Welcome to AU Journalism Bootcamp Weeks 1-3. #Writersblockforbidden

Having taught for almost two decades in various venues for various abilities, subjects and objectives, I think I am fairly proficient at teaching. Some days, professionally speaking, it’s about all I can do.

So with a hunger to learn new skills and further develop my voice, I applied to the International Journalism program at American University. I was accepted and following the famous Nike motto,  I am now here in Washington, DC, the city where I finished my undergraduate education and became more aware of just how multifaceted and often bizarre the world is.

I started the boot camp three weeks ago, prepared to write, edit, write, write and edit some more. But writing news features was just the appetizer. For devoted luddites like myself, having to learn videography and audio-filing was a surprise and a stretch, and as you will see with some of my individual and group work, I have a ways to go.

I’m also finding it’s easier to be a teacher than a student. Students have to learn new tricks.

But the exposure and the impromptu challenges have been second to none. Besides, what news junkie can complain about being “forced” to read several daily newspapers to keep up with current events or trolling inside the Beltway to get a good beat on a story.

DC is a fascinating place, particularly with the election season in full swing. And while I admit to being a bit sick of Trump updates,  “Swimmergate” and being cased in sweat, there is nowhere better to learn the Journalism craft.

AU Bootcamp Week 1

Dobynns quote.png

 

Aside from creating fun news briefs, the feature assignment and story from week 1 was to pick an election topic with DC presence. My story focused on how newly minted citizens and green card holders felt about the two main candidates and immigration issues in general. Finding willing interviewees was initially difficult but with some hustle and serendipity, great soundbites came my way.

Here is the link to my story through Google Docs and Twitter

https://docs.google.com/document/d/17mfP_w2sptGoIABabL6a0Tbv_5Hl9hb-eRPXLCLo868/pub

 

  AU Boot Camp Week 2

This week was the sweatfest. Fortunately my video project partner Aphra and I chose an apt topic – “How to Beat the Heat!. The project allowed me to discover a DC first – The National Building Museum.

Nothing like enjoying a man-made iceberg exhibit to combine learning, fun and escaping the sauna outside.

 

The previous day we did a photo assignment using just our iPhones. This may have been the first assignment I have done either as a teacher or student which required using the phone so it was a welcomed opportunity. I tried to find a microcosm of the National Zoo so I chose the carousel since it involves animals, fun and genuine interactions among families. It also was nostalgic having watched my son Adrian do his first carousel ride there several months back.

Enjoy the photo gallery:

 

 

Week 3:

With the Olympics in full swing, there was plenty of roving reporter news to cover. And with around the clock coverage of the games, an Olympics junkie is sure to see some fairly obscure sports. My group asked locals about their impressions of what they had seen, particularly a sport they may have taken notice of for the first time. Enjoy.

 

Our teaser video courtesy of Videolicious

https://video.videolicious.com/9e141179-9bca-4264-9e76-c4f726ce9126

The main event:

Making this video was a ton of fun. My first interviewee, entirely by chance, happened to be one of my former students. Listening to their responses compelled me to watch the Steeplechase and synchronized diving, neither of which I had ever considered watching.

Social Media Post:

See “What have you been watching” on Instagram

 

Oil Spill Audiofile using Hokusai 2, Audacity and Soundcloud:

Making this video was a ton of fun. My first interviewee, entirely by chance, happened to be one of my former students. Listening to their responses compelled me to watch the Steeplechase and synchronized diving, neither of which I had ever considered watching.

Our last week was certainly climactic. We took off our newsmaker hats and got to see the pros in action by visiting the press gallery at the Senate Building, the Supreme Court, and the grand finale, a White House-sponsored tour of the Old Executive Office Building with Hope Hall, President Obama’s videographer and Digital Media Strategist-in-Chief.

Below is their most virally successful achievement.

I hope you enjoyed this sampling of work. However, for those of you who want a first-hand sprinkling of masterful Olympic journalism, I defer to Dave Barry.

 

 

 

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