Instagram and the Media.

Instagram is an important part of any media groups promotional strategy. Using Instagram, you can connect with your readers as well as gain new readers. With Instagram you have the capability to hook readers with well shot photos and even behind the scenes videos that they otherwise may not see.

Prior to this assignment I had a lot of experience with Instagram. I have had one for about 6 years and understand all the features available on the site. Canva on the other hand was totally new to me. The site was not difficult to understand, and I can see many uses for it in my future career.

On my Instagram one specific thing I aimed for was making the posts easy to relate too. Simple captions like “Can’t believe it’s snowing in May?” can be an effective way to capitalize on peoples yearning for warmer weather.

A screen shot of my Instagram account promoting this blog.

Another tactic I used was picking a tropical theme in Canva to go with the post promoting the creative devices assignment. Since all the photos on that blog post are of lush flowers it seemed like an easy way to convey what a reader could expect if they visited that blog post.

One challenging aspect of this assignment was trying to use relevant hashtags in the Instagram posts. I have only used Instagram in the past as a site for connecting with friends. With that being said my captions are very different than the style required on a professional account. Finding four hashtags per posting was about four times the amount I would otherwise use.

What really surprised me while working through this was the amount of engagement that hashtags generate. Since I created my other Instagram when I was living with my parents I always had it set to the private option.

When you have it on public people can find your post based on the hashtags you use. This allows for greater exposure and getting likes from people who otherwise would never see your post. Using hashtags in the professional manner allows people with similar interests to engage with your posts and the work you link to those posts.

The most important take away to keep in mind when using Instagram is that you must make content that you would personally be intrigued by. If you try to get into other people’s minds you will lose sight of the simple things that make posts appealing.

Ultimately, going forward I see Instagram being a tool to promote the personalities of show hosts I work with. Since I want to be in the production and directing side of broadcast journalism. One thing that stood out to me was how Wyoming Public Radio showed the hosts of shows dancing around in the booth or even singing along to the music. Posting stories to relate too listeners or viewers will be one way I utilize the site in the future.

Wyoming Colorado State Tennis.

The weather at Saturdays tennis match was beautiful allowing for the match to take place outside. Hated rival Colorado State came to town and the fans showed up in full force. This was the first time I had been to a tennis match that was held outdoors which made the experience a truly unique one.

I went to this game planning to live tweet all the action and other relevant information. Those tweets can be accessed here. Attending a game with the intention of live tweeting is significantly different then going just to watch. Keeping track of names as well as all the things going on at once was more difficult than if the matches had been held inside because, there are very few seats with a view that allows you to see all the courts at once.

This game was also senior day which provided for even more tweet worthy moments. Seeing the ceremony and hearing the seniors speak it was apparent that the tennis community in Laramie is a tight knit group. Both of the seniors came out victorious in their final home showing.

Unfortunately, the only people who won from the University of Wyoming were the seniors. They took home their doubles and singles matches but that was not enough to secure the victory as Wyoming fell 4-2. This meant the Cowgirls would drop to 13-7 on the year with only the conference championship tournament left to play.

In relation to the assignment I found the crowd members to be more than willing to give me a few comments relating to the matches. Talking during a tennis match is meant to be extremely quiet or not done at all as I was reminded more than once. So, I was incredibly grateful to be able to get a couple quotes from those in attendance.

I used a journalistic approach for this events live tweets. I did not really see doing a promotional approach as being an option because if you were not already planning to be at this game it was too late. On top of that, this was the last home match of the year so there was really nothing to be promoted.

I enjoyed being able to really lock in and try to provide a good story line of events occurring at the game. I was quite surprised at the lack of information available on Twitter relating to this event. Other than the two teams Twitter pages I did not see any other tweets coming out live during the match.

One thing that was a little frustrating was not knowing the players that well. I had to check with the marketing department a few times to make sure I tweeted out the right names when mentioning final scores of individual matches.

If I could have done one thing differently it would have been bringing my I-Pod, so I could use its camera. I had only my phone which has a broken back camera so all the images I captured I used my front camera for. I still thought the images turned out pretty good. I thought they could have been better if I could actually see what I was capturing before taking the picture.

Going forward I am positive I will use Twitter for work but, I do not think it will be for live tweeting. I already follow a good amount of people in the broadcast journalism field on my main account and think using it to interact with people will be my main plan. I occasionally tweet at people who do what I want to do already and seeing them respond motivates me to do the same in the future.

Game Day in Lower Downtown Denver.

