Gallery: College Night at the DIA

Area students are offered a free chance to check out 30 Americans at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

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On Oct. 23 the Detroit Institute of Arts hosted College Night, encouraging area students to visit the DIA free of charge and view the newest exhibition, 30 Americans, which opened on Oct. 18. Over 400 students from Oakland University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Macomb Community College, Lawrence Technological University and Wayne State University students attended the event organized by the DIA. Students were treated to games, snacks, live music and a dance party which kicked off at 9:30pm.

The event not only gave students an opportunity socialize and network with individuals from surrounding colleges but provided a valuable opportunity to experience culture in the city and explore the history of race relations in the US through art. Overall, the event was well received by students, and the addition of the dance party (and cash bar) contributed to a fun night in the city, especially for the students unaccustomed with the happenings in Midtown, Detroit.

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Camera Controls: the basics

A new journalist in 2015 is expected to be able to competently and quickly take photos to accompany their stories. Long gone are the days of “just writers” and “just photographers.” To be able to effectively shoot my own photography, I have to know how to use my camera, and I mean really know. For this week’s assignment, I took to the streets (and my office) with my Canon T3i and took some of these photography basics, utilizing concepts like shutter speed, F-Stops, and ISO.

ISO: 100 Aperture: 16 Shutter: 1/100
Blurred Action ISO: 100 Aperture: 16 Shutter: 1/100
extremeperspective
Extreme Perspective: ISO: 3200 Aperture: 4.0 Shutter: 1/200
Graphic
Visual Element of Choice, Graphic: ISO: 800 Aperture: 4.5 Shutter: 1/60
pannedaction
Panned Action: ISO: 100 Aperture: 16 Shutter: 1/100
ruleofthirds
Rule of Thirds: ISO: 400 Aperture: 5.6 Shutter: 1/15
shallowdepthoffield
Shallow Depth of Field: ISO: 3200 Aperture: 4.5 Shutter: 1/50
silhouette
Silhouette: ISO: 1600 Aperture: 5.6 Shutter: 1/100
stoppedaction
Stopped Action: ISO: 200 Aperture: 7.1 Shutter: 1/640
widedepthoffield
Wide Depth of Field: ISO: 200 Aperture: 4.5 Shutter: 1/100
windowlighting
Window Lighting: ISO: 100 Aperture: 5.6 Shutter: 1/160

Learning to Code: Animating my name

I’ve always wanted to learn how to code, and I mean really code. I remember the days of basic HTML and feeling so smart for knowing how to type a line break. However, these days, I’m all but lost in the coding world. With the help of codeacademy.com I was able to learn the basics, and animate my name! 

code

The hardest part about learning code, in my opinion, is just not knowing where to begin. Before I began this lesson, I honestly didn’t have the slightest idea of how coding works. I appreciate how the lesson begins by explaining the language of JavaScript, and how it reads as commands to a computer. By then establishing what strings are, I was able to do basic arithmetic and counting, and see the computer react to my code – which was embarrassingly exciting. Once I saw it respond to multiple 2*2, I knew what I was doing what actually working.

From there, I learned about Booleans, which absolutely terrified me at first, and onto variables. Variables I found easiest to understand, as they are pretty straight forward. Variables include things like my name, “Lexi” and eventually will contain the colors that I used, giving the strings case sensitive names.

Arrays are where it really started getting exciting. I could easily figure out how to change the color to just blue, but once I figured out arrays, I was able to link my name to a variety of rainbow colors, which was identified by numbers in the arrays. My biggest problem at this step was remembering to type “var” to begin the variable which would connect the lettercolor string to my array of colors.

When it came time to change the bubble shape and add in the “bounce” string, I felt like a full blown code monkey, and even better yet, I was able to look back at the code I created and understand the commands each line were translating to the computer. Although I still have some questions on how it knew what “bounce” meant – when I changed bouncename to bouncebubbles, I felt so accomplished.

Altogether, I think I will continue to use codeacademy.com to learn more about coding. The tutorials are easy to understand, and it only took me about 20 minutes to learn a basic animation code – something I would have expected to take hours.

