NCT Feature: Audio, Video, and Photography

For my audio portion of the feature, I interviewed UW-Whitewater communications professor Amal Ibrahim and Pulaski High School alumnus Cheryl Gensler. Ibrahim has been teaching for a couple of decades and comes from a background where new communication technologies were nowhere near as advanced as they are today. In her earlier days of teaching, equipment was very big and editing was very time-consuming. Nowadays, everything is much faster and there are many varieties of software updates it seems every semester. Ibrahim told me that while technologies have helped out her teaching style significantly, she still looks forward to seeing her students every class because she simply prefers teaching them face-to-face. Gensler graduated from Pulaski High School in the early ’90s and had to use typewriters for homework. I asked her what current technology she wished she could’ve had in her day, and she somewhat surprisingly told me that she really misses going to the library and actually reading a hard-covered book. She wishes her two kids still follow with what she did during her school days but realizes that it’s impossible for that to happen. Gensler told me she is skeptical of all of these technologies one day going away and wants to make sure that there are always thousands of hard-covered books stocked on hundreds of shelves in the library.

For my video portion of the feature, I interviewed two UW-W students as well as journalism professor Dr. Keith Zukas. The first student I interviewed was accounting and information technology double major Kayla Williams. She told me she always grew up with a computer in the house mostly because of her father’s job. On some days, she could come home early from school and do research on her computer at home. As far as her double major goes, accountants and IT individuals essentially feast on new communication technologies in order to do their jobs. Williams told me for the IT side that technologies nowadays have really helped the quickness of data entry. The second student I talked to was electronic media major and video production assistant Richard Houcque, who uses a lot of the editing software programs on-campus to do his video projects. He told me the Adobe platform is one of the “premiere editing tools” for him and claims that if was not for the editing lab on the UW-W campus, it would be impossible for him to do any of his work. Dr. Zukas, in addition to teaching journalism classes on-campus, is the adviser for the Royal Purple and realizes just how much new technologies are changing the journalism industry. He told me despite the challenges journalists are facing from NCTs, including how everyone can be their own journalist nowadays, various forms of news content has actually been increasing over the last couple of years. He told me in order for these increasing subscription rates to continue, Zukas noted that journalists need to keep doing their jobs the right way and ultimately reaching as many readers/viewers as possible. (

My photography section essentially combined content from the audio, video, and text portions of the feature. I included a similar story and all of my sources in the photography part. The only difference was obviously the variety of shots I used. In order to do so, I took roughly an hour of my time walking around campus and taking as many shots necessary for my story. I visited Hyland Hall, Heide, the Royal Purple newsroom and the UWWTV station. I took a couple of pictures in some of my classes as well mainly to get a human aspect into the feature. 

While doing all aspects of the feature took a lot of time for me to complete, I was happy in the end just to see my hard work done. Everything ultimately paid off for me too because I received a good overall grade on the project.

NCT Feature: The Domestication Nature of New Communication Technologies in UW-Whitewater and Schools Alike

Imagine you are in a traditional class at a high school or college in 1988. You are sitting at a small, wooden desk looking at the chalkboard being used by your instructor, who is probably sporting big hair or a mullet. You are surrounded by about 20 classmates trying to hand-write as many notes as possible before being erased by your instructor. No laptops, screens, smartphones or any other forms of technologies at your disposal.

“We had [the portable cell phone],” Cheryl Gensler said, who attended Pulaski High School in Milwaukee in the early ‘90s. “It was almost like a purse, so we had that.”

If you were going to write a paper, you used this gigantic, heavy object where if you made a mistake, would require you to start over again.

“We had manual typewriters where we had to do our homework,” Gensler said. “We didn’t have any saves or flash drives or anything like that. Basically everything was either handwritten or typed on a typewriter.”

Now imagine being in the exact same classroom today. The desks are still small but no longer wooden, your instructor either has short or long hair, and you are looking at a screen with a bunch of words on it for you to either write or type. Laptops, screens, smartphones, or other technology forms are in every single person’s possession.

It is perceived nowadays that a classroom without any forms of these technologies is abnormal.

Well, that is something we call domestication.

New communication technologies are now the norm in schools. Instructors will more likely than not teach their classes via PowerPoint or some other digital format. Laptops are essentially required to pass a course.

