The #J333 Experience

A Look Back at the Past Ten Weeks in Suzi Steffen’s Writing For Multimedia 

By: Laura Witherspoon

J333 Writing for Multimedia didn’t feel like a class to me. Traditional classes to me are reminiscent of schedules, routine, papers, reading, and lecture. Being able to spend the last ten weeks experiencing the craft beer culture in Eugene has been so much fun. I had heard the names Ninkasi and Oakshire from older friends and seen the instagram pictures they’ve posted but couldn’t wait to experience Eugene’s local breweries for myself.

The craft brew community in Eugene is tight-knit yet welcoming at the same time. Each brewery I visited had its own group of “regulars” and it felt like everyone knew everyone. Even when I interviewed various brewers from different breweries each one had nothing but nice things to say about competing breweries in the Willamette Valley. One constant theme I noticed at almost every brewery is the love of local ingredients. Almost every brewery had a local aspect to their experience whether it was locally grown hops or food. I think this aspect is what makes the craft beer culture in Eugene different from any other. I  absolutely loved covering local brew in Eugene and can’t wait to keep exploring and further my beer knowledge.

I was truly surprised Suzi allowed me to report on breweries for the term but I am very thankful she did. I learned more than I thought I would and hope readers enjoyed the multimedia pieces I made. This class also taught me more about the realm of multimedia and how it is always evolving.

Before this class I had never heard of Storify or had a clue what it was. One afternoon Suzi instructed us to create a Storify around our topic. You can find my Storify profile here. Overall I think this site is pretty interesting. It’s a really good resource if you’re looking to get an overall sense of emotions and reactions to an event or news story. While Storify is a great tool I don’t know if I fell in love with it or if I’ll use it again.

The second project I created was an Audio Slideshow on Falling Sky Brewery. I had created audio slideshows before in Gateway but that was about a year ago. It was similar to riding a bike again, once you get started it comes back to you pretty fast. Instead of using Final Cut Pro I tried Soundslides out. It was pretty easy but I had issues with the exporting and embedding parts. I ended up hyperlinking it to my post because the embedding code couldn’t quite work no matter what I tried.

Our third project was a video surrounding our topic. Videos have always been a challenge for me, for some reason I just don’t have the video production gene. After some frustration and failed attempts with the subject of my video, I pulled through and made a video about building your own Kegerator. I thought it was going be a bit more interesting to watch but I made the best of the footage I got.

The next three projects were at our discretion, which sounded easy at first but it was more challenging than I thought it would be. The hardest part for me was holding myself accountable to deadlines. It’s easy when someone is making you turn in projects but it gets tougher when the deadlines are up to you. My first independent multimedia project was a series of three .Gifs that chronicled Ninkasi’s brewing and bottling process. It was surprisingly easy to make a .gif and I was happy I got to use some footage that I scraped from the video assignment.

The second independent project was a photo essay on Hop Valley. To be honest, I wish I had captured more interesting photos but realized Hop Valley offers a different experience than other breweries. The vibe at Ninkasi was factory-like and I got to see the whole brewing process in their huge facility while at Hop Valley I stayed for lunch, observed the crowd, and walked around a bit. If you read my blurb on that post, you’ll find that the general atmosphere was more restaurant-feeling than a brewing facility.

Lastly, I got to work with a site that I had never heard or worked with called Scrollkit.com. This site allows you to make high-quality pieces similar to The New York Time’s “Snowfall”. I documented my afternoon at Agrarian Ales Hop Farm and made a ScrollKit page.

My ScrollKit page titled Afternoons at Agrarian Ales, was easy to create and a lot of fun as well. Since I don’t know much HTML, I’ve thought website design was a bit daunting but Scrollkit.com takes away that fear. It is easy to navigate and customize, at times a bit too simple, but it accomplished what I set out to do. The only issue I had with Scrollkit is their “save” feature wasn’t consistent and often failed. Just as I finished writing my captions I tried to save my changes by using “command + s”. As soon as I hyperlinked it to my blog post and clicked the link to try it out, I saw the captions weren’t in fact saved. I was so frustrated but I hustled to fix them and made sure I saved them properly the second time around.

In fact, I think the most frustrating thing from the past ten weeks is when you work hard on a project and it either didn’t save, render, or upload properly. That happened a few more times than I’d like to admit but I think it taught me to always leave enough time to fix any last minute snafus. Also, I learned that projects may not come out the way you originally envisioned or planned but you just have to make the best of what you have. I’m pleased with how everything turned out and I’m so glad I was able to take this class and hone my multimedia and storytelling skills.This class definitely made me step outside my comfort zone, multimedia wise, and I really gained more because of it.

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