Multimedia Assignments

You’ll do 4 practice assignments in the first weeks of class, both to get you used to the specifics of telling stories in each media and to get you more comfortable with our technology.

1) Practice Photo assignment:

  • A total of at least 5 photos (more is fine);
  • One portrait;
  • 4 (or more) images using the techniques we discussed in class
  • Edit the images as needed with Lightroom or Photoshop Express
  • Submit them to TRACS/Assignments/Practice Photos

2) Practice Audio assignment:

     You will bring the following to class, recorded on your phone (we’ll edit in class):

  • One short bit of “reporter track” (your voice) – remember to introduce your subject by name before they speak;
  • A brief interview with a subject;
  • One piece of “natural sound”;
  • We will edit these together in class using Adobe Audition;
  • Submit them to TRACS/Assignments/Practice Audio

3) Action Video assignment:

  • You will shoot a “video sequence” getting us from Point A to Point B in 20 seconds (for example, from Alkek Library to Old Main);
  • You’ll use various techniques (cutaways, closeups, matching shots) to avoid jump cuts – no editing transitions allowed; NO “TELEPORTING”
  • You will shoot and edit these with your phones (using iMovie or Power Director);
  • Publish them to class social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) using the class hashtag #txstmultimedia

4) Practice Video assignment:

  • A total of at least 5 different video shots, including at least 2 closeups;
  • One interview;
  • One short bit of “reporter track” (your voice) – – remember to introduce your subject by name before they speak;
  • One piece of “natural sound”;
  • Edit the images in class using Adobe Premiere;
  • Submit them to TRACS/Assignments/Practice Videos

Your final story package – 5 submissions, starting October 14

You’ll submit FIVE of the following, one piece at a time. The order is up to you, but starting October 14 and ending December 2 you will submit:

1) An article: at least 700 words; at least 3 sources; well-researched, answering Who, What, When, Where and Why, and any obvious other questions (for example, how long has this been happening; what will it cost; how is this unique…?);

2) An NPR-style audio story: at least 1 1/2 minutes long; at least 2 sources; substantial natural sound; written conversationally, with attribution before your interview subjects speak;

3) A TV-news style video story: at least 1 1/2 minutes long; at least 2 sources; written conversationally, with attribution before your interview subjects speak; appropriate and creative video; appropriate natural sound;

4) A photo essay: at least 15 photos employing the creative techniques you’ll learn in the practice photo essay; detailed captions, including the identity and a descriptor or each person we can identify in a photo (for example, Dr. Margarita Arellano, dean of students at Texas State University, meets with students at a fall welcoming event); the essay must also include at least 1 portrait;

5) A data element: this should be data you’ve searched for or asked for, analyzed, and written about in your article; you will also visualize it in some way (infographic, a data interactive, a map, pie chart, etc.).

Assignment expectations! These are the things I’ll be grading you on:

For ALL stories (print article, photo gallery, audio or video story):

  • Who, what, when, where, why
  • At least two sources; three is better

-One “official” source (an organizer, expert, etc.)

-One “participant”

  • Any relevant facts/numbers/history
  • Try to anticipate and answer questions (if you’re covering Arbor Day, be sure to show me trees; pet adoption, I’d better see and hear animals; an awareness walk, definitely people walking)

Photo essays:

  • You’ll submit at least 10 photos, using the techniques described below:

-One or two creative posed portraits;

-Otherwise, all “candids” – not staged, but images captured organically

  • Include detailed captions. You should tell me the story through your captions, so “who, what, when, where, why”
  • ID anyone we can identify in the photo including their name and a fact or two about them. For example “Kelly Kaufhold teaches multimedia journalism at Texas State.”

Audio stories:

  • About 2 minutes (between 1:30 and 2:30)
  • At least two sources; three is better
  • Introduce your interview subjects before we hear them
  • Natural sound, both under your voice at low volume and at full volume (called a “nat pop”)
  • Descriptive language – describe what you see, hear, smell, feel…

Video stories:

  • About 2 minutes (between 1:30 and 2:30)
  • At least two sources; three is better
  • Introduce your interview subjects before we hear them AND, show them to me with an introductory shot of them doing something other than the interview
  • A mix of shots, including a wide or “establishing” shot, medium shots and at least 6 closeups
  • Shoot for “say dog, see dog” (if you mention food grilling, let me see and hear food grilling)
  • Natural sound, both under your voice at low volume and at full volume (called a “nat pop”)
  • An on-camera reporter standup is optional but if you do a standup, be as creative as possible, including using props, interacting with a scene or doing multiple shots. Remember, a standup should do one of two things:
  • Help put us, the viewers, “at the scene” by you interacting with the environment, or;
  • Tell us information that you don’t have video for (for example, “last week’s city council meeting…”)

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