Do (Something) Inspires 100 People

(A note to my fellow classmates. This is story 3. My video and images are not currently uploaded. If there are any questions please let me know.)

“Designers, artists, photographers, developers, creatives, and entrepreneurs… Anyone who has ever had an idea that makes their pants tingle. It’s time to stop f***ing around and do what you’ve always wanted to do,” the Do (Something) Facebook event described.

On March 28th at the Riverside Arts Center of Ypsilanti creatives of all walks of life gathered to do something. Something, anything at all. The goal of the event was to gather 99 people and spend the day being inspired, encouraged and supported.

For inspiration, the event invited creative leaders and doers to detail their stories of struggles as well as their stories of success. For motivation, the event encouraged attendees to take advantage of breakout conversations with all participants. Speakers, entrepreneurs, doers and creatives alike were welcome to interact and support one another.

“Bring a portfolio to be reviewed, talk about whatever is on your mind, what’s got you stumped, anything that’s holding you back and get a little closer to doing something,” the Facebook event described.

John Eslinger the Do (Something) event director and North Dakota native was able to produce this event within two months with help. Eslinger and speaker at the event, Justin, began working on creating the ambitious gathering on January 1st, 2019.

“Really it was just this idea. One of our speakers, Justin, I met him about 7 years ago at another conference in Cleveland and he happened to be a designer and a professional wrestler on the weekends, which is an interesting combination…” Eslinger said.

Eslinger described knowing people that live similar lifestyles, including a photographer who also pursued epidemiology, and those who are interested in doing random projects. He knew of six to 10 people he thought could tell great stories to the community of Ypsi and Washtenaw County as a whole.

With Washtenaw County as the main target audience, Washtenaw Community College seized the opportunity to encourage creative minds as well. The local community college, located approximately 10 minutes from Riverside Arts Center, had a booth alongside other Ypsilanti and Michigan based organizations on the main floor of the arts center. Stel Drake, student and staffer at Washtenaw Community College, worked the booth to promote the digital media arts program.

“Today we are promoting our digital media arts program which is relevant because there are a lot of designers, artists and entrepreneurs here and WCC has a lot of great class offerings in artistic endeavors,” Drake said.

The business and computer technologies department of WCC is involved with marketing. The school tries to go to events where there is a base of people that might be interested in taking classes at Washtenaw.

Downstairs, below where speakers and organizations were hosted, booths of local entrepreneurs lapped the brightly lit white room. A sculptor who made metal flowers, a designer of transgender positive clothing, a designer of Michigan themed clothing, a jeweler and more had booths displaying their hard work.

The jewelry company Tin Bell Fine Homemade Goods and Bespoke Services is owned by Lauryn Ebersole who has been making jewelry, at least part-time, for about six years. A few months ago Ebersole decided to make this business her full-time job.

“I just quit my job a few months ago and said I’m doing this,” Ebersole said. “I was honestly sick of the complacency I saw within myself and everyone else around me. I thought heck, ‘if these people can do this and they have their own skill sets then I can do this and I have my own skill sets.’”

Gina Coll, the owner of G.R Custom Art & Metalwork, has made art her full-time job at the age of 23. Coll is also a bartender on the weekends so she is able to make an income of someone that works 40 hours a week while having full time during the week to focus on her business. Similarly to Ebersole, Coll is unsatisfied with the complacency of following the norm.

“I think people our age are so pressured to get out of high school, go straight into college, get out thousands of dollars in debt and you don’t even want to do what you went to school for,” Coll said. “You can make money off of it (art) if you work hard for it. It’s hard, but life shouldn’t be easy.”

The booth operators and speakers accomplished Eslinger’s goal of uniting and inspiring other creatives. Rick Coughlin, the owner of Grove Studios, attended the event while in the midst of trying to hire help in branding and marketing work.

“Hearing other successful business owners and their personal journey stories reminds us of how human and similar we are. We tend to put successful people into some kind of superhuman category and events like this and having the opportunity to connect with them is a reminder that it was difficult for them too,” Coughlin said.

While the event was meant to help inspire and motivate people to do what they’ve always wanted to do, the event was also to unite people.

“We wanted to recreate 99 bottles of beer on the wall so we only made 99 of everything. We expected that if we could get 99 people then we’re really doing something. I was honestly happy with 10 so to sell out was pretty shocking really,” Eslinger said.

