This week marked the beginning of a new semester, and hopefully the last one before I enter my upper level journalism classes. Right now, I am both excited and nervous. I took on a heavy course load this fall. This includes J2150, which, if it’s anything like my other journalism courses so far, will be demanding. But I am ready for the challenge. I am always so surprised at how much I learn each time I take a news related course, when I realize how much I still have to learn. And I think I will learn a lot this semester. Until now, I’ve mostly stuck to writing with a little experience in design as well. But I’ve never attempted “real” photography. I’ve never really made a professional video. I’ve never made an audio slideshow. It’s a lot for me to take in right now.
During Monday’s lecture, we talked about what makes good visual storytelling. I must say, I’d never thought about how many ways there are to tell a story. I could use pictures and audio, photo galleries, stills with audio, video, music and all kinds of other methods to try to get an idea across to my readers. It’s almost a little daunting, actually. I’ve always been most comfortable just writing my thoughts, trying to tell a story on paper. I tend to function better in the world of straight information and less in the world of being graphically appealing. But I think this semester is going to be very good for me. I think I will be forced out of my comfort zone both with people and with new equipment. I will learn to be a better storyteller.
I’m realizing that sometimes, even though I don’t want to admit it, there are better ways to convey information than just written words. Take, for example, a subject near and dear to my heart: hurricanes. Having grown up in the line of several severe storms, I know just how terrifying they can be, how stressful it is to evacuate, what it’s like to volunteer in places that have been completely destroyed. It’s not something that can really be put into words. I found some images on NASA’s website of Hurricane Irene, which is about to slam into the East Coast. Describe with words all you want, but nothing will quite compare to the awe of looking at a satellite image of a massive storm. Only real images can completely capture the storm’s wrath or show the faces of the people affected by it.
So with all of this in mind, I’m gearing up for this semester. I think it will be difficult, but I think the skills I gain will absolutely be worth the work.