When going to a Rockies game in Denver all the options in the city may seem a little daunting. Denver is a big place and game days can present some big crowds. As someone who has been going to games for 14 years now I can help newcomers and groups of friends navigate these treacherous waters.

Picking a spot to start or end the fun of going out to a ball game can be a topic that stirs heated debate among a friend group. If someone chooses wrong they may never hear the end of it. Some of the local favorites mentioned within this post will keep readers out of the dog house and provide a great game day experience for everyone involved.

The Cherry Cricket

The first spot and my personal favorite is the Cherry Cricket. The Cherry Cricket has been a Denver staple for decades. With two locations it is important to note that the one being mentioned here is there newest ballpark location. Located at 2220 Blake Street it is just a short walk from Coors field itself.

Photographer Danielle Lirette from Westword Magazine.
The Cherry Cricket Ballpark opened in 2018 after they outgrew having just one location in the city, Lower downtown Denver.

If it is your first time going to a game this is the perfect location to avoid getting too far from the stadium while still enjoying a great meal and a drink. I have been going to their other location since I was 9 years old and the burgers are some of the best in the city.

Blake Street Tavern

Photo from Mile High Happy
Blake Street Tavern is always buzzing with sports fans even in the middle of the day as seen here, Lower downtown Denver.

“It does not matter if you are going to the game or looking for a bar to watch the game Blake Street is the spot to be.” Mentioned my brother Mac who lives in LoDo and insisted this spot make the list.

As someone who frequently goes out to watch sports his high praise for this spot meant it needed to be mentioned. Blake Street Tavern is a spot for true sports fans. While they are accommodating to all kinds of fans the diehard fan will really appreciate the atmosphere inside.

ViewHouse Ballpark

ViewHouse is every twenty something girls favorite spot on game day. The restaurant offers a beautiful outside upper deck area as well as a small turf field located on the ground level that is filled with games. I can personally attest to the fact that this set up offers more than enough opportunity for people to get the perfect photo “for the gram”.

Photo from ViewHouse main page.
The lively turf field at ground level where patrons can play games ranging from corn hole to badminton, Lower downtown Denver.

“This is the spot that every group of girls wants to go to before a game. It really anchors a game day snap chat story.” Mac said when talking about the ViewHouse. The proximity to the field makes the walk after a pre-game meal and drinks a non-issue. On a nice week day afternoon, the game day crowds are much smaller making this venue even more fun for everyone involved.

Lodo’s Bar and Grill

Owned by the son of the Rockies owner Lodo’s really embodies the spirit of the lower downtown area. Lodo’s rooftop patio is the perfect place to be on a cool summer night. With a view of the stadium from the roof Lodo’s is a great place to go to enjoy some of the years post game fireworks displays.

Crowded rooftop bar at Lodo’s Bar and Grill with Coors Field in background, Lower downtown Denver.
Photo From Blaine Harrington III.

In my experience of all the places on this list Lodo’s has the best drink specials. If fans are seeking a place with a great atmosphere as well as some good deals on standard drinks Lodo’s is the place to be.

Terminal Bar

Photo from TripAdvisor user Tirebiter8.
The Terminal Bar located right inside the terminal of Union Station, Lower downtown Denver.

The Terminal Bar is a venue that my brother and I have been walking past since we were much too young to drink. One of the first things you see after entering Union Station off the light rail is this spot. The bar is perfect for getting a drink as you wait for your light rail back after the game or stopping off first thing when you arrive in Denver.

“If you’re the impatient type this is the perfect place to kill time after a long day in the sun watching the Colorado Rockies.” Points out my brother. It is interesting he mentions this as the “impatient type” he is describing is exactly how I view him.

The beer garden known as The Plaza Beer Garden is a great patio space that looks all the way down 17th street to Wazee Street. One of the coolest features of the entire place is that it sits where the old ticket office used to be. When you order a drink, you walk right up to a window that still says “tickets” above it.

The spots mentioned in this post will provide great food, drinks and atmosphere that help to enhance anyone’s game day experience. Suggesting one of these spots to friends will end the debate on where to go and make the person who suggests it look like a real pro at navigating the big city.

The Frat Boy Spring Break.

Posted below are my raw and final interviews with my roommate and UW fraternity member Brad Cook.

Interviewing someone with an audio recorder with the purpose of posting the recording was an interesting process. People knowing they are being recorded means they know exactly what you are going to be posting. This is different from when you are taking notes and will go back later to pick out the key parts and shape an article.

One of the toughest parts is finding a good space to do the interview. Without the luxury of having a recording studio or living alone minimizing background noise and outside interference was a difficult process.

