Fully Realized Planning

For my fully realized project, I decided to expand upon my children’s book.  This genre was one that I found very interesting as I will have the opportunity to present complex issues in a simple way.  This means limited text and vocabulary with illustrations. I want to explain to children that it is ok to be different, in this capacity I am talking about religious and ethnic differences, and that these differences should not be bounds for friendships. I think that due to the nature of the conflict, this piece will only be well received by the innocent mind of a child. I believe in this experiment more than the other ones because the audience is unique.  When presenting such a difficult topic, children are not usually targeted; however, the children’s book primes the readers with the skills they need to accept others’ differences. Additionally, I am excited to work on this project because this will be my first time working on a project like this and there is a lot to learn. I am also excited about the visuals and ability to work with color! I think the colored images make this genre a specifically good one to reach my audience because the children have lower reading levels and are more drawn to colorful images than text.  Furthermore, children’s books are great ways for parents to teach their children a life lesson or moral so they could use this book to instruct their children about the Arab Israeli conflict or about accepting differences in general. One website that I could publish my digital story book is storyjumper.com. This is a website where amature writers can publish their pieces. I used this for a lot of my research because it is one of the only places with free access to children’s books. The books I saw on this website were very engaging and effective in presenting their lesson.

Reflection 3

I liked drafting and researching my photo journal because it was very different from the other two genres I selected.  Here I had to pay a lot of attention to the moment and political ideals that the images captured in the photos because this was the only way I could communicate to my audience.  I think that if this piece was fully realized I would make it into some type of website so I could make it more interactive by allowing the user to click on different pictures and it would be more engaging. To do this, I would publish it on google sheets to avoid any technical complications I could have (I wouldn’t have to code the website, I have experience making websites with this before and it’s very simple).  My origin piece was very rooted in history, however, this piece is focused on the present and the last section of my sketch draft mentioned the future of the conflict and if it is realistic that it will end anytime soon. It was not so much my origin piece that this stage was based off of, but a film we watched in the class about the state of the region and what it is life to grow up there. When I saw that film I realized that there are so many things different in Israel/Palestine than in the US.  The climate, landscape, language, food, people, etc. are all different and this is also something that Americans should note. It is not just a war torn nation, it also has a cultural value that is much different than what it is like in the United States. The film I watched was based about the life of children and very similar to what my last piece, the story book, was about. I think that contrasting narratives, one Israeli child and one Palestinian child are very powerful as it shows that the children involved in this conflict are innocent but taught hatred from their parents and rest of society. The photos can illustrate some of this with the destruction and war like nature of the entire state.  I think the audience will understand that this is a really scary and unpredictable way to live. I selected the gray background for the photos because I based it off of one of the photo journals I used for my research. I think this was effective in making the photos stick out and draw attention to them. I thought putting them in a square was an interesting way to concentrate all the space to the center and the audience can see how all the pictures interact and represent the nation. This was a good project to show me that a lot can be said without words and that can be used for other projects going forward. It would be interesting to incorporate photos into other essays that may not rely on pictures as an added aid for the audience.  This was one of the more creative projects I have done.

Reflection Two

I enjoyed doing research on this genre, children’s stories, because it is not a genre I have had academic experience with. It was fun to take a look at some of the online children’s stories and see how they are teaching their audience life lessons and values.  I learned that the plot cannot incorporate multiple characters, it should only have two or three characters in it. Additionally, the plots have to be very simple. This genre, more than others, you have to be very careful about tailoring it to your audience because if you do not meet their reading and comprehension level your story will not be selected and bought by parents.

If I fully realized my project, I would have included some cartoon images on each page of the story.  I did not include that in the sketch because I just wanted to get an idea of my plot. I would have to make sure the images were directly related to the text on the pages and that there were symbols in the images that the children could link directly to the text.  This increases the clarity and meaning of the story for the children reading it (or having it read to them). Also, I would have gone back and made sure the language was as basic as I could make it and it was very direct. This is also to help the children absorb the message better. In my proposal stage, I was very detail oriented, but as time went on, I realized to focus on the general clarity of the story because that is what is the most meaningful for children.  The purpose of a story book is to teach a child a lesson, not to make sure they understand every detail of the plot- this is something I was not that aware of in the proposal stage.

My origin piece inspired this because throughout my Arab-Israeli course it became evident that there is no end in sight for this conflict.  In order for the conflict to be resolved, children must be taught the values of love, acceptance, and unity. However, children are simply taught to hate the opposing side of the conflict.  This perpetuates the tension in the region and is a reason why the conflict has no end in sight. This story book is not factually based at all. It is only based on the idea that opposing sides of the conflict lack unity and that the children are not intermingled. This differs a lot from the origin piece which is based on history and facts in the region. I think that this is a reasonable omission in this experiment because children are not going to value this information.

At the moment, I think that this is the experiment that I will fully realize.  In order to do this, I want to look at some more children’s books and see how they present controversial topics.  Maybe a children’s book about a politically charged topic could be helpful. As far as equipment and skills for this phase, I will need to find a way to make the illustrations.  A tablet could be useful for this. I will probably keep the final project in the pdf/powerpoint format.

