JOUR 275 Final Video Project

Here’s a video project I completed for my multimedia journalism class about Chicago, IL, which is near where I grew up. Enjoy!


Multimedia Journalism Takeaways

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.jpegThis semester flew by.

I still remember the striped blue dress I wore on move-in day in August. All the new freshman scurried around, moving into their dorms, attending orientation events and meeting new friends.

I can’t believe four months have already passed. Holy crap.

If I were to sum up my first semester of junior year in one word, it would be: growth.

The amount of growth I’ve done in the past four months is impressive, both mentally and emotionally.

Before this semester, I couldn’t tell you what Adobe inDesign was. I had no idea how to make audio soundslides, and thought the rule of thirds had something to do with dinner portion sizes.

The vast array of concrete skills I’ve attained this semester is something I’m very grateful for. For that, I have Tanya Canino, my journalism professor, to thank.

This semester, I took:

-Journalism Workshop


Multimedia Journalism


-Mass Media & American Society


I’ve been pushed to my stress limits in these classes, and at times, I’ve wanted to drop out. I seriously considered it once!

Even though the journalism-intensiveness of this semester has burned me out a bit, I can’t complain. I’ve gained so much in return, and am a lot mentally and emotionally tougher than I was before.

Multimedia Journalism, in particular, has taught me tons of worthwhile skills. Everything we’ve learned in this class can be applied in the future. Not one assignment was “busy work.” I can proudly say I’m walking away from the class with newfound skills in all aspects of multimedia journalism.

I know how to blog. I can upload content to a website. I can shoot photos and edit them on photoshop. I’ve got a handle on social media. I tweet. I can edit audio on audacity. I can create soundslides. I can create a personalized, interactive Google map. I can make a Storify. I can shoot and edit video.

Best of all, I’ve realized how fun and interesting these skills are, and plan to incorporate them into a future career.

Thank you SNC, and especially Tanya, for the stressful and wonderful semester full of constant discovery. I’m looking forward to taking Intermediate Multimedia Journalism this spring.


Embracing stillness: a reflective post

Commitment is something I struggle with a lot.

On the other hand, change could be my middle name. While most people have a hard time embracing change, I can willfully pick up my life at any given moment in exchange for a new experience or lifestyle. I find it exhilarating and can’t get enough.

After a few months of staying in the same place and doing the same thing, I get restless, antsy and crave new experiences.

As a junior in college, I’m already at my third school. Three colleges in three years – I should win an award. 😉

When the restlessness first came about six months into my freshman year at Northern Michigan University, I blamed it on the university. I claimed the school didn’t suit my needs.

I transferred to University of Illinois the following year.

I arrived at a state of discontent at U of I after the initial excitement of being at a new school wore off about three months in. I left after just one semester. Again, I said the school just wasn’t for me.

Resume to present. I’m at Sierra Nevada College, a beautiful, tight-knit, unique college with a caring community of faculty and students and a fantastic, hands-on journalism program. The school sits less than a mile from Lake Tahoe, with endless outdoor opportunities abound. I couldn’t ask for more.

However, yet again, the feelings of stagnancy and restlessness seeped into my mind over Thanksgiving Break, about 11 months after first enrolling.

The feelings were impossible to ignore. I laid in bed night after night, tossing and turning, riled up about my increasing disdain for the school I fell in love with less than a year ago. My own mind convinced me that I couldn’t stay. I clearly wasn’t happy.

I gave into the emotions and came to the conclusion that I needed something new to make me happy – a different degree, a semester off, a new school – anything that sparked change.

“I’m no longer passionate about journalism.”

“I need to take some time off to figure myself out.”

“This college isn’t right for me. Maybe, college in general isn’t right for me. Maybe I should just drop out.”

These thoughts flurried in my mind as I composed an email to my adviser, detailing my intent to withdraw. My parents were aware of my decision and told me they supported me, although I could hear the frustration and despair in their voices as this happened yet again.


I crave constant change and adventure. This can be a great quality to have, but it often prevents me from committing to things and sticking with them.

I was 95% sure I wouldn’t be returning to SNC in January two days ago.

However, this is no longer the case.

I’m lucky to have such an amazing support system here at SNC, as well as at home. Thanks to my supportive and knowledgable adviser, caring teachers and loving parents, they’ve helped me see the underlying issue with my “serial transfer syndrome”.

I’m working on finding gratitude and happiness in the present moment. I’m remembering why I chose SNC in the first place, and enjoying my time at this beautiful school while I’m still here. I’m prioritizing long-term goals (a.k.a. getting a degree), rather than just acting on short-term, impulsive antics.

Why would I leave a school where classes like this are part of the curriculum?

Change is impressive, but staying still also takes courage. Sticking around at SNC for my final year (only one more year…I can do it!) to get my degree will allow me to prove to myself and to others that I can show commitment in things that truly matter to me.


BLOGGING: awesome

Blogging is awesome. I love it.


Yet, for some strange reason, I’m only doing the bare minimum, which is writing about a post a week for my Multimedia Journalism class.

In college, I found that it’s hard to balance leisure activities alongside classwork, homework, and actual work.

When I do find myself with a block of free time, all I want to do is sleep. Or eat.

Despite this common challenge of the averagely-motivated college student, I am going to start spending more of my own time developing my blog.

