Sound as the Storyteller

Sound is essential to creating a setting within radio journalism.  Without it, you are left to only imagine what a place or time may sound like given the physical description.   However when sound is added, you are able to almost experience what the characters are experiencing and if you close your eyes, it often feels as if you are there.  In the Invisibilia podcast “True you” you are first introduced to a story about locusts and their strange connection to grasshoppers. Throughout this story you can literally hear the locusts, which brings you the emotions that many of the characters in the story were probably feeling when exposed to them.  Without this sound you are left to only guess what the characters felt like, however with the sound you yourself start to feel the anxiety and panic that the locusts would likely have caused. Farther along in the podcast, we hear from Tanya, a woman who sleep talks and records herself when she sleeps. After listening back to her sleep talking one day, she discovers that she in fact has this “alter ego” that sounds like a young happy girl who giggles and is full of life.  This is not similar to Tanyas personality at all, as someone who was abused constantly as child and has suffered for many years because of it. One night, Tanya is able to communicate with this alter ego who she names “X”, through a dream. This part of the podcast is completely written for the ear. While Tanya describes this interaction we actually get to experience the conversation she has with “X” and you feel like you are actually there in her dream with her listening to this conversation.  “X” has a slightly altered and higher pitched voice compared to Tanya’s and you are able to feel the connection that Tanya makes with “X”. Without the manipulation of sound and the strategic writing for the ear, this interaction would just not have the same effect if it was written solely for the two dimensional.

Podcast Potentials

You wake up in the morning with a wretched hangover.  You are miserable, and yet, later that Saturday night you are willing to do everything that caused it all over again.  Why? Why are college students so apt to binge drink compared to the rest of the world even though the consequences may not exactly outweigh the benefits.  What are the benefits? And why are these benefits so appealing to the young college aged person? What is the motivation for binge drinking and how does its affect a students emotional and physical health? When is it safe to say enough is enough and back down from the societal pressures to binge drink?

Why do students from out of state choose to go to UVM, when in state students would most likely rather be anywhere but here?  Why pay the high out of state tuition, to go to school in one of the least sunny places in the country? What is the true appeal to out of state students, and how does this differ from in state students.  I myself solely go here for the cheaper tuition, for most in state students, UVM was not our first choice. So why is it out of state students first choice?

When people ask where I’m from in Vermont,  I immediately say Stowe, because I think it’s the only place people will recognize. Why do more UVM students not go out and explore the state more?  Most out of state students only know of Stowe and Burlington and maybe one other place. Why is there not more of an exploration of the state and how could UVM as an institution promote the exploration of the state? What is holding out of state students back?

Is Ostracism the Best Form of Punishment?

The “Callout” is a new trend aiming to target sexual abusers in the punk/hardcore rock community of Richmond, Virginia.  They are targeted by essentially being “called out” for what they have done, in order to be ostracized by the community as a whole.  This acts as a punishment for the abusers, by removing them completely from the only life they have. NPR’s “Invisibilia” podcast takes on the story of what’s been going on in Richmond, by interviewing Emily, the woman who started it all.  The podcast is character driven, when you meet Emily, you are introduced to her entire background, and you are able to see how she was shaped into the woman that she is today, and what essentially brought her to creating the “Callout”. Much of the podcast is her own voice speaking about her own personal experience.  However the story is not completely one sided, and the “Callout” is not met without opposition. You are also introduced to a few other characters, of whom which are not exactly Emily’s biggest fans. Their stories are mixed in with Emily’s in order to create contrast and tension. By interviewing her opposers, you meet a side of Emily that you hadn’t seen up until this point in the podcast.  She expresses a very emotional and dark side to her story, and shares the hardship that comes with speaking your mind. Emily is interviewed but allowed to tell her own story. The questions posed give her the ability to be genuine and honest about her experiences, without feeling constrained and forced to tell a story that is fluffed or vague. NPR edits in a repetition of phrases here and there to build tension, and adds anxiety inducing music over her words in order to create a dramatic experience for the listener. By doing this, and also adding music in between interviews and the different characters speaking to keep the story flowing and help set the scene.  

