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Soundslides Projects by my Students in Catalonia

Here are a few examples of the work my masters students in Barcelona, Catalonia, produced during the Spring of 2012.

This first project, by Martín Rocca and Gonzalo Sarasqueta, portrays Diego Rey, an Argentine artist working in Barcelona.

This second slideshow, by Judit Pedros and Alba Fernández, introduces a local tattoo artist conflicted by her maternal role.

This project by Ariadna Marrugat and Albert Gandia features an interview with Rugby player James Oliver.

In Jordan Nelson and Alfredo Casas’ piece, two veterinarians talk about their patients (and their owners).

Daniela Caruso and Héctor Leyva visited one of the oldest Catalan cava bars in the city.

In Barcelona, jugglers get together every Wednesday afternoon to practice and learn from each other, in this piece by Paula Acebo and Rosa Brescó.

Camila Pinzón and Teresa González interviewed a group of skaters who train at the Museum of Modern Art of Barcelona (MACBA).

Fencing and architecture merge in David Boldú’s life. And this is featured in this piece by Jessica Bigio and Javier Morera.

Jessica Sauras and Alvaro Murillo talked to Luis Romero, a 81-year-old activist and member of the Catalonian Communist Party.

Clara Berdié,Juan Irigoyen and Marc Martí found Barcelona Fútbol Club’s mythical shoe repairer.

Carmen Hierro Rico and Jessica Mouzo followed Jose Rodríguez, 23-year-old store clerk who feels lucky to still have a full time job in a time of severe unemployment in Spain.

A Few Words of Wisdom, by Ira Glass

From our old friend Ira Glass, a few words of wisdom. You should never give up!

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

The audio is from this video by in which an unedited Glass talks at length about deadlines.

This following video is Glass on storytelling and structure of radio and TV stories. You’ll love it!

Finally, Glass on how hard it is to actually find a good story.

Narrative Journalism and Digital Media

The debate around long form narrative journalism and it’s growing potential on the web has been gaining momentum. So, I just wanted to share with you two stories and hear your ideas/comments about them.

In the first article, Forbes‘ Lewis DVorkin argues that now that we can access to data on how long people stay reading a web page, how far down readers will scroll, and how many clicks deep into a story they are willing to go, we can assess with accuracy whether readers enjoy shorter or longer pieces online.

According to Forbes’ data, and contrary to what newspaper editors thought in the past, long form journalism for the web not only interests readers but is also key to business success. Thanks to statistics (Google Analytics and so many others) but also to social media, we can now measure and more importantly see how the “social conversation evolves” around news articles (FB “likes” and “shares” and Twitter “hashtags”).

Tapping into these tools, what DVorkin found is that longer, well researched pieces have exponentially higher readership than shorter snippets, or lesser researched pieces. His recommendation: long and short form should work hand in hand. Short form will generate interest in the story (something like a teaser) and long form will deliver the bulk of the content.

In the article, DVorking also quotes an e-mail exchange with Mark Amstrong, creator of Long Reads. Amstrong  argues that this long form journalism is in vogue due to four variables:

1- The embrace of mobile devices and tablets

2- The rise of social recommendation

3- A community that embraced a new way to organize long form content

4- The rise of shifting apps like Read it Later (indirectly, also, the spread of WiFi) This fourth one is particularly amazing, because Read It Later shows data on hundreds of millions of stories saved to be read in portable devices while users have no access to the internet.

But, in fact, the mere existence of Long Reads or The Atavist, a search engine and a market platforms exclusively developed to find and market long form narrative journalism stories, speaks to the resurgence of this genre.

A second article by Wired writer David Dobbs develops some of the ideas introduced by DVorkin and adds that in Wired they also found that long form “breeds reader loyalty.”

My questions to you: how do you think this new trend could affect your career? Could these new trends affect the way you will approach your studies or your job search? Please read the articles and post a brief answer to my questions.

