Friday, December 5, 2014

"Magi" offers audience the magic of live radio


Jennifer Blackmer

By John Strauss
jcstrauss@bsu.edu

A fourth holiday-themed live radio drama performed before an audience at Ball State University proves the enduring fascination people have with radio storytelling, the show's director says.

“The Gift of the Magi” comes to Sursa Performance Hall on Friday Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m., produced by Indiana Public Radio, which includes WBST 92.1 in Muncie, WBSB 89.5 Anderson; WBSW 90.9 Marion, WBSJ 91.7 Portland and WBSH 91.1, Hagerstown/New Castle.

Classic story
"Magi" is based on O. Henry’s poignant story of a young couple's love and sacrifice, and was adapted for radio by Kirsten Fentz, a Ball State graduate of theatrical studies. Fentz was awarded membership in the Dramatists Guild of America earlier this year at the American College Theater Festival.

The show features period costumes, live sound effects - an art in itself - along with an orchestra conducted by Michael Elliott. It's directed by Jennifer Blackmer, Ball State's director of immersive learning and an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Fourth Christmas show
IPR has aired four previous live radio dramas, including three holiday favorites: "A Christmas Carol," "It's a Wonderful Life" and last year's "Miracle on 34th Street" - also directed by Blackmer.

"They had cycled through the available Christmas stories in the radio-drama canon," Blackmer said. Those scripts, usually Lux Radio adaptations from the 1940s that are now in the public domain.

"We tried to figure out what the next step would be," she recalled. "We thought it would be too soon to do the ones we had already done, so we came up with idea of just doing our own."

Blackmer has taught playwriting on campus for eight years and immediately thought of Fentz, who graduated last year and is now writing professionally. Fentz' "The Last Sunrise" was performed at New York's Kennedy Center as part of the American College Theater Festival.

"She was excited to do this and to work in radio with this wonderful group of actors," Blackmer said.

The challenge of radio
The writer and director both had a lot to learn, though Blackmer had the advantage of her experience in last year's show.

Part of the challenge is remembering that though there's a live audience in the theater, the piece is really written for listeners who can't see the production.

"I spend a lot of times working with my eyes closed, listening to how the soundscapes unfold," Blackmer said. "We really want the audience to create their own imagery as they're listening."

She said listening to radio is an active process, different from television, because the audience has to imagine the scenes they're hearing.

Energy from the actors
That means an extra challenge for the actors.

"It's about the energy you put into the performance," Blackmer said, "You're remembering as you are talking to another person in the play that there is also a whole world of listeners out there who are also part of the story."

Because the radio audience can't see them, the actors don't have their bodies to work with. They have to channel all their energy and emotion into their voices. The show's writer also has to remember, for example, that since the audience can't see a character leave the room, the dialog has to include a reference to that action.

'People seem to want it'
"Magi" may benefit from renewed interest in radio-style storytelling. Blackmer cited the "Serial" podcast from producers of public radio's "This American Life," which has explored a nonfiction story over multiple episodes since October.

"I think there's an audience out there that is still really hungry for this kind of storytelling," she said.

"Whether it be the old-fashioned, feel-good Christmas story or the things you hear on "This American Life," people seem to want it.

"That's because it's truly active storytelling. The listener is an active part of it, visualizing what's going on."

“The Gift of the Magi” is presented by LifeStream Services, with major support from Ball State Federal Credit Union and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

BOX: If You're Going

What: "The Gift of the Magi" live radio play.
When: Friday Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sursa Performance Hall, Ball State
Broadcast: Live simulcast on IPR beginning at 8 p.m. with an encore presentation on Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. A special video presentation will air on WIPB Public Television Dec. 18 at 9 p.m.
Tickets: $10 ($5 students) and are available in advance at Emens Box Office,765-285-1539, or at Sursa Hall the night of the performance.

Indiana Public Radio is a service of Ball State University, a Public Radio International affiliate, and a National Public Radio member station. Its format includes NPR, news and classical music broadcast on WBST 92.1FM Muncie, WBSB 89.5FM Anderson, WBSW 90.9FM Marion, WBSJ 91.7FM Portland, and WBSH 91.1FM Hagerstown-New Castle. Online audio streaming is available at indianapublicradio.org.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

WIPB fundraiser includes cruises, money-balloons



By John Strauss
WIPB-TV

Just in time for the next blast of late fall weather, WIPB Public Television's annual Telesale fundraiser features five vacation packages including a Buccaneer Pirate Cruise leaving from Destin, Fla.
 
