Self-Reflection For COJO 3530

Reading through my first blog post, there wasn’t a lot that I wanted to learn. I was really oriented toward the storytelling aspect of journalism and marketing, and this class definitely helped! Though it didn’t necessarily provide me with specific knowledge, it introduced me to many different avenues of editing and working.
A lot of the “soft skills” that were offered are already on my tool belt! Getting to know people is a favorite past-time of mine, and the interpersonal tips we were given were a bit menial. However, it gave me a greater appreciation for the work that surrounds me all the time!

Communication will be key no matter what career field I choose to go into.  In education, communicating with a student is integral to building relationships and conveying information. In marketing, communication will be essential for making connections with clients and gain their trust and business. All of the assignments we did will probably help me at least once or twice! 

My favorite assignment to work on was the audio profile. It gave me the chance to get the interaction with people that I wanted and was a blast to work on! Plus, it helped me get to know someone I knew even better! Anything that brings me closer to people is always a plus and working on that assignment was a blast!

The most challenging assignment was the journalistic web story. Working on it was a great time but I would’ve rather just done two other audio profiles because there was so much more to the interviews than I could fit in the writing portion!

If I could go back in time to the first blog post, I would give myself the advice of not worrying about the end product so much and just enjoy working and interacting with everyone!

WTMB Alto Saxophone Promotional Video

The video above was created in collaboration with the 2019-2020 WTMB Alto Saxophone Section.

My video I created is more of a promotional/informative piece. I am the alto saxophone section leader for the Western Thunder Marching Band at the University of Wyoming, and I thought a little introductory piece that informed people of our culture and what we were all about would be better than sending a lot of emails! Just sending a link would be easier, and can be used many times. 

I always love shooting and putting something together. I don’t really storyboard, I usually just fly my whims and follow my instincts as to not stifle creativity. With this video, I collaborated with a lot of people from our section to get footage from the past year to edit into a single video for promotion, so it was fun to hear peoples’ experiences and the memories they had that they felt should be included. 

I didn’t really struggle with anything, but my least favorite part is finding proper audio. Ambient noise was a requirement, but it kinda stood out in my video that was trying to be a little quicker in transitions and delivery. This assignment was one of the best that felt as though I was still in the assignment at the end. I bent the requirements a bit, but my final product was something that really felt like was mine and was something I’d use in the future!

All of the things I really tried to shoot outside kind of got ruined by wind and the audio there within, so if I were to do it again I’d try to get a better microphone to have more on location interviewing and shooting.

I think video is a great medium for expressing information! People are more likely to watch a 0:30-2:00 video rather than read a page of text, so whether educating students or marketing something, the efficiency of video will be super helpful in the future!

Instagram Advertising

Prior to this assignment, I had a LOT of experience with Canva. The company I work for has a premium subscription and I use it to create flyers, announcements, and posters. As for Instagram, I used to be much more active (as you can see by checking out my feed) before I deleted the app on my phone around four years ago.

As for my approach to promotion, I went toward more of a casual and fun style. All of my designs started with a picture from the blog post and then I took the information that I wanted to convey on it and built the font and shapes around all of those!

There was really not a lot challenging about this assignment! Since I’m so familiar with Canva, I was able to make all of these in a couple hours. It was fun to try and market my work and show it off. I’ve shared a few of my blog posts before on Facebook, but this is my first time in a successive series.

The hardest part was creating the captions below. I didn’t just want to put in the first line of each blog post and I wanted to have a laid-back feel. So, I took the assignment descriptions and used those for what information I should provide.

In the future, I think Instagram will be used less than Twitter for me, but when selling products a purely picture-based social media site could be really useful!

Torin’s Top 5 Liquor Stores in Laramie, WY

In my experience, most college students care most about three things: food, money, and booze. What better way to help out with two of these than to create a condensed list of my top five liquor stores to go to in Laramie? Since it is primarily a college town, there is a plethora of liquor stores so the choice can be overwhelming! Here, any college student or visitor in need of a pick-me-up should find this list beneficial!

Before getting started, there were a few factors that went into selecting the top five.

