Archive for June, 2010

Oh No! I’ve Caught the Shutter Bug!

By Carole Burns

New Media Consortium participants with cameras. Photo by Larry Johnson.

Earlier this month I attended the New Media Consortium’s summer conference in Disneyland. Part of the conference focused on digital photography and I had the honor of working with Bill Frakes, an award winning photographer for Sports Illustrated.  I grabbed my Nikon camera, purchased a new lens to test out, and headed for California.

Bill was very patient and assisted me with shutter speed, ISO and aperture settings.  We headed into the park to see what we could find to fill the required assignment – red, blue, green, close up shot, shadow, and motion blur. It took me the better part of the day to figure out where these settings were on my new camera. *Editors Note* always bring your camera manual with you to a photo class! During break I Googled my camera manual and that sped up the process. Continue reading ‘Oh No! I’ve Caught the Shutter Bug!’

Urban Journalism: A 48 Hour Crash Course in Multimedia

By Jennifer Janviere

UJW students learn multimedia

UJW students at work. Photo by Mahdi Gransberry.

Summer is officially here, and for the Diederich College of Communication that means the arrival of the annual Urban Journalism Workshop. Every year in late June high school students from all over the country arrive on the Marquette campus to get a crash course in multimedia journalism.

This year, I have the opportunity to work with the UJW group first hand. Although the workshop has a reputation for attracting a group of bright, ambitious kids, I’ll admit I went in not fully knowing what to expect. It is summer vacation, after all, and for many students the last place they want to be is in a classroom. Still, I entered the week looking forward to the chance to teach photography, video and audio skills (something I love to do) to a group I’d never met before.

The experience of working with the students surpassed any expectations I might have initially had. After listening to a morning briefing about the do’s and don’ts of photography and a tutorial digital camera basics, the group went out to put their new skills into practice. When they returned a short while later and we looked at everyone’s photos as a group, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The practice photos showed a lot of promise: examples of lighting techniques, depth of field and the ‘Rule of Thirds’ were all evident. The students had really listened and put what we’d discussed into practice. For an instructor, this is the most gratifying part of the job.

For many of the workshop participants, this was their first venture into digital photography. I was encouraged by the number of people who, after the class that day, expressed interest in photojournalism as a potential future career. I was also happy to overhear a few of them talking about taking the equipment back to the dorms for more practice that evening.

See photos by the 2010 Urban Journalism Students on our Flickr page.

The Ties That Bind

By Michele Derdzinski

All my life I’ve wanted to experience what it is like to live in a truly small town. I can’t think of a more charming one than Cagli. Although it is completely different than most American small towns in terms of culture and history (and, not to mention, continent…), the dynamics are just as I imagined.

In my first day here, a woman who also was shopping in the grocery store spontaneously introduced herself to me. She made a point of knowing the people who were in her town and remembered me when I ran into her later on. For me, this was a unique experience to meet someone (especially another customer) in a grocery store; I am used to keeping to myself and having little interactions with other customers and employees.

Walking through the streets of Cagli during the weekly Wednesday market today, I thought about the elements that bind this town so closely together.  The market is central to this. Instead of a typical shopping center or a Walmart, everyone gathers to shop for daily necessities, clothing, and food. To walk past the market stands, though, locals also end up interacting with each other as they walk and shop.

In a town this small, there are only a few “hot spots” where everyone hangs out. There are two main caffes within the Piazza Matteoti run my Mimi and Jake where I have frequented multiple times each week here.  It is neat to recognize not only the owners, but also the regulars of each caffe. Just down the street are Stefano’s Caffe del Teatro run and Bianca’s Dolci Folle, my favorite gelateria in Cagli. The time spent at the caffes is longer than the time it takes to just “grab and go” an expresso. It is not just about the coffee, but also the conversation. Continue reading ‘The Ties That Bind’

2010 Urban Journalism Workshop Kicks Off

By Jennifer Janviere

Rose Richard address UJW students and their parents at an orientation meeting.This week, the Diederich College of Communication welcomes participants of the annual Urban Journalism Workshop. Some background information for our readers: the workshop is an intense multimedia journalism training program for high school students sponsored by the Dow Jones New Fund. It gives participants a chance to jump into the role of a journalist for two weeks, during which time they interview local news makers, write stories for the online publication, Urban Voice, and work with photo, audio and video equipment firsthand. It also gives students a great opportunity to prepare for a future career in journalism and a glimpse into what the profession entails.

Past UJW participants and instructors can attest to what a valuable experience the program is. And this year is particularly special, as it marks the 25th anniversary of Urban Journalism at Marquette.

Stay tuned for updates and photos from the workshop over the next two weeks. We’ll be posting on our Twitter, Facebook and Flickr accounts.

View past issues of the Urban Voice online
Watch the “UJW: Celebrating 25 Years”  video on
Visit the UJW 25 Facebook page

Jennifer Janviere is a multimedia specialist and instructor in the Diederich College of Communication.

Thoughts on Italy: Festa de Graffiti

By Christine Simmons

Student in front of Italian graffitiItaly may or may not have a tagging problem. As I sat in my seat on the train from the airport I glanced out the window to find the most beautiful scenery I have ever witness speeding by. The train slowed down at the first stop and that is when I noticed all of the color on the walls and fences I had seen against the landscape was graffiti. I have never lived outside of the Milwaukee area where the graffiti has become more and more scarce over the years. Seeing this display of multicolored artwork actually made me laugh.  It wasn’t funny that someone had purposely damaged such old and historic property but it was peculiar to see so much vandalism in such a beautiful place. I took a video immediately because I was so shocked by this excessive amount of graffiti. After five days in Rome, I started getting use to seeing the vibrantly colored words, which I didn’t understand, all over the place. Sometimes I found it in the most brightly lit, people filled spots. I thought to myself, “How come no one stops this from happening?” and “It is such a busy city wouldn’t they get caught right away?”  For a hot spot city such as Rome, I did not understand why I never actually saw someone in the process of tagging. It was as though the spray painted walls appeared from nowhere.