"We're emphasizing fun this year," said Lori Georgi, Telesale coordinator. "This is our major fundraiser, and we have people who have been watching this for years. It's more than a televised auction - there's entertainment as well."
 
Bidders can tune in next Thursday-Saturday night to WIPB-TV or go online now to bid at Telesale.com. The money is used to support the non-profit station, which is a PBS affiliate owned by Ball State University.

The broadcast features special guests such as Ball State head football coach Pete Lembo on Thursday night, and Steve Lindell of Woof Boom Radio. Al Rent, a longtime community volunteer and broadcaster, has been a fixture of the program since it began in 1978 and usually hosts on Saturday.

This year's vacation offerings include a three-night stay at the Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa in Reno, Nevada; five days in Cancun, Mexico, and a three-day "luxury weekend escape" at the Beacon Hotel and Corporate Quarters in Washington, D.C.

An "Eat for a Year" deal at Amazing Joe's, featuring monthly dining, is a popular offering, as is the traditional Ball State tuition of $2,000.

Bidders can see the current bid on the items they're competing for during the broadcast or at any time online. The sale's attraction lies in the deals that bidders get when items sell for below retail cost.

Fun is usually part of the show. Longtime favorites include the First Merchants Balloon Bust. The children's version of the event is worth $300 and the adult version is $400.

"People buy it so they can come into the studio, bust balloons and see how much money they can win," Georgi said. "It's really fun."



Monday, November 3, 2014

John Avlon’s Picks for 12 Best Opinion Columns of 2012






http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/31/john-avlon-s-picks-for-12-best-opinion-columns-of-2012.html


Example: Mitch Albom - From bank job to trimming bushes, man keeps his faith

http://archive.freep.com/article/20120812/COL01/308120127/Mitch-Albom-From-bank-job-to-trimming-bushes-man-keeps-his-faith

By Mitch Albom
Detroit Free Press Columnist
August 12, 2012

He kneels in garden beds. He trims branches and lays mulch. Once upon a time, five months ago, he had an important position as a security official for Fidelity Bank, a place he'd worked for 38 years. He wore a suit and tie to work.

Today, he wears shorts and a tank top and prunes hedges or clears flowerbeds for neighbors or older folks. It is, to date, the only work he can find.

"I have to make ends meet," he says.

His name is Rick Vallee, he is 59 years old, and he is one of so many Americans who thought life was going to be different. He thought by this age, he'd be winding down, looking forward to retirement.

Instead, he is unemployed, he cannot afford health insurance, and he can barely cover his bills, supporting a wife and family, including a disabled son. The bank he worked for was purchased by another. The new bank used him for transition, then told him he was done. He handed his key to a woman he barely knew, and walked out the door of his once-familiar working life into a new corner of America, a vast and depressing landscape known as "What Now?"
When companies buy companies

As a devoted Christian, Rick says, "This is where the rubber meets the road. But just because I'm a believer doesn't mean I don't have concerns."

Rick's story will sound sadly familiar. He started as a bank teller in 1974 and worked his way up through the company. Branch management. Security officer. Eventually he was named a vice president charged with enforcing the Bank Secrecy Act, a government initiative aimed at identifying security concerns such as identity theft and terrorism funding.

At its peak, he says, Fidelity had a portfolio of more than a billion dollars. Rick handled security for all 15 branches.

Then the economic downturn happened. Things began to darken. The bank was failing. There were rumors of a sale. Rick hoped the buyer would be a growing company, which might have use for his expertise.

Instead, Fidelity was purchased by a much larger firm. Rick came home and told his wife, "This is it." He sensed he would not be needed in a place that already had so many people.

He was right.

He endured the painful, antiseptic end, a Friday afternoon visit by government officials and new ownership, who waited until 5 o'clock, then began dismantling his office, taking his computer, stripping the Fidelity name, losing all shreds of the old regime.

A few months later, they lost him, too. After 38 years. No severance. No pension. No company. Just an offer of COBRA insurance, which can be laughingly unaffordable once you're fired.
So many are underemployed

I know Rick. It was my idea to write about him, not his. He is not a complainer. Quite the opposite. He is humble, soft-spoken, embarrassed to even mention that he continues his weekly charity work with a local food pantry. He lives modestly, in a small ranch house in Shelby Township. He has never adopted a "Why should I care anymore?" approach.