I really enjoyed how comfortable you can be while using audio to conduct an interview. With on camera interviews people can freeze up in front of the camera or have difficulty knowing what to do with their hands. Using just audio takes out a lot of the concern about how you look and what you are supposed to do while you are in the interview process.

The audio editing experience was tough. Utilizing all the features in a program I had not used prior to this assignment proved to be more complex than I had expected. Cutting out the right parts while not cutting off the beginning of the parts that were going to be left in required being very exact with the editing tool. I had to use the undo button more than a few times to get what I wanted while editing.

I can now attest to the fact that you spend much more time editing then you do recording the interview. I would imagine that it takes a lot of practice to get to the point where you spend twice as much time editing as you do on the interview. For me it took significantly more than that.

Brad Cook in the basement of the Sigma Phi Epsilon frat house at the University of Wyoming following our interview.

One of the more surprising things about the assignment was how quickly the time window goes by. I had a subject who enjoys talking about himself. So, outside of the introduction question and asking about his experience with spring break I was totally silent. In the end I had to let him know I had stopped recording as it seemed like he could have continued for another 5 minutes.

If I could do it over again I would have probably picked a different interview topic. This topic really left it up to Brad to provide me with a good two-minute story. As he is truly the stereotypical fraternity member the interview came across to me as a little goofy at certain points.

In the future I would love to use audio to host an actual podcast. While I want to go into the production and directing side of broadcast journalism. I still think I could find the time to interview people and post it to SoundCloud, if not for my career then just for fun. The audio editing could prove quite useful as well. Radio shows and podcasts need producers just as much as television shows. My experience with this has given me a good idea of what sort of work would go into that job.

Club Sports on Campus: The Shotgun Team

At the University of Wyoming and many other colleges across the country the most popular sport on campus is football. Of course, not everyone can play for a division one football team. However, everyone does have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of club sporting teams. At Wyoming one of the biggest and most competitive teams is the shotgun team.

Laramie Trap Club.
Located just outside of west Laramie on highway 230, the Trap Club is where all team practices are held.

The time commitment for the team is significantly less than the one demanded of traditional sports student athletes. Meeting for non-mandatory practices twice a week at the Laramie Trap Club. With meets occurring anywhere from once a month to once every other month the team is more about having fun than anything else.

The team is described as being “For people of all skill levels. You can join the team just to improve on your shooting, being a part of the club does not mean you have to compete.” Said senior and secretary Keegan Ferris.

The team is broken down into three levels of skill to give everyone with the desire a chance to compete. The highest is the gold division it is followed by the brown division and then the white division. Those at lower two levels pay for their own ammunition as well as travel expenses. With so many gun owners and avid hunters in the Laramie area the team should be bursting at the seams with people trying to join.

Lack of Student Enthusiasm

This is far from the case. Since the time he joined the club freshman year Ferris points out that club membership is declining. Why, despite the general enthusiasm surrounding hunting and guns in Laramie is the club not more popular?

“The club does little to nothing to promote itself. I did not find out about the club through a table in the union, the only way I was aware it existed was through word of mouth.” Current freshman club member Connor Auble pointed out.

Another reason may be that the club was quite large in recent years. With as many as 35 full time members over the course of Ferris’s four years.

Things the club does do to promote itself as well as raise funds include a well-attended raffle in both the fall and spring semesters. This helps to pay for the cost of ammunition as well as travel for the shooters competing on the “gold division” section of the team.

The travel is much further than one might expect. The team competes across the country against schools from Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Arizona. The team was recently able to start using university vehicles instead of having to drive their own cars to travel to events. For the further events such as Texas, they fly out of DIA in Denver.

Local Training Ground.
Not only is the teams practice area not University property but, the size of the facility is much to small to host other schools.

The club does not offer the same draw for spectators that club teams like the men’s hockey team do. In fact, the shotgun team only has one meet in the state of Wyoming a year and it is in Cheyenne. None of the interviewees describe shooting as a spectator sport.

“It’s just great to be around like-minded individuals who share a love for the sport. I think it’s all about getting outside with a bunch of your buddies and breathing in the fresh air to take the monotony out of everyday life.” Said Auble. If that means lack of student support the team is less then bothered.

Keeping Students Informed

New members are the life blood of the organization. After practice was snowed out during the week of March fourth current team members became antsy.

“Since this is my first semester with the team, I am really not sure how things work yet and I was counting on this practice to get me in the loop.” Said Wyoming native and Sophomore rookie Connor Ericksen.

This presents another potential issue, the lack of literature relating to the team. While the teams site does provide some information, without digging into social media it is tough to get an idea of what the team is all about.

