Organizations turn to online videos to further reach their audience (Feature Story)

For my journalism class this semester, we had to write what our teacher called a “packet project.” A packet is a collection of different news stories on one broad topic. I chose my topic to focus on the impact of online videos, which was both fun and challenging. We had to write a feature story, profile, and an editorial, which took us about half a semester.

This is the first of the packet stories. For my feature I had the opportunity to interview Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation‘s Daily Signal. Probably the best thing that’s come out of this project isn’t the paper or grade itself, but that I scored an internship with Mr. Bluey for this summer after the interview. At the beginning of the semester, I applied for Heritage’s Young Leaders Program (a highly competitive internship position that selected forty college students out of 470 applicants). After contacting Mr. Bluey for an interview request, I received word that he would be happy to help me with the project, but also wondered if I’d let him interview me. By the end of the interview, he sent me an official request to join the team.

For my profile story, click here.

For my editorial story, click here.


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Rob Bluey is the editor in chief of the Daily Signal as well as vice president of publishing at the Heritage Foundation.

PENSACOLA. Fla. —An ordinary day for Rob Bluey often consists of a single idea. A single idea that is then bounced around with members of his multimedia team, who then draws up an outline including budget, headlines, and interview questions. After filming and careful editing, Bluey and his team release a new video to the Daily Signal’s website.

Organizations are now turning to online videos to promote themselves and reach the public.

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Behind the Scenes of “Faint Not”

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Several people have asked me how I put together my Scripture For Life chapel challenge video (If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here!) So I thought I might take the night alone in my room to write a basic tutorial explaining how I made the animations using just Photoshop and Final Cut Pro X.

I started out with the idea. My roommate suggested doing an animation versus a live-action video because I wouldn’t have to feel bad about collecting the prize scholarship when so many actors would have helped with the project. With a cartoon made completely from my computer, I would have done the entire video myself.

The first thing to do was come up with a verse I’d like to center my video around. That was easy, since my college verses are Isaiah 41:10,13. I liked the visual image I got when I read the verses, since it specifically talks about the God of the universe holding our right hand and leading us along through our life’s trials.

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Faint Not (College Contest)

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President Shoemaker of Pensacola Christian College challenged the students to take a Bible verse that meant a lot to them and express it in some creative way for an upcoming contest (the winner got the rest of their tuition paid for). This could either be a form of artwork, photography, music, speeches, writing, or video.

I jumped on it.

I put in twelve hours of work in Final Cut Pro (because I didn’t have access to Adobe After Effects) to create a text-based cartoon. I’ve seen the style everywhere in popular videos and wanted to try one for myself.

(Winners to be announced next week)

UPDATED 3/13/17: Although submissions remained closed, President Shoemaker extended the contest for another week to allow more time to showcase exceptional entries. He invited nearly twelve more finalists to the platform today, including us nine from last week, to showcase their work and pick the final winners from that group.

Because Shoemaker loved the entries so much, he chose four winners to receive the scholarship, one from each kind of category: art, writing, music, and graphic design/video. I and three other finalists were picked to be the winners out of over 700 entries.

Heritage Foundation Artwork

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My dad was working on a presentation at the Heritage Foundation in the coming week or so, and asked if I would be willing to illustrate a few of his key points in the PowerPoint. He wanted me to depict how someone would feel if their employer treated them different ways and asked for the three emotions of “beaming,” “crushed,” and “frustrated.”

I also screen recorded the process and put together a speed art video below.

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Late New Year’s Resolutions

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Twenty-sixteen has been a year of intense emotional turmoil, starting from even just the first week of January. Several unexpected changes in friends’ families, drama in my community, the most deaths and permanent accidents on college campus in recent history, a cruelly busy semester of my own design, the build-up to elections that left me in such a panic that I could barely keep from crying as I walked to classes because just thinking about the potential future of our country made me physically sick….

Although I’m not a superstitious person, I was really looking forward to 2017. Continue reading

Five Steps to Character Interviews and How to Use Them to Write

I’ve been working on a single story for over six years now, ever since junior high when the idea for a YA science fiction popped into my head late one night after most of my family was in bed. Eager to tell the tale, I began writing. The first things that appeared in my head were automatically “canon” to the novel for no other reason other than I needed content and a story; I wrote what I’ve since called a “word vomit.”

Seven months later, when I finished the draft, I was so proud of it. But as I took time off, learned how to write better, read more of the YA genre, I realized I was woefully unprepared for the publishing house at the eager age of fourteen. One of the things my mom told me when she read over it was that my characters needed work, and that, when I wrote the second draft, I would better learn who they were and be able to write them consistently.

Six years later, I’m still working on the same series, but this time my characters are completely different people from when I started out. I started considering them to be friends — friends I didn’t try to bend to my will, but friends that had their own personalities, beliefs, likes and dislikes. Suddenly my two main female characters weren’t carbon copies of my “good side” and “bad side,” but their own persons.

One of the ways I solved problems for underdeveloped characters is through character interviews. These are different from character journals, which I’ve been told also work, but never did well for me. Maybe because I was still pulling the strings of my character’s marionette instead of jumping into the story myself as my own character.

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