He tried all his banking contacts. There were simply no jobs. He looked at his prospects, looked at his bills and picked up some landscaping tools, hoping to earn a few dollars. He was not ashamed to do physical labor, despite all the work suits in his closet.

"There are some times out there when I can't believe it," he admits. "But I know God has a plan for me. I just wonder what it is."

You don't know anymore in this country. That white-haired guy in Starbucks might have been a district manager somewhere last year. That woman taking your order at Denny's might have been an executive assistant. And that man cutting your hedge might have once made sure your money was safe.

Rick still prays a company could use his skills. He remains upbeat, and there is something inspiring in that, people who take the bitter yet hope for the sweet. But it is no longer a great distance from the office to the flowerbed, and while the promise of this country always will glow, we are all learning this: You cannot count on the strength of your workplace, only your own.

Contact Mitch Albom: 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com. His new novel, "The Time Keeper" (Hyperion, $24.99, 224 pages), will be released Sept. 4. He will sign copies: Sept. 4, Barnes & Noble, 14165 Hall, Shelby Township, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 6, Barnes & Noble, 3235 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 7, Barnes & Noble, 6800 Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 8, Sam's Club, 15700 Northline, Southgate, noon; Sept. 8, Costco, 20000 Haggerty, Livonia, 2:30 p.m.

John Strauss: Fun, foul-ups part of pledge drives

http://www.thestarpress.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/11/01/john-strauss-fun-foul-ups-part-pledge-drives/18206249/

By John Strauss 
November 1, 2014
This is pledge season for public radio stations across the country. And the pleas for support, tiresome for some listeners, can be exhausting for the people pitching behind the microphones.

Angie Rapp, marketing manager for Indiana Public Radio and WIPB-TV at Ball State University, has worked behind the scenes and on-air — pitching, or asking for contributions, producing the show, organizing volunteers, serving food, washing dishes and even taking out the trash.

Sitting in front of the mic was the hardest job when she started.

“It’s incredibly hard the first time,” she said. “It’s intimidating and a little scary because you’re afraid you’ll mess up.”

But the fear passes when you remember the basics: Be yourself. Just try to have a conversation with the other person in the studio — and with the listeners.

“At the end of the day you’re just talking about something you’re really passionate about, and that part is easy.”

Behind the scenes and on the air

Plenty goes on behind the scenes at Indiana Public Radio, a group of five stations between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, based at WBST in Muncie. Volunteers in a converted conference room answer the phones and take pledges. A manager tallies the contributions. Some givers offer a matching challenge: Raise a certain amount in an hour, say $300, and they’ll contribute the same amount to double the contributions.

Through a soundproof window, the phone volunteers can see into a studio next door where the on-air crew is pleading for pledges. They’re with a producer who keeps track of the clock and makes sure they finish up in time to rejoin the network. Talk too long and you risk “upcutting,” the NPR feed by talking over it.

In a second adjoining studio, a board operator switches between the network feed and the studio where the volunteers are pitching. That person makes sure the right elements are being played, including weather breaks, news and underwriting announcements.

Mistakes happen all the time, glitches in the show that add their own spontaneous charm.

During “All Things Considered,” for example, the producer will have a list of times, down to the second, when the period to ask for contributions can begin and end.

People making the pitch have been known to completely lose their train of thought or misread the clock.

“I did that,” Rapp said. “I thought we were out of time, when really we had three minutes to go.”

She started waving frantically at IPR staffer Matt Bloom, her partner in the broadcast, right in the middle of his careful explanation about how to give.

“He didn’t know what to think,” she said.

“But that happens: At least one time in every pledge, you lose your train of thought and hit a brick wall.”

Watching the clock

Emily Kowalski, member services coordinator, started working pledge drives in 2009.

“I got to be on the air the first time that year,” she said. “It was terrifying.”

Her partner reminded her to pretend they were just having a conversation.

She had been briefed on hand signals the producer would use when their time was up. A raised index finger signifies one minute to go. A cupped hand like the letter “C” means 30 seconds. A fist means 15 seconds.

Kowalski paid attention but promptly forgot all the signals in the excitement. Not even the large digital clocks on the walls help every time.

“I had a hard time talking and watching the clock,” she said.

“You start talking and you get on a roll. Then the producer will start waving their hands because they’ve been trying to tell you that you only have a few seconds left.”