Atop that, the teams Facebook page is slightly out of date. They have not posted since mid-November. Some members like Connor Ericksen do not see this as a problem.

“Honestly, who is still using Facebook these days anyway? We should consider a larger presence on Instagram if social media is going to be a focus.” Said Ericksen.

Moving forward if the club hopes to keep membership up and students involved all of the team members input will have to be considered. The current team will be practicing the remainder of the month in preparation for the national tournament finals starting on March 25th and ending on March 30th.

Shotgun National Tournament.
The team poses before the start of the 2015-16 tournament in San Antonio, Texas.
Photo courtesy of: University of Wyoming/University of Wyoming shotgun sports.

Working With Photography

Getting a camera mere inches away from a succulent in the conservatory is much less difficult then trying to get good photos of people. I think that taking the photos on an I-pod with a bright blue back made it difficult to blend in. Perhaps using a real camera would make you look more like a photographer and less like a snoop. The thing I would do differently is having a nicer camera. This class has really made me want to invest in a camera of my own.

Halftime at the Boarder War.
Mountain West official Kaili Kimura during halftime of the border war on the 23rd gets some needed rest. While the court in Laramie is temporarily taken over by other activities.

I was court side during the ladies’ border war and realized just how much was going on outside of the people playing in the game. I ended up at the game due to the signs that are posted all over campus, as well as my general disdain for CSU. This photo ended up displaying great depth and a lot of emotion on her face.

Braving the Cold.
Jess Litch, a junior in the pharmacy school at UW, bundled up to cross the frozen tundra that is the University of Wyoming campus during the winter months.

I took a bunch of photos like this to start because I felt uncomfortable sticking the camera in people’s faces. During the week of February 11th Laramie was plunged into subzero wind chill for almost the entire week. Keeping my hand out of my pocket in the frigid air was not a pleasant feeling. With this photo I tried to use the rule of thirds to keep her in the edge of the shot while also showing the shade that encompassed the walk way. What I really liked about this shot was the fact that any mom would be proud. This is exactly how a mom would send their kid to school. My own mother on the other hand would have been furious as I was wearing a pair of slides with socks instead of boots.

The Music Man.
Party Pros entertainment DJ Jason Tays keeps the arena rocking, even before the fans have all arrived for the match up against highly ranked Nevada on February the 16th in the AA.

Jason Tays is somewhat of a staple at any UW basketball event. If you have ever braved the student section for a game, he is almost always on the platform directly above the rowdy group. While the photo was rather blurry I thought it did a good job of highlighting the color on his laptop case. With the band behind him in all yellow and his table and shirt being brown, the bright colors on the case stand out and really draw the eye to that portion of the image. This game brought out the student section in full force as UW’s men faced off with top 10 ranked Nevada.

Bonding With the Community.
In the midst of warm ups before the boarder war senior forward Tijana Raca spoke with a young fan.

This image was awesome to photograph. Being so close to the action as well as being there 2 hours early allowed me to catch the moments fans do not always get to see. The crowd at this game was one of the largest of the season. Due to the Cowgirls 8 game win streak coming in it was likely as large or larger than any men’s game to date. For this shot my goal was to establish size. Perhaps, that aspect makes the photo more heartwarming to see. I could not help but smile while watching the exchange. I had a good photo of the two of them facing the camera but, I was unable to get the permission of the father (you can see his legs in between them) to use that image.

Bouncing Cancer With the Cowgirls.
Derek Mishiro of WyoVision prepares to shoot a special message for the video board with Tereza Vitulova in the AA prior to tip on Saturday the 23rd.

In this image Tereza is pulling out her card that says she “Bounces Cancer” for her uncle. Cancer is something that affects all of us in some way or another, these sorts of shots really remind people our athletes are just like the rest of us. This photo was quite easy to take as it presented itself directly in front of where I was sitting, and their natural conversation faced them towards me. This photo really focuses in on them and leaves the background a bit blurry. This way the eye is not taken to the crowd control person in the deeper portion of the background. Before getting this image I also photographed about half of the team having this same exchange.

Tropical Winter on Campus at UW

During the time allotted for this assignment I was quite surprised by how hard it was to take a picture when you actually have an element of photography in mind for each shot. Taking pictures often comes naturally for people you see something you think is interesting and so you capture a photo to remember it. However, going out seeking an image rather than one falling in your lap really complicates this process.