And to see how new communication technologies have changed in schools from the late 20th century to the early 21st century is remarkable.

The transformation of these technologies has also made it easier for many professors to teach their classes.

UW-Whitewater communications instructor Amal Ibrahim has been teaching since technologies in schools were seen at one point as extraordinary. She teaches a variety of video production classes on the UW-W campus, and says new communication technologies are nothing short of beneficial.

“Especially if we’re talking about production classes, then technologies is for sure transformed this for the best,” Ibrahim said. “I started with times where equipment was huge, quality was horrible, [and] editing was very time consuming. And I saw through the years how all of these are just changing our experience, the number of projects you can do, the things that students can learn [and] the skills can they have. It’s just definitely a blessing.”

The evolution of new communication technologies has also had a huge effect on teaching journalism and the journalism field itself. Digital media stories are more popular than ever, whether they are on a newspaper’s website or social media platform.

“Those [technologies] are especially important,” UW-Whitewater journalism professor Dr. Keith Zukas said. “Media workers in the industry now need to navigate a lot of these new technologies so they can be successful and on the cutting edge as new technologies emerge.”

Zukas realizes that there are a lot of people from the older generation who will still refrain to read news stories in front of a screen. Perhaps it is because of what they grew up with, but Zukas thinks that these new technologies will only get more common for journalism students and journalists in the field.

“I think that’s a great thing about coming to a four-year school is that students get an education about media industry, and that helps us look to the future as well,” Zukas said. “But the old ones don’t fade away either. They find new markets, they find niche markets, and the beauty actually of the Internet because there’s a relatively low barrier to entry…everyone can access it.”

Perceptions of new technologies in schools nowadays are probably either enjoying the technological change or just going with it. Gensler is one example of someone that is allowing the technology to take her wherever she goes, despite having her skepticisms of not only herself but for her two kids, who are in high school and middle school, respectively.

“I think there’s a lot of things pushed as far as opinion,” Gensler said. “Sometimes kids nowadays tend to feed off of things like that instead of maybe even figuring what their own opinion would be.”

Not only is Gensler concerned of poor media influence from the variety of technological platforms, but she also misses the traditional ways of studying in the library.

Most school libraries still have thousands of books stocked into several shelves, but because of how much the Internet has changed research methods for students, libraries would probably not succeed as much if students did not carry their laptops with them.

The domestic change of technologies in school libraries is just another factor Gensler is concerned of.

“They [my kids] have the library at their school, but it’s so easy for them now to pick up their technology,” Gensler said. “It’s just one thing I would like them to know is what happened if all this stuff went away? Now where do we go? Oh look there’s a book…I just want them to experience that.”

New technologies vanishing sometime in the future might be a possibility, but it is not all bad. It has rather inspired others to make a push for their career paths.

UW-Whitewater offers a variety of majors, minors and occupations directly related to using new technologies to the fullest to succeed. Many students alike and a couple in particular have taken this career path simply because of the uniqueness of these technologies.

Junior accounting and information technology double major Kayla Williams her whole life has been around an iMac, where she could do her own research and experiments at home.

“I wasn’t someone that had to stay at school and do extra research,” Williams said. “But then it was also the different educational games that I was able to do extra in my learning.”

Williams acknowledges that she is not completely familiar with IT, but ultimately decided to add it to her accounting major simply because of her prior experience with computers.

“I just know the different context of ERP systems, so it’s just a giant system,” Williams said. “And that’s what the majority of people are switching to now because of how much data it stores.”

Accounting, though, has been Williams’ interest ever since attending UW-W. She really enjoys the fact that accounting firms are using these technologies in a variety of ways and thinks it benefits everyone.

“Something as simple as using Google just throughout their whole companies for communicating the Google Doc concept of multiple people being able to use it,” Williams said. “Firms are now looking at that as, ‘Oh. Now we can do just everything at the same time.’”

Another major directly targeting the domestication of new communication technologies is electronic media, something senior Richard Houcque plans to get a degree in. Houcque is also a video production assistant for the UW-W marketing and media relations department and loves using cameras to give meaning to life.

“Life goes by really fast,” Houcque said. “So if I can look through those moments through a lens, I can have the power to slow those moments down. And by slowing it down just enough I have the power to inspire and move people with my production.”