First, the selection. Supporting local is great, but it can also be nice to get something that is far reaching, so a place that covers both gets boosted while a place that only does one or the other gets downgraded. Secondly, how are the hours/customer service? When a place has finicky hours that may not be accurate online, you run the risk of showing up and it being closed. With that, willingness of the employees to help you out once you get there is a major factor. And thirdly, pricing. Most college students run on a limited fund, so this is definitely a big factor!

Take a look at the interactive map here for a quick condensed pros/cons list for each place and why it received the ranking it did!

The view of Mingles Lounge as seen from Grand Avenue. Photo from of Google Maps.

5. Mingles Lounge

Mingles Lounge is last on this list for a few reasons. Firstly, as my friend Ty Wedl says, “it is connected to a bar.” If you’re looking to pick up some beers on the way home, having to interact with a bunch of inebriated lounge-goers is not the most appealing. However, it does have a drive-thru option along with a free bag of ice for every $10 spent. While it does have a local selection, the store is so small that the whole selection is limited and it is one of the most expensive on this list. Also, while it is open until 2 a.m., since it is locally owned, there are less consistent overall hours.

Drive-thru, free ice with purchases, local selectionLimited overall selection, noisy environment inside, more expensive

The entrance to Safeway Liquor in the store. Photo courtesy of Google Reviews.

4. Safeway Liquor

Safeway Liquor has one saving grace: the build-a-6-pack. In their story, you can bring your own six pack holder or use one of theirs to mix and match a selection of bottled beverages from beers to hard lemonades. However, “I think the hours are good but the selection is pretty poor,” says Ty. It is such a small store that you are unlikely to find a specialty brand and there is no local selection, but the corporate hours mean it is open every day for consistent hours. It also means that the employee is not necessarily versed in beverage selection, so take advice with caution.

Cheaper, reliable, open regularly, build a 6-packLimited overall selection, some items are more expensive, limited customer service, no local selection

The front of Ridley’s, photo credit Google Reviews.

3. Ridley’s Liquor

Ridley’s is really built for college life. They have a student discount on certain days with a school ID and are attached to the grocery store. They have a great selection and great local representation as well. Plus, a massive walk-in beer cooler! The same issue comes up with Ridley’s employees, though, as they are mainly cashiers, and though their hours are more consistent, they close earlier than some others on this list.

This would Ty’s number one choice. He says, “I usually go to Ridley’s because they have a better beer selection, but they close an hour earlier than the store which is inconvenient.” Between a great selection and reasonable prices, Ridley’s Liquor is a pretty solid choice for any need!

Good selection, fairly cheap, UW student discount certain days, walk-in beer cooler, consistent hours, local selectionLarger price than Walmart, popularity can have limited stock, closes earlier than the grocery section

Outside of the Walmart in Laramie. Photo from Google Reviews.

2. Walmart Liquor

Walmart wins its esteemed second place due, almost primarily, to its pricing. By far the cheapest on this list, it is easily one of the most popular liquor stores in Laramie. Pair that with the accessibility when grocery shopping to grab something really quick and it is a resounding success.

The same cashier wants are present here as well. Some employees can be rude at times, but are generally acceptable. The resounding popularity does, however, mean it is frequently running low on certain items. It is also a corporate location, so local selections are not a possibility here, “they aren’t local so that’s a downside”, says Ty.

Cheapest, medium selection, consistent hours, very convenientNo local support, popularity drains stock, minimal customer service

Northridge Liquors’ logo, courtesy of Northridge Liquors.

1. Northridge Liquor

Northridge Discount Liquor is a favorite place of mine. They have an incredible selection, featured items, and an astounding amount of local products. They have a rewards program, delivery, pick-up, tastings, and a boozy-slushy machine. Along with this, they have incredible personnel who are super helpful and personable. “North ridge has the best selection I think, I am not sure of their hours, but I’ve always had a good experience”, according to Ty.

Does this sound too good to be true? Well, since they are family owned since 1987, the hours can differ a bit, but their constant social media presence will notify anyone of closures or specials. The main drawback, however, is pricing. They are the most expensive on the list, but to me their selection, community support, and personality more than make up for it!

Focus on local selection, delivery, massive selection, featured spirits, rewards program, great customer service, and a slushy machineMost expensive, minimum delivery fee, less consistent hours

Overall, there are plenty of liquor stores, bars, lounges, and distilleries to meet anyone’s need, so go out and explore Laramie! This has just been a quick rundown of the places I frequent the most, and I hope it helped you out!