In total, including the speakers and booth operators, there were approximately 120 people in the Riverside Arts Center celebrating creating.

The beginning of the event included water, coffee and an assortment of breakfast bars. The event had a break for lunch where attendees could eat in downtown Ypsilanti while hosts were brought food. How does an event such as this end? By cracking open a cold one and relaxing with other attendees.

“It’s the biggest surprises that are connecting people,” Eslinger said. “We want to continue to grow that so people don’t feel isolated and don’t know what to do with their creativity.”

 

The YMCA and LIVESTRONG Team Together To Provide Survivors With Free Classes

 

LIVESTRONG and the YMCA have partnered together to offer cancer survivors free 12-week session to get back on their feet.

Instructors like Ann Brennan, who is also the LIVESTRONG coordinator in Ann Arbor, and Michele Johnson assist those who are determined to get stronger. The instructors demonstrate how to use the exercise equipment, how much weight to add and how many repetitions are appropriate.

 

Music: The Common Denominator

“I think it’s really important to do what you love. This isn’t the type of career you go into to make a ton of money. I want to better myself and do what I love,” David Wujek, known by Orchard Radio listeners as The Wuuj, said.

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Washtenaw Community College is home to student-run radio station Orchard Radio. For the winter semester of 2019 the station has 13 DJs. The music playlist is set by station manager Ryan Ehlke but it is up to students of WCC to fill the talk sections however they please.

Orchard Radio is for anyone willing to get behind the microphone. The station allows students to be creative familiarize themselves with working inside the booth and all that comes along with it such as naming their shows. For example, Wujek named his show The Wuuj while another WCC student titled themselves as Dreamcatcher.

“This has been something I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t know what it was called,” Wujek said.

Originally Wujek was going to college to study sports medicine. Between working, traveling and going to different schools something always seemed off. There were things that simply didn’t bring Wujek happiness and that needed to change.

“The place I work now is family owned and they treat me like family. I’m much happier here than I was working in the food industry,” Wujek said.

While his current job prepares Wujek for working in the real world and being happy in his current work environment Washtenaw Community College is preparing him for working inside the booth and helping him accomplish his goals.

Students need no prior experience to join the Orchard Radio station. Ehlke teaches students the basics, the ins and outs. When majoring in broadcast arts students learn everything from radio, behind the scenes, editing, tv, teleprompter reading and more. Speech classes can improve any speaker’s confidence but it comes in especially helpful when in the booth.

“This is more of a hobby for me,” Dreamcatcher said. “I love music and I’ve always had a respect for people who do this.”

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Dreamcatcher’s passion for music is what drew them into the booth. After hearing about it at orientation they became interested in experiencing it for themselves.

Wujeck and Dreamcatcher both enjoy a wide variety of music with no specific dislikes of any genre. Dreamcatcher lists class rock, EDM and pop amoung their personal favorite genres. This is beneficial because Orchard Radio can play songs from just about any genre. Those listening in can call the station and request songs they want to hear.

“We were a hodgepodge of everything and now reflects the college staff and students,” Ehlke said.

The station is generalized as adult contemporary the station plays just about anything the staff and students can think of. Over the summer of 2018 a poll was conducted to see what music WCC preferred. Out of 64 artists Justin Timberlake appeared to be crowd favorites. The goal is to play music the staff and students listen to generally while making requests still readily available.

Washtenaw Community College is helping the DJs in and out of the booth. Inside the booth, students get to practice using the technology, sharpen their public speaking skills and nurture their creativity.

“It’s the reason I like being here,” Ehlke said. “That nervous energy turns into confidence as they take over their own show.”

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Every student struggles at the beginning of any new experience. Learning the technology and getting used to talking alone in a room can take time. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable. Ehkle emphasizes the importance of repetition when adjusting to working in the booth.

“You’re sitting in a room by yourself and no one is judging you. That’s what creates good hosts is being themselves,” Ehlke said.

Ultimately Ehlke wants the DJs to make sure they are doing the technical aspects of the job correctly. The rest comes with repetition and experience.

Balancing a full class schedule, work, the radio station, family, relationships and more can be overwhelming.

“I try not to worry about it all. I don’t worry about the station too much because I’m here once a week. It’s more about the music than talking for me,” Dreamcatcher said.

