That is really easy to grasp. In only a few steps, I can create different types of charts. It is a good way to visualize simply expressed data stories (page 54, 55).

(3) Although the out-of-the-box tools are simple to use, they have limitations such as lack of flexibility. Besides, there are so many functions in one software, requiring time and effort to learn them one by one. Programming may be a solution to those problems (page 61, 62).

(4) Never be frightened by the word “programming.” it is just another language which can be understood by our computers. The key is to learn to use that language to let computers do what you want (page 62).

(5) Different software has different pros and cons. When we choose a certain software to use, we should take factors we care most into consideration such as how easy it is for us to use, how aesthetic the result can be or how much it costs. Decisions may vary among different individuals since goals of each person vary. It is also a good idea if we learn different softwares so that we won’t let one certain software restrict us (page 62, 63, 89).

(6) Learning to do programming is just like learning a new language. It really takes time. However, it saves us lots of time and efforts in the future if we grasp that skill and things will get easier and easier because we know how to let the computer do what you want it to (page 75).

 

(1) The introduction part of Nathan Yau’s book Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics gives us a general idea of the importance of learning data and telling stories through data.

  • Visualization is important in making data more understandable. Stories can be told through visualizing those numbers (page XVI).
  • Most of us hate statistics because we merely do not understand that there is connection between data and real life. Learning to tell vivid stories through those numbers provides us with opportunities to discover that connection (XXIII).

(2) The first chapter of the book tells us what kind of stories data can tell and gives us some useful tips for designing graphs to tell a story.

  • One of the most important things to remember during dealing with data is to guarantee the accuracy. That requires us to do data checking and verification. The whole data may make no sense due to a little error (page 3, 12).
  • Data can be boring as well as exciting. The thing we need to learn is to visualize the data so that we can tell a rather compelling story (page 6, 7).
  • When we start to approach the data and try to identify the patterns, we should try to ask more questions and explore the meanings in the data. In this way we may discover lots of interesting results and give an extraordinary story (page 9).
  • Remember to include the sources the graphs we have designed to give the context of the data (page 19).
  • We should make sure our audience can decode what we mean at first. Labels or legends can sometimes be useful in helping them to understand our encoding (page 13).

(3) The chapter two teaches how to gather and format the data.

  • We should be careful when others gather data for us because there is much possibility that there are mistakes in the data. We especially need to pay attention to whether there is any typo mistake (page 22).
  • We should learn to find sources actively via various of channels such as search engines, libraries or some specific websites (page 22-26).

 

(1) Social Media Coordinator

  1. “Monitor relevant websites daily for PR opportunities, including Google Alerts, Dealer Rater, Yelp, Twitter, etc.”
  2. “Weekly blogging with emphasis on SEO optimization.”
  3. “Interface with vendors responsible for managing and updating Toyota Carlsbad social media channels including Facebook and Twitter.”

This position mainly does social marketing job via online platforms. The main responsibility is to take advantage of web to promote the reputation of Toyota Carlsbad. I do know how to use social media websites such as twitter and Facebook. However, I still lack the skills to promote certain ideas via those platforms. When I read this ad, I even do not know what SEO means at first. This position requires that I should not only know how to blog or twit, but I should also know how to post contents for social media platforms wisely so that customers will absorb my idea in a quick and easy way.

(2) Social Media Manager

  1. “Define, implement and execute an integrated social media strategy for select social networks.”
  2. “Collaborate cross-functionally to grow our Twitter following.”
  3. “Understand what it takes to drive ROI from Twitter and Foursquare.”

This position is really demanding. I may not qualify this position even after about five years. Lots of working experience in social media managing is required for this position. However, I am still interested in this job and hope I will be able to do that someday. To qualify this position, I need to grasp the skills to do cross-platform promotion of brands online. At present, I only know how to post certain contents for different social media platforms. However, as a social media manager, I need to make strategic plans for branding using social media tools, which means I need a full understanding of the characters of each certain social media format. I have to expand the brand to our target audience. In addition, I need to keep it in mind that this promotion is part of business and the final goal is to optimize the profits through investing effort in this social media management.

(3) Social Media Manager

  1. “Spend time at NorthPark Center as often as possible to gather information and photos and provide a real-time experience for social media followers.”
  2. “Assist in optimizing the shopper experience across NorthPark’s social platforms.”
  3. “Ensure all relevant information and promotions are disseminated through these networks with channel-appropriate content.”

This position requires that I present real-time information at North Park Center to online audience through various social media networks. That demands multi-media skills including writing, taking photos and maybe recording audio and video. The good thing is that I am learning those skills in my journalism program. I also need to make sure the content I post on a certain social media network is best suitable for that platform. I notice there is one item requiring that I need to assist in optimizing the shopper experience across North Park’s social platforms. That is the skill I even do not have any understanding of so I need to dig more into that point.

(4) Social Media Manager

  1. “Generating continuously content for the company (blog, editorial, community-outreach efforts, social pages…), create new ideas and campaigns, and measure how effective those ideas are. “
  2. “Work with the Product development team to ensure social media tools are kept up to date.”
  3. “Monitor effective benchmarks for measuring the impact of social media programs, brand reputation, and analyze, review, and report on effectiveness of campaigns in an effort to maximize results.”

The interesting thing about this position is that this job does not only require that I need to know how to use social media platforms to promote the ideas of a certain company but I also have to be able to evaluate the effect of the communication effort. The latter is the skill I totally lack but it is really important. I have to make sure I do not only communicate, but communicate in a way which will maximize the profit.