Ahead: More voices, more smiles

When not on the air she helps organize the pledge drives. There are two a year, and about a month after one drive has ended, she starts planning the next, calling volunteers, getting people scheduled in the jobs.

She’s already started thinking about what to do in the spring.

“We’ll have a few more voices on the air, some that we haven’t heard before. We’ll have people from the community who our listeners will know. We’ll make the listeners smile.”

Kowalski knows pledge drives aren’t always popular.

“But they’re necessary. And if we could just get those other nine people you know, who aren’t members but who listen, to pledge just $40 per year we wouldn’t have to be on the air so long.”

Like everybody else who’s worked on-air for the drive, she’s had her moments.

“The worst thing is when you’re on the air and in the middle of a sentence, and you forget what you’re saying. I’ve done that. I was being really dramatic. I was gesturing and I was saying, ‘You just need to pick up the phone, and….’

Her mind went blank. She couldn’t think of what to say next.

But her partner knew what to do. Stephanie Wiechmann jumped in and said:

“Yes! Pick up the phone now - and dial 1-800-646-1812.”

John Strauss, a Ball State University journalism instructor, is interim general manager of Indiana Public Radio and WIPB-TV, the public broadcasting stations owned by the university.

Looking back: the bus passenger column

(This is a look back at a column I did for The Indianapolis Star, posted here as part of a class discussion on opinion writing - jcs)


Bus drivers to remember a favorite passenger -- and friend

By John Strauss
The Indianapolis Star
May 2, 2003
 
Maude Bryant stood at a bus stop on East Washington Street, about to die.

Amid all the other traffic on that busy street, a speeding Chevy Blazer was headed her way.

She held a box of chicken from the restaurant across the street. She had a monthly bus pass. She probably had a pack of gum to give her bus driver, because that's what she liked to do.

It was just before 2 p.m. on Saturday.

What happened next, you may have seen in the news -- the 76-year-old woman run down on the sidewalk, and the SUV driver charged with reckless homicide and causing a traffic death while intoxicated.

This is about what happened before Saturday.

Maude was her name, but everybody called her Sam. She had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old. You could call that a deficiency, but friends saw instead the smile and enthusiasm of a happy child.

Some of her best friends were city bus drivers. She rode the bus just to have something to do sometimes, and they looked after her.

When Sam had trouble handling her money, driver Jeannie Kemerly stepped in. She organized things and put Sam on a budget, so she could live on her own and not have to go to an institution.

Sam became an honorary member of the family. Because Kemerly's three daughters had boys' nicknames -- Charlie, Oscar and George -- she wanted one, too. And that's how she became Sam.

When Kemerly died last year, one of her daughters, Cheryl Yarnell, took over as unofficial guardian, helping Sam remain independent.

On Thanksgiving and Easter, Sam could usually be found at the home of another IndyGo driver, Rhuperdia Chandler.

"I try to help everybody, but I loved Sam. She was family," Chandler said. "She loved everybody. I've never known anybody like her before."

Chandler heard about the crash while getting ready for church Sunday morning. IndyGo called her at home because police were contacting Sam's family of bus drivers trying to find the woman's real relatives.

She does have a brother and a sister. But both are in other cities and in poor health. So bus drivers were pitching in for a memorial service today.

It's at Shirley Brothers Irving Hill Chapel, 5377 E. Washington St. Visitation is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a memorial service at 7.

That's only a block from the spot where Sam died. Friends have put up some red and pink artificial flowers and a toy mouse on a utility pole.

Sam had been standing next to the pole, waiting for her bus. The impact from the Blazer knocked her 60 feet. The thought of that made it hard for Chandler to sleep this week. More than anything, she hoped that Sam didn't suffer. Maybe, she hoped, her friend never even saw the truck.

Police said the Blazer was traveling at least 51 mph -- 75 feet per second.

It went onto the sidewalk just a few feet before the pole. In other words, everything happened in a split second.

In a cloud with no silver lining, the friends of Sam had to settle for this:

She lived a good life. Then, thank God, it ended before she knew it.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

In the news: Social media and politics

Candidates go on air with final push in 2014 cycle
Associated Press
October 9, 2014

Indiana politicians are taking to the airwaves in the final weeks of the 2014 campaign season, but their efforts online may be having a bigger impact.