The Art of Writing a Good Review

Writing a good review is not easy. Primarily because you need to have enough information to make your impressions and ideas valuable to the readers.

To start, you need to know meticulously the object of your review. Your readers will use your assessments to judge whether the movie/play/video game/culinary experience  is worth their time and attention. So you need to offer them enough references, introduce enough ideas and comparisons to help them make that decision on their own.

A good review describes its object in detail. If it’s a play, you’ll devote equal time to each act. If it’s a movie, you’ll pay attention to relevant scenes. If it’s a meal, each course will get its own paragraph. But when assigning your editorial space, you will always leave some aside to discuss the most salient aspects of the piece.

A good review is a direct look into the eyes of the artist. With your most sincere, honest words, you will describe not only the experience but also the feelings it triggered in you. Sometimes those feelings will be of boredom and disgust, sometimes they will be of joy and amusement, and on rare occasions (very rare) they will be of pure amazement.

Here are a few reviews you may find useful when working on your own!

Roger Ebert’s reviews are always a good reference. Here’s one on Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Fiennes.

Here is The Village Voice‘s Rob Harvilla with a brilliant review of MIMS’ This is Why I’m Hot

Finally, here’s a review I wrote about The Limits of Control, by Jim Jarmusch for the New York Daily News, based on an interview with actress Paz de la Huerta.

Working with photos: Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop

So, there are three easy steps I normally use to edit photos and make them ready for the web. In these two tutorials I walk you through them. Please follow these steps before uploading your images to Ithaca Week.

This first video shows you how to import your photos using Bridge, and then add meta-data and copyright info to the file.

In this second video you’ll learn how to open your photos in Photoshop and add some final touches.

The “Truth Vigilante”

Arthur Brisbane, the NYT public editor, ignited an interesting controversy on journalism, objectivity and the role of fact-checking. In his column on January 12, 2012, he asked whether the NYT journalists should be “Truth Vigilantes”

The comments were unanimous and rather embarrassing. The one that made the biggest impression on me was this article by Todd Gitlin.

Please read both articles, some of the comments to Brisbane’s articles, and tell me what do you think journalists should do? Or, in other words, how should we go about fact-checking?

Working with buttons in Flash CS5.5

I created a few videos that should teach you the basics on how to work with buttons in order to add interactivity to your graphics using Flash CS5.5.

The first video shows you how to create a graphic and a button.

The second video shows you how to add instances to your buttons.

The third video explains how to add a hyperlink to your flash button.

The fourth one covers the use of the “hit” position.

Data Visualization

Geoff McGhee is an online journalist who works on data visualization at Stanford University, where he has produced Journalism in the Age of Data. The project, which encompasses a video documentary on different approaches to data visualization, has a segment dedicated to journalism, and discusses how “Data Vis” is starting to create changes in newsrooms.

Other websites to pay attention to are Many Eyes which has an application that helps you convert your data (in Excel) into visual information, and DJB (Data Journalism Blog) created by digital journalist Marianne Bouchart.

Also, if you haven’t checked them out yet, Flowing Data, Infosthetics and Fathom are great resources.

Martin Wattenberg’s site Bewitched is also full of great ideas. Wattenberg is a co-leader, with Fernanda Viégas, of Google’s “Big Picture” data visualization group.


Adding Clips, Effects, Color Correction and Exporting Projects in Final Cut Pro X

Adding clips to your Final Cut Pro X project is very simple, and here’s how you do it.

Do you need to add some transitions? Check out this clip.

Do you need to modify your audio adding effects? Watch this video:

If you want to add some effects to your clips, you should watch this one too:

Did you know that there are a few different ways to export your project? Check them out here:


Finally, here’s a good tutorial on how to do color correction in FCPX. It also teaches you how to correct some problems with exposure.



Audio and video for the web: beyond redundancy

Sometimes video as part of a multimedia piece overlaps with the written part of the story, like in this piece from the New York Times.

Some other times, video and audio show an aspect of the story that was hard or impossible to reveal in words.