Live Tweeting Press Briefing

For this live-tweeting assignment, I decided to watch the President Trump and coronavirus task force press briefing at the White House. We were supposed to keep it professional and journalistic with our post and I did my best to report the facts from the event as it happened! Check out my feed either here or look at my feed below:

I was surprised at how easy it was to keep a journalistic approach because of the nature of the press brief. There were a lot of facts being presented quickly that were easy to relay. However, a lot of the information didn’t have sources presented, so I felt like I was just saying “President Trump says” and  “According to Trump” a lot.
This also kind of leads into what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about the assignment. It was great to actually analyze what was going on and pay more attention to the facts and how much of the briefing was actually focused upon the coronavirus and how much was tangential. I also enjoyed my peers and others interacting with my tweets and actually getting involved in politics. I didn’t enjoy the fast-paced rapid-fire tweets I was putting out. I was making about a tweet a minute and was still missing some things, so I felt really frustrated towards the end. I also really wanted to engage with what was being said but I had to remove myself to keep it professional and felt as though I was pulled out.

Having said that, I did learn a lot about what goes into a 24-hour news cycle and staying relevant. Seeing a lot of peoples’ live tweet feeds is incredible and I have way more respect for what they do! I can’t type as fast as they are saying things, but for the future, I would probably try to use voice-to-text and just use typing for the hashtags and mentions. 

In the future, I think it is important to use social media to make your brand known, and the company I work for uses meager and kind of lazy social media. I think that if I were to take over, having constant presence and posting things that are relevant and with the times. When I did a social media critique, I analyzed the Seattle Seahawks’ social media, and they are experts at creating memes and funny things that are relevant to the culture at the time that the audience interacts with on a huge scale. So, in my field, that is what I’d want to do. Make advertisements and announcements in a format that consumers would find entertaining yet informative!

Interview with Megan Kane

Interview with a Traveller
On a nice evening bike ride, Megan Kane (above) met a friendly horse! She pulled over to say hello, and he was eager for attention!

As always, I had a great time conducting my interview! Typically, no matter the subject matter, I can stay calm and keep everything concise and together! I love meeting people and just talking to them, so I approach interviews as a simple conversation. 

We spoke last week about the importance of breaking the ice, and typically I like to just include that within my interview and find a place to jump in, but since we were short on time, I had to cut the chitchat and do a hard stop and start. I’ve taken hundreds of interviews with recording and without, so this time was really no different! I did experiment, though, with recording primarily the interviewee. I stood further from the mic since I knew I’d have to take myself out so that the editing would be more organic and the parts I was in would stand out more in the editing process!

As for editing, I was definitely not a fan! I think that including the organic flow of the conversation is necessary, and like I was thus taking myself out of the process. However, this is only my own personal opinion and feeling. To me, interviewing and podcasting is about the organic discourse that evolves. I love to hear mistakes or slip-ups because it connects me to the interviewers and interviewees. I was able to set that aside, though, because this was just one assignment! 

The editing software is a little hard to get a hang of, but after I got the basics it went smoothly! It isn’t the smoothest running either, so in the future, I may use a different editing software!  

All in all, it was a fine interview! When interviewing someone close, it is always a little harder to get the questions put together and not surmising things you always know, so I probably would’ve co-created some questions with Megan since we are close! We also weren’t able to capture a photo specifically for this project, but earlier in the year on a bike ride, Megan found a friendly horse so her photos she took fit in perfectly!

I hope to never lose the ability to interview people! When working in marketing, getting to know clients and trying to win their business requires knowledge of the clientele and their needs, so soft interviews are important! If I go into education, it is the same way. Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, so developing personal relationships and probing for personal information can help make learning personal for each student and drive toward success!

UWYO’s College of Education’s Success Story

The College of Education is among the most successful at the University of Wyoming in retention percentage and 4-year graduation rates. Starting in 2014, the College of Education had a 47% 4-year graduation rate and retained 80% of its students. What makes the college of education so successful? Two members in different positions within the college shared their opinions and thoughts. 