Magic or gangs? Either way, the vandalism did not stop in Rome. The first walking tour of Cagli I spotted the graffiti again. This time it was different.  The graffiti is still around every corner but it is not as noticeable because of the placement and small size of it.  Darker allies and streets are the main canvas for the spray painted words and symbols around Cagli. The amount of graffiti scattered around these allies are significantly smaller than Rome.  This makes me think that the Cagli people care about their city more. It is a smaller and closer city, so they take care of it and although they cannot prevent all tagging they can certainly limit it.

This small city theory I originally thought would prevent an excessive amount of vandalism was destroyed when it came to Assisi. The day trip to Assisi opened my eyes a lot.  I did not see one bit of graffiti. My guess is this may be due to the strong sense of faith and the respect the people have for this holy city. This may also be that the laws are much stricter. I don’t know the laws of vandalism in Italy but looking at three different cities with complete different assortment of tagging makes me think the laws may be enforced more harshly in Assisi compared to Rome.

So to rephrase my first comment, perhaps all of Italy does not have a tagging problem but some parts do. I compare the places we have traveled to my hometown, South Milwaukee, and see an extreme problem in Rome and even Cagli. My hometown does not have beautiful landscapes, historic buildings, or any kind of tourist attraction spot like Rome and Cagli, but we also don’t have a tagging problem. Perhaps the vandalism will slow down but with the growing amount I spot everyday, it is heartbreaking that these beautiful old buildings have to suffer the consequences.

Christine Simmons is a student participating in the study abroad program this summer in Cagli, Italy. Read more about the students’ experiences on the Cagli Marquette blog.

Your Brain on Computers: A Reaction

By Jennifer Janviere

Hand with computer mouseA recent article in the NY Times asked the question: what happens to our brains on electronic overload? This topic is a popular recent discussion trend, with everyone from journalists, researchers, educators to the average American questioning the effects of living in the digital age. Are there consequences associated with perpetual multi-tasking; with our brains always bombarded by information and exposed to the background noise of everyday life?

Many researchers agree that multi-tasking in its truest sense is unachievable; that the human brain can only really effectively process one stream of data at a time. This doesn’t dissuade us, however,  from trying to pack in as many tasks as we can at one time. How many readers can attest to checking email at the dinner table or posting on Facebook while grocery shopping or walking down the street? How many people find themselves constantly distracted by the email inbox or barrage of incoming Tweets briefly flashing across the computer screen? One needn’t look any further than the recent articles and public service ads addressing the problem of texting while driving to recognize how common this really is.

At the root of the issue is the quickening pace of life, but also the increasing speed of technology. What was viewed as fast just a few short years ago is now considered to move at a snail’s pace (think dial up Internet). And as people see increasing demands on their work and home life schedules, there is pressure to get even more accomplished in a shorter time period. When everyone is constantly crunched for time, making the most of every precious second counts.

The conclusion by the scientific community seems to be that an overload of multitasking changes our brain function over time, ultimately damaging the ability to critically process thought and to focus. The result can be mental clutter and even fragmented, distracted interactions with those around us.

For the record, I consider myself a proponent of technology and I am grateful for the advances to the quality of life that it brings. I can remember a time before the Internet and email, but now can’t imagine life without these innovations. But equally important to keeping up with the pace of life is maintaining our relationships and overall balance. That means taking the occasional break and even unplugging from time to time.

Who knows? Maybe the occasional break from technology could be benefit our creativity and productivity in the long term.

Jennifer Janviere is a multimedia specialist and instructor in the Diederich College of Communication.

Greetings from Seoul, South Korea

By Robert Shuter

Dragon statue and red flowersI am currently in Seoul Korea, my first stop in Asia which will also include  Hong Kong, China, and finally Singapore for the ICA conference.

In addition to enjoying the sights of Asia, I’ll be guest lecturing at Hong Kong Baptist University, listening to lots of folks from business and academe about the cultural business challenges in East and Southeast Asia, and finally presenting a study on cross-cultural new media in Singapore.

This is my first time to Korea and it was a terrific experience that was enriched by Hoh Kim, who received his MA degree in 1997 from the College of Communication majoring in public relations. I haven’t seen Hoh since he graduated from MU but his warmth and graciousness were extraordinary: he cared for my wife and I as though we were family. In Korea, teacher is equal to king and father, as they say, and Hoh treated us royally: dinner at a traditional and exceptional Seoul restaurant, gifts for the two of us, and more!

Confucianism is alive and well in Korea and is reflected in the relationship between teacher and student, a precious bond that is ever lasting. Hoh has been very successful since graduating MU, former managing director for Edelman in Seoul and now managing his own PR firm while completing a Ph.D in communication and technology.

In addition to visiting major sights in Seoul—including the DMZ which was “really tense” according to our guide—I gained some insight into a significant generation gap between South Koreans over the recent sinking of the South Korean vessel by North Korea. It appears the young generation, particularly those in their 20’s, are not particularly angry or concerned about the incident; in fact, many blame the South Korean current president, Mr. Lee, for inflaming the North. This view appears to be at odds with their parents—those over forty—who are outraged by the ship’s sinking and loss of life, and very disappointed by the response of young South Koreans, who they find have little historical memory of the Korean War, and are just too self-centered.  This is just one of many issues that appear to divide the generations in South Korea.

Next stop Hong Kong—and then China.

Robert Shuter is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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