Invisible, but makes an impact

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April 4, 2014 by aderenczau

Have you ever heard the saying, “we don’t watch the news, we listen to it.”?

When you think about it, it is true. We commonly put on the news to serve as background noise while we are preoccupied with something else.

Our eyes don’t take in the news, but our ears do.

I have come across some great stories in the news while doing this.

Recently, I have found three that stick out to me for this reason. The sounds and sights entrap you.

The first story is about one of my favorite teams, the Hershey Bears. I have been going to games in Hershey before I could walk.

The team’s history is just like the chocolate made a few yards away: rich.

In 2002, they played their final game in their old arena, the Hersheypark Arena. That 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Phantoms capped off a 66 year run in that old barn. A barn that I loved.

My first story is a piece that was done about the final game.

This piece was done by ABC 27, a local Pennsylvania station.

Every story has a beginning, middle and end. It’s only logical that a story has these three elements. This story is no different. The videographer decides to tell this piece from the pregame (beginning), game (middle) and after the final horn (end).

Before I get started, I would like to mention that the videographer takes us on a quest of the final night in a historic venue and to show the love for the arena by all that passed through its doors. It is safe to say that the videographer hooks you and develops the story by the use of sights and sounds. Let me explain.

We begin the piece by showing pregame festivities. By this I mean we have people entering the arena, players getting ready for the game, workers getting the arena ready for the game and many other last minute touches. The videographer doesn’t just show us these things happen, this person goes into extreme detail by getting up close and personal to pick up natural sound.

They hook us by getting natural sound of the players taping their sticks before the game, they get the radio announcers talking about how it is the final game, they get an interview with the Zamboni driver while he is on the Zamboni before he goes onto the ice. The soundbites this videographer gets are mainly of people telling their thoughts of the arena.

Next we have the final puck drop.

What I love here is how the videographer puts a journalism rule to use. If you hear it, you should see it.

This person goes into the crowd to capture fans reactions during the game. There is a point where a tight shot of a woman yelling “get him!” is heard, and the next thing we see is a guy getting checked into the boards. That sequencing works perfectly. Mixed throughout this are soundbites from fans about their thoughts about the arena.

The empty net goal in hockey is one of my favorite things to watch. Even though the net is empty, I still find it exciting. Going with this, the videographer gets Hershey scoring the final goal in the arena on an empty-netter. Like a chain reaction, the crowd and radio booth goes wild. All of this is captured by the videographer.

After the empty-netter, we are taken to the final seconds of the arena. How do we know this? We hear “5, 4, 3, 2 1!” yelled out by the crowd with alternating tight-shots of the scoreboard and fans.

Now we move onto the postgame wrap-up. The arena has held its last game. People will now leave the arena for the last time. As they pass through the doors one final time, we hear more memories of the people. Most people are excited for the new Giant Center, and others will miss the old arena. Mixed throughout this are tight-shots of routine objects such as the row marker on the arm rest of a seat, or a piece of ribbon on the ground. This helps drive the piece home.

But what really does it for me is the last image. That is a commemorative Hersheypark Arena cup on the ground with the Zamboni in the background cleaning the ice for the final time. The cup represents the arena. It is empty, and it will never be used the same again.

There are so many things I can say about this piece, but the visuals and sounds make me feel like I was at the game. This was a game that I would’ve done anything to go to. Making you wish you were there is what makes this piece so effective. There were many other people in my shoes who wanted to go to this game, but this piece did us a justice.

I gained an immense care and respect for this videographer. I wish I knew their name, but I guess I will learn soon. The time and care put into this piece to get all of these sounds is simply amazing. I am very impressed by this work.

From every piece that I look at, I try to find things that I would like to incorporate into my work. This piece is no different. I would like to do what this videographer did by taking ordinary objects like a cup, and frame them to look very dramatic. I feel that these types of shots set a piece apart.

My next piece comes from a former University of Missouri student named Kyle Stokes.

Kyle does a piece on a blacksmith festival.

One of the many things that inspired me about this piece was that Kyle was in my shoes at one point, and he turned out this great piece of work. It has me excited for the future.

As I watched (listened) to this piece, I couldn’t help but get pulled into the nat sounds and soundbites that he used.

The sound of the hammer striking the hot piece of iron, the corn getting grinded off the cob and the wood getting trimmed pulls me in and hearing these things would attract me to this story if I were to hear/see it.

Along with the sounds are his compelling clips. Seeing the close-ups of all the interactive things really drive home the story.

In other words, the sights and sounds work as a unit to make you comprehend how sacred some take this tradition. Hearing and seeing this made me want to keep watching.

As stated before, Kyle was in my shoes at one point. To me, he is a journalism hero. He inspires me. Seeing what he is able to accomplish makes me want to do this type of work.

He accomplishes this by telling a compelling story through his combination of visuals and sounds. It is obvious he did what any great journalist does before going out on a story, and that is plan out the story. His planning led to this great work.

When he planned this story, he had a angle he wanted to take with it, and that was to bring people a story about festival and art that not many get to see. As stated before, he uses his visuals and sounds such as the hammer on the iron to make you realize the gravity of this art, and to hopefully sway you to check it out.

Kyle has done a great job of keeping our attention throughout the story, but he can’t lose in the end. He doesn’t. He keeps until the end with one of his interviews.

Throughout the piece, he interviews one of the men who works the blacksmith festival and holds the tradition very sacred. He livens up the story with his anecdotes about his work. That is how we end the piece. Characters always grab our attention, and that happens in this instance with this man. This was just the extra needed to like this piece.

Just like my first piece, I found something that I wanted to take away from this piece. I was blown away of how Kyle set up his interview with the character on his tractor. He has him framed perfectly. Rule of thirds is accomplished, but it also keeps the interview subject at ease so he can talk and provide good bites.

I want to incorporate this into my work. Not only does it look good, but it will help lead to some good sound in my piece.

My last piece comes from a student who goes to a school that is close to me in Maryland. That school is Salisbury University. A school known for their lacrosse finds themselves famous for an unusual club that is highlighted in this piece.

Qudditch. A sport that was made famous by the Harry Potter movies has a club team at Salisbury, and student, Stephen Waldron did a piece on them.

Right off the bat, the sounds of the piece help explain the club and what the sport is. It is very obvious by that. The interviews with the players also help accomplish this as they give their own insights and minor stories regarding the game.

What was lacking here was visuals. The shots that were used were not visually appealing. They really do not add anything to the piece. There were many instances where tight-shots of players faces during the game could’ve been used, or close-up of the hoops and the ball going in would’ve been nice.

Honestly, the lack of visuals take away from the piece making it ineffective.

Although that the story was lacking on the visual front, Stephen is still able to accomplish a story arc, by making it a goal to shed some light on a group that is on campus. He mainly gets this done through his sounds, but the visuals are too basic. When I see this, I lose interest in the piece.

He develops this story by having team members share stories about the sport and how some people think of it in a bad way. It puts things into perspective.

I admire Stephen for going out and telling a story about this unusual group. It is these kind of stories that show versatility as a journalist. You can come up with a good story with these kind of pieces.

Therefore, he earns some points in the hero column.

Along with earning some points in the hero column, Stephen earns points in the ending as well. He ends on a tight-shot of the ball and one of the players talking about you should try quidditch before you say you hate it. I like how he ends that.

He ends on a true note, and in a way that makes the viewer want to go and give it a shot.

Seeing Stephen’s piece made me want to go and cover an unusual group like this to try and get a good story. There is always potential in groups like these.

All in all, three pieces that do not have a reporter, but three stories that tell a story with their visuals and sounds. Gotta love journalism right?



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