Writing for a semester: reflections

During my time as a writer on The Skyline View, I’ve published tons of different types of stories relating to all different kinds of subjects, even if I wasn’t interested in the topic beforehand. Sure, there have been some snags, but the overall process is pretty fulfilling in the long run. I can recall at least a few nights of general tomfoolery interspersed with working on articles. Granted, there are a lot of things that I don’t like in my writing looking back, but there are a few articles that I really like that are evident of the type of writing I’d like to do in the future.

I’m also surprised that my editors haven’t gone after me since I ramble so much when I write. Most of the people at The Skyline View are nice enough to at least give your work a try, and they’re pretty good at telling you where your work can improve. If you come in and do what you’re supposed to do, most of the people on The Skyline View will give you the respect you deserve, and it’s been rewarding the entire way.

Sure, working on the Skyline View isn’t without its problems, especially as someone who usually has an inclination to procrastinate. When everyone isn’t doing their job, the newspaper usually takes much longer to produce than it should, but it’s usually worth it in the end. Producing stories constantly is also another challenge in itself, especially trying to interview the right experts when it comes to your particular story, since they don’t always seem to respond on time. But when everything comes together, the story is its own reward when it gets published, and if you put your mind to a story, it usually comes out to be readable, and sometimes you get very proud of it.

In the end, it’s still worth it to keep working at The Skyline View. Next semester, I’ll primarily be editing other people’s’ work rather than writing stories. I’ll see what I can do when it comes to writing even further. I definitely look forward to writing stories for The Skyline View when I can. I’m not entirely sure when I’m going to transfer yet, but I also continue to look forward to writing even more stories as I transfer. It’s been a good ride so far at The Skyline View, and I think it’ll only get better.

Joshua Chan
TSV Staff Writer

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This is it. I’m finally graduating.

I waited so long for this time to come where I can say I accomplished so much in just three years of school here at Skyline. I’ve learned a lot about journalism, made good friends and strong connections with people, and applied for my AA degree in journalism.

I’m so excited to have reached this milestone in my life at only 20 years old too. I feel like I have grown a lot as a person and as a future journalist. There are so many things I have learned while being in the newsroom and in Nancy’s classes. I think my writing skills have improved more from being on the newspaper staff for three semesters, and my skill at editing videos and audio clips have progressed over the semester I was the multimedia reporter.

Learning new journalism skills and tools to improve my knowledge of the field in which I want to pursue a career has been a good experience. I really do enjoy writing articles on news and entertainment because it’s fun and you get to inform people on issues that are important to know. That’s what makes journalism fun. Also, the feeling of having my byline (name) on an article I wrote is very rewarding.

Reflecting on my years at Skyline, I feel like I got a good education and utilized the resources I had to the best of my ability. One thing I definitely learned is to reach out and ask for help if needed. As an adult, no one is going to be there to hold your hand. You have to have your own back, and do whatever it takes to get the help you need to succeed and to achieve your own goals.

As a journalism major, I learned that putting yourself out there is important. Communication is a major key to success in journalism (word to DJ Khaled). For most people, it takes a good amount of courage to reach out to professors or even just go up to students on campus for an interview. However, all the shyness goes away eventually and once you become accustomed to the routine of approaching strangers, everything gets easier from there. I’ll admit it was very awkward for me to do that when I was a staff writer, but after the first few times, it became normal to me.

Reflecting on my three semesters on The Skyline View staff, I’ve come to realize that journalism is very time-consuming from writing articles to working on putting the paper together. Although I never worked on the layout for the newspaper, I watched the other editors put in so much time on all of it. The late nights and dedication they put in to producing a paper for all students and even communities beyond Skyline were well worth it (they really should get paid for that though, but it’s just a thought).

Overall, I took some time to sit back and think about the choices I have made as far as school, my future career and life in general. I’m happy with where I have ended up, and I’m even more happy that I choice to become a part of The Skyline View newspaper staff. Now, it’s time for me to transfer and to start making bigger and better moves. I will definitely miss this amazing, yet crazy staff of super cool, dedicated individuals.

Good luck everyone, and good bye Skyline.

Katelyn Payne
TSV Social Media Editor

There are times when I ask myself, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

Not only am I a full time student who is a news editor for the second time, I also run my own business.

Time management can be a person’s worst enemy, especially when a student such as myself is attempting to prioritize my responsibilities. There are times when I find myself focusing solely on my business. Other times, the newsroom wins over my other classes and my business.

