When you find what you love, chase it.

“Use CMU to find out what you’re good at. Whittle it down. Whatever comes from your classes, use it, and when you find what you love, chase it. Chase it for the rest of your life. Then you’ll be doing something you want to do.” – Jeff Daniels

Who would have thought that Jeff Daniels would have given me the best career advice out of everyone in this world? A man that doesn’t know me, who called me once, gave me excellent advice to give to students around the school.

But it really felt like he was talking to me, too.

I’ve spent the last six years at Central Michigan University. I’ve spent countless hours on campus, in classes, participating in extracurriculars, going to football games and taking pride in being a Chippewa.

I’ve cried more times in classrooms and in the library than I want to admit. I’ve laughed with so many friends in the dining halls, and I’ve met some really radical people who helped shape me into who I am today.

Central Michigan University was my home before I was a student here. I grew up on its campus. I broke my arm in fourth grade in Anspach Hall. I met my first mentor in Moore Hall. This place helped me grow into my own, and it pushed me to be a better me.

It’s been six years. I can’t believe that in that time I’ve gotten so many useful life skills. I know how to network. I know how to create stories worth reading. I can take a photo and make it look damn good.

It’s been six years of searching for my passion, and Central helped me find it. I love sharing people’s stories. I love being able to connect them with the community that surrounds them. I love that I have the power to do that through my words, and I love that people trust me to share their stories.

I’ve found what I love, and in 10 days, I get to start chasing it.

Fire Up Forever.


Tap into welding

David Flack is a Jackson-based welding artist. He has created many pieces from tables to bike racks. Now, he’s working on tap handles for Grand River Brewery in Jackson. Each tap handle takes about an hour to make and most are distributed to bars that sell Grand River beer.

Thought Piece 3: audio and visual elements

Chapters eight, nine and ten all discuss audio and visual elements of storytelling. All three chapters emphasize that audio is the most important part of the process. If you don’t have good audio, you don’t have a good story. Chapter eight is all about collecting audio and the stories you can tell with it. If you think of everything as a radio show, you can tell your story and then add in the visuals. Chapter nine talks about adding the visuals to the audio and keeping the audio your priority. The visuals push the audio along, but they aren’t the most important part of the story. Chapter ten discusses how to keep the visuals interesting as well. The different angles they use to tell stories are important.

In Chapter ten, the author discusses the “bread and butter” of visuals: the wide shot, the medium shot, the close-up shot, the point-of-view shot and the reaction shot. These shots alone can tell the story better because they have a variety. If each shot is shown for five seconds each, it can be a 25 second audio story, which is plenty. I also found it handy that they gave alternatives for recording devices in Chapter eight.

In Chapter nine, the story “Waiting to Die” by Liz O. Baylen of the Los Angeles Times is incredible because of the combination of audio and visuals. He’s talking about his life and the times he’s had and basically that he’s waiting to die. You see him and his family and his house and how lonely everything is.

As for Soundslides, I understand that it’s a great tool for some people to use, especially those who aren’t familiar with other programs. I, however, would prefer to use something like FinalCut or Premiere because I’m familiar with the tools. The video on Soundslides was very helpful, though. I also appreciate that the program is relatively cheap.

I was impressed to see Liz O. Baylen because she has been a great writer to follow. Her stories have always had a great flow, and “Waiting to Die” is no exception. Her storytelling in this story is very personal and I think she captures his life and death through those photographs and audio very well.

Video Shootout: Hall of Heroes

We had to do a video shootout for class, and our group ended up at the Hall of Heroes. The comic book shop right next to Central Michigan University’s campus hosts game nights frequently, including Heroclix, Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering. Check out the video for more on the store.

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.



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.