Wujek also tries not to worry much but has a different thought process.

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“Everything is sort of dependent on each other. I’ve helped my girlfriend get back into school, my work schedule works with my school schedule and I’m happy to be doing stuff that makes me happy,” Wujek said.

A typical session inside Orchard Radio station is an hour long. There are three computers in the room with two main screens on the desk. The primary computer has a cued up playlist and scheduled talk breaks. The second is used by DJs to look at weather, articles and whatever else is needed for their show.

Part of Dreamcatcher’s pre-cast ritual is to turn on the computer and immediately look at the weather.

“I like to give people a run down of the weather because you never know with Michigan’s weather. One minute it’s sunny and the next there’s a polar vortex,” Dreamcatcher said.

Wujek is very interested in sports and often reports on current sports news. He often previews what his main talk segment will be about in early pieces of his show. Dreamcatcher has a looser approach and often cites a binder with a calendar and general information to broadcast.

When Dreamcatcher is in the booth she texts her family so they can tune in and submit song requests. In addition to broadcasting through Orchard Radio, Wujek streams through Facebook live so he can reach an even larger audience.

Ehlke encourages the DJs to be themselves. When working in this industry there are people who pretend to be someone they are not and it is easy for Ehlke to tell. He wants to teach students at WCC not to have that voice, a generic voice.

“The difference is the person in the chair,” Ehlke said.

Reaction: Crowdsourcing

“In Search of Best Practices for Journalistic Crowdsourcing,” by Kira Furuichi and Isabel Seidel is a breakdown of what crowdsourcing is and how it works. I personally never understood how this process worked until reading this article. Keeping in mind what the original intention of your article is key and something I need to work on because I want to write about everything I learn. I’m typically more inspired to do something if there is a reward; however, I never thought about how this applies to journalism. I didn’t know there are so many forms of incentives or that the consumer gaining knowledge could be an incentive. While technology has become a primary source of communication I prefer face-to-face conversations. In my mind, the more you are personally present the more someone is willing to open up their personal life to you. There are websites like Google News Lab and Grasswire that are sources for journalist around the world but I prefer Google News Lab because of all the tools available.

Reaction: Fact-Check It: Digital Tools to Verify Everything Online

“Always do a gut check,” said Daniel Funke.

A gut check is mentioned in almost every section of this webinar and something I often forget to do. I think it becomes harder to do a gut check if you don’t trust yourself so that’s something I want to work on to become a better journalist.

I didn’t realize there were so many free sites to check articles, pictures and videos. When it comes to videos I think it’s interesting to know the videos are mostly real just pulled out of context! I think it’s smart when looking at sites to check the dates first. I never thought about this or how to know for sure without simply picking through the comments.

#nuwebinar was super helpful!

Ice, Chainsaws, Flamethrowers and Crafts

The Ann Arbor Fourth Annual Ice Carving Festival draws 1800 visitors to County Farm Park.

As each new person walked under the County Farm Park archway their arrival was recorded. 898, 899, 900, 901,… As they walked up the curving path trees stretched high above them and the scent of smoke hung in the air.

A colorful playground bustled with activity as children and parents alike moved around the area. To the left of the playground, a fire pit burned with eager hands extended towards the flames.

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A young boy held his black and red mug near the fire, “I’m warming up my cocoa!”

The mug was retrieved from beneath the bright red canopy with Redwood written in white text. Mugs, bags and fliers from the company were handed out as well as free hot chocolate, popcorn and other treats.

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“Redwood Living: we are a single story apartment community. Mainly located out of Ohio, that’s where our corporate office is. We’ve been trying to outreach in the community and we thought this would be a great way to do that,” said Alesse, a Redwood representative.

While searching online for events to get involved Alesse and Jule, another representative of Redwood, found the ice carving festival and emailed the director of the event, Hannah Cooley. Cooley is a management analyst for Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation.

“I shot her an email and the same day she responded saying, ‘We’d love to have sponsors!’. This is our (Alesse and Jule’s) first sponsoring event that we’ve done and it’s gone very smoothly. When we showed up they had the spot ready. I mentioned to Hannah that we had coffee cups and she set us up here,” said Jule.

‘Here’ being a canopy directly beside the warming center, a building between the entry and the playground. Inside the warming center were tables set up with crafting material for the younger visitors to indulge in.