First was tenured professor Dr. John Kambutu. 35 years teaching in public schools, followed by a turn to the education of educators. He saw that switch as a natural progression since he had been called ‘Professor’ in middle and high school due to his educational prowess. “It’s the impact,” he says, “there are 26 people in our class… you’ll be working with 120 students each… if I can impact you and transform you into the teachers we need, and you impact them… you do the math.” 

The second interviewee was Manager of Student Advising for the College of Education Todd Krieger in McWhinnie Hall (pictured above) to get his opinions and thoughts. He has been with the college for 16 years, with a previous 15 years at the University of Wyoming in residency, with two years as an Area Coordinator. Truly, he has seen every phase of a student from first-year residency to academic advising. 

Using both of their experience and knowledge, it is easy to get an understanding of what goes into the department’s success. Is it the students? The mission? The professors? 

The Students

For the information on what students bring to the college, Kreiger’s experience was lucrative. The answer was easy: it is the barrier for entry. The University of Wyoming requires incoming freshmen to have an unweighted high school GPA of 3.0 and a minimum composite ACT score of 21 or SAT of 1060. The College of Education maintains those requirements as well.

However, it also has another route of entry to the college. Instead of relying on the testing scores, prospective students are able to enroll in the college and can take 15 credit hours with a maintained GPA of 2.75 to enroll in the program. 

Once in the program, background checks and consistent maintenance of the 2.75 GPA mean that students are meant to obtain perfection and then sustain it. Giving students the opportunity is really what gets consistent students to the College of Education.

“We have high mission standards… but we don’t just take the cream of the crop, we have a way for you to enter the program for those who may not be good test-takers,” explains Krieger. 

From Dr. Kambutu, he sees a shift in how the students want to learn. Rather than wanting a professor who teaches at them, they want an institution and class that teaches with them. 

“I have seen a change in that it seems like the younger generation doesn’t want to be taught. If you’re not taught by somebody, that knowledge doesn’t just fall out of trees,” explains Kambutu. “I also need to change myself. They don’t want to be taught as in telling them, they want activities. Design activities, and let them ‘figure it out’ for themselves.”

This will come up again later, but Kambutu sees that it isn’t necessarily what the students are taught, but rather how they’re taught that influences retention and success. 

The Mission

When asked about a shift in the mission of the College of Education, Dr. Kambutu discussed how materials are taught. “Students are customers, and because students are customers we have to figure out how to keep them from going elsewhere. And one way, this is the how, more and more online teaching,” he said. 

During our interview, there was a meeting going on discussing the evolution of the higher-level classes into an online medium to fulfill the desire of students. In fact, the entire Master’s program at the College of Education is taught entirely online and they are never required to come to campus. 

If some of the highest level programs are moved online to keep the university in the talks of the best colleges of education nationwide, this evolution is inevitable. However, there will always be students who need a traditional classroom setting to succeed.

This is where the ‘how’ comes in. Dr. Kambutu speaks of not what is taught but how, and with younger generations, the space of a technological classroom is just as engaging and physical as a traditional setting would be. 

The Professors

“Cleaning Up” after a long 3 hour lesson, Dr. Kambutu (pictured) packs up his teaching materials.

The students can only be as driven or as successful as the professors that teach them. Dr. Kambutu spoke about what is different in the Education department as opposed to the Business or Engineering department. Here, students are taught the science and art of teaching as opposed to a quantitative field. The approach from professors is not that of a lecturer but is more reliant upon student-based learning that will allow them to engage more.

As for Mr. Krieger, he says, “The faculty know how to teach… We don’t have a washout class. If you’re in the class, we’re not here to get rid of you, we’re here to teach you.” With a great many of the educators here having a background in public school teaching, their ethos is more than bolstered, and they are experienced artists who are ready to imbue students with their knowledge. 

The professors are a massive part of the educational process. Their approach is what drives students either closer to the profession or away from it.

So, what makes it special?

As was anticipated, what makes this department successful is a mix of factors that stems from how classes are taught. The curriculum plays a part, the students’ engagement plays a part, and the professors’ engagement plays a part. 

A final quote from Dr. Kambutu beautifully illustrates the focus of the mission of the College of Education and the missions of the professors working within: “The key is finding out, the ones who leave, why do they leave? The ones who drop out, why do they drop out? And if there is something that can be done, if there is a lesson that can be learned from that information, why not use it? And the ones who stay, why do they stay? I think that’s key, constantly finding out… Find out, what happened?”

