Beers brewed at Mount Pleasant Brewing Company

This is one of the infographics that I may be using for my final project. These are the beers that are brewed year-round at the Mount Pleasant Brewing Company.

 

//e.infogr.am/types-of-beer-from-mount-pleasant-brewing-co

This is honestly one of the most infuriating websites I’ve ever used. It kept giving me error messages and the site itself is slow. You also have to pay to get some of the features, which is frustrating as a college student with a very low income.

I’d much rather make my own infographics using InDesign or Illustrator. Infographics like this would be used in a story to give the types of beer available in the area. I think I could make a much better one on my own without some website.

This does have a journalistic use. Had I gotten any responses on my questions from last week, I could have used that information to judge which of the breweries in town were people’s favorites. Though, I did not and that has put me slightly behind.

Edit: I have gone back and looked at the chart. Don’t bother clicking the link. Nothing that I have done has been saved to the site because it’s that infuriating. Thanks a lot, infogr.am.

Who has the best beer in Mount Pleasant?

For my final project in JRN 340, I’m looking at breweries in Mount Pleasant, Mich, and finding out which breweries are local favorites. Infographics for this project are important because they can illustrate things that cannot be said. They are fast and efficient in displaying data, like maps can share the locations of breweries and a poll can display the types of beers that are popular at bars and the brewery.

Most college kids enjoy going to breweries because the beer is right there, freshly bottled and poured. This story will be very popular with finals coming up because most college students are looking for a way to relax with a tasty brew after finishing their exams.

Which brewery is your favorite to visit? Comment below to explain your answer.

High schoolers proved Nik Wallenda’s calculations wrong

Nik Wallenda, a seventh generation member of the famous Flying Wallendas family, recently walked a tightrope in Chicago. Students at Hinsdale South High School in Chicago decided to take on the math problem of the degree that his walk would be at. The Chicago Tribune did a video of the class explaining their take on the walking degree. 

The video is definitely short and to the point. It’s only two minutes. This story was easily told in video because you can see the class, their teacher and their calculations on the whiteboard. It’s easier than explaining it through just words.

Not every video needs to have a clear narrative. This was just one part of a bigger story. This small portion was the class’s perspective on the man’s overall tightrope walk. The beginning was how she came up with the idea to take on the real world math problem, then solving it and explaining how they got to the answer.

We see the class first and the teacher and we hear her explaining that she told her class she was going to call The Chicago Tribune. I thought it was a cute way to draw in the students. It got me interested because it’s not every day that teachers call their local paper over a math problem.

The story is told by the teacher and her students working on the problem. There aren’t any title slides, graphics or anything in the story, but I still think it works. There’s definitely a good array of shots. There’s b-roll of the students working and the teacher talking. There is nat sound, but it’s just background noise of a classroom. I guess it’s more of the setting, but you don’t really notice it.

The people in the story are identified through a cutline below the video. It’s something that’s consistent through a lot of papers. The transitions are good, but a little clunky at points. I’m glad they don’t do those stupid fades or Star Wars swipes. Those are awful and outdated. The pacing was good because it kept you moving through the story fairly quickly. You got the whole story without a bunch of fluff.

I did like the video because it was a no-bullshit video. Something simple and quick is all you really need. You have three minutes really to capture your audience and keep them. They did just that.  I would have added in lower thirds to identify the people like the teacher, but that’s really it. Maybe faded out at the end, too, but otherwise, I liked this video.

Waiting for death and more slideshows

I found an audio slideshow about a World War II veteran that was waiting to die. The Los Angeles Times did a fantastic job of telling his story. He felt he had lived long enough and had seen enough, and now he wants out.

The narrative is just about him. It doesn’t really tell his story from anyone else’s perspective, which I appreciate. It starts with him talking about being decrepit like the statue in his backyard. He moves on to his opinions and why he’s waiting to die.

The very first shot you see is that of the man in the story, Edwin Schneidman. It introduces us to the person talking and the person that the story is about. The last shot is another portrait of the man. You can see the age in his eyes, and it’s a very compelling photo. I like that it does tie the story together because it’s simply about him.