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Keely and Ross brought their four little ones for some winter fun and took home crafts they made.

1030, 1031, 1032,… the sounds of whirring machines drew the crowd to the picnic pavilion further up the path. Students of the University of Michigan, Macomb Community College and Washtenaw Community College worked on their ice sculptures with chainsaws.

“And I heard about it on the radio from CBN and I was barely paying attention when I heard the words flamethrower and chainsaw, so then I paid extra close attention. Then I looked it up on google and sent pictures to my friends and my partner,” said Annie, an onlooker at the fourth annual Ann Arbor Ice Carving Festival.

Annie’s partner, Jeremy, smiled from beside her.

“Then we continued to text our friends, always referencing flamethrower and chainsaw,” said Jeremy.

1109, 1110, 1111… The students of the ice carving teams slowly transformed large slabs of ice into intricate masterpieces starting at noon and ending at 4 p.m. As the blades of the chainsaws followed the outlines snow sprayed wildly. To create the desirable smooth effect the sculptors used small flamethrowers.

The sculptors had multiple generators running with chords interweaving to allow the artists’ tools to be ready at a moments notice. One of the tools the sculptors utilize is a basic iron. The iron heats can be used to heat a slab which is then used to connect smaller pieces of ice to the main body of the sculpture.  

Max Paczkowski, a student at Macomb Community College, revealed that “the key factor in scoring a lot of points in ice carving competitions is to have a lot of fuses. Which means cutting the ice into smaller pieces, shaping them and then reattaching them together.”

Paczkowski added that realism plays a role in the judging process. He commented that abstract pieces can also be successful.

1745, 1746, 1747… Cooley isn’t the only person involved with putting an event like this together.

“It’s a team effort. The Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center has a team that runs the event and I have been a part of it for the last four years,” said Cooley.

Plymouth has an ice caring festival as well as Ann Arbor with U of M’s ice carving team on Main St. once a year.

“We decided that it would be a great thing if we had a competition between schools here at our park because what a great place to host it,” said Cooley.

This competition was originally the idea of parks superintendent.

“This was her brainchild. She thought the Plymouth ice show was great and that we should have something like this here because we have the resources to do it,” said Cooley.

The competition was completed with first place going to Paczkowski and his intricate dragonfly.

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Second place was awarded to another Macomb Community College student and their ice sculpture of a detailed giraffe.

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The third place winners were a team of students from Washtenaw Community College their creation of Toothless, one of the main characters from How To Train Your Dragon.

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Peter Hammal, a sophomore of the University of Michigan, has been ice carving for two years. This hobby began while looking for a club to join.

“You have to think about your design. I’m not very good yet so I have to think about the shape a lot so if I do a bad job people can still tell what it is. Some people are really good and can add a lot of detail but because I’m just starting out I have to think about how it’s recognizable,” said Hammal.

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Hammal added that he needs to keep in mind what is doable with a chainsaw when working with a rectangle of ice. Circles, he comments, are difficult to create with limited tools.

This event is part of Washtenaw County Parks Winter Fun Fest which has an event every weekend from January 26th through February 25th. It’s a series of events at different parks to get people outside and active during the winter months. The Winter Fun Fest will be broadcasted on the Washtenaw County channels CTN (Community Television Network).

“It’s a great event and we are glad that they are out here and enjoying the weather,” said Cooley.

Blog Post 2/5 Response

“News overload/burnout. How do you filter your news feed? What do you pay attention to and why? How do you know you are overloaded?  How do you stay informed but not get burned out? What is a positive about all the available news sites? Do headlines attract your attention or do you just go to a particular place to see what you want? How is the barrage of information helping and hurting journalism?”

There isn’t a filter in my eyes. If there is a story that seems sketchy I either fact check it by looking up other articles or I ignore the topic until I find something else to verify the accuracy. News is fact.

I mostly pay attention to stories that stir a reaction in me whether it be positive or negative. If my “newsfeed” becomes over saturated with hard news stories I would dilute the seriousness with light hearted feature stories. This helps prevent an overload or a burnout.

A burnout when it comes to journalism is when life becomes too serious or depressing. Our society struggles with “mean world syndrome” which is the perception that the world is more dangerous than it statistically is. I try not to fall victim by following the sweeter stories that bring me joy because the world isn’t always dark if you chose the light.

