My Stories as K2 Radio’s Crime and Courts Reporter

Photo by Elysia Conner, Casper Journal

Over the summer I had the wonderful privlidge to work as the courts and crime reporter for K2 Radio. This was my third summer there and my experience was-once again- fantastic.

If you would like to read/hear any of my stories please click here.


PS- Thank you for the words of wisdom and encouragement Bob Price. You provided me an outstanding opportunity and taught me what journalism is all about. I strive to live up to the example you have set for me. Thank you for pushing me to be the best journalist that I can be.

Still Loving NBC

I thought that I would be much better at blogging while in DC, but things have been so busy that I haven’t had the chance!

My internship at NBC is still amazing. I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. I’m not ready to leave yet! I have learned so much in the few months that I have been here and I feel like I am on the right track more than ever. I HIGHLY encourage college students that are looking at going into this industry/becoming a broadcast journalist to seek out an internship at a small local market and, if at all possible, at a network. In doing so, you will see both sides of the spectrum and it will help you pin-point your future career goals.

I am constantly impressed by the talent and effort here at NBC. The amount of people and time that go into just one story continues to blow my mind. They have a standard of excellence that I greatly admire. It inspires me and pushes me to be the best journalist I can be.

Aside from NBC, I am still enjoying DC immensely. I have met some amazing people out here that I hope to continue to stay in touch with long after I head back to Wyoming. Springtime in DC is wonderful! It has been in the 80’s here the past three days (I heard it was snowing in Wyoming!).

I will try to post another blog before my time is up here. Until then, I am off to soak up my last month here!

Hello DC! (and NBC)

This semester I am taking a break from books and studying. Instead, I am spending the semester in Washington, DC as a full-time intern at NBC News Washington Bureau.
I have been here four weeks now and I am absolutely loving it! I am interning with Chief Justice Correspondent Pete Williams and producer Michael Kosnar. I focus on Justice Department issues. I have been beyond impressed with the talent and drive of the employees here. Every story is extremely thorough and the correspondents/producers are without a doubt brilliant in their fields.
I am learning more and more every day about broadcast journalism. To see how things work on a national network level is impressive (plus it is cool seeing the stories/producers I work with on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News and MSNBC!).
I am so grateful to have this opportunity and to be learning from some of the best in the business!
I am also enjoying my time in Washington, DC and trying to take advantage of every free moment I have here. Almost all of the museums here are free and so far I have visited the National Art Museum/Portrait Gallery, the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Botanical Gardens, the American Indian Museum and the National Zoo.
Besides the museums I have discovered some amazing restaurants and shopping in DC. I love the Georgetown area (if you haven’t been to Georgetown Cupcake it’s a must!). The riverfront area in Georgetown is gorgeous and a great place to walk around.
It is unbelievable that I have already been here for a month. Time is flying by! I will try to keep my blog updated as the semester continues. Til then, I am off to enjoy the city!

Individual Soundslides Project

To view my individual Soundslides project click here

My last project for my Online Journalism class is complete. For this project I used the program Soundslides to put together a story about the University of Wyoming’s production of “The Nutcracker” using audio and photos that I collected and edited. This project was identical to the group Soundslides project that I talked about in an earlier blog post, except that instead of working with a partner we all flew solo on this one. The purpose of this assignment was to bring together the many elements that we had gone over as a class (audio, photos, writing for the web etc.) into one last project.

Like the last Soundslides project, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the program Soundslides to put together this story. Last time for the group project I worked with the audio and my partner, Dyann Diercks, used a quality camera to shoot action shots and edit the photos. This time I had to take care of the photos and I must say that this was probably the most frustrating part of the experience. I shot most of my photos at one of the rehearsals for “The Nutcracker.” The dancers were moving quickly and the lighting was low, therefore I needed to use my camera’s flash to best capture the action shots. However, the crew would not let me use my flash because they did not want it to distract any of the dancers. So needless to say, it was a battle to get my camera to focus. I ended up taking about 400 photos just so I could get a few focused and good shots.

Due to my frustrating photo experience, I probably enjoyed the group project more because Dyann has a great knack for photography, therefore she probably would have had less difficulty capturing the photos (especially if she had access to the high quality camera that she used last time). Working with Dyann on the group project was perfect because we both were able to focus on our strengths to put together a quality finished product. Therefore, I probably enjoyed the group project more, but it was also fun getting to go behind the scenes when taking photos for my individual project as well.

Editing the audio for this project was more difficult then it was for the group project, because I had about three times as much audio to choose from. However, this was a good thing, because I always feel it is better to have more audio then less because there is more of a selection. While this was a positive, it was much more time consuming. Trying to put together four different audio interviews into a two to four minute audio slideshow and make it flow was a challenge. I ended up using music throughout the audio (which I recorded at the rehearsal) to provide transitions and a little bit of flavor as well. Overall, I think the audio turned out nicely.

