Owning the Label

     This week has definitely been a whole new learning experience for me in Journalism 2150. Although I have been at Mizzou and taking journalism courses for almost a full year, there is something I have neglected to consider during my time here. I have worried over tests and stories. I’ve fretted over AP style and had near panic attacks about how to stay competitive in a field that changes faster than Apple can whip out a new product. After expending all of that energy, whether it was necessary or not, I have forgotten to respect myself as a journalist. I have not stopped to ask myself why it is that I’m here. I’ve forgetten to remind myself that I’m a writer.

     Writer. I never like to associate myself with that word.  Once, during my freshman year of college at Seattle Pacific University, my dad and his best friend came to visit me on their way to a ski trip in British Columbia. When they picked me up to go to dinner after class one night, my dad’s friend remarked that he could tell I was a writer because I had ink smudges on my hands. I remember smiling sheepishly and changing the subject. I remember thinking that I hadn’t earned the right to have that label attached to my name.

      I don’t know when I thought it would be appropriate to call myself a writer. I just recall thinking it was presumptuous to associate myself with such a profession when I wasn’t a professional yet.

    That’s where I was wrong. After his lecture last Monday, Shane Epping’s passion for his subjects as a journalist started to turn the light bulb in the socket for me. He gave everything of himself to his story because he believed in what he was doing as a journalist. In believing in what he was doing, he was believing in himself as a journalist and photographer.

    It was my professor, Bea Wallace, who really contributed to my eureka moment. Earlier in the week, as I was sitting in the futures lab struggling with poor audio in my TV News assignment, Bea suggested that I market myself as a writer and showcase my skills in my project. After I left the lab that day, I couldn’t stop hearing her saying that to me. I realized that as she said those words to me in that moment, I believed her. I believed I could market myself as a writer and that someone else would buy into it. I was finally buying into it.

     This realization led to another that I had about Journalism 2150. This class is so much more than a journalism prerequisite. This class is a career builder. This class is about taking my skills and producing something amazing from them.

     Through 2150, I have gained helpful experience through a challenging class, but I think I have also gained a mentor. Bea was the first person I have met since I’ve come to the journalism school last August who seemed to take a personal interest in me and my ambitions. I know this sounds dramatic, and I am not just gushing these wonderful things because I know she’s the one reading this right now.

    My biggest concern when transferring to Mizzou from a small school was that I would have no one who would care enough to push me to the next level when I needed it. Because of this class and because of the instruction I have received I can now say I am no longer worried about that. I can now say, without blushing or hesitation, I am Hilary Weaver, and I’m a writer. 

Hilary Weaver

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For the Love of Design


Museum of Anthropology graphic designer Amanda Harrison loves her job. Harrison, who is earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Missouri, said working at the museum challenges her skills.
“I have gained strong appreciation for teachers who have pushed me and graded me hard,” she said.
Harrison’s most recent project is a brochure featuring the new archery exhibit in the museum. She said it allowed her to combine her love of archeology and graphic design.
“As an archeologist, I have a background in this anyway,” she said. “To be able to combine two things that I really love into a product is exciting for me.”

Playing to my Strengths

And the struggle continues. This week will be a test of my anxiety as I battle with the T.V. news segment of my story. I am not usually one to give myself praise in the midst of a challenge, but I’ve gotten better. In the spirit of improvement, I award myself a figurative participation ribbon for hooking a unique story out of a  broad sea of ordinary ones. I had selected a story about the Columbia track program for children in the area. While it was a good story, it was safe, and somewhat incredibly boring. At first, I ignored the tips I had for more interesting stories within the running club, but I began to think more about it. 

In the spirit of improvement, I will award myself a figurative participation ribbon for hooking a unique story out of a broad sea of ordinary ones. I originally selected a story about the Columbia track program for children in the area. While it was a good story, it was safe, and somewhat incredibly boring. At first, I ignored the tips I had for more interesting stories within the running club, but I began to think more about the type of story I would want to see if I were a Columbia resident. The track club story has been done numerous times and is hardly unique to people who live here. Through conversation with track club members, I learned of Whitney and Matt Dreier, a married couple who met through running and the Columbia Track Club. I decided to do my own version of “Sarah’s Stories” and make my story an intimate portrait of a subject within a broader subject.

For the past week, I’ve followed Matt and Whitney at home and at track club events. I’ve gotten to witness their love for running and their love for each other. I have a vision for how I want to tell their story; I only hope I can utilize the tools I have in order to do so in a way that allows others see it, too.

Hilary Weaver

Profanity, Patience and Technology

    I feel sorry for anyone who was present in my apartment complex building last Monday night. Most likely, these individuals were privy to a wide variety of vocabulary echoing from my apartment walls.

     The profanity that filled my apartment wasn’t the result of a fight with a friend or a bad roommate, but my Premiere Elements 10 program. For over 10 hours I fiddled with the audio, tinkered with the photos, scratched my work, started again, got frustrated, yelled and cried. I used cleaning the kitchen as a break from my work and looked forward to scrubbing spots off the floor to avoid one more struggle with my audio track disappearing or poor photo resolution.

    Although it was particularly painful, I learned something from this experience. Patience is part of the game of multimedia journalism. After I took a few hundred deep breaths and consulted lord Google for quick help guides to my questions, I produced a semi-decent project. I know it could have been better, but I like to put my experience into perspective. I am new to storytelling through multimedia and can only learn from each experience. I hope that each time I produce a project, I pick up something new to learn.

     I think the key for me will be to try to focus on one new thing each time and to see how that new element will make a difference in my project. After our class watched Sarah Hill’s Storytelling for the Ear Thursday, I learned it is important to use audio and images and a minimum of straight interviews. Stories are told through interesting and compelling images. I hope to incorporate that element into the next phase of my project. Perhaps that new tip and a little less profanity during the editing process will lead to a clean, successful final project. 

Hilary Weaver