How To: iMovie?

I’m officially committing to…drumroll…iMovie!

It’s really the only plausible option for me because of how much easier it is to use than other video technologies. I also have a Mac, so the ease of use is really nice. I tried out iMovie at the library and was surprised by the simplicity of it. It’s definitely still going to be challenging, but I’m not worried that I won’t be able to complete my project or anything like that. I think that I’m going to take the plunge and spend the $15 to have the software on my laptop, but that’s also because I’ll get use out of iMovie even after this project is over (especially if I’m happy with the way everything works out).

When I was using it at the Ugli, I noticed how easy it was to select photos from my personal library and upload them into the video. There’s also a microphone function that records over the photos in the video. I’m still trying to figure out transitions, however, and how to integrate maybe one short video into the beginning of the vodcast. I think it would be cool to show at least one video because sports (and sports fans, so my audience) are overwhelmingly visual.

I used a few Youtube tutorial videos to learn how to use iMovie. I don’t think I would have been able to figure out how the software works without the tutorials, so I think I really lucked out. I’m looking forward to learning more about iMovie!

If only all projects were this easy, huh?



Remediation Ruminations

I’m not sure how I’ll remediate my current project, but I’ve narrowed down my options to just two. My first choice is to create a video, or highlight reel, of some split-second decisions in sports. I could incorporate some of the wording from my repurposing project into slides for the video and start with Chris Webber calling the timeout, much like how I started my repurposing project.

Creating a video would be a great challenge for me because I’ve never done so before. Over the summer, I interned in the corporate communications department of Blue Cross Blue Shield, so I was able to watch some co-workers create videos. I did NOT realize how complex creating a three-minute video could be. After seeing others create videos, I got the itch to create one as well. I think it would be fun to learn how to use a video editing application and I can see how it could come in handy.

Challenge Accepted

On that note, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to create a video due to copyright laws and what not, but I’ll definitely try. For my model, I’m considering to work off of ESPN Top-10 style. The only reason I don’t like this model is because it doesn’t incorporate any language. That was a problem I ran into quite often when searching for models. I will continue to search.

My second idea is create a podcast. I like to practice speaking because if I pursue the career I’m planning on, presentation skills are highly important. I’ve also never created a podcast. I think I could create a three-part series, with each podcast focusing on a specific example of a decision in sports. I would talk through what I thought happened and incorporate psychological perspectives. I like this idea because I can talk through my ideas, but I still like the idea of a video because it’s so visual.

There are a quite a few podcasts I could model  my project off, like basically any of these top-ranking sports podcasts. I don’t want to model my podcast off a specific podcast because each podcast has its own style. Some are funny, some are serious, and I’m not sure what I want just yet.

Justin Bieber shrug

Digital Rhetoric Through a Lens

I noticed that another blogger already used Humans of NY as an example of digital rhetoric they pay attention to each day, but I couldn’t help but post about HONY as well.

I started following HONY on Facebook a few years ago. I would sometimes go on the page and go through 100s of photos, unable to stop. Some people looked ordinary and had extraordinary photos; some looked fairly unusual and led corporate lifestyles. It taught me a great deal about humanity. You never know how much a person has endured, and you most definitely can’t tell on just a surface level.

The photographer behind the campaign, Brandon Stanton, started it for fun, and then it quickly took off. He must have a gift, because he gets strangers to tell their biggest stories. I ultimately ended up ordering his first book for the coffee table, and it was fun to have some of his photos in book form.

HONY is everywhere, with millions of shares on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), but if you haven’t looked at any of his work yet, I would highly recommend taking a visit to the Facebook page: HONY

Here’s one of my favorite photos:

A boy tells the story of his experience with school.


UPDATE: Shannon made a comment on my blog about how she has an irrational fear that she would have nothing to say if she were to meet him. I definitely sympathize with that. I’m not sure I’m unique in a way that’s good for a short story…but I think the point of HONY is to prove that everyone has a story, so I’m sure he’s good at prompting the person he’s photographing. I also occasionally wonder how many of the photos he takes land on social media. Does he sift through them at night and then not post some of them because others are more interesting? I kind of hope not, because that takes some of the allure of HONY away.

The Internship (& Writing)

I think about writing a lot. Whether it be writing for the Daily or my classes, I write every single day. Lately, I’ve done a lot of professional writing, and I’m really starting to value the experiences I’ve had throughout college because of it.

