David P. Amelotti

Simply, A Work In Progress!

Month: October, 2013

LUTV Blog #4

What all has changed since my last post? Well, instead of having one package to my name, I have three with one on the way next week and honestly although everything hasn’t gone exactly the way I had hoped, I have to be happy with where I am currently sitting in regards to my class and lessons learned. Ever since the spring semester of my senior year in high school, I have embraced the phrase, “a work in progress.”

I was fortunate enough to be the student that got to directly cover the Michael Johnson case. A 21-year-old who knowingly infected others with the HIV virus had been arrested and Lindenwood was all over local news. I’m going to be honest, I thought I was going to do a mere VO-SOT at first and that would be the end of it but it developed into a package and a story that swept the campus away (Not my package specifically but the story that a student LU committed such a crime). I found out around 2:30 that Thursday about the story and I jumped on it. At 3:30, I was interviewing Detective Sergeant Todd Wilson as he was explaining the ramifications of the situation as well as why HIV specifically received such treatment by the law as opposed to other sexually transmitted diseases. That conversation was followed by phone calls for interviews, there was a meeting with the paper to discuss how to handle the story and honestly, that is when it clicked that this story was going to require an approach that would sensitive to all those involved. I had absolutely no idea how to do that! The majority of my writing experience has taken place at Lindenwood and some still consider me rather new to the campus. Maybe my weakest attribute is my news writing and now I am going to be covering the biggest news on the campus.

Somehow, the package really turned out well. If I watch the final product the only thing that stands out is that I echo on my standup but that is something the common viewer won’t recognize. I’m pleased with this package mainly because of the support I got from friends and professors. It seems I didn’t let anyone down and the amount of knowledge I gained; that couldn’t have been learned another way. If you have a few moments, watch for yourself!

Something to keep in mind, the day I began working on the Johnson case, that morning I was shooting for another package that I thought was going to run that week. Yes, my week was crazy. Yes, I enjoyed every bit of it. This other project was covering the St. Charles Micro-breweries and learning what they had prepared for the fall season. It was hectic coordinating with the three different businesses, especially when one was confused that I was bringing a camera…despite representing LUTV…the student television station. No worries, I still was able to meet with the head brewers of Trailhead, Exit 6 and O’Fallon brewery. SO MUCH FOOTAGE! That is a good thing when you consider it is better to have too much than not enough but seriously, I had dozens upon dozens of clips. It took me an hour just to sort the material I had captured but that wasn’t so difficult as I got to see the quality in my shots improve.

If I am being entirely honest with you, my camera skills before this semester were probably the worst in the program. I had zero confidence and I would do anything to pawn up shooting responsibilities. That said, I was somewhat forced into shooting weather the first day of class and somehow everything clicked. Now, I am not perfect and I don’t make every shot that I envision come to life but I see progress there and that is such a thrill!

The only frustration with this package that rand on October 23rd is that it was late getting to the life broadcast. That mild feeling of failure has never exhausted me so much until that moment. There was an audio error in the package and I refused to allow that to go live. I wouldn’t want to experience that as a viewer so why should I accept that low quality for an assignment. If my name is on something, I want it to be top quality or at least be a representation of my full ability. That was a cruel experience being on camera, finishing my reader, and then seeking the camera on shot switch to the sports desk because my package hadn’t arrived in the system. I was crushed and felt like a moron. This is a lesson learned. Had that error not been detected, it would have been plenty of time. I believe the time could have been made up earlier had I been able to get my script completed and approved before lunch. That is key! I need to become more efficient in my writing. I will figure this out as it is far too much fun to give up.

O'Fallon Pumpkin Beer

After that week, a trip to Rombach’s Pumpkin Patch with the family was needed. In fact, I got to try one of the beers of O’Fallon Brewery. Tasty stuff!

LUTV Blog 3

There is a certain satisfaction when your friends and family share how proud they are of you. That was an experience I had this past week when I was able to share my first package online on Facebook. I’ve always been cautious about sharing audio from radio shows, promos and sweepers from the radio, and my work since transferring to Lindenwood because I didn’t want people to think I am arrogant. Really, I think I was intimidated by how others would perceive me. What if something I thought was really good was actually terrible and I got called out? I guess that may always be a possibility with the field of work I am trying to participate in.

Instead of criticism, I had dozens of friends and family share their excitement. People are saying I look professional, a girl likes the sound of my voice (I’m sorry, I’m in a committed relationship), both of my Aunt’s are thrilled. I’ve always tried to be really out going but I would be foolish to ignore that it has been a defense mechanism at times. I’m self conscious. To be embraced about doing something well that people enjoyed; that’s cool!

Anchoring is maybe the aspect of news broadcasting that the Super Semester students were most excited about at the beginning of the semester. Why shouldn’t they be? They get face time on the camera, they are recognized when at the grocery store, most seem to be beautiful, and the assumption is they are financially stable beyond the average middle class citizen. What we have all come to learn, it is far more difficult than just reading. I have anchored three times and I have noticed progress but that has been clouded by frustration.

There is a difference between reading a book and then reading something on live broadcast. With a background in radio, I believe my ability to speak and read on television is acceptable for this stage of my life: a student getting his first true taste of television. The frustration arises from a lack of patience when watching our newscasts knowing visually, I have a lot of work. Genetics gave me the face I have today and much can’t be done about that. For a 5’7” Italian, 21-year-old from South County, I believe genetics has done me well. What I’m really referring to is my facial expressions. This is so annoying because in everyday conversation I feel as though I contort my face non-stop.