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Beth White and Republican Auditor Suzanne Crouch became the first statewide candidates to go on air with ads this week. In a 30-second spot, White riffs on her short stature saying, saying she would create shorter waits to vote if elected. Crouch plays on her trademark red-framed glasses in lighthearted piece.

Federal Communication Commission records show the pair bought roughly a week of airtime throughout the state, but that is likely to change in the coming weeks.

Ball State University journalism instructor John Strauss said Thursday that it's likely some campaigns are also focusing heavily on social media and online interaction. The growing power of online platforms has made it easier for campaigns to save money on air and tell their stories directly to voters.

"In a way, the campaign is covering itself on social media and its bypassing us, the media, to engage the voters increasingly where they live: online," said Strauss, a former reporter.

Potential supporters want more interaction than a television ad can provide, he said. He noted that White's ad — with its self-deprecating humor — seems geared to a younger audience that would be viewing it online.

Television advertising has long been a sign of a campaign's strength and reach. In other states, with more high-profile battles this year, the spending has been extensive. The Center for Public Integrity, working with Kantar Media Group, estimated that $430 million has been spent on-air so far in state races.

Just two years ago, in the thick of the 2012 races, ads for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat and the governor's office were a major presence.

But spending this year has been marginal. The CPI/Kantar study estimates $410,000 has been spent on-air in Indiana so far, but that amount ignores local cable spending and purchases made through Election Day.

The total spent on air by the Crouch and White was not immediately available Thursday afternoon. But Federal Communications Commission reports filed by area TV stations give an idea of how much each campaign is banking on the strategy.

For example, Crouch bought $42,350 worth of airtime on Indianapolis' WTHR through Oct. 15, while the White campaign bought $16,900 on the same station through Oct. 12. But the purchases are fluid at this point in the campaign and could be easily altered in the coming weeks.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

DN wins Gold Circles for writing, design, photos

The Ball State Daily News won 19 first place Gold Circle Awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association today, including the top prizes for news feature writing, photo story and overall design.

Overall, the newspaper took 59 Gold Circles. The first place awards for the print edition included four for photography, including two each for Taylor Irby and Jonathan Miksanek.

The newspaper’s digital work garnered first-place honors in sports for Connor Hockett, editorial writing for the staff, and to then-editor Adam Baumgartner for personal opinion: on-campus issues for his piece, “Know What You’re Worth, Don’t Settle for Less.”


List of all Daily News awards:


First-Place

N11. News feature
1. Emma Kate Fittes, Sam Hoyt and Christopher Stephens, “Fear at Purdue,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N18. Sidebar writing
1. Michael Boehnlein, Ashley Dye and Christopher Stephens, “Ferguson to Prepare with Head Start Today,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN; 

N26. Photo story
1. Taylor Irby and Corey Ohlenkamp, “How it Unfolded,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N27. Single spot news photograph
1. Taylor Irby, “Gunman Response,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N28. Single feature photograph
1.     Jonathan Miksanek, “Fencing Club,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie,

N32. Photo illustration: Portfolio of work
1. Jonathan Miksanek, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N35. Informational graphics: Portfolio of work
1. Stephanie Redding, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N38. Typography: A designed or art headline
1. Ross May, “Unreported,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N39. | N40. | N41. Overall Design
1. Staff, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N45. Page One Design Portfolio of work
1. Ross May, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N49. News Page Design Portfolio of work
1. Ross May, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N66. Photo layout: Full page
1. Daniel Brount, “After the Storm,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N71. Single Subject News or Feature Package, Single Page Design Tabloid format
1. Ross May, “Redefining Ball State,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;


Digital Media:

DM6. Editorial writing
1.     Editorial Board, “Our View: Endorsements, Editorials Do Not Affect Reporting,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM7. Personal opinion: On-campus issues
1. Adam Baumgartner, “Know What You’re Worth, Don’t Settle for Less,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;


DM12. Sports news
1.     Connor Hockett, “Scaife’s Missed Free Throws Sinks Ball State Against Buffalo,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;


All Daily News Gold Circles:

“These awards reflect entries produced between June 16, 2013 through June 10, 2014. Because CSPA dates its awards by the year in which they are given, they are known as the 2014 Gold Circle Awards for Newspapers.”