But making a video production is a tedious process. It takes a variety of thought, research, creativity and flexibility to produce about a two or three-minute long video.

Being the video production assistant he is, Houcque frequently goes through this process and thanks to his years of experience, it is all worth it for him.

“Basically the steps are good preparation and kind of envisioning what the final product will look like,” Houcque said. “It takes a while. But with repetition, it works.”

With new communication technologies changing the lifestyles of students and professors, it is very clear that these technologies have domesticated the ways schools function, for better or for worse.

Some professors love that it helps advance their teaching experience. Some students love that it helps determine what their hopeful future will look like.

Others are fearful that new technologies are encapsulating too much out of student’s educational lives and rather prefer them to use traditional forms of learning.

But whether you like it or not, the show will continue to go on. Domestication of new technologies in schools is very real, and will continue to be until maybe a new innovation overtakes it in the future.

For schools right now, it is just the beginning.




Feature writing lecture

Before doing our huge feature story projects, we had a lecture on feature writing as a reminder of what is different between a feature and a traditional news story. As a BPW journalism major, I already had some background knowledge and experience doing features either for class or the Royal Purple. But the lecture gave us a good overview of what makes up a quality feature.

Features are not a news story, but can be inspired by a news story. It has at its heart, human interest and takes advantage of an expanded set of language and narrative strategies. A lot of feature stories are founded on creativity. Reporters must look for a different angle when setting up and writing features, otherwise your proposed feature probably isn’t one. Doing features also involve creative use of words, informs the public of an aspect of human life that escapes hard news, being subjective, is imperishable, and examines trends.

My feature was about how new communication technologies are changing schools, for better or for worse. Everyone knows that technology has become a large part of our society. A lot of the hard news stories revolving around technology are the latest inventions or developments of a technology. The most common example is the smartphone, and many media outlets write stories about what the latest smartphone is and what is different compared to previous phones. For my story, schools over the years have had to adapt to new technologies just in order to ensure continuing high-quality education. This interests a lot of people, particularly students and current professors because a lot of them have gone through this experience. Technologies in schools have been an ongoing trend for a long time, and I wanted to capture as many feature story qualities as possible in order to ensure myself and the public a very unique story.

Meme presentations

Our group’s meme presentation was on the Krusty Krab vs. Chum Bucket meme. It’s about a debate between two things, ideas, or people in which one is the Krusty Krab, or the better option of the two, and the Chum Bucket, the worst option of the two. The meme went viral in late March after the “Angry Patrick” meme. The KK vs. Chum Bucket unsurprisingly gained significant popularity on Twitter and went viral for about a month. People love being correct about something, particularly in a debate, which was one of the several reasons why this meme became so popular. Some of the KK vs. Chum Bucket arguments included: Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James, Fortnite vs. PubG, PS4 vs. Xbox One, Packers vs. Bears, and pancakes vs. waffles.

I covered the online meme communities section of our presentation, which talked about where and why the meme spread. I’ve already mentioned that the meme started on Twitter, but quickly spread to other social media sites. The reason why the KK vs. Chum Bucket went viral so fast is because of the power of new communication technologies. Twitter and other social media sites keep domesticating our society, which invokes a higher participatory culture for a lot of people. The presence the meme had on Twitter allowed the ability for users to share and interact the meme and their opinions, which in turn gives those users more personal gratification and pride. Due to the many different ways individuals can photo edit nowadays, this meme in particular is very easy to photo edit.

Creating and sharing our meme presentation was undoubtedly one of my favorite projects this semester. We were all interested in doing the project from the start and had a good time creating and sharing it with the class. We all got a good grade too which tops it all.

Personal Technology Essay

We are living in a generation where digital technology is at an all-time high. Its swift transformation throughout the last decade has domesticated society, leaving us with no other choice with the exception of how to adapt and utilize these technologies on a regular basis. Perhaps because of luck, I was born directly into this new generation and have always found it relatively easy using these new technologies. It is not that I was born directly into the smartphone age however, as flip cell phones and desktop computers were the basis of our society at that time. Flash forward to now where most, if not our entire day consists of looking at a screen of some sort, whether it would be a smartphone, laptop, or television. With my experience to previous technologies before this generation, I adapted relatively quickly to the new major technologies that has ever since consumed my lifestyle.