Taking a look at the Chicago Tribune

With a website generating 426,887 online exclusive subscriptions, the Chicago Tribune must be doing something right. A look into their use of multimedia platforms on their website in an article.

ctbanner

The Chicago Tribune is owned and operated by the Tribune Publishing Company, the nation’s third largest newspaper publisher, which also owns the Los Angeles Times, the Sun-Sentinel, and the Baltimore Sun. The Chicago-based paper is available online and in print. The Tribune is financed from paper subscriptions, as well as web subscriptions from their “soft” paywall, meaning some content is restricted to paying subscribers, however other content is free.

ChicagoTribune.com uses multimedia platforms extensively in conjunction with articles. Most stories are accompanied by a video, or at the very least a photo. For larger stories with continuing coverage the sidebar will direct readers to related videos and articles. Each article is equipped with social media badges on the top and bottom, making it easy for readers to share the content. On its Twitter, the Tribune is very active, tweeting our stories consistently. They connect with and acknowledge readers by often retweeting tweets featuring articles or opinions. When reporting on sports stories, the Tribune will also use live feeds of tweets to bring readers right into the action. 

On the bottom of each article is a comment section which, to my dismay, is unlinked to any sort of social media, such as Facebook. Because of this commenters can stay anonymous, and when commenters are allowed to keep the anonymity, trolls are always around the corner.

troll

In my opinion, the biggest improvement the Tribune could make to their website would be linking the comment section to Google+ or Facebook accounts. When commenters are forced to assign a photo or name to their comments,  racist, sexist, homophobic and other hateful speech has seen to be significantly reduced.

My only other qualm about ChicagoTribune.com is the severity of their “soft” paywall. While some content is available for free, a vast majority of the articles required a subscription, even when the content is not necessarily exclusive to the website. I much prefer the metered style of paywall, offering a limited number of articles to be read for free before requiring a subscription. This also made is slightly difficult to find content to evaluative for this particular assignment. By giving readers the option to read x-number of stories before implementing the paywall, the Chicago Tribune could attract more readers to their content, and potentially gain more subscribers. Personally, I would prefer to be able to sample more of the content before committing to a paid subscription.

paywall

Although the Chicago Tribune is a city newspaper it covers many national and international stories. When researching the Chicago Tribune’s website, I came across a story headlined, “Russia defends its airstrike targets in Syria.” I knew this would be a complex, in-depth piece, so I was interested in how the publication would use multimedia to explain the topic. The answer? Very well.

The article begins with a video showing the airstrikes referenced in the article. The context of the article itself goes into great detail while remaining unbiased about the ongoing tensions between Russia and the US and it’s allies during the Syrian conflict. Given the rocky history between the US and Russia, it would be easy for a story of this sort to be spun in a way that makes Russia look bad, or highly editorialized to increase readership, however, the actually draws similarities between the US and Russian efforts in Syria. This isn’t to say the writer goes easy on Russia. The article also highlights some of controversial tactics used by Russia, including their use of “dumb bombs” which affect large areas, increasing civilian casualties.

Another specific reason I chose this article is it was compiled by the Tribune wire service, which is curated by Chicago Tribune editors. Although the Chicago Tribune is very much a city newspaper, it is trying to compete with big names like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. To do this, the Chicago Tribune spends quite a bit of money on national and international reporting.

Overall, the article remains remarkably unbiased for such a controversial topic, truly benefiting the reader, and providing them accurate information. To further assist readers, the Tribune also links to various related stories, offering insight to the timeline leading up to the latest developments, something that is very beneficial for such a complex story.

What I appreciated most about this article was the inclusion of the infographic. As a Michigander, I have very little knowledge of the layout of Syria. The Tribune knows it’s audience and it’s limited knowledge, and included a very legible and understandable map of Syria, including indications of where the Russian air strikes were taking place.

Altogether, I believe the Chicago Tribune uses multimedia platforms effectively on their website, ChicagoTribune.com. Videos, infographics and photos are widely available on almost every article or feature, and social media badges prominent on every page, making it easy for readers to share. Although I would like to see minor changes to the paywall and comment systems, the clean user interface and large graphics are very visually appealing and aid articles as opposed to distracting from them.