N5. Personal opinion: Off-campus issues
CM. Ashley Dye, “Calm Discussion, Not Arguments, Creates Change, Broadens Views,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N8. First person experience
CM. Evie Lichtenwalter, “Prognosis Unknown: I have Cancer But Don’t Get Weird,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N10. Sports features
CM. David Polaski, “I’ve Made It a Long Way,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Matt McKinney, “Former Muncie Standout Returns,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N11. News feature
1. Emma Kate Fittes, Sam Hoyt and Christopher Stephens, “Fear at Purdue,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Emma Kate Fittes, Sam Hoyt and Steven Williams, “I Miss Him, But the Tears are Gone,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N12. Personality profile
3. Emma Kate Fittes, “Defining Ball State,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N14. Entertainment reviews
CM. Ashley Dye, “The Dyssertation Drama Tells Diverse, Unheard Narratives,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N18. Sidebar writing
1. Michael Boehnlein, Ashley Dye and Christopher Stephens, “Ferguson to Prepare with Head Start Today,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N26. Photo story
1. Taylor Irby and Corey Ohlenkamp, “How it Unfolded,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
3. Corey Ohlenkamp, “After the Storm,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Brittany Overstreet, “Saying Goodbye,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N27. Single spot news photograph
1. Taylor Irby, “Gunman Response,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Breanna Daugherty, “Dance Marathon,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Breanna Daugherty, “Unity March,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N28. Single feature photograph
1. Jonathan Miksanek, “Fencing Club,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
3. Breanna Daugherty, “Game of Foam,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N31. Photo illustration
2. Jonathan Miksanek, “Elevator,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
3. Jonathan Miksanek, “Dumpster Dining,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N32. Photo illustration: Portfolio of work
1. Jonathan Miksanek, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N34. Informational graphics
2. Stephanie Redding, “Campus: Redefined,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Erika Espinoza, “Beauty in Proportions,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N35. Informational graphics: Portfolio of work
1. Stephanie Redding, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N38. Typography: A designed or art headline
1. Ross May, “Unreported,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Staff, “58 Faces of Facebook,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Lauren Chapman, “What Happened Last Night?” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Ashley Downing, “Hands On,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N39. | N40. | N41. Overall Design
1. Staff, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N42. | N43. | N44. Page One Design
CM. Ross May, “How it unfolded,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N45. Page One Design Portfolio of work
1. Ross May, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
2. Lauren Chapman, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N46. | N47. | N48. News Page Design
CM. Michael Boehnlein and Matt McKinney, “Paul W. Ferguson,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Ross May, “Doma: Supreme Court Avoids Broader Prop 8 Ruling,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N49. News Page Design Portfolio of work
1. Ross May, The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

N58. | N59. | N60. Feature Page Design
CM. Michael Bowhnlein, “Eddie Izzard,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N62. | N63. | N64. Sports Page Design
2. Katie Miller, “Combine Competition,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N66. Photo layout: Full page
1. Daniel Brount, “After the Storm,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N71. Single Subject News or Feature Package, Single Page Design Tabloid format
1. Ross May, “Redefining Ball State,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

N75. | N76. | N77. Single Subject News or Feature Package, Two Pages, Double-truck or Special Section Design Tabloid format
CM. Staff, “Defining Ball State,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;


Digital Media 

"These awards reflect entries produced between November 2, 2012 through November 1, 2013. Because CSPA dates its awards by the year in which they are given, they are given, they are known as the 2014 Gold Circle Awards for Digital Media."

DM1. Breaking news
2. Staff, “SGA President Posts Derogatory Tweets,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM3. News writing
2. Emma Kate Fittes, “University, County Officials Encourage Students, Residents to Take Preventative Measures,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Benjamin Dashley, “A ‘Stunning’ Existence,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

DM4. News feature
2. Anna Ortiz, “BSU Student Shares Her Experience of Being Homeless in College,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM5. In-depth news/feature story
CM. Rachel Podnar, “No Reported Hate Crimes May Not Be Whole Story, Officials Say,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM6. Editorial writing
1. Editorial Board, “Our View: Endorsements, Editorials Do Not Affect Reporting,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
2. Editorial Board, “Our View: SGA Does Matter,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Editorial Board, “Our View: Gora’s Successor has Much to Prove,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

DM7. Personal opinion: On-campus issues
1. Adam Baumgartner, “Know What You’re Worth, Don’t Settle for Less,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM8. Personal opinion: Off-campus issues
CM. Nathan Brown, “Underemployment Rates Shouldn’t Scare Students From Getting College Degrees,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

DM9. General or humor commentary
2. Kelly Dickey, “Similarities Between 9/11, Boston Gives Me a Sense of Lost Innocence Again,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