Beginning with the obvious, one form of new technology I use many times within just one hour of the day is my iPhone 7. My first iPhone was the 5s that I got for Christmas about three and a half years ago before finally switching to a newer one last September. Like many other forms of new technology, I adapted to it and had very little trouble doing so. It was that Christmas night where the iPhone 5s transformed the ways I regularly communicate with others and just how my overall lifestyle works. The impact my 5s had on my life back then is the same, if not even more prevalent with the 7 I have currently. The 7 almost automatically places me into this enormous participatory culture to converge with whoever I want to at any time or place of the day. I can text, Snapchat, tweet or Facebook with multiple people at one time for a couple minutes, or in some cases, a couple hours. Not only do I interact in this fashion, but if I want to Google search someone or something, I can do it within 10 seconds with the power in the palm of my hand. In short summary, my iPhone 7 essentially controls almost all aspects of my life and how I manage it. That is unless I am communicating with others in-person, attending class or an event, or driving. Even then, however, I still sometimes check my social media or something else on my iPhone in most of these cases, except while I’m driving, of course.

Some people argue that new technologies are making us lonelier than ever because of the amount of people who are extremely engaged to their smartphones. To a degree, that is arguably true especially if someone does not have many go-to contacts or networks. However, with the amount of people using smartphones nowadays and the number of apps to go with them makes it almost impossible to not have at least a few go-to contacts, unless if someone does not have a smartphone at all. Someone who does not personally communicate with more than 10 to 15 people, like me, probably still have go-to apps that gets them engaged in a very large, interconnected universe. However, if I am in a close distance with my roommates, new technologies make us less lonely because I could find something very fascinating on my Facebook app and either show it or explain it to one or all my roommates to hopefully generate a conversation.

As I mentioned in the introduction, I was basically born into computers and have been all too familiar with them ever since I first used one. In my younger days when gigantic desktop computers were the norm, I would primarily use one to play games on it until Facebook and Twitter became a huge deal. For a long time, I would check my Facebook or Twitter on a slimmer desktop computer or laptop because I did not have an iPhone at that point in time. That obviously changed at the very second I got an iPhone. Nowadays, I use my laptop for mainly school-related purposes, whether it would be writing a paper, reading an article, emailing a source, or checking my grades. My laptop altogether has come in handy for me on multiple occasions and has helped me pass all my classes.

Laptops are basically the only way to successfully get through college. While most exams take place in class, almost, if not every single course requires me to write papers which usually amount to a good chunk of my overall grade. If I decide to go to the library, I guarantee you my laptop will be with me. If I go to a study session, there is a good chance I will bring my laptop with me. I am not saying it is bad with how laptops are changing college, but it is just the way it is which again goes back to how new technologies have domesticated our society. Some classes even have online exams for various reasons at the professor’s discretion, and maybe in the future all exams will be online. Whatever happens, it all goes back to how these new technologies, and in this case, computers, have effectively domesticated society and college.

I am a huge sports fan, and because of that passion I am hoping to be a sports writer or broadcaster in the future. When I am watching sports, basically all new forms of technology are used to display the game. The most commonly used platform for watching sports is still the TV, but that norm is gradually drifting away from the TV to our smartphones and other smaller devices. For me, I primarily use the TV simply because it is the easiest way to catch and engage with the action. However, if I miss a game or highlight from that game, I can check YouTube where that highlight will most likely be for me to catch up on. If I am a passenger in the car and a Bucks game is on, I am intrigued every time to check the live stream on my phone at the expense of my data usage simply for the visual entertainment of the action. The radio is somewhat helpful for me, but I do not visually know what is going on besides the score, which is obviously the most important part. However, I still like to see what is going on, whether it would be on the TV or live stream. The sports world in general is only getting larger now because of the aforementioned way new technologies are expanding their platforms for sports games to be presented on. Some people are concerned about why a lot of sports games ratings have been decreasing for the last few years, but one big reason why that is the case is because of how many technological platforms sports games are available on currently. Of course there are many other factors why sports ratings are going down, but new technological expansion is a major reason why. All of this goes to show of the various forms of new technology of how sports games are being presented to us on a regular basis and how it is rapidly changing the way we interact with sports.