The past month has been absolutely consumed by my internship search. It’s really stressful (also kind of fun though….I’ll get back to that). Honestly, I feel like I should be getting four credits for all of the “recruitment” stuff I do. When I went to the fall expo earlier this month, I had notes written down about each company I wanted to talk to. That’s writing example number one. When I talked to recruiters, they always wanted to hear more about my experiences with the Daily. Writing example number two. If I was lucky enough to have second contact with a recruiter, it was usually over email. Writing example number three. If they liked my emails, I would be invited for another interview, one I would have to prepare for more. Writing example number four. If I have to submit a cover letter online, then there’s more writing. It goes on and on and on…

All of this is stressful, but I think I handled it all fairly well because of my experience with writing. I didn’t feel nervous every time I hit the “send” button on an email because I was confident that my message would be understood clearly. I wasn’t anxious that my cover letter wasn’t good enough because I liked the way it turned out. Being able to communicate through writing is so wonderful. As someone who occasionally trips over words while talking, I enjoy mulling over thoughts and cleanly typing them out. I’ve really enjoyed this year’s internship search because I’ve been more confident. Confidence is so important when it comes to career-related activities.

I’m pursuing a profession where writing ability is very important, but I’m starting to notice how important it is for anyone trying to get a job. Regardless of your major or career, you’re going to need to send emails and write cover letters. I’m thankful for the writing opportunities I’ve had, because I’d be lost without them.

New Style

Honestly, I thought writing an article in the New York Times style would be fairly easy. Because I have experience writing for a newspaper, I didn’t think it would take very much time for me to figure it out. Turns out, I struggled more than I thought I would because I started overthinking the style I’m used to utilizing. I also tried to use rhetorical questions now and then, and I realized that I would have to research if that would be OK in the sports section of the Times. As soon as I started second-guessing myself, I stopped writing efficiently. Writing this blog has actually been very helpful for that reason; I’m able to come to terms with why I’m struggling.

Going forward, I think I’m going to try to write more of an opinion piece for my topic. This could go in the Opinion section of the Times, or appear as a column in the Sports section. Instead of using examples of sport psychology in action and trying to explain why athletes make certain decisions, I’m going to make the argument of why there should be a sport psychologist on any NCAA or professional team. That way, I can use more of my voice and not rely on outside sources quite as much.

When it comes to the actual style of the New York Times, I had to reassess what I had learned from the Daily. The Daily follows AP style, as does the New York Times. The New York Times also has very high credibility, so I will have to make sure that all of my sources are credible. It’s also known as “The Paper of Record,” which means that my audience is essentially the nation. I’ll have to use examples that ALL sports fans care about, not just ones that I care about. Overall, the sentence structure is very straightforward. I didn’t have to add new words to my vocabulary because the level of comprehension is aimed at the average U.S. citizen.

Research in Two Different Worlds

Because half of my project depends on the psychology of decision-making in sports, half of my research has been dependent on sifting through long, somewhat dry, academic research papers. It’s not that they aren’t interesting; it’s just that the layout in which the information is presented isn’t very enthralling. I feel like I’m lucky to have the background knowledge to know how to approach understanding a research paper, or I would feel pretty lost right now. In UROP, I had to read and analyze research papers all the time, including writing abstracts from time to time, so at least I have that part under control.

Picture of laptop and coffee.
This is what my workspace always looks like…except my coffee doesn’t look that fancy. It’s usually in a 20 oz mug instead. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When it comes to the other half—the part that depends on choosing certain moments or athletes to explore—it’s been pretty fun. I really enjoy pop culture, and a lot of sports moments (like Hail Marys, buzzer beaters, and shootouts) that people love or hate are fairly apparent in pop culture. I’ve been searching Twitter for moments like these because it would be fun to include something more recent. I’ve also just been searching random phrases on Youtube, like “Hail Mary” or “insane shootout,” just to see what comes up. I’m still looking for one or two more moments, so I’m excited to find those and then really bunker down and look into them.

Twitter logo.
Twitter is actually a very, very helpful tool. I can use filters to find exactly what I’m looking for.

Overall, I feel like I’m gaining a great experience from doing research for this project. I picked a genre that allows me to do both formal and informal research and I think that the combination of the two is pretty cool.