When looking back at this project there are some things that I wish I could have done differently. To begin with, I wish that I would have had access to a better digital camera. This would have made the photo aspect of this project about a million times easier. Secondly, I wish that I had recorded one of the dancer’s interviews in a different place. I recorded all but one of the interviews at the rehearsal. I recorded Emily Katie’s interview backstage and I thought that some of the background noise could be beneficial and give the listener an idea of what it was like backstage. However, with doors closing and people running by us, this was a little more noise then I wanted and there were some quotes that I had to take out because of the distracting background noise. Next time I do an audio project like this I will make sure to not make that mistake again and I will only rely on the ambient noise that I record separately.

Overall I greatly enjoyed this Soundslides experience and feel pleased with my finished product. I have immensely enjoyed my Online Journalism class and I feel that I have grown as a journalist throughout the course of the semester. I can’t wait to continue my journey as a journalist and see what the road is like ahead!

Soundslides Group Project Critique

After completing my own Soundslides project (which I talk about in my previous blog post), it was time to look at my fellow classmates work and see how they put together their stories. Overall I was impressed with the work my classmates had done and I enjoyed listening/looking at the various Soundslides projects on our class website.

The first project I looked at was about the Laramie Animal Shelter and was put together by Nic Behnke and Tracie Perkins. First of all, I have to say that I loved the photos that were used in this project. I am an animal lover so I was drawn to this slideshow and the adorable dogs and cats that were pictured.  I thought that Nic and Tracie did a good job of coordinating their audio to match the photos that were shown on screen. For example, when the animal shelter coordinator started talking about cats, there were photos of cats shown on screen and when he started talking about the scanning system used, there was a photo of the scanning device as well. Overall, I enjoyed watching this slideshow. I did feel that it could have been trimmed down a bit. It was four minutes fourteen seconds and my mind kind of started to wander toward the end. One audio problem I encountered when listening to this project was when the ambient noise of the cats was used. The “meowing” was a little too loud in comparison to the person speaking. However, this was minor and overall I felt that the quality of the audio was great and that it seemed pretty seamless. Like I said before, I thought the photos did a good job of telling the story, however, I also would have liked to have seen a few more photos of the animals outside of their cages. There were maybe two photos like this, but I think a few more would have enhanced this story.

The second Sounslides project that I looked at was about the band High Country and was put together by Adrienne Morency and Courtney Wilhelm. One of the things that I liked most about this piece was that the interview was done in a group setting. By doing it this way, the listener really gets a feel for the group dynamics of the band and almost gets a private glance into their lives. I enjoyed watching/listening to this Soundslides piece. I loved the ambient noise at the begining and I think that the audio would have been even stronger if they had incorporated more ambient noise throughout the entire thing. They could have separated a few of the interviews with songs and included the sound of the crowd when they showed pictures of the audience at the Cowboy Bar. I also would have probably written the captions to tell where the photos were taken and given a little more detail about the photo instead of using the photo captions to explain the audio. The last tip I would give these girls would be to make sure to edit the photos in Photoshop with text to introduce the speaker every time they speak in the audio (even if they have already spoken once before). I say this because I was a little confused at times who was speaking, even after they were introduced the first time. Overall I enjoyed listening to this audio story.

The third audio profile that I looked at was about International Night at the University of Wyoming and it was put together by Tiffany Le Gal and Anna Rader. I loved the photographs used in this slideshow because they did a good job of showing the diverse cultures that were represented at this event. I also liked the ambient noise of the drums used in this piece and the way that they were used to wrap up the piece at the end. The audio was a little jumpy at times. There were moments at the beginning of the audio when background noise was present and then suddenly it disappeared. I would recommend that they just use some moments of blank space where the speaker is not talking (and background noise is present) to paste into those spots. Another thing that could give this story more focus would be to cut the beginning out (when the graduate student its talking about Friday Night Fever). I would mainly just focus on International Night because it almost could be two different stories otherwise. I also would have liked to see a photo of the first speaker because this would have given us a face to the voice.

Overall I thought that everyone in the class did a great job on these projects and I cannot wait to see the individual Soundslides projects next Friday!

Group Soundslides Project

After a week of stress, hours of editing audio (and a little bit of panic) our Soundslides project is finally complete. I worked on this project with Dyann Diercks, a fellow journalism major and student in my online journalism class. We were asked to create a project that incorporated audio and photography to tell a story. We decided to focus on the Wyoming Cowboy’s Basketball team. Dyann took the photos for this project and I edited the audio. We both collected interviews/ambient noise and put together the final product using the program Soundslides.

