Author Archives: abscox


Using video to capture a moment instead of snapping a photograph can speak measures. Sometimes, photographs just aren’t able to tell the whole story. Maybe you can’t get the right angle or the right shot– maybe the photo just isn’t what you envisioned to begin with. You wanted a captivating photo, not a boring one.

Briggs explains that the impact of video has been felt far and wide. Middle school and high school students are being trained early on in their education to use video. Video is versatile, and now that video is easier for everyone to produce and to view online, any kind of journalist can participate.

Although photographs may be easier to shoot, a video can show more– more background to the story, more information, more emotion, and more content. Video gives a full scene with details and it’s also a way to tell stories with moving pictures and not just with words on paper. If you hook the audience in the first 20 seconds and focus on one central idea, you will build a bond in the same way that an author creates a relationship with their readers.



At first thought, you wouldn’t believe that audio journalism would be a real thing. (How could that be possible?) Better yet, how could audio journalism even be effective? However, you would be pleasantly surprised how many journalists use audio journalism as a form of communication to their audience.

Have you ever heard of a podcast? Podcasts are a prime example of audio journalism. They help to portray a real-life conversation or interaction, while telling a story at the same time– just in a different form.

As Briggs mentions, “Serial” is the most popular podcast in history, which unfolds good old-fashioned reporting and interviewing, as well as hooking in the reader. An effective podcast should be simple, yet enticing enough to keep the listeners on board with the story.  You want it to feel live– that the listener is smack dab in the middle of the action.

The best part of audio journalism is that audio is flexible enough to work in all settings. If you hear noises in the background of your interview, it could portray an aura or vibe. The background can sometimes be a selling point for audio journalism. You’re able to “see” with your ears.

When telling a story in audio, there is one goal and one goal only: make sure the listener stays with you until the very end. No matter how many great facts and interviews you have, none of it matters if someone gets bored and turns it off.


Interviewing is an important skill to perfect in the world of journalism. Making connections, building relationships and gaining trust is the start of building a firm foundation for interviewing. In this chapter, Filak explains how to prepare for an interview by researching your topic and gathering information about your source.

To conduct a productive interview, you have to know where to dig. When you know where to dig, you begin to understand your purpose. Filak discusses that there could be various purposes to an interview, following with research and determining the tone of the interview. Is it casual? Will you need a lot of time set aside to get the information you need? Can you gather the answers to your questions within one interview or will you have to meet multiple times?

When you figure out the answers to these questions, your interactions with your source will grow and they will soon become comfortable when speaking to you. How comfortable your source is with you and the flow of the interview matters greatly.

But it truly comes down to one thing: preparation. Preparation is the key aspect to any interview. If you know what information you have to get and know just how to get it, your interview will be productive and successful.


Social media is a large factor in distributing information within this generation. Many sources of content are distributed between outlets, allowing users to filter out the content they want to read or don’t want to read. Social media is quite a power tool, if I do say so myself.

Social networking, such as Twitter and Facebook for example, particularly helps readers to meet others with the same interests, gathering a following for that particular source. The purpose of this is to gather a large audience for a particular portion of the web. Some look at social networking as a positive influence and others… not so much. It’s more of a personal opinion. That is one of the ways that writers and journalists use social networking to their advantage.

Regardless if you love or hate social media or social networking altogether, you can’t deny the face that it’s the most productive way of relaying information quickly to a large audience. Although you can’t be sure what to trust or believe, go with your gut and fact check, fact check, fact check.

The bottom line is this: today’s journalism requires some type of presence on social media, regardless of your opinion about it. Just use it to your advantage and use it wisely.

The Struggle of a Student Athlete

I step off the field, crossing the white line, sweat dripping from my forehead. The crowd begins clearing out of the stadium. My teammates pat me on the back, exclaiming “good game” and “great work.” I unlace my cleats before trudging back to the locker room. “We won. After a hard-fought game, we pulled out a win,” I think to myself.
But then I remember that history paper I haven’t written yet. And that Spanish homework that’s due at 11:59 p.m. I think about that English quiz I haven’t studied for and how I really need to do a load of laundry because I don’t have any clean underwear left. My excitement from the game fizzles away and the stress begins to pile up quickly. I become frantic with my ever-growing to-do list.
My goal is to be very transparent here. I’m not going to pretend it’s a walk in the park. I’m not going to pretend that I’m in a chipper mood 24/7. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t ever struggle—because I struggle a lot. Being a student athlete is rough. And by rough, I mean I-need-a-shot-of-espresso-every-other-hour-to-get-through-the-day rough.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about: I hardly sleep, I have to take multiple naps throughout the day, my dress clothes are my “fancy” sweatpants and I always feel like I’m falling behind in everything. I spend all of my money on food because my stomach seems to be a bottomless pit, I’m sore the majority of the time and I never know what to do when my coach gives us an off day. The long, strenuous hours coming home from away games, with attempts to cram a study session in on the nearly dark bus are nerve-racking. Sprinting from early morning practices to class, with only extra deodorant and a 43752871135_94a177dccd_o.jpggranola bar in hand is a regular occurrence. Averaging about five hours of sleep every night is more frequent than I’d like to admit, so it’s safe to say that waking up for my 8 a.m. is pretty agonizing.
Why do I do this to myself? Any student athlete will give the same answer: it’s all worth it. The exhaustion, the stress, the blood, sweat and tears—it’s all worth it for the feeling you get when you step on the field.
Piedmont College is a NCAA Division III school, and in D3 sports, there are no financial rewards for student athletes. A D3 student athlete experience is focused more on academics over athletics, and the student athletes participate in their sport because of a deep passion, knowing that they will not be rewarded in the same way as a higher division would. To paint a simple picture, we CHOOSE to be a student athlete. We choose this life because it makes us who we are. We believe working hard in the classroom is just as important as working hard on the field.
And although there are major struggles of being a student athlete, the good outweighs the bad. I couldn’t imagine my college experience not revolving around sports. I have learned so many life lessons along the way, as well as learning to work hard for what I want. Athletes build character and mental toughness because of our sport. It’s a challenge we accept every day.
As difficult as being a student athlete is, I will always be grateful for what my sport has given me. One day, my sport will be over. It will be my last practice, my last game, my last batch of bruises and scrapes—it will be the end. There will come a time where I will yearn for the feel of my cleats on the freshly cut grass and the sound of the buzzer signaling the end of the game. When that time comes, I will want to remember the best times that soccer has brought me, the friendships made and the memories created. Being a student athlete is the best thing that could have ever happened to me.


Briggs is speaking about how data-driven journalism is important.

Data is a helpful tool to persuade, inform or relate to the audience about a topic you are writing about. Every story that is written is a field of data– even if you don’t realize it at the time.

I believe that the benefit of using factual spreadsheets, computer algorithms and other technology establishes a productive outlet to release information much quicker than a human could. It helps to advance and speed up the process of giving the audience what they want. The faster they receive the information that they want, the more readers you will have. This number will continue to increase the more technologically advanced society becomes.

Spreadsheets, data maps, location-aware devices and online databases are changing the game. And although we need people who are better writers rather than people who are data-literate, adequacy in both aspects will change journalism– especially in this day and age. Leveraging your resources, beginning with technology, is the first step. The possibilities for data-driven journalism are endless from here on out.


Briggs discusses the importance of visual storytelling with photographs in chapter five.

Words can be replaced with photos, but only if it is executed correctly. Pictures have a way of telling more of the story. You are able to capture emotions, reactions and scenes that can be interpreted differently than if you were only describing the scene in words.

Briggs discusses the smartest usages of a camera when shooting, explaining how it is critical to understand the functions of a camera and what to do with it when you have it. Understanding the basics and being comfortable shooting is your starting point. Several factors are considered when taking a photo, with the first being the type of lighting you are aiming for- natural light (ambient), with a flash as the primary light source, or a mixture of flash and ambient light. When there is correct lighting, it’s much easier for the rest of the photo to fall into place.

Once you decide what lighting you will use, if you focus on one specific thing, hold the camera steady and fill the frame- voíla, you’ve created the image you had pictured in your mind.

Photography is a critical tool for journalists. It is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time– as well as considering all of the other important factors, of course.