For this assignment, we were to produce a character-focused audio story, along with two photographs and a 100-word text story.
I interviewed Rabbi Adam Grossman from University of Florida Hillel to produce Adam Grossman: The Unconventional Rabbi. As a Jewish person, I am always interested in learning more about Jewish culture, and I was curious about the life story of a rabbi. I wanted to know about the events in a rabbi’s life that make him yearn to study religion and spread knowledge to others.
The most difficult part of this assignment was learning how to use the audio equipment, a wireless mic and zoom mic, and the editing program, Audacity. I had never recorded audio from anything other than my iPhone, and I had never used Audacity. In teaching myself how to record the audio, I used tips from my boyfriend and peers. They had the technical skills to figure out how to use both mics when I could not figure something them. To learn how to use Audacity, I watched videos, such as this one, to teach me how to use it. Through a lot of trial and error, I slowly discovered ways to work efficiently with the program.
I know I still need to become more proficient at editing audio. However, I do recognize that I started this project with zero experience in using high quality audio recorders and programs, and I already see how far I have come.
For my first time producing an audio story, I am proud of what I produced. From Digital Storytelling so far, I have realized how much I enjoy interviewing sources and hearing the stories they share. I could see myself having a career where I do these things, as it brings me a lot of joy.
Read the whole story, David Ponoroff: Cemetery Worker or Budding Philosopher?
This was the second “CNN Story” for this class, so I headed back out into the world to find an interesting character and construct a multimedia package focused on him/her, complete with a 12-image photo gallery, a 300-work text story, a headline and three highlights.
I chose to center my story on David Ponoroff, a recent graduate of the University of Florida who now works as the assistant director of Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. I knew I wanted to do my story on someone who works in a cemetery. I found it intriguing – what kind of person chooses to spend so much time in such a morbid place, and what kinds of effects, if any, does that have on a person?
So, I started doing some research on cemeteries I had seen in the area. I was talking with a classmate about what we wanted to do our stories about, and she told me about how there was a cemetery linked to Paynes Prairie. I became curious about it, so I knew I had to follow that curiosity all the way to the cemetery itself and see what I could find.
I called up the cemetery to ask if I could come in for a story, and the man who answered the phone, Freddie Johnson, was more than happy to let me visit. Everything was going smoothly until Hurricane Irma started getting closer to Gainesville. I thought my trek to the graveyard might not happen, and I even spent the Saturday before the storm frantically driving around Gainesville to find another story, finding almost everything to be closed. Luckily, the deadline was extended, and I jumped for joy knowing I would indeed be able to capture this story.
Johnson matched me up with David Ponoroff, who I had also spoken to on the phone, and I expected him to be an old, gray, wiry-looking man. I was quite surprised to see that he was around my age! I thought this made the story that much less predictable, and therefore, more interesting.
During the interview, we found ourselves in a deep discussion on the philosophical meaning of death and how pondering death can greatly increase life satisfaction. I love these conversations, and it was so cool to me that I could discuss these things with a complete stranger. The human experience truly does connect all of us, and I am grateful that this project led me to an opportunity to witness that.
Read the whole story, From Computer Geek to Spiritual Inquirer.
For this assignment, called our “CNN Assignment,” we were told to construct a multimedia package centered on an interesting character. It had to include a 12-image photo gallery, a 300-word text story, a headline and three highlights.
I chose to focus my story on Luis Melendez, who was a vendor at the Labor Daze Fest event on September 3, 2017, in Bo Diddley Plaza in downtown Gainesville. I was drawn to his pop-up shop The Dragon’s Hoard because of its beautifully cut and vibrantly colored rocks, gems, crystals and jewelry. I had also remembered perusing the stand from my previous visits to the Union Street Farmers Market, where Luis and his wife Marianne consistently set up their shop.
Initially, I planned on doing my story on Marianne Melendez. I arrived to the event as the vendors were setting up, and after observing both Melendezes prepare their tent, she seemed to be the more gregarious of the two. I approached her and asked if I could feature her in my assignment, and she warmly agreed. We spoke for about fifteen minutes while I snapped photos, until her husband began chiming in. His wild stories and oozing passion for rocks and his craft became apparent, and I soon realized, “this guy is my story.” He had the look. He had the face. And he had tales and quotes that inspired me. I wanted to keep talking to him and learn more. I soon found that the story was writing itself, and I just had to be the vessel to deliver it.
Before this assignment, I did not know anything about how to use a DSLR camera or Photoshop, but Lynda videos and my boyfriend’s expertise worked wonders in teaching me. I feel much more comfortable with these tools now, and I'm so excited that I can now use them in my future. And of course, there is still so much more to learn!
Overall, I am so proud of the project I created. I have never made a multimedia journalistic piece, and I never really knew I could.