I loved working with Dyann. We are both extremely dedicated and focused students, so it was nice working with someone who had the same goals in mind. We discovered many bumps along the road and a week ago it was looking pretty bleak that we were going to get to interview the team. The team was stuck in Denver due to a snowstorm and when they arrived back at the University of Wyoming, they had to get caught up in their studies after the classes they missed. However, we did end up getting the interviews (due to some connections with the team on Dyann’s part) and had some pretty great audio in the end.

The process of actually editing the audio and putting it together was extremely time consuming. I had to sort through four different interviews and about six or seven tracks of ambient noise to put together the final three-minute audio story.  To overcome this difficulty I had two different working tracks. One of those included all cuts from the interviews that I wanted to use or that related to the idea that Dyann and I wanted to get across. The second track was the final audio track where I pieced together the interviews in an order that I felt flowed and was most powerful. It was difficult figuring out how to separate the four different interviews and in the end I overcame this challenge by separating them with ambient noise (crowd cheers, band songs etc.).

We had some frustration getting the program Soundslides to actually load our photos and audio. After some assistance from our professor we were able to load our photos and audio into the program. I actually found Soundslides very easy to work with and I enjoyed the process of putting together our photos in the order that would best match the audio. We had to mess with the timing of some of the photos so that the slides that introduced the speaker matched up with when the speaker actually started talking, but again, I found this fairly simple as well. I enjoy using Soundslides and I am considering buying the program for my laptop to use for future projects.

Again, I would say that the biggest challenge for us was getting interviews with the players on the team. Unfortunately the weather (and other people’s schedules) do not always revolve around you or work out the way you want, but in the end we managed to get the interviews we needed. The other big challenge that I faced with this project was putting together the final audio. Putting together an audio story of this sort that flowed well and made sense was quite a task. However, I love working with audio so enjoyed this process immensely.

If I were to do this project again, I would try to push harder to get an interview with one of the coaches. They shrugged us off after numerous phone calls and office visits. I do not think that the lack of coach interviews hurt us or our final project, but I would have liked to get their take on things. I also would have liked to get a group interview with some of the players to get a feeling of the team dynamics and how they get along. I also think this could have supplied some good quotes and ambient noise.

For my upcoming individual Soundslides project I would urge myself to start working on getting interviews and audio early, because it is almost impossible to get everything needed within the course of a few days (because of scheduling conflicts etc.). I would also tell myself to get as many interviews and ambient noise as possible, because I have found that it is better to have ten times more audio then needed rather then have just enough audio to get by. Having a wide selection of audio will make a stronger final audio story. I look forward to applying what I have learned from this group project when I start my individual Soundslides project.

Audio Story Ideas

It is time to begin brainstorming story ideas for my next audio piece. I have come up with a few different ideas that I think would be both fun and interesting.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Wyoming

My first idea is to do an audio story about the University of Wyoming’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.” I think that this piece would supply some awesome photographs/action shots of the dancers rehearsing and I would be able to get some great ambient noise as well.  This story would be timely because it the holiday season is fast approaching. The story would also be newsworthy because of its proximity as it is being performed at the University of Wyoming. For this story I would like to focus on what rehearsals have been like for the dancers and what the audience can expect to see in the final performance. For this story I could interview one of the female dancers, one of the male dancers and one of the dancing directors.

Another idea that I have for a story would be to do a profile about life at the Ivinson Home for Aged Ladies in Laramie. This retirement home is almost like a sorority for older women. I think that I could get some awesome photos from this environment and that I would have the opportunity to obtain some amazing interviews while I am there. It would be fun to just spend a day there taking photos, getting interviews and collecting ambient noise. This would be a great human-interest piece and more of a feature type story. For this profile of the Ivinson Home I would interview the residents at the home, employees of the facility and a volunteer who takes time to visit the ladies every week.

Photo Courtesy of Tehran Times

The third story idea I had was to interview an elementary school basketball coach in Casper, WY. I really enjoyed listening to the One in 8 Million collection on the New York Times website and it made me think of interesting people who I know that I could interview for a similar audio profile. There is an outstanding 5th and 6th grade teacher that lives in Casper, WY and he coaches girl’s basketball there as well. This year he is taking on coaching almost 30 young girls and he has some great stories to tell. I think a brief personality profile of this elementary school coach could actually be quite interesting. I would have the opportunity to get some ambient noise during practice and take some great action shots of the girls playing basketball and of the coach instructing them. I think it would be fun to interview some of the young girls that he is coaching and talk to the parents as well. I would also of course interview the coach and ask about what his experiences have been like thus far and why he enjoys coaching this team. Communities love to hear human interest stories about people in their town and I think that this piece would lend itself well to do just that.

I am still tossing these ideas around in my head and I can’t wait to get started.  If anyone has any advice or any other ideas please let me know, I am all ears!