Attached is the interview with Dr. John Kambutu. If you have forty minutes to spare, it is highly encouraged to listening, as he had some incredible and knowledgeable discourse.

Tell the Story: Photojournalism

For this assignment, we were required to take five shots that displayed photojournalistic interests or stories behind the images. To me, that makes every image personal. As I spoke about in my first post, I believe in the stories behind the people, and this assignment gave me a chance to capture these stories in a new way.

Though I may not know the story behind each image, it gives me a chance to interpret the story. It also gave me a chance to get out around Laramie to meet and interact with many awesome people! So without further ado, five shots!


“Managerial Duties”
Manager of the Holiday Inn Laramie, Tessa Cedillo, addresses her employees during the morning huddle. You can book rooms here!

My first stop was at the Holiday Inn Laramie to capture some hospitality workers in their business and “in the zone” as it were. Tessa Cedillo, pictured above in “Managerial Duties”, was a great illustration of what American Hope was all about to me.

She started at the front desk at a Timberline hotel many years previous, and later worked her way up to this General Manager position, and has been at this hotel since it opened around ten years ago.

“I am where I am because of hard work, determination, dedication, and loyalty to people I work for. Most of all I don’t think of myself, but instead the people around me. Be second all the time.” Tessa Cedillo

“Spring Runaway”
A woman in Laramie runs over the railroad bridge on a budding spring day.

Next, I made my way to the railroad bridge. This piece, “Spring Runaway”, was titled so because I tried to catch the lady pictured, but I didn’t want to interrupt her peaceful run.

One of the first faux-spring days brought out all sorts of people who were sick of being cooped-up in the winter weather and I was lucky enough to catch one!

“Singing Man”
At Saturday’s Men’s Basketball game against Colorado State University, a man in the student section busted out his air guitar to jam during the Men’s Basketball Border War against CSU on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased to the UWYO Sports Complex here.

The “Singing Man” makes appearances at many University of Wyoming sporting events, and I’m glad I was able to capture the energy he brings to the court!

This image encapsulates him perfectly. He is getting into the game and is so lively when everyone around him is lackadaisical and it makes me proud to be a cowboy to see him out there celebrating!

“Shoot Your Shot”
UWYO Sophomore Forward Brandon Porter fights for a layup against CSU Nico Carvacho (32) and David Roddy (21) in the Border War defeat.

Saturday February 15, 2020 brought the Colorado State University to the University of Wyoming for the Border War. Unfortunately, the Cowboys were defeated 77-70. Pictured is Brandon Porter fighting to keep the Cowboys in the game.

Shoot Your Shot” was chosen as my title because you can see the struggle he is facing. There isn’t another Cowboy in the frame, and rather than falling back in the face of three CSU Rams, he cut inside and went for the layup.

At the Holiday Inn once again, a maintenance worker mops a floor in the early morning.

This final piece was the favorite feature photo of mine that I captured. It was taken at the Holiday Inn once again. Her name is Rosalea Baricar, but she goes by Rose. She was the first person there in the crisp winter morning.

This was the only image that I edited, because I didn’t want it to be too sharp. I softened the whole image so theres no distinct outline of her, but she blends into the light around her, and is encapsulated in her work.

That concludes this gallery. I hope you enjoyed!

Five “Great” Shots

For this next assignment, we were challenged with constructing five shots that illustrate different dominant creative devices. I say “constructed” rather than “take” because photography is an art form that can be improved with practice, attempts, and repetition.

I took a photography class in the past, so having experience here definitely made me feel more comfortable, especially when looking for what to put into this area.

As you probably know from my last post, I love people and the stories behind them. However, my least favorite thing to photograph is portrait pictures. A perfect portrait can tell their story, but I prefer to take pictures more from the perspective of an outsider looking in so I can supplement with the story they provide.

Thus, this presentation of my five “best” shots that I have taken to illustrate some of these creative devices. Enjoy!

“Two Weeks”
A beautiful rainbow graced above an apartment complex on a warm winters day.

