I really enjoyed taking the gateway course, it helped me realize my priorities as a storyteller and allowed me the space to create something I was passionate about. I am excited to continue my studies before I take the capstone class my senior year. This project has definitely made me think about all the different ways I could potentially execute my capstone project, but also made me aware that I the more passionate I am about my topic, the easier it will be for me to create it. Next semester, I am taking Writing 200: New Media Writing and I am excited to expand my skills about writing in media further. I look forward to taking capstone and learning from my classmates.
Before taking this course, I thought of writing as something that had to be formatted as a five paragraph essay in a way that had a strict thesis and not a lot of room to get creative. This course really changed that for me. Ray allowed us to think of writing on our own terms, getting to choose a topic that was personal to our interests allowed us the opportunity to grow as writers. I have learned more in this semester than I have in any other writing class. A lot of the time having looser boundaries makes the assignment a lot harder. I liked how we got to experiment different ways of portraying our message within each of the experiments. I truly believe if I did not have those opportunities, my final project would not look like it does today. Overall, I would highly recommend the writing minor to anyone who is thinking about pursuing it. It has taught me invaluable skills that I will forever be thankful for.
For my final project, I decided to format my project as a photo essay. I had never constructed a photo essay before and I thought it would allow me to use my design skills in a way that illustrates a narrative that was personal to me. I liked how the pictures played a role in the storytelling: they allowed the reader a visual representation of my story. Having visual images of the campus community allowed me to connect with the community on campus that struggles with anxiety. Overall, I am really glad with how my photo essay turned out, and I am glad I took the risk to push my boundaries on different modes of storytelling.
Sophie Gilbert’s latest article in the Atlantic was about how television anticipated Harvey Weinstein’s moment in 2017. I thought this article was very interesting because usually when something of that magnitude gets a large news following, no one talks about it in the months after. Because the Harvey Weinstein incident was so horrible and had such magnitude on the larger community, I was not surprised that it was still gaining attention. I loved how Gilbert investigated how television shaped the unveil of his horrible acts, and I thought it was a really interesting perspective about the incident as a whole. It definitely made me think differently about the media I consume and how it affects the world around me.
Tonight, I went to go see Howard Markel speak about his experiences as a writer and how he came to be the individual he was today. I really loved hearing him talk about his passions, he focused a lot on how he caters to his audience and how he formulates his ideas, all of which amazed me. I did not know anything about Markel going into the talk, as someone who does not study medicine, I was not familiar with his work. I thought his story about his education was interesting and something I had never thought of before. I had never heard of an english major applying to med school, to me it seemed impossible. While he was talking about how he came to become the scholar he is today, I found it interesting how much he touched on his love for writing. In a field where doctors scribble their signature and everything revolves around treating patients and prescribing medicine, I never thought about all the ways writing was involved in the process. It opened my mind to the reality that medical writing is, he writes these books to educate his audience about all the different means of being healthy and what we can learn as readers, about our own body. I really admired the work he did and was very glad I attended the talk this evening.
I found the process of reevaluating my project format and turning it into a website very interesting. I have my own personal website that I created with all of my recent work in. I knew that creating the site for my final project would be very different, my personal website serves as a compilation of my work experience and design portfolio. My personal site does not have a cohesive message or purpose much like the one I am creating for my project will have. I really enjoyed creating a written out version of my site and sharing it with a partner, I think it really helped me get all my ideas down first before seeing what the host site I choose has to offer. I am going into the tech field and having experience doing information architecture has helped me a lot with creating the site for my project. I chose to structure my personal site in a way that requires my user to click through my whole project, in order to keep them engaged. I aim to have this site function as a gallery or digital version of my life experiences so I am trying to structure the site so that they do not obviously know it was for a class project. I am intertwining my beginning and end pages so they include my personal reflection, and I think my users will be able to easily access it while also still being interested in the content.
I recently read Sophie Gilbert’s most recent article in the Atlantic about Showtime’s documentary series Active Shooter. I was shocked to read the facts about the shows premier and the events that took place after. I really admired the claims she made about the show and its relation to current events in society. She illustrates the argument about how the show “glamorizes gun violence while refusing to engage with the reality of it”. She adds “For one thing, stories are integral to how humans process real-life events, particularly tragedies. They encourage empathy for victims, and they attempt to convey some extent of the horror.” This article gave me a new perspective on gun violence in film and tv industry. She made very educated claims, something that I struggle with in my own writing. In the columns I write for the Daily, I have a hard time making claims that might spark controversy. She supported her claim in a very fluid and articulate way that educated others rather than giving her audience a reason to oppose. Her writing illustrated an argument that sparked conversation in the mind of her audience, a productive way to put current media in context with today’s political issues.
The tone of my first two experiments were very different. My first experiment was a personal narrative, so my tone was very personal. I did my best to illustrate a relatable tone so that my audience could relate to what I was saying and what I went through. I think this helped relay my message in a way that my intended audience could relate to.
In my second experiment, I used a more formal tone to relay statistics and facts about anxiety on campus. For this experiment I felt that it was essential to illustrate a tone of authority. I needed my audience to pay attention to my message and know it was credible. I think the importance of tone can make or break your argument, and thinking about what tone to use is essential for any piece of writing.
For my third experiment I plan to combine both authoritative tone with a more casual, relatable tone. I plan to create a photo essay that combines my personal experience with interviews from others, along with resources they used to help with stress and anxiety. I think incorporating this tone will be a challenge, but I am excited to make it happen and get feedback about how I can make it better.
I recently read one of Sophie Gilbert‘s latests posts to the Atlantic, it was about what if women held the power, how much different our society would be today. She does an incredible job of intertwining literature, current events, and her own personal opinion together to create a cohesive argument. I think that is an incredible skill to have, and is something I strive for as a growing writer. Following her writing has helped shape the way I interpret different published pieces and has helped me learn a lot about the genre I enjoy reading. I am excited to see what she does next.
The article I read by Brit Marling on Harvey Weinstein and the Economics of Consent made me appreciate Marling’s writing style and allowed me to trust her as an author and a source of information. She intertwines her own personal experience with the current events surrounding the community. She does a fantastic job of explaining how her understanding of economics played a role in her own personal well being, and impacted her decision to break away to the Hollywood industry. Her explanation of all her personal experience allowed me to trust her as a writer. Her writing was not authoritative and in turn, allowed me to trust her more.
I read another article with almost the same subject matter as Marling’s. A CNN article illustrated the straight news to why John Besh, a famous top chef in New Orleans left his company because of sexual harassment allegations. However, this story had a strong authoritative tone, which I felt was disingenuous to the subject matter. I respected the authority of what she was saying, but I did not trust her as a person. Her authority as a straight business writer is respectable and I believe everything she says in this article, however her tone of voice and the lack of personal connection to this piece leads me to believe that I cannot trust her.