Semester Recap

Looking back at this semester, we covered a lot of content but I learned a lot along the way as well. Coming into this class, I knew the basics of new communication technologies because they have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. But I was quite interested in the many ways NCTs impacts our society, both positively and negatively. I think the most important takeaway from everything discussed in-class and the readings is NCTs are continuing to rapidly domesticate our society. These technologies are the norm and almost everyone would not be able to get around nowadays if it wasn’t for NCTs. While these technologies are slowly but surely isolating individuals from each other, we have become so reliant on them that they have become a second universe for us. This was the topic for my NCT project except it only talked about the impact in schools, particularly at UW-W. During my project, I learned quite a lot of truly how much this university is adapting to these technologies in order to ensure high quality teaching and learning.

I really enjoyed doing the group presentations because not only did they give us the opportunity to know some of our classmates even more, but it kept us engaged in whatever topic we chose for that presentation. The presentations in addition gave us a chance to preach our extended knowledge of NCTs and how the content shared from the readings and class discussions connected to the presentation. I enjoyed working on all presentations, but my favorite was the memes. I think it’s obvious all of us enjoy memes because most of them are hilarious and is fun to talk to friends to. All of the presentations were well done, informative, and got a laugh out of the class once in a while.

But I can’t forget that all of this wouldn’t be possible if Dr. Wachanga wasn’t teaching this class. His background knowledge of this field, and also his comedic moments, I think kept the class interested during all discussions because we heavily relate to this stuff. No matter the topic Dr. W talked about, I remember at least one person always voluntarily participating without him asking because that one person wanted to get something off their chest. Not to mention how many times the class laughed because Dr. W said something funny to keep the class focused. The first things I remember is him bringing up Soulja Boy when discussing memes or how gold diggers are changing globalization. While funny and relatable to the class, they made sense in regards to what we talked about.

As I complete my research paper and move on from this course, I will surely be remembering some of the things we covered. I think it’s important for us to know this stuff because if someone brings up something about technology, there’s a good chance I’ll mention something for Dr. W’s NCT class and emphasize how truly important these technologies are to whatever is discussed.

Now I’m once again going to check my Twitter feed.

Research Paper UPDATE

For my research paper, I plan to focus on the impact Twitter is having on the journalism field. Journalism has significantly changed ever since the digital age took off in the United States. Twitter has had a huge role just how much traditional journalism has changed. Most, if not all, media outlets now have a Twitter account to either tweet or retweet breaking news stories, as well as doing the same for other newsworthy events. And a lot of those tweets or retweets have links that directly send the viewer to the actual online story. Not only is Twitter changing the role for journalists, but it is doing the same for consumers as well because they don’t need to purchase a newspaper anymore to get the latest news. I plan to have my research paper examine both the positive and negative impacts Twitter is having on journalism. I already have found at least three scholarly articles do use in the paper.

The biggest barrier I will encounter in my paper is keeping my opinion out of it. This will be my first research paper where I simply analyze what the three journal articles are talking about. This is what I also discussed with Connor and Cal in class last week, where they mentioned they are probably going to have similar issues. Other than that, the three of us had a solid discussion of what we plan to do and we look forward to keep digging deeper into our research topics.

I am personally looking forward to researching more about my topic choice because with me being a journalism major, I feel the research would give me additional information about how to handle the impact Twitter is having on journalism and potentially what to expect in the future when I hopefully get a job in this field.

My experience with video recording and video interviews

I’ve been quite familiar throughout my life with video recording, mostly because I grew up in the social media generation. I’ve recorded video during sports games, WWE events, vacations, having a good time with friends, and many more occurrences. My expertise recording video didn’t really take off until I got my first iPhone, and ever since whenever I feel I want to record something that will be intriguing to me, I’ll grab my phone out of my pocket and press the red button. I really didn’t know the techniques of recording video until taking specific classes on-campus.

Before taking video production and TV news reporting classes on-campus, I can’t think of any prior experience of recording video interviews. The two aforementioned classes however really helped me out utilizing several video production basics and skills. I have gotten to know several video production terms, how to take still and precise shots, and what to do while recording a video interview. Most of the video interviews I’ve conducted were for video production-related projects for class. I have done only about five or six video production-related projects up to this point, but have really enjoyed the process meshing together video and video interviews to make packages, something that will once again be done as a part of my feature for NCT.  The aforementioned video projects I have done received good grades too, so I feel confident going forward with the video production of my NCT feature.

