Sunday, March 15, 2009

The "M" Week: MODOT & Motorcycles

This week's shifts at KOMU-8 were very productive. On Tuesday, I created a roll-over flash graphic that depicts how MODOT will spend stimulus money on new transportation projects. I took a map of our viewing area and added pop up information boxes that detailed each county's projects. I also uploaded a PDF file to the internet with all Missouri county transportation project information. I figured it would be more interesting and interactive for our users to look at the rollover map than it would be for them to look at the PDF. Additionally, the PDF was not organized by county, so the information would have been difficult for our viewers to read and comprehend. On Friday, I reported on an interesting story about motorcycle helmet legislation. The Missouri house and senate have looked at a proposal to lift the helmet law to include all those 21+. This means that Missourians 21 and over can choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. This topic  became of interest Thursday, because the senate voted in favor of it. Last year, they decided not to vote on the measure. It now moves onto the house, where it has passed before. Many officials say this time it will likely be a done deal. On Friday, I spoke with 5 motorcyclists, a Missouri senator (via telephone) and a trauma surgeon. Overall, the story turned out very well because my interviewees seemed to bounce off one another well (ie. the motorcyclists talked about how it's cooler not to wear a helmet and the surgeon said it is cooler to ride without a helmet, but the reality is you must wear one because the brain is not fixable. ) I also played around a lot with interesting and unique camera angles, and overall, I think the shots turned out pretty cool. Check out my story here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Creating An Interactive Flash Graphic For

During this week at KOMU, I decided to enhance a story one of the dayside reporters did on what items cannot be recycled. In her story, she talked about multiple items that surprisingly cannot be placed in the blue recycling bag on your curb. While her story was well put together, I decided it needed a better visual example. My college Margaret Enright and I developed an interactive graphic in flash.  Now, our viewers can roll over the recycling bin items and receive details about which type of items cannot be placed in  a recycling bin. The only problem my colleague and I had with the graphic is that the image itself is too small. We realized, post-production, that we should have set the stage larger for the image. This way, there wouldn't be as much white space surrounding the graphic on the webpage. Next week, she and I plan on making another interactive flash graphic for the web. We know our viewers (and web page visitors) are visual learners and we hope working with a medium like flash will enhance their knowledge of a given topic in Mid-Missouri.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Memphis visit

I had such a wonderful experience at the RTNDA Memphis trip this weekend. All that planning was definitely worthwhile.We had a blast, despite the massive amount of snowfall and unplowed highways. We were able to visit four stations in Memphis (ABC24, WMC, WREG, My Fox Memphis). The main thing I walked away with (as dually noted by my colleague Conroy Delouche) was how happy these Mizzou alum were. Everyone seemed satisfied with their jobs. It helps that, according to FOX 13 executive producer, Bill Dobilas, the citizens of Memphis are big on local TV news. He sites a 70% citizen watch rate. It was nice to hear positive reinforcement esp. following Kent Collin's class which has recently been focused on back up plans and how stations are changing (in negative ways) to adapt to the recession. We met with FOX 13 producer Mallory Trenor, ABC 24 meteorologist Henry Rothenberg, WMC producer Rob Edwards, WREG reporter Omari Fleming and WREG producer Kristen Jones. Visits like this one remind me of the importance of journalism and my passion for broadcast news excellence.