My business, if anyone is wondering, is a spiritual trade. I am a mystic, a holistic healer of sorts. A mystic is a type of psychic who delves into many types of divination, looking into the client’s future, aiding them with their problems. Or, as it usually ends, with the client needing someone to listen to them.

My gifts I have been blessed with enable me to help others understand themselves and get an idea of where they stand in life. One of my gifts includes going between the spirit world and the physical world. (This is my perspective. If you don’t believe in it, fine with me.)

Anyway, when business opportunities come up, I have to sacrifice my time at school in order for my business to grow. This does not mean I jump when potential clients say jump. The only time I leave school is when it is an event. Those are one of the bigger ones to do, and a great opportunity to advertise. Don’t get me wrong, single clients are great as well, but when there are tons of people there are more business cards to be handed out.

Like most businesses today which do not have a physical location, it can be difficult to draw in customers. Or least advertise that I have a business, which is open.

Since I am a full time student, I have limitations on when I can do readings. The times I do are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some techniques I use in attempting to emphasize that: one I only do house calls and two people have to make an appointment. Hence this is where it would be easier to have a physical location. Cars pass by and people, they read the open/close sign and read the hours and realize when they are able to come in.

Also there would be more opportunity for customers to do walk-ins if I had a physical location on those certain days.

These circumstances do not stop me. They actually give me the opportunity to be creative with advertisement and learn better business techniques. Seriously, social media is a god-send. It helps me in spreading the word about my business through hashtags, pictures and posts.

If not, flyers and word of mouth would be it for me since I am still on a limited budget.

Laurel B. Lujan
TSV News Editor

Life in front of the lens

I started out doing Skyline’s weekly updates because one of our other newspaper staff members really, REALLY didn’t want to. And I’m the type of person that if something needs to be done, I will get it done (Just call me Olivia Pope!).

So I started my career behind the camera. I started off my first Weekly Update reporting on sports for the week.

That was my first mistake.

My second was thinking I had to get everything down in one take. Let me just say, this is a lot harder than it seems. It was a shaky start, but I was becoming a part of something.

I learned that it’s much smarter to report on what you know (AKA not sports), and that doing a jump cut (being able to cut together the good footage instead of trying to shoot one perfect continuous shot) will save your life.

And from watching my colleague Miguel, I learned that making eye contact with the camera and not reading from a script is the best way to connect with viewers (even if half of the viewers don’t care, because they are my relatives).

From working with our camera man Will, I learned how to set up different shots (thanks Will!). Another thing, shooting B-roll is a lot of fun. And most of what we shoot ends up in B-roll.

B-roll is the footage that we don’t publish on our website. So lots of singing, dancing, photobombing, and weird inconsistencies in our film. Also, filming the Weekly Updates takes a lot longer than you’d think. It takes at least an hour to film, but we only end up using a few minutes of the footage.

Also, being camera-ready isn’t really a thing. At, least not if you are doing a video that needs on the spot coverage. You gotta film in whatever you’re wearing and just get the news across. The news is always the first priority.

Also, as someone new to the newsroom, it gives you a taste of what being an anchor on a news show is like. You might not have those hard-hitting investigative stories but you are reporting for the people and that is pretty cool.

Basically, doing this was a way for me to get involved and meet new people and it has ended up teaching me a lot more than that. It’s a good experience and learning how to cut together footage is great way to gain some experience for a career in broadcast journalism.

So go watch the videos! And join the newsroom! You’ll be glad you did, I know I am.

Olivia Bowman
TSV Staff Writer

5 Tips to get started on creating videos and how to create better quality videos

Here is a quick list of tips for beginners to get started creating videos and help you avoid some pit falls that may stop you from creating work. It will also show how easy it can be to start making videos, and show that you don’t need a lot to create videos.

1. Audio – Make sure you have good audio in your videos. It gets looked over too often, with people just starting out not thinking about it. But if you have terrible audio a viewer will be faster to stop watching the video than if it was bad visual quality.

2. Story telling – Have a clear story or message in your video. You don’t want to confuse the viewer by getting off point and going on random tangents. You want to have short and concise video, get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible, while keeping the attention span of the viewer.

3. B-roll – Is secondary footage you get, that shows off the product and can save your audio if your main footage gets messed up. When you are editing you can also use it to avoid jump cuts. It can also show more detail of what you are talking about.

4. Framing – Set up your shot so that it is pleasing to the eye. You generally want to have the subject center of frame but not with to much room to the left or right of them, with a few inches of room above their head and make sure you don’t cut off the subjects head.