As of tonight, I have not yet conducted any video interviews for the NCT feature but have set up a couple of sources either for the end of this week or early next week. I should therefore have enough time to get the b-roll as well to make a video package for the video portion of the feature. I look forward to conducting more video interviews and getting more insight from a variety of perspectives how NCTs have positively and negatively affected UW-Whitewater and schools in general.

My experience with audio interviews

I have had a lot of experience with conducting audio interviews throughout my college career so far. It really started to take off during the Fall 2016 semester, when I earned a spot on the Royal Purple sports staff. Since then, I’ve conducted a multitude of audio interviews for the variety of sports I have covered since joining the staff a year and a half ago. I’ve held audio interviews with many athletes from soccer, basketball, and football, women’s soccer head coach Ryan Quamme, women’s basketball head coach Keri Carollo, men’s head basketball coach Pat Miller, and softball head coach Brenda Volk.

I felt nervous doing my first audio interviews but have since become very comfortable with them. It’s become relatively easy for me to approach head coaches, especially after wins, even though it is sometimes still difficult for me to interview head coaches after losses. Most of the audio interviews I have conducted took place after games, although there have been some for features.

As far as the feature assignment for New Communication Technologies goes, I have already audio interviewed communications professor Amal Ibrahim about how NCTs have positive and negative effects in schools. Ibrahim teaches a variety of video production and TV reporting classes on-campus and has done so for many years. The interview with her went very well and she has had a lot of teaching experience throughout the years of how NCTs have transformed the classroom in good and bad ways. I’m still in the process of finding a second source for the other audio interview but I plan on having it being a friend of a friend, or something to that degree.

“Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away” and “Nine Propositions Towards a Cultural Theory of YouTube”

Clay Shirky’s “Laptops Away” article really hit me because distractions in the classroom are at an all-time high. I’m not sure there was one thing incorrect Shirky mentioned in his article. Shirky claims that multi-tasking degrades efficiency, especially for college students, because of the one key distraction all college students have while in class: a smartphone. He frequently mentions “the elephant and the rider” metaphor as a way of emphasizing classroom-smartphone tension. The rider is the professor teaching the class, or the “intellect,” while the elephant is the distraction, or the “emotion.” Whenever we get a notification or text message on our phone, it almost immediately takes most people out of the realm the professor had been taking all students throughout the class period. The one thing Shirky realizes is that because of the power of technology in the classroom, it’s impossible for him to grab everyone’s attention. He learned his lesson by banning all forms of technology, which has helped the classroom atmosphere for him compared to when he never enforced a policy that most professors require nowadays. “Some of the students will opt out, of course, which remains their prerogative and rightly so, but if I want to help the ones who do want to pay attention, I’ve decided it’s time to admit that I’ve brought whiteboard markers to a gun fight, and act accordingly.” That is perhaps the quote of the readings we’ve read so far. Everything Shirky said is true, and he seemed concerned about the future of the classroom. The bottom line is that he should be, because technologies are only going to keep expanding as the days go by and make it harder for him and other professors to keep students constantly engaged in their discussions.

Mostly everything with that Henry Jenkins mentioned in his YouTube propositions article is straightforward. We know it’s a interactive site with a ton of complexity. We also know YouTube is heavily relied on by journalists and the mass media, largely because of the ability we have to take a minute long video with our smartphone and then post it to potentially millions of views. However, the last two propositions were the most intriguing. The 8th propositions talked about how younger people are going to need to adapt social and cultural skills because of YouTube. A lot of information related to this can be easily found on YouTube, so Jenkins brought up an interesting point there. The 9th proposition, however, struck me the most because Jenkins claims that YouTube is not really diverse, and that most of the video views on YouTube are from white middle class males. That would be especially concerning if that was still occurring today, but because this article was written over a decade ago, I find it hard to believe that YouTube still isn’t a diverse community. YouTube has grown so much over the last 10 years and it is pretty much a news source for most people. All major companies now have a page because the content they post requires a lot of views, something that did not exist 10 years ago. Whether the videos are from news organizations, sports organizations, sports franchises, etc., a lot of the content those organizations share has a lot of diversity, especially in the sports world because of the significant diversity sports has nowadays.