Today was our last full day of class. I’m anxious to get back home, but also a little sad to leave our cocoon and head back to the real world.
A chunk of Wednesday morning was devoted to presenting our learning modules. All were very impressive and will help me continue my multimedia journey back at the Trib.
Debbie and I presented our training module on a simple Soundslides. I think it went quite well. SoundSlides-Module
Dave Woods, digital development director of the Joplin Globe and a former MMEP fellow (2009), spoke to us about the EF-5 tornado that nearly destroyed the town of Joplin on May 22, and how the employees of the paper set aside their own losses and came to work any way they could. The newspaper pulled together all its resources and accepted help from media folks from outside Joplin and managed to keep publishing. With amazing indepth coverage, I should add.
It is 12:35 a.m. Wednesday, and I can hear the rain outside my window. It reminds me of our first days in Reno.
Debbie Douglass and I spent most of Tuesday evening creating a Soundslides learning module. Each of us had different visions of what that entailed. By 6 or 7 p.m., thanks to input from Evelyn and Victor, we came to a meeting of the minds and set to work.
For our learning module Debbie was able to create several screen images that will enhance our step by step instructions for creating a Soundslides Plus project.
Debbie at first did not see how Soundslides would benefit the Woodlawn Villager, but I think that once her new website is up, Soundslides will provide a simple vehicle to showcase the photos from the numerous events she covers.
We spent all Friday afternoon coding our apps. I decided to make an app that showed San Francisco dog parks and their attributes and locations. The list was broken down by features: fenced, hikes and water.
It was fun at first to code in a few categories and have the links work. But by mid-afternoon I began to realize just how mind-numbing coding can be. My brain shut down at 4 p.m. and didn’t want to look at another line of code.
I soldiered on and managed to get a basic workable program in place. I was also able to add a photo to my about and home page before I left the school. It still needs lots of work and is not yet ready for primetime.
Everyone came up with a working app and some were impressive. I particularly liked Jason’s app, which provided information on camping spots broken down by region. His app had pictures, maps, text describing each place and buttons to push to make reservations or call the campground. I wonder if I can get him to replicate it for California?
Scott and I went to the Reno Aces minor league game last night. We were late getting done with class and the game was was 5-0 (Aces) by the time we parked and got inside. The good news is it was still only the first inning. Cody Ransom, former San Francisco Giant, hit his 19th home run of the season and drove in six runs. Final score: Aces 16, Las Vegas 7. Wow.
Aces Stadium is a nice compact ballpark, very easy to get around. It was packed last night, a big change from other nights when Scott says games were sparsely attended. Maybe it was because of the fireworks after the game. Unlike the winning Aces, the fireworks show was a dud; not one smiley face in the bunch, unless you count the creepy marshmallow head that rises from the outfield during the seventh inning to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. It reminds me of the giant Stay Puft Marshallow Man that terrorized New York in Ghostbusters. I asked a couple of kids if they thought the head was creepy. They said no, so it might be an age thing.
I forgot to post about The Gadget Guy (Jack Rowland from the St. Petersburg Times) coming to visit us Tuesday. He was very entertaining, and I enjoyed his funny videos about cooking food on the engine of his Mini-Cooper, and the orchid hunter. But really, he needs to get off the iPhone train and broaden his view to include gadgets and apps for the Android platform.
He had a tableful of nifty gadgets that help mobile journalists get great photos, videos and audios in the field, but none of it will work with my Droidx.
We spent all day with Jeremy Gilbert of Northwestern University learning how to code HTML and CSS today, in preparation for creating a mobile app tomorrow. Some of the coding came back to me from the XHTML class I took a couple of years ago, but if you don’t use it you lose it.
I’m trying to come up with an idea for my app. Does anyone have suggestions?
We capped off the day with a party at Mike Odom and Scott Waltman’s apartment. Dennis Joyce made delicious home-made enchiladas and Deborah brought yummy chicken take-out. The beer and wine flowed, people ate, laughed and had a great time. It was a very nice way to wind down a stressful week.
So, today I was part of a three-person production team that produced a live blog of the Reno Rodeo. On Monday I was on the other end of the production stream as a reporter feeding stories and photos back to the UNR newsroom.
We tried to prepare as best we could for any unforeseen problems that might arise. We had our experiences from Monday as a warning that although many things went right, many things could also go wrong and we would have to adjust on the fly. Right off the bat Debbie Douglass and Michael Thompson had problems connecting to wi-fi despite sending them out with a my-fi unit from Verizon. Michael was able to take pictures on a regular camera, which we downloaded upon his return to the newsroom following the rodeo event.
Rahel Solomon shot several nice short videos and photographs using her BlackBerry, and believe me, we were glad to get them.
I uploaded three of her short videos to You Tube and then downloaded the videos to the blog.
I was also taking dictation and posting, as was Jason Lantz. Jason also did his best to keep our posts consistent with AP grammar and style. Debbie, despite techical glitches, scored a key interview that helped bring our final print story full circle. I ended up writing the final story, crafted from the blog posts and external sources.
All in all, a very good experience. Here’s the fruit of our labors, the Reno Roundup blog.
I finished my weekend video assignment on the Reno Film Festival, uploaded it to You Tube, and now realized I forgot to identify my movie-goer. Arrrgh. I will have to go back and do that. Tomorrow. Not tonight. In the meantime, here it is:
We just learned how to gather some Idaho population data from the U.S. Census, and present it visually using Many Eyes, under the guidance of Dennis Joyce, the News Center, Tampa, Florida. Here is my first try:
And another lesson in presenting text in Word Cloud, President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered November 19, 1863: