Project Links

Here they are so you can take a look …

Schedule Moving Forward

Here’s where we are for the next few weeks …

  • April 3 – No class
  • April 5 – Class will meet
  • April 10 – No class
  • April 11 – Story sources (10 minimum) due on eLC by 5 p.m.
  • April 12 – Class will meet, review story sources
  • April 17 – No class
  • April 18 – Final multimedia project due on eLC by 5 p.m.
  • April 19 – Class will meet
  • April 24 – Last class meeting

Intro Logo Animation

Hey team, I made this cute little animation for my tiny doc, figured I’d share it so we can all have a standardized opening to our videos.

This file is pretty small in its zipped form, and uncompressed is about 1 GB. It’s so big because it’s encoded in an uncompressed AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format, which is necessary to preserve the transparency of the video (This is accomplished by including the Alpha Channel of the video, which means each pixel has a single bit denoting transparency or opaqueness). What this means is that when you use it in Adobe Premiere or whatever video editor you use, you can drop the clip right on top of your video, and the black background of the animation will automatically disappear, leaving only the animation itself. Also, it’s a little off center because it looked better when I was animating it, you may want to change the position a bit. Feel free to use this for any future projects. No attribution required.

The ZIP file

-Justin Ebert

TinyDoc Revisions

FYI, I’ve moved the deadline for the TinyDoc Revisions to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14. You can, of course, submit earlier than that …

You’ll have your peer evals shortly after class, go through those and comments made when we watched them for revisions.

Things to double check …

  • Look at the size and contrast of your type to make sure it’s legible on small screens
  • Watch out for text in images/videos being layered under your text blocks
  • Your output resolution should be 1920 by 1080 (use H.264 and either the Vimeo or YouTube HD preset)
  • With that in mind, think about how you compose your visuals – these are all horizontals, so vertical photos/video doesn’t make a lot of sense

Red and Black Reading Level Data

This is unrelated to the climate, but I figured I’d post this data here anyways, since we all benefit from sharing numbers. This is a spreadsheet with over 1,000 articles from The Red and Black, along with word count, syllable count, and Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease and Reading Level scores. Additionally, here’s a dope chart plotting the articles (I’m still revising for readability), with reading level as the Y-axis, date as the X-axis, and article length as the size of the points.

If you want to know how I did all this, feel free to ask in class – alternatively, check out this awesome piece explaining how a Buzzfeed News reporter (@paldhous) did the same thing. I’ll be using similar methods to analyze and display some data I’m getting for stories in class.

-Justin Ebert

ASSIGNMENT: Sources, Readings

For Tuesday, March 6, please come in with a two to three sentence focus statement of your story – you need to be able to get this down to a simple statement. You should be well into developing sources for the first story package, so come in with a list of ten, several of which you should have already been in contact with – the deadline for this is going to come at you way faster than you expect it to.

Bring in five copies of the statement and sources, you’ll do some peer discussions to generate additional ideas for sources.

For the final multimedia project, we will go through ideas on Tuesday, March 20 (right after break), so start sketching ideas out now. My recommendation is to start a text document that’s with you (like a Google Doc or an Evernote entry that syncs across your devices), every day toss a few ideas for projects into it. See a story, drop the link in. See a flier, make a photo and add it in. Overhear a conversation, put fingers-to-keyboard to capture it in your notes.

Here are some of the pieces we talked about in class, go through these and try to outline the stories. How do you think they came up with the ideas? What additional questions would you have asked? What additional images would you have wanted? Anything you’d take out? We’ll go through them again next week so be prepared.

And we may or may not talk about this, but Time’s Special Report by James Nachtwey on the opioid crisis … wow, just wow. Make sure you click on the behind he scenes explainers. And read Al Tompkins’ look into it, as well.

ASSIGNMENT: Tiny Doc

Due on eLC by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, is a TinyDoc-formatted video.

You need to find some aspect of either climate change or water issues that you can illustrate locally and have some short, compelling data about. You can use video or still photos, but make sure they are relevant to the story you’re trying to tell.

Here’s a truly ridiculous one:

This CNN piece on Egyptian Queen Nefertiti works either with or without audio. Remember your goal is to have a story work without any sounds, just visuals and text.

Neither of those are aimed at our content areas, so what could you do with the data in this report on the effects of climate change on Ethiopian coffee? Can you pull 5-7 facts out of it and make a set of localized images/video clips?

Thoughts on this?

How can you take this video storytelling concept and advance it?

ASSIGNMENT: SonicIDs

Due on eLC by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 7, are your two SonicIDs. One needs to be 30 seconds in length, one 60 seconds. One should be someone affected by a water or climate issue, the other a scientist or expert who can comment on that issue. (Do the interviews first, then decide which to edit to which length.)

The only place your voice should appear is in identifying the speaker (“This is Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College”) and the ending (“This is Grady Newsource”).

You want an emotional connection in these, do a longer interview (maybe it’s backgrounding for your larger stories). If you only record 60 seconds thinking that’s all you need, these will fall flat – do a deep dive on this, ask lots of questions, especially ones about why they do this, what it means to them, when was the first time they thought about this, what do they expect to happen next.

And don’t forget to read Part III of the book for Tuesday.

Windows Program to scrape data from ACC crime blotter

If you’re like me, you hate having to go to the Athens Police Department website every time you want to copy and paste their crime blotter data. Well, now you don’t have to! I wrote this simple program (in python) that ‘scrapes’ the data from that page and puts it into a spreadsheet with the date in the filename. Saves a little bit of time, makes your life a little easier. Should work on all windows computers. Your computer will probably say it’s not safe, that’s just because I don’t know enough about programming to include all the tags that exe files need to be recognized as safe. Trust me, I’m not a good enough programmer to be able to give you a virus. Also I know most of you have macbooks, I’m working on one for OS X. For now you can just run the source code, if you know how to do that. -Justin Ebert

Python Source Code

Windows Program