There is something about expressing yourself through words that is fun, freeing and very constructive. Whenever I feel stuck, I like to write to figure out how I’m feeling.

Blogging is moving up on the priority list.

Plus, with the opportunity to make an income from blogging becoming bigger and more widespread, there’s no better time to start than now.

tweet tweet

twitter-iconI first activated my twitter back in high school. The extent of my usage of the social media site was limited to weird posts that didn’t make sense (I thought I was funny), angsty messages from overly dramatic high school me and plenty of “HAHA”s being thrown across the electronic walls with close friends.

Here are real examples from 2013 Steph:

“Reevaluating my priorities and discovering what truly matters”


“gonna eat until all these shitty feelings go away”

“I hate crying about situations you can’t change”

“Shut up mom”


If you ever want to confirm that you’ve grown and made progress as a mature human being, go back and look at your tweets from high school.

Jokes and embarrassment aside, my twitter usage died down after my freshman year of college. Facebook became cool again, and the turquoise icon got deleted off of my iPhone.

Fast-forward to 2015. Multimedia Journalism class. Teacher says we need to start tweeting.

Who would’ve thought that we could get class credit for tweeting? College journalism is pretty neat.

Over the past few months, I have grown to appreciate twitter in ways I couldn’t recognize back in high school. After cleaning up my “following” list and adding accounts that really did matter, I’ve become aware of the incredible connectedness the social media app provides.

For those wanting to stay in the loop, news through twitter is concise and to the point. There’s no need to fight through tons of meaningless content to find what you want to read. If you follow the right accounts, you can get all your necessary news from this one app.

The communication avenues through twitter are very open as well. A student can tweet to a CEO, a small business can communicate with potential customers, photographers can entice their followers with beautiful shots. There are so many possibilities for communication and outreach through twitter.

Although it does take dedicated, conscious effort to build a following and be successful, twitter is an invaluable tool when it comes to social media marketing. Whether an individual is marketing themselves or a business is growing their consumer base, twitter is at the forefront of the movement.

As I continue to be interested in writing and plan to pursue a career that involves social media, twitter is essential for me to master.

I will continue to post regularly on the app, and don’t worry, I can promise that the angsty, “deep” tweets are done with for good.

Follow me on twitter: @steph_coates8



Storytelling 101 with Ira Glass

Ira Glass’s storytelling youtube videos, he discusses concepts on how to become a strong, engaging storyteller.

His first video highlights the two main building blocks of the art – the anecdote and the moment of reflection. The anecdote is a sequence of actions. In a story form, no matter how boring the sequence of actions are, there is momentum and suspense which implies to the listener that there is a destination. The moment of reflection tells the listener why they are listening to the story, and what benefit they are getting from it. Often, storytellers will have a powerful anecdote but no moment of reflection, or a boring anecdote but lots to reflect on. Either way, the story is compromised. It’s important to have both building blocks in order to create a good story.

In Glass’s second video, he emphasizes how the amount of time taken to find a great story is often overlooked. Glass recommends that a storyteller spend just as much time, if not more, finding that perfect story. He encourages being ambitious, tough, and ruthless when it comes to killing story ideas. Killing a mediocre story allows an even better story to come about and live.

In his third and fourth videos, Glass touches on mistakes beginners often make. Upon involving themselves in the world of journalism, beginners have good taste but often have difficulty executing that said good taste due to lack of skills. Be patient and don’t quit, he says. It takes lots of practice and hands on work to become a talented storyteller. He also recommends making all stories interactive and multi-character to keep the listener engaged. Nobody wants to listen to a story where it’s all about one person from one standpoint!

These videos helped a ton with learning storytelling skills. I look forward to learning more throughout the class!

JOUR275: Tunnel Creek Avalanche article response

For my multimedia journalism class, we read the New York Times article, Snow Fall: the Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, by John Branch. After reading and analyzing the article, we were told to write a response and post it on our blog.

This article was enjoyable to read and very engaging. I loved the multimedia aspect of the presentation – the videos and graphics helped break up the text and made the long story readable. As young media consumers growing up in this technological age, it’s hard for us to stay attentive while reading long, long blocks of solid text. The multimedia helped the article stay fun and engaging and prevented the reader from getting bored or distracted.

My favorite was the visual motion graphic displayed in the Tunnel Creek section of the article, which gave the reader a birds eye view of the Cascades in Leavenworth, WA. The view moves over to Stevens Pass Ski Area, to Cowboy Mountain, and finally to the Tunnel Creek backcountry. Text description of a location is one thing, but having a visual representation really instills the image in the reader’s mind and makes the viewer feel so much more involved in the story.

Another piece of the story that I enjoyed was how it began. The writer began the story as a narrative of a few of the skiers that were in the avalanche that day. It helped the reader feel as if they were there with the victims. However, a few paragraphs in, he shifts and begins listing more factual information about the story. I enjoyed this and it made me want to keep reading, since I wanted to know what happened to the skiers who I read about at the beginning of the story.

Crazy fact: One of the new students I recently met at Sierra Nevada College, Jake, is from Leavenworth, Washington. He lives near the Stevens Pass ski area and is big into backcountry skiing. Believe it or not, Jake was actually invited to go ski with the people in the article who were victims of the avalanche. However, his dad was sick that day and didn’t want Jake to go alone, as he was only a young kid at the time. Scary stuff.