DM10. First person experience
2. Adam Baumgartner, “Know What You’re Worth, Don’t Settle for Less,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM12. Sports news
1. Connor Hockett, “Scaife’s Missed Free Throws Sinks Ball State Against Buffalo,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
3. Steven Williams, “Ball State’s Shondell Agrees to Contract Extension,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM15. General feature
CM. Dakota Crawford, “Athlete Gives Account of Storm in Oklahoma,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM16. Entertainment reviews
2. Ashley Dye, “‘Orange is the New Black’ Provides Diverse, Untold Prison Stories,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Steven Williams, “Prince Avalance Succeeds By Doing More with Less,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM26. Single spot news photograph
2. Marcey Burton, “Student Government Association Vice President-elect Reacts,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;
CM. Bobby Ellis, “David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey Laugh,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

DM28. Single sports photograph
CM. Jordan Huffer, “Basketball - Kamieniecki,” The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University, Muncie, IN;

-30-

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Editors: Journalism fundamentals still key

An online survey of journalists from around the world shows a strong interest in website video production, but also a concern that people in the profession maintain fundamental skills in writing and reporting.

“We need clear, concise, accurate content,” one editor wrote when asked what skills are needed for content creators.

 “I'm getting new grads who think that because it goes online it doesn't have to follow rules of grammar and punctuation. Lots of sloppy copy.”

The results are from an informal survey in July of our LinkedIn group, Online Reporters and Editors, which has more than 34,000 members. The participants responded to an email sent to all members. Of 510 who responded, 363 identified themselves as working in news, and about half of the news personnel said they were editors responsible for the work of others.

The responses came from more than three dozen U.S. states and 40 countries.

Sixty percent of the news respondents said they worked solely in online news operations. Seventeen percent said they worked in radio or television, and 40 percent said they did at least some work for newspapers.

Virtually all of those in the survey, more than 90 percent, said they were regularly posting text stories online.

Only about a third of the journalists said they regularly post video content, and of those, people who said they worked at newspapers were nearly as likely to post video as those who worked solely online – 32 percent and 35 percent respectively.

Asked to rank specific skills in order of value to their newsrooms, the journalists placed writing first (92 percent called it a “critical” skill), followed by “Running a desk, ability to direct the work of others” (52 percent critical).

Fifty-nine percent called video production an important skill, with 24 percent describing video skills as critical.

Just over half the editors said they are hiring content creators in the next year. Seventy-eight percent said video is a part of their news operations, and 39 percent called it a critical part.

Asked to describe the top skills needed for news content producers, many editors listed accuracy, clear writing, attention to detail and news judgment.

One said, “These are the skills I find are most necessary for those who work in our digital newsroom: The ability to work quickly and accurately. The ability to develop original ideas and see them through to produce content -- stories and/or video.  Source development, which is often sorely lacking these days.”

Responding in the survey’s open comments section, many of the editors said staffers should be comfortable working with different forms of media.

“They need to have a solid knowledge of HTML,” one wrote. “They need a solid knowledge of other technological tools that are standard components of our daily work.”

“Reporters should be able to complete simple (video) edits, have reasonable cameras and good audio,” another said. “They should have the ability to report and tell a compelling story using different media (text, photo, video, etc.) for various platforms (web, social, broadcast, external partner website, etc.)”

More than one noted the changing economics of news had created a sense of urgency.

“They need an eagerness to produce,” one wrote.

“Budgets are slashed. Staffs are skeletal. Vendors are taking our place with their advertorial that passes for ‘content.’ The barbarians are at the gates. If we don't produce, the mission fails.”

- John Strauss, johncstrauss@gmail.com

Friday, June 20, 2014

Students help train editorial, advertising staffers



So Juli Metzger, Tim Underhill, five editors from the Daily News and I had a great time yesterday doing a mobile video seminar for reporters, editors and advertising reps.

This was for the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation. The very nice Karen Braeckel, the foundation's executive director, had some kind words in an email today:

"Congratulations on a job well-done. You and your team made a lot of people happy as you did an amazing job of teaching a new skill in a day."

This was for three dozen folks - as far away as Princeton in western Indiana and The Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster. The Smart Video and Mobile Money seminars were designed for editorial and advertising personnel respectively. We taught both groups how to use the Voddio editing app for iPhones.