Split-Second Decisions

Last year, I had the opportunity to write a feature about the captain of the women’s basketball team. The feature is sectioned off into six different “mini stories,” and the first and last one focus on how timing can change everything. I want to explore the topic of timing more by gathering examples of athletes making split-second decisions, and I also want to research the thought processes behind these decisions.

Here’s an excerpt from my project proposal: “For this project, I want to focus on the idea of “the whims of fate.” Many life events, especially in sports, depend on split-second decisions. Following that split-second decision, things can either unravel dreadfully quick or come together unimaginably well. I want to explore the topic of timing and human character because life requires people to make decisions that will change the course of their lives. Specifically, I want to focus on sports. These life-changing moments are exemplified in sports with buzzer-beaters, Hail Marys, and overtime shootouts. In the most important second of the game, will an athlete sink or swim?”

One genre that seems prevalent when Googling “sports and decision making” is the academic research paper. Here’s a link to one I just read:

The abstract stresses the importance of making the right decision in sports: “At the elite level, coaches and athletes appear to consistently make good decisions in situations that are highly temporally constrained.” I don’t want my paper to be this scientific throughout, but it might be interesting to focus on basic science for a portion of the project. I’m considering it more now that I’ve read some research behind it.

Another form of media I saw that could help are Sports Illustrated’s Brain on Sports Podcasts: “ ‘This is Your Brain on Sports’ is a new podcast from Sports Illustrated in which SI executive editor Jon Wertheim and Tufts University psychology professor Sam Sommers explore the intersection of sports and human nature—what the world of sports has to teach us about who we are, what we care about and the forces that shape our behavior.”

Here’s the link to this week’s episode:

Because I can see an article on the topic I’m focusing on being published in Sports Illustrated, I enjoyed seeing that podcasts focused on sports psychology come out every week. It’s not a “text,” but someone had to write out the topics professor Sam Sommers and editor Jon Wertheim discussed each week. Each podcast is about a half hour long and goes over a different topic within sports psychology.

Chris Webber's timeout...sorry everyone. #FabFive
Chris Webber’s timeout…sorry everyone. #FabFive

What makes a good blog?


I chose MGoBlog because it’s a wildly successful Michigan sports blog. The authors who work for MGoBlog are well-known if you’re a fan of Michigan sports, and have real personalities that people often connect with (though the authors’ Twitter presence might help their success as well).

I think the class should try to follow MGoBlog for at least a week because you’ll quickly gain familiarity with the style of each writer. It’s also a great source of information if you’re a Michigan sports fan. Considering all of you are Michigan students, I’ll assume that some of you are.

One of MGoBlog’s defining features is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s witty and funny, and I think fans who get tired of reading newspaper-style articles look to MGoBlog for a comedic spin on information. It’s great for fans who want to get multiple perspectives. When you read a newspaper article, it should be unbiased and fairly straightforward. Because MGoBlog is a fan blog, there’s more wiggle room for personality.



Defining Writing

Last week’s in-class discussion made me frustrated, but in a positive way.

As a student journalist, I think about writing every day. My view of writing has changed quite a bit since I landed on campus as a freshman, but I never thought writing could be expressed through a painting with no words or a video without captions.

And maybe that’s not writing. But it’s kind of more fun to believe that it is.

As we delved deeper into the definition of writing, I realized that any image really could be writing. “What about hieroglyphics?” I suggested in class. It gave me a massive headache thinking about how any painting could justifiably be writing.

I came into class thinking that my view of writing was already fairly broad. I listed three examples of writing the day before, and that included a screenshot of my Twitter (after all, posts are 14o character short stories!), a NYTimes video, and a Daily article I wrote this summer. Turns out, my thoughts weren’t really out of the box.

I think my most intriguing post was the NYTimes video because I defined it as writing merely because it tells a story, and that’s why writing exists. It was kind of a stretch. But think about it. How much writing went into creating that video? A lot. I know that producers poured over timelines and stories within the main story to reach the final product of a three-minute video.

Our class discussion clarified why we did the cut-up assignment a few days before. Sometimes an out-of-the-box view of polished writing can create ideas bigger and better than ever imagined. Ong claimed that writing is artificial, but I don’t think of writing that way. Some of the things I’m most proud are related to writing, and I don’t think that’s unauthentic.

So how do I define writing now? I think I’m going to define it as something that tells a story, and if I don’t believe it to be writing, all you have to do is justify it for me. I think if someone believes something is writing, all they have to do is make a case for why it is and I’ll accept it…

…within reason, of course.