Of the hundred and twenty-ish images I captured I was shocked at how few were even average not to mention if any of them were even any good. Really the one thing I would have liked to do differently would be having a better camera. All of these photos were captured on my old I-Pod touch camera, I was unable to even use the camera on my I-phone 8 due to the fact that it is cracked. Having a better camera may have made some of the things I was trying to do as a photographer easier to see for the viewer and for myself.

Its a Plants Life 
One plant stretches from its pot into another.

For the first photo “It’s a Plants Life” the dominant creative device that stands out to me is a leading line. This is seen in the part of the plant that is further away and reaches forward to the closer potted plant. The leading line highlights the fact that this plant appears to be in both pots at the same time even though it is actually only growing out of one. I think the photo is aesthetically pleasing in the sense that the viewer’s eye can follow an incredibly detailed plant structure from one pot to the other and back again without truly knowing where it begins and ends.

The bright flame colored flower that takes over the green house.

The second photo showcased patterns. The flower slowly turns from a bright yellow or orange into a dark red almost maroon color at the bottom. On top of that the way the pedals are slowly unfolding on the way down in the perfect pattern so that they can each catch water makes the photo quite pleasant to look at. The bright colors really draw the viewers eye as the rest of the image is filled with nothing but lush greens. One could argue that the green around the flower frames it up in a way that really allows it to shine and take all the attention to a point where you almost do not notice the surrounding plant life.

The Cacti you Want to Touch
A cluster of fuzzy cacti presents a false sense of softness.

From above this collection of cacti look like the soft fur of a puppy. However, looks can be deceiving. I thought this image showcased the aspect of texture. The small needles poking out of the cacti are so tiny and close together it does not give off the same appearance as local cactus in the mountain west region with their more spaced out larger needles. The background in the photo provides a sort of contrast as you can see the condensation on the window behind it reminding folks that we are in fact in the midst of another Wyoming winter. I think the texture of the cacti really draws the viewer’s eye from piece to piece of the plant which part stands out the most within the cluster is up to the viewer.

Stack of Rocks Among the Plants 
A tiny pile of rocks sticks out in the rooms filled with green.

The main theme that stuck out within this image appeared to be background. With the rocks in focus and the variety of plants in the background out of focus it really draws the eye of the viewer to the tiny stack of rocks. Each rock is unique to the others and has plenty of small detail. Also, the color and size transition of the rocks as you work from top to bottom or vice versa makes the picture quite pleasant to look at.

Pretty in Pink
A vibrant flower deep within the Williams Conservatory

The last photo may have been my favorite of the day. Seeing it on the screen now I know my camera truly could not do it justice but it did come close. This photo is absolutely using color as its main photographic tool. The flower is so incredibly bright it seems to have been edited. Of course it has not, some of the most breathtaking colors we can find are out in nature just waiting for us to take them in. The background of the photo does a good job of making the pink stand out even more than it already does while also creating a slight sense of depth to allow viewers to understand it sits somewhat high off of the ground.

Blogging for Apples

Looking at some of the blogs of past students as well as the syllabus it is quite obvious that online writing skills will be a focus of this class. Since blogging is quite different from media writing I believe this writing will allow authors to use a lot more personalized tone and style to convey things to readers. Furthermore, it seems we will do some work with photography which is an area I am excited to learn about. I already do a good bit of work with video and hope that some of the concepts transfer over to photography.

On top of those things I have already learned a lot about the WordPress platform and that was only the basics. Going forward I think we will become quite competent as a class when it comes to running a site like this one. One thing I noticed on some of the other blogs was that they had done a great job with the layout of longer written pieces. While I have experience with layouts in Adobe InDesign I think learning more about web page layouts will be extremely beneficial.

Thinking about what sort of stuff I will report on this semester seemed easy until I realized you are supposed to be branching out. Since that is the case I plan to attend events on campus outside of my usual circle. The University of Wyoming brings in tons of great speakers and I have been taking that for granted for too long. I am looking forward to listening to new perspectives as well as new ideas throughout the semester.

To be more specific I would like to speak with people in departments that the University is known for such as petroleum engineering. While I do have friends in the field I am not familiar with any of the professors on campus relating to that degree. Learning things like how they keep the program doing so well and what brought them to this program in the first place seems like a good place to start.

With a little research I was able to identify one event that would work well for a blog post. On the University of Wyoming site under the calendar section one can find that the University is hosting a Chinese new year celebration that includes both a dinner and gala on Sunday February 10th. Something like this would be significantly outside of the realm of things I normally attend but, it is also a topic that sounds quite interesting. Embracing different cultures within a community is something college campuses do quite well and I am excited to start being a larger part of that and share the experiences with anyone who reads this blog!