With all of the news sites available I can hop around to verify facts or switch gears to a different topic quickly and easily. If there’s a headline that grabs my attention I’ll read further into the article and if not I know I can find one somewhere else.

This barrage of information helps the public find information; however, it is not all accurate. This hurts journalism by showing the public not all journalists are trust worthy. If you become a journalists your goal should be to present the truth and nothing less.

Response: Three Articles That Shocked Me

Misinformation, Hoxes and Hyperpartisan by Lata Nott presented a lot of information I found valuable. I wanted to think, to be hopeful, that as a society we were getting better about “fake news” and I was happily surprised to learn that we are. I wanted to believe that websites like Facebook and Twitter would try to help prevent the flow of misinformation without being ignorant. I’m very happy to know that my hopes are not in vain

“Good news: we kind of have! Unlike in 2016, this election cycle did not have a huge spike in misinformation, according to media researchers at the University of Michigan. Facebook and Twitter were much more vigilant this election cycle. (The night before the election, Facebook shut down 115 accounts for suspected “coordinated inauthentic behavior” linked to foreign groups trying to interfere with the midterms.),” said Nott.

I was also very surprised to learn that 59 percent of links are not clicked on through social media.

Similarly, the statistics produced by a new media consumption study surprised me as well.

“… almost half of the nearly 6,000 American college students surveyed said they lacked confidence in discerning real from fake news on social media. And 36 percent of them said the threat of misinformation made them trust all media less.” said Daniel Funke, author of the article Fake news is making college students question all news.

While Nott positively surprised me and Funke gave even more surprising data, I was purely shocked by the statistics presented by Gene Policinski in the article Time To Stand Up For Journalists, For The Pursuit Of Truth.

“… at least 52 journalists have been murdered this year for simply doing their jobs. Hundreds more are imprisoned and threatened. The Committee to Protect Journalists notes 262 are now being held and 60 are “missing.”,” said Policinski.

I’m dumbfounded, to say the least, when I shouldn’t be. I knew becoming a journalist could get dangerous because I knew that finding the truth means digging into lives and secrets that others would prefer to stay buried. Perhaps this is why I wanted to be a feature writer, subconsciously I knew it could be my life on the line.

“Call for better reporting, but also be willing to support better journalism. Continue to call for investigations and prosecutions whenever a journalist is attacked or killed; don’t settle for a politically expedient decision to excuse or ignore such criminal conduct. Defend journalism and commit to the pursuit of truth, even when it means extra effort to separate it out from misleading and false information.” said Policinski.

These words bring the encouragement I think every journalist needs. In the face of evil, we cannot cower or the truth will remain unseen. I may quiver and I may hesitate, but I refuse to let my fear stop the truth.

These three articles threw me for a loop. While each had a completely different approach each author present fact and truth.

Nott uses “I” multiple times which I’ve been taught is a journalistic ‘no-no’ unless it’s an opinion piece. Policinski’s piece is motivational with the message of moving forward and searching for truth despite what others, including our president, say. Funke gave the most informational article with tons of quotes and statistics.

Policinski pulls on the heart string the most which is something I strive to accomplish as a journalist. I’d like to have the same emotional effect of Policinski while maintaining the informational aspect presented by Funke. Nott’s article is also incredibly sound and I’d like to achieve her tone in my writing as well.

 

 

What is Digital Journalism: Response

What is digital journalism and why does it matter? These questions asked from studentworldonline.com’s Francesca Turauskis are meant to be thought-provoking for journalism students learning the ropes of a media-fueled world. Turauskis clarifies the difference between fact and opinion which can easily be confused with how interactive journalism has become. With an audience that can respond to authors in real time, there need to be distinct facts with no bias. The emphasis of being tech savvy cannot be stressed enough in order to provide the best work that is also produced in a timely fashion.

http://www.studentworldonline.com/article/what-is-digital-journalism-and-why-does-it-matter-/317/

Photojournalist David Carson’s 10 Year Review Provided By Poynter

This article on Poynter follows photojournalist David Carson about what has and has not changed over the last 10 years in the journalism world. Throughout this article there are topics being covered in JRN 220. Much of the article focuses on embracing social media which relates heavily to being in a digital journalism class.

https://www.poynter.org/business-work/2019/for-photojournalist-david-carson-i-feel-lucky-to-still-be-working-in-a-newsroom/