5. Just start shooting – With how advanced technology has gotten you can start creating videos with your smart phone. Most smart phones can record video at 1080p if not higher, and with proper lighting and in a controlled environment you can get great sound quality too. You can even do some light editing right on the phone and upload the video online.

Surprisingly easy to be a copy editor

As the chief copy editor for The Skyline View, I have to read every article written before it can be published. You’d think my job would be hard, what with having to know the ins and outs of every bit of the AP Style book (basically a journalistic dictionary) and basic English, among other things. Shockingly, it’s actually pretty easy. That doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly frustrating though.

At this point in my education, it has become very clear to me that many students don’t have the same grasp of language that I do. While I can write an essay or article with ease in an hour or two, it is a chore to many. This little tidbit is what makes my job hard. It is the easiest thing in the world placing an appropriate comma, but only if the sentence makes enough sense to clearly need a comma.

At this point I don’t know if it is because the educational system of the United States is in a rapid state of decay or if Internet short hand has taken over, but the amount of spelling mistakes and scattered thoughts in the articles I read is impressive and mildly frightening. It shouldn’t be so hard to write a coherent English sentence when you’ve been taking English classes since Kindergarten.

On the plus side though, the amount of simple mistakes are easily remedied if given the proper attention.

First of all, the most important lesson is to not sweat the small things. As the copy editor, it’s my job to make sure all of the colons, periods and commas are in the right place. As a writer, it is your job to make sure I can understand what you’re saying enough to place those periods and commas. It doesn’t matter how many commas you have if all you did was spill a can of alphabet soup and copy down the results.

The second tip works similarly to the first: your phone’s auto-correct is not your friend. It will sooner predict words you use frequently than the words you actually want. I can’t edit something that should have said “The governors picked up the pieces” if it says “The giraffes licked up the pizzas.” Context clues can only lead me so far, your article shouldn’t be a treasure map to your point.

Lastly, try reading a well-written book. Reading a good book (critically acclaimed or well-reviewed) can help teach you appropriate thought routes and streamline your own writing process. Find a book renowned for it’s plot and study how it is written. Seeing examples of ordered plot may help prevent deviations in your own writing, preventing a jumble of paragraphs that seem like puzzle pieces for me to rearrange.

Overall, the worst part of being a copy editor is getting to see the failure of education in action. Having to read literally everything exposes me to some of the worst writing I have ever seen, but the improvements I notice over the course of a semester only serve to enforce the benefits of one final tip: practice.

The more writing that happens, the better the writing will be. Obviously I can write well, I spend all my time writing. My job is literally perfecting writing. Now all I need is for everyone else to perfect spelling.

Haley Holmes
TSV Chief Copy Editor

Joining The Skyline View

It’s a whole new world, and I am ready for it.

There is always an unnerving feeling when stepping into new territory. It’s even more intimidating when you are joining a group that has already built strong bonds, as if you are treading on sacred ground. But that’s not how The Skyline View (TSV) staff made me feel. They were welcoming, and I felt like I found a niche. I instantly knew I was in the right place. This sounds cliche, but joining The Skyline View has opened doors in my future.

It is refreshing to know that I am finally working toward my future. Being on the newspaper staff is my way of getting my feet wet in the career that I want to be in. I am both extremely excited by joining TSV and terrified about people reading my writing. But I know that everyone on staff at TSV will help me grow as a writer. They will look at my writing and tell me exactly what I need to improve and what makes my writing sweeter. I want my writing to have its own flavor. People will read my writing and taste the rainbow.

Writing for TSV will not only help me find my flavors, but it will also build my writing repertoire. I’ll be writing news stories, features, profiles, opinions pieces, and everything in between. I’ll leave this place being a jack-of-all-trades in the journalism world. I want an employer to see my portfolio and think “Hey lets throw him right in the field, he can handle it.”

Essentially, my dream is to either write for National Geographic or do documentaries with Vice. I would love to travel the world and write about my experiences. I can be the next Anthony Bourdain, except less refined and nothing about food. However, I do aspire to be as blunt and outspoken of a personality. Maybe you’ll see that in my writing.

Hey, now that I am writer at TSV, be prepared for the things I will write, or not. They probably wont be as flavorful as I want them to be until maybe a couple semesters in this class, when I have perfected my taste. So if you ever come across my writing, please criticize away; I can take it. Trust me.

So far, the class has been great. All laughs and no tears, at least not yet. I do see a lot of coffee and I might actually start drinking it, maybe. It looks like caffeine is a must for this field, so I may have to get over my disdain of it.

But for now, I’ll let this class show me a whole new world.

BY Greg Ragaza, TSV Staff Writer