Misogynistic Media

It makes me so angry to see women in the media sexualized.  Here is a woman, a strong, talented, intelligent woman, and all that a reporter or interviewer is asking her is if she’s back with her ex, or if the man she was spotted getting dinner with is her new boyfriend, or if she’s sad that she’s single.   Why can’t women be treated with the same respect as men? Why is the first thing that reporters ask involve delving deep into these women’s personal sexual lives? There are a million other things they could be asked about, but instead they are immediately discredited by the media by being questioned about their personal lives or attacked by sexist comments.   The video clips of interviews that exemplify this type of sexism would to me, be the most effective form of media to portray the argument that I am trying to make. What better support can you give than the direct evidence of the sexism and misogyny that takes place on a daily basis in our society and how normalized it has become in the media. The argument is meant to reach anyone who doesn’t believe that the media has sexualized women, and made them feel that they do not deserve to talk about the more engaging and mindful things that men are.  I think a constant flow of these clips, as well as an intertwining of magazine and news headlines that are misogynistically commenting on women’s bodies and personal sexual lives would be the most effective way to deliver the argument that this is a real and abundant problem in our society that affect growing young women’s minds. This is a problem that we face as a society and we continuously perpetuate this problem by showing each other that it is okay to treat women with less respect than men. Showing and curating a video in which women speak up against this sexism could effectively portray the argument against it.  

Are We Exposed to Racial Profiling Everyday?

It is obvious that in todays society racism is alive and well.  Although many people do not particularly consider themselves to be racist, the ever growing inclination that a black man, in a black hoodie is seen as a potential criminal, is a stereotype that American society has tried to normalize.  In the political remix video, “The Unusual Suspects: Black Men in Black Hoodies” the creator of the video uses clips from multiple newsreels describing that a suspicious black man in a black hoodie is the top suspect of a crime. Many of the clips offer that this is a vague description of the so called “suspect”, however it is the only description that is given.  The video seems to argue the fact that we as Americans are often blindsided by this stereotype caused by racial profiling. The video is fast paced, with lots of repetition in order for the viewer to understand the magnitude of how often this racial profiling occurs within our country and how we as citizens and bystanders have become so numb to this profiling that we often don’t even recognize that it’s happening.  The video editor seems to be addressing this video to all Americans, in order for us to realize that this racial profiling needs to stop. By the end of the video you are exposed to an African American male attending Central Connecticut State University saying “If you see a black man and he has a hoodie on, he’s not necessarily a criminal.” Although the purpose for creating the video seems very apparent early on, this statement only reinforces the argument that the video editor is trying to propose in regards to racial profiling.  This to me seemed like a great way to end the video off strong, after the constant repetition of the phrase. The ending, which contradicts the phrase that is being said throughout the video intensifies it and almost shocks you as a viewer when you have become so used to the repetition. Overall, the video is effective and direct, getting right to the point and making it very clear what the intentions of the video are.

Reckless Youth

We were all teenagers once.  We had the idea that nothing bad would ever happen to us, or that we would live forever,  which gave us the all the courage to do things that would most likely be deemed as “reckless” or “irresponsible” by our elders.  We may look back on the choices we made, and think “why did I do that?”, Turns out there is science behind it. In “Beautiful Brains” by David Dobb, Dobb explores the complex inner workings of a teenagers brain in order to determine why exactly they make these “reckless” decisions.   Throughout the piece you are exposed to a series of images captured at pure organic moments of a variety of teens lives. Interspersed between these pictures are the hard scientific facts, giving you an insight into the minds of these teenagers being presented. Dobb knows how to capture your attention and draw you in.  Scientific studies can often be seen as boring, but by juxtaposing scientific fact with real human narrative, you are able to engage more with the content. Dobb gives real human examples that support the findings he presents in the article. If Dobb were writing to calm an unruly parent, he would most likely succeed. Although it may seem at first glance that this article is written for teens themselves, given the slew of pictures and personal anecdotes, I see it more as a source of comfort for parents who may be wondering “Will my child continue to make bad decisions forever?”.  It also gives them an explanation as to what may cause this “reckless behavior”. Dobb reminds parents that adolescents are constantly changing and adapting, and that even though they may do things to scare the crap out of them now, it won’t last forever, eventually their “Beautiful Brains” will grow out of it.