First, I took this shot of a double-ish rainbow above an apartment complex that I titled “Two Weeks” since this popped up around Groundhog Day. This image illustrates color well in the fact that the sky surrounding it is grey which creates a void of color which pushes the eye toward the vibrancy of the rainbow.

If I could retake it, I would try to get further from the apartments as to only get the color and less of the depth created by the light pole and tree.

Inside of the dated College of Agriculture at the University of Wyoming, a room directory is within perfect view of the stairwell.

Next, as I was shooting inside of the College of Agriculture at the University of Wyoming, and I glimpsed the reflection of the door and window. I snapped “Directions” there, and it illustrates focus, primarily, as what is in focus is not what is in the foreground of the image. It also has a bit of color, as the only “color” comes from the blue window.

Megan Kane, a graduate from the University of Wyoming, Looks on in hope as the Wyoming Men’s Basketball team plays on. You can get tickets here.

Thirdly, the piece “O-B-Servation” really illustrates cropping, because it symbolizes the community that an individual has, because it makes the individual (my girlfriend, Megan) the same size as her counterpart: the crowd. Along with cropping, it also illustrates focus because the crowd isn’t the focal point; she is.

An incredibly brisk view out of the window of the Holiday Inn in Laramie that looks over the plains and mountains.

This next quick snap “Plains” was taken from the top floor of the Holiday Inn Laramie that illustrates the rule of thirds really well. The foreground is the street and apartment, the mid-ground is the prairie and mountains, with the background being the nearly perfect blue sky. If I could retake it, I’d hope for a perfect sky and a warmer day to make it more lively!

A shot up the wall of a concert hall in the Buchanan Center at the University of Wyoming. These are made to absorb and selectively reflect sound from the stage.

Finally, “Arts” illustrates leading lines well because each of these wooden panels runs upward and leads the eyes upwards. It also illustrates focus, but if I could retake it I would try to sweet talk a technician into turning on the lights and would take it below the light so there was a treat for the eyes at the end of the lines!

I hope these images give you an idea of what I’m about as a photographer and the little things I observe and am fascinated with!

Begin Here

As I begin through this Multimedia Production journey, there are really a few things I would expect to learn and would like to learn. Broadly, I hope to get some foundational information to effectively communicate in a modern and digital medium. Specifically, I am really looking forward to learning more about the formulation of a page or design. Getting to know what strings to pull and strategies to use to most effectively communicate with an audience is what brought me to seek a minor in journalism. 

Communication with other people is what draws me to marketing, journalism, and education. Pedagogy and theorizing in classes are important, but the person behind the theories is what makes a person and business successful. Formulating a personal connection and understanding is what drives me to be successful. Compassion shapes how I approach situations and assignments, and it will likely reflect in my reporting, journalism, and blog posts. 

I was in a class several years ago with a fine gentleman named Paul. He was seeking an education degree, and he and I shared several classes over two years. I got to know him very well and we became fairly close and would end up sitting near each other in nearly every class. 

Paul was an Air Force pilot in his younger days who spent a lot of time in Japan and Korea. While he was in the Air Force, his family had a difficult and tumultuous time with the constant moving. He later settled down in the southwestern United States to his family. Later, Paul took his family on many trips throughout Japan, China, and much of Europe throughout the years and was a great family man who was extremely caring and compassionate. 

He ended up coming to Wyoming following a career in an air conditioning business. However, once he was here, he found a calling for education. He started looking into going back to school and got his substitute teaching permit to begin fulfilling that call. I met him at this point, and eventually, he took summer courses to finish earlier and I stopped seeing him. I realized that this man whom I had come to see as a great friend was gone and I had no way of finding him again. Yet, I had his story. 

This encounter is really what is pushing my journalistic interests forwards. Rather than reporting on issues or events, I would like to explore the stories behind the faces. Think of how many people do you see in a day? Walking down the street, you could pass 30 different people and never think twice about them. In the media, there is a slew of information that we are bombarded with about society’s elites who live the lives of our dreams. I want to change that in my journalism this semester.
I am currently working on a collection of ‘stories’ that may or may not be published but that I hope to communicate to some people at some point. Hopefully, this course can be an introduction to tabulating and conveying my stories and the stories of our fellow humans.

We all have a story. Why not share it?

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