The photos told the story of the man. They showed the wear and age on him. They also showed more into his life than just the audio would have. There are a variety of shots from all over his house and a variety of shots of him.

There really isn’t any natural sound, which I really actually appreciate in someone telling their story. It’s supposed to be just about them and about their life, not about the sounds around them. There’s no music, no other voices, just this man and his stories.

There were crossfades but no movement within the photos. I actually prefer that because I feel like movement can be distracting. You want the person to take in your photos as a whole. If you want them to spend more time with them, then leave it on the screen for longer.

The pacing was slow, but I also really liked it to be slow. The story is about an old man and his journey. Old men move slow. The captions also added a lot to the photos. I believe that they used soundslides, because it wasn’t automatically popping up, which is frustrating. They really explain more about the settings.

The people in the shots are identified, but it’s really just about Schneidman and his life, so there aren’t that many people. The minimalistic feel of the slideshow was preferred.

Overall, I’d love to see more slideshows like this one. The transitions were good, the photos were good and the audio was good. It’s something that is simple, but so powerful. I don’t know that I would have done anything different had this been my own work. I prefer minimalist takes on things.

Who I follow and what they do

David Carr

David Carr has always been one of my favorite writers. He’s raw. He’s not afraid to say how he feels. He’s a damn good journalist.

When I found out he had a blog on The New York Times’ website, I had to follow it. His book was brilliant, so why not get more of his opinions on what’s happening in the world.

I got more than I bargained for.

In his blog, The Media Equation, Carr talks about different topics that are in being discussed by multiple media outlets around the globe.

This week, he posted two blogs about two very different topics. Ray Rice has been dominating headlines, including Carr’s latest blog. Carr also discussed how Apple has kept winning more customers through its meticulous planning.

Now, Carr does not have a comments section on his blog, and I actually agree with this practice. Blogs are usually people’s opinions. I don’t think it’s fair to have a comments section because the majority of the comments would be negative and would probably tell Carr that he is wrong. That’s not OK if we want to have a free press and if we want to allow people their First Amendment rights of free speech.

Carr’s blog is updated weekly. He does link to a lot of articles and facts, and I appreciate that because I don’t know everything that has happened in the world. He definitely does his research. The headlines are also engaging. They make you want to read more about the topic.

Carr’s posts are not very scannable, but that’s because he’s a very traditional journalist. I appreciate the long form narrative style that he has in his posts. If I’m going to read a blog at all, it’s more likely that I’ll want to sit and read it without scanning. If I’m reading anything at all, I’d care about it and want to spend time with it.

Depth, style and storytelling are definitely Carr’s strengths. He’s meant to be a writer, a longer form kind of guy.

Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to make it through some of his posts because they are so long. They’re almost a thousand words for the majority of them. That is a lot for someone who has school, work and a social life to deal with.

I don’t know that I would do anything different for Carr’s blog if it were my own. I think the long form style fits him and his personality that I can get through his writing.

Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry is someone that I’ve been following for a while as well. I’m not 100 percent if he still works for Digital First Media or not, but he’s a good writer nonetheless. His blog, The Buttry Diary, has decent insight on what’s happening in the world of digital journalism today.

Buttry also wrote about the Ray Rice incident recently, but he went more on the way of using anonymous sources. He doesn’t have enough comments on there to really respond to many people yet. His blog about the gender advantage in journalism, though, has multiple comments and he does respond to them.

This journalist definitely does use good blogging techniques. He updates fairly frequently, if not daily, and does have tags and links to many other articles to back up his opinions. The headlines could stand to be a little more engaging, but he’s still a solid writer.

Buttry’s style is definitely more long form and analytical than most other bloggers I follow, and it’s all about journalism. His posts are more scannable than a few others, too.

I like that it’s all about the industry, and I feel like it helps me learn more about what’s happening in journalism and its future. Buttry is a solid writer and he’s good at relating things to the future of the industry while taking his analysis one step further.

I wish that his posts weren’t so long all the time, though. It’s a lot to wade through when I’ve missed a day. Like I said before, classes, homework, work and a social life are my priorities.

I don’t know that I would do much differently if it was my blog. Everyone has their own style, and I could definitely adapt mine to be more like his.