The Good, The Bad, And The Extreme Altruists

Is there an inherent difference within us that deems us either good or evil from birth? Or are we introduced to this idea throughout our lives and make our own decisions based upon how we’re treated by others?  Yudhijit Bhattacharjee’s article “What Science Tells us About Good and Evil”  takes on the question of whether or not we as humans are inherently evil or good based upon the age old nurture vs. nature argument.  Bhattacharjee uses both ends of the spectrum, extreme altruism and psychopathy to try to explore the answer to this question.  Bhattacharjee also explores the different levels of empathy that we as humans have and what it is that we do in our daily lives to increase our level of empathy toward one another.  Bhattacharjee lays out this conflict in the introduction by illustrating an incident in which a woman risked her own life trying to get a man in a wheelchair unstuck from train tracks.  This woman exemplifies extreme altruistism, as she is willing to put herself in an extremely dangerous situation to help this man when no one else would. From there, Bhattacharjee goes on to share multiple other stories about people and incidences, both examples of extreme altruism and psychopathy.  Bhattacharjee draws on examples like Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, mass shootings such as Las Vegas and the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, the Stanley Milgram experiment, as well as a man risking his life to save a woman from being stuck in the middle of traffic with a car that wouldn’t start.  Bhattacharjee also uses examples from scientific findings that illustrate our capacity as humans to empathize, and what types of people are more likely to feel more empathy and why this may be so.  Bhattacharjee consults not only personal sources from people that were directly interviewed but also from research done based around an event or experiment.  He draws upon scientific studies as well as personal stories, which allows readers to feel more of a personal connection to the facts that are being laid out before them. Overall, this article does a good job at keeping the reader compelled and interested to learn more about the topic.  I found it extremely fascinating and it got me thinking a lot about how we as humans treat each other on a day to day basis and where we as a species might be headed when it comes to our collective level of empathy we have toward one another.

Where does my inspiration come from

I was immediately interested in cure nails the second I opened the web page.  The aesthetic of their website is extremely eye catching and satisfying, at least to me, someone who is very interested and intrigued by sleek and simple styles.  There is an effective use of color when drawing in the attention of a potential customer. The graphics make the website easy to navigate, as you scroll down the homepage you are continuously introduced to new sections of the website, i.e. the services that the business provides, the ability to book an appointment online etc.  There are also shortcuts located at the top of the web page that allow a viewer to jump to the section they are looking for. The images they provide allow the potential customer to see what they are offering and they do this in a very effective way. The images are spread throughout the web page in order to keep the viewer engaged in what they are selling without getting trapped in a sea of words and information.  The site seems to be very interactive given the ability of the viewer to access whatever part of the website that they need to from the top of the web page. Every service is clearly separated and the webpage is very clearly organized, which is refreshing because many webpages are often cluttered with information which can leave them hard to navigate. I found myself personally very fascinated in everything that this company had to offer just from looking at this website.  I have a genuine passion revolving around beauty products and personal care, so that interest alone left me wanting to explore the website even more. I could personally see myself trying out their products or services simply because of the way their website was designed and the way that they branded their products and services. There is something about the way that products and services are presented that draws the consumer in, and since I, who I’m assuming would be one of their target audience members is intrigued, must mean that they are doing something right.

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