For my third newscast as anchor, I felt my reads were decent for the most part. Some more emotion is making its way into my voice I believe but I still felt while reading that viewers may be bored. That may be the worst thought to cross your mind while on live television. I had to re-shoot two stories for a reason I truly don’t remember. To be honest, that day was a blur as I was both anchor and sports. In truth, that isn’t really all that difficult as it is just a few extra stories to read but there may have been no sports tease, and I may not have recognized that was the spot for the sports tease…so I may have just stood there for 20 seconds and smiled. Well, at least that time I didn’t read the weather tease…actually that was the same day…yes, I did that.

Third Day to Anchor - Peter Says I'm Finding My Voice

Myself anchoring with Jennifer Bruhn on LUTV. Peter says I’m finding my voice.

It was after the meeting concluded that we hold after each newscast where I got a boost of confidence. Peter Carlos is a man at LUTV who has always been very kind to me. He allowed me to be talent for the LU Football Halftime show last year and he has always been encouraging. On that day of pulling double duty, missing my tease, maybe not giving many facial expressions, Peter came up to me and told me he believes I am finding my voice. I took that as I did well…or maybe I was sloppy and he was trying to keep me from beating myself up. We are going to say it was a heartfelt compliment and it really has given me motivation to get back behind the desk and possibly wow the others.

I have made one package which means I have about 6 to go which may cause you to panic once it becomes common knowledge that we are currently in the middle of the semester. That is no joke, this week is midterms. You think no big deal, I say Mass Communications Law. That fear you sense, it’s real. Ahead for me is a package on St. Charles County Breweries and their Fall line ups. I’m so excited! In the back of my mind though…I feel a hard news package in my future and that is rather intimidating. I’m starting to get this confidence that I could make things happen in television. We’ll see.

Meet The Team

Looking at these various scenes, maybe the idea of being on television isn’t as much of a dream anymore. Maybe a reality after all…

Industry Blog #2

As a student at the university level studying the world of Mass Communications with an emphasis on radio and television, I still find myself having aspirations of pursuing journalistic writing. Ever since I learned the concept of the “five paragraph essay,” my academic writing took off and I could write a 15 page paper with ease. What I believe to be so fascinating with journalistic writing as well as with broadcast news writing is that I am forced to write in a concise manner rather than in a longer, more descriptive manner that I have been accustomed to for the majority of my life. Currently, being enrolled in the Super Semester curriculum at Lindenwood University, I have even gotten the opportunity to go out into the field for stories which is a thrill to shoot video and write a story to accompany my work.

I recently read “Dispatch From Italy: Citizen Journalism and YouReporter Making Waves,” a story by Karen Fratti where she begins telling a story of a conversation she shared with an Italian friend. She shares with her readers that in Italy, journalists have to be certified similarly to lawyers. As in the United States they have their independent journalists but they also now have everyday citizens reporting by submitting their work to the website, YouReporter.it which is, “a crowd sourced, video sharing news platform that is widely used.” in Italy stated Fratti. Originally launched in 2008, co-founder Angelo Cimarosti began developing the idea as early as 2006 with the ambition to not capture the “big” news stories but rather those smaller occurrences that individuals on the local level could more easily relate to.

It was fascinating to learn on a busy day, the site can have upwards of 3000 videos uploaded compared to an average day when the media site doesn’t receive more than a few hundred. What is incredible is that many mainstream media formats use video from the site and it is entirely legal as long as they show the YouReporter logo.

Towards the end of the article there are a few pieces of advice the creators offer to those interested in posting on the site, one about zooming in while recording video. For anyone who knows Ed Voss, you know as well as I that it looks sloppy.

If you are interested in reading the full article to learn more about the site, just follow the link to YouReporter article found on Mediabistro.com

Thinking back to the beginning of my post, I really do enjoy academic writing. One interesting direction part of the world of journalism is turning is down the path of the use of personal narratives. Why does this fascinate me so much? Mainly because the idea of concise is mainly thrown out the window as good writing and strong story-telling are valued above other factors and I would assume accurate information as well.

I recently read, “Are Personal Essays the Future of Digital Journalism?,” by an individual identified as editern who wrote on the success of personal essays online on websites such as Salon.com. The website that considers the Huffington Post as competition has placed all efforts on sharing information through personal essays with a main focus on strong story-telling. Beginning in 1995, the sites reputation has only become more positive as a respectable source of news and information on “news, politics, pop culture and everything in between.” according to editern’s article. Another factor that has caused for this push is the acceleration of the number of bloggers on the internet. Not only does Salon.com have to duel the big power houses but also every individual who believes their opinion is just as valuable which justifies the acquisition of a WordPress.com account.

The cause for concern for some stems from the belief that this form of journalism could overtake the long standing tradition of long form journalism. Sarah Hepola who is Salon’s personal essay editor shared her thoughts by stating, “Even if the personal essay is replacing long form narrative journalism, it’s not out of the question that both could serve the same ultimate goal: To broaden our understanding of the larger world.”

If you would like to gain more insight by reading the full article, just follow the link to the Article on Personal Essays from Mediabistro.com