If I were to actually publish this piece, a good place would be a parenting blog as parents could use it to teach their children to accept others’ differences.  Also through my research, I have learned that there are websites where amateur writers can publish children’s stories. This would also be an appropriate venue.

A Day in the Life: Ron Allen

I used the article, “Body found inside suitcase on side of road is missing New York woman”, by Ron Allen and David K. Li to research online news articles for my first experiment.  Ron Allen is a journalist for NBCUniversal and has a large online presence on the NBC website. Because he is a contracted journalist with NBCUniversal, he receives payment from this company for completing news articles, and in his case, he is also featured on television on the Today show and NBC Nightly News.

Because he is a contracted journalist, he cannot write about whatever he wants.  He would be assigned a task by his boss and he would then be responsible for creating the content that NBC wants to be on their online platform. Ron Allen is a fairly senior journalist at NBC so he would be tasked with more high profile stories or stories that relate to what he is presenting on television. For example, Ron Allen was involved in creating content related to the Arab Spring conflict, which was a very complex issue that concerned all Americans.

Furthermore, because he is a senior journalist, a lot of his research is done on site by interviewing those who are directly experiencing the events he is publishing about. He covered the historic 2008 election when Barack Obama was elected and was in Chicago the night he won the election.  This experience enabled him to see the pride the people of Chicago had for the next president of the United States, who is one of their own. The research experience that NBC provides him (flying him to sites, providing security, providing lodging, etc) enhances his credibility as a reporter and he can provide a unique perspective to his audience.  He is performing an elite type of research due to the funding his company provides him.

Although Allen is clearly a very established journalist, he cannot simply write something and have it immediately published. Even when he is on air, there is a script he must follow when reporting.  But when writing, he must take the task his boss wants him to write about, create a draft, continue editing the draft, and when he thinks it is ready, he will send it to his editor to have it looked at. He will then work with the editor to get the article to the final stage and ready to publish. Because he is a more senior journalist, he most likely gets more creative freedom than a more junior writer.  

First Reflection

Furthermore, if I fully realized my project I think I could have created both a text and video format of the information I was presenting.  The video is its own mini project in itself so I did not have time to do that, but this would make my piece more reflective of some of the more engaging articles I have seen online. If I did this I think I would have learned more about the newscasting side of reporting.  This would include how to make a video with appropriate transitions and visuals. I have never done this before so I think it would have been extremely difficult, but I would learn a lot from it. Also, if I actually published this on a real website where the website owner is trying to make money, I would have learned about how online advertisements are selected and their inner workings. I find this really interesting because it is very relevant to my life, as my browsing history often pops up on the side of my screen in the form of an advertisement. In summary, the technical skills I would need for this is more about producing and marketing (related to video producing and the online advertisements).  I would need a camera, a software to create a video (possibly iMovie), and a real platform to publish this so I could learn about online ads.

Researching my genre, online news articles, I learned that content in the article is very general and intended for someone looking to learn just a little bit past the headline.  I was disappointed when I learned this because I wanted to include a lot of content in my article, but I learned that due to the audience I am writing for this would not be effective. What I liked however, is that news articles are in a way their own multimodal project.  For example, almost all online news articles have pictures integrated into the text. Furthermore, some have videos that are usually taken directly from their TV channel. This offers the user a lot of ways to interact with the content and can make it more visually appealing to engage with.

My origin piece inspired me to write this because before the Arab Israeli conflict class, I did not know much about the happenings in the region besides the fact that there is a never ending war fueled by religious beliefs.  I wanted to create content that would help inform people like myself about the current events and status in the region. Given that the region is so volatile, it can be hard to keep up with the news. I thought providing an easy to follow and engaging article could help my reader be more politically aware.  I think that I left my origin piece behind in some ways because my origin piece was very opinionated. In this experiment, I had to be very unbiased because of the genre. As a reporter, if you start using bias you lose credibility. This is why in my sketch I outlined facts.

I would want to publish this on a website with credibility, such as the New York Times or MSNBC.  These would be good options because they are places that people go to learn about what is going on in the world.  They are not seeking opinions, but just facts. Furthermore, an online blog or journal would not be appropriate because these are notorious for being based on opinions and not facts.

Intro Post

Hi everyone! My name is Georgia and I am a sophomore studying economics and biology, health, and society (BHS). I am from New Jersey and decided to come to U of M because I wanted to go to a Big 10 school with a stellar academic reputation. I wanted to become a part of the minor in writing program because I really enjoyed my first year writing course and continued to take writing classes after that.

For my origin piece, I will be using my term paper for the Arab Israeli conflict class. I wrote my paper about the intersection of feminism and zionism; specifically, what it means to be a feminist in the Israel/Palestine region. I enjoyed writing this paper because it challenged me to use the information presented in class and draw my own opinions and conclusions from it. There is a lot of information in this that I can take in many different directions so I think it will be great for experimentation. Right now, I am thinking that I will look at feminism in different regions of the world, but we will see where the project takes me!