The DN editors served as teaching assistants. Everybody loved them, including Karen.

"The students played a great role in assisting the attendees in a courteous, professional manner," she said. "No question seemed too simple."

Juli produced a video (above) that caught the flavor of the conference:

Ninety five percent of attendees who responded in an online satisfaction survey said they would recommend the training for others

"I had an awesome day and am so thankful for this learning experience," one said in the survey comments.

Another called the program "very challenging and engaging. Nice balance of teaching skills focused for both beginners and advanced video professionals."

"It's a lot of information to take in," another wrote. "But I liked that we got to shoot and edit our own video while we were here. That helped the most with learning to think through the process."

The team produced two conference blogs for editorial and advertising attendees to post examples of their practice work. Also on the blogs is a video recap from Strauss covering the essentials of the video software training.

Forty percent of the attendees arrived with little or no experience in editing video.

"I came in with very little experience in broadcasting and video," one wrote. "I left knowing tons more about each for a low price. This was well worth the money, time, and drive! I would love to come back."

Karen called the conference a good pilot project and said she would like to expand the training to two days, including one for video neophytes who might need more assistance.

She echoed the comments of many attendees who found the school's new Unified Media Lab a great place for the training:

"The facility is beautiful," she said.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ball State wins eight Emmys

Ball State University has won eight regional Emmy Awards for excellence, including three by the Sports Link student production unit and others dealing with farming, classic automobiles and the Midwest.

Sports Link photographer Christopher Renkel won a Video Journalist Emmy for the piece "Finding Refuge." The production group and instructor Chris Taylor also won the Newscast and Live Event categories.

Also winning were projects from the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Garret Brubaker and Dan Edwards won Editing Emmys for their work on “Down to Earth: Small Farm Issues in a Big Farm World.”

Kayla Sprayue won an award for Director-Post Production for, “Legacies of Perfection: Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg” about the former Indiana car manufacturers.

Telecommunications instructor Chris Flook won two awards, for animation and editing, for his work on “Miracle on 34th Street” and a segment on the Midwest Restoration Festival. Graduate student Kayla Eiler won for directing the festival segment.

The awards were presented by the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, which includes markets from Erie, Pennsylvania, through Cleveland, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Lima, Indianapolis, and Bloomington.

The awards were presented Saturday June 7 at the Cleveland Convention Center.
  
Ball State Emmy winners from www.nataslgl.org


    Crafts: Editor - Program. Down to Earth: Small Farm Issues in a Big Farm World. Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Garret Brubaker and Dan Edwards, Editors.
    Crafts: Video Journalist. Finding Refuge. Ball State Sports Link. Christopher Renkel, Photographer.
    Crafts: Director - Post Production. Legacies of Perfection: Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg. Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Kayla Sprayue, Director.
    Student: Newscast & Information. Ball State Sports Link: 3rd Down Chirp. Ball State Sports Link. Chris Taylor, Instructor.
    Student: Sports - Live Event. Ball State Sports Link: Men's Volleyball vs. Loyola. Ball State Sports Link. Chris Taylor, Instructor.
    Crafts: Graphics/Animation. Miracle on 34th Street. Ball State University. Chris Flook, Animator/Motionographer.
    Crafts: Audio. Down to Earth: Small Farm Issues in a Big Farm World. Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Garret Brubaker, Dan Edwards, and Sam Noble, Audio Technicians.
    Lifestyle Program - Feature/Segment. Midwest Restoration Festival. Ball State University. Kayla Eiler, Director, and Chris Flook, Editor.
      
      - John Strauss, jcstrauss@bsu.edu


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Saying goodbye to your dog


We've lost our dog Zeke. He was a great buddy to us for 14 years, remembered for getting himself into a few adventures.

One night he showed up at the front door with a possum in his mouth. The critter was still alive. Zeke found him again two nights later and brought him back. One day he tangled with a raccoon in the back yard - just wanting to play with a new friend, we think.

He loved to swim and go for walks. I shot a lot of video with him. In this one, set to the movie music of "White Fang," my thought was that every dog probably thinks of himself as a heroic protector of his family - if only the people would let him off the leash.

Zeke passed away last Monday. That hurt, but if you've ever thought about getting a pet I'd urge you to do it. The animals need homes (Zeke came from the Humane Society), and you may find a "forever friend."




Zeke could be very patient with silly humans, including this time when I passed him off as a descendant of Albert Einstein's dog "Schmoopie"....