Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Diving into the job market

It's very easy to see the video editing techniques we discussed in class on "The Today Show." A segment regarding summer work came up and showed all three of them. The story was about how many summer jobs usually snatched up by teenagers are now facing more competition from older folks because of the economy.
Continuous motion was used when they showed a boy taking someone's ticket and scanning it so they could enter the park - they went from a wide, full-body shot to a close-up of his hands, following the motion. Throughout the piece they created audio "pops" by bringing the sound up, such as when the boy said "Welcome to Sea World" or when a penguin squawked.

I don't think I would ever want to work at an amusement park, but when I was last in Orlando, I noticed a lot of older folks staffing the rides and ticket booths.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New links, new stories

If you haven't seen already (and if you're someone who reads this, you probably haven't), I've got two new stories on my class website. The top link is an audio story about the couch kids in the Union.
In case you don't know who they are, they're the guys who always sit outside of the Susquehanna with their laptops and Nintendo handhelds at the cluster of couches. A lot of people aren't huge fans of theirs, because they're really kind of the nerd archetype, but they're not bad people.

The second link is my feature story on men in cosplay. I was able to talk to three different men, all of whom cosplay on a regular basis, and I think the story came out pretty okay.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adding audio

I honestly have no clue right now about what I'm going to write about for my audio story. I'd like to be able to talk to people about the work that goes into masquerades at conventions, simply because of the hours of work that goes into projects like that.

Masquerades are essentially skit contests at conventions where groups of participants are judged based on performance value and on costume craftsmanship.

This is a skit I participated in at Katsucon last month. (Kudos to you if you can immediately figure out who I am.) I know a lot about what goes into masquerades and it would also be fun to write about, but I don't know who I'd be able to talk about for the audio since most of the people I know who also participate live far away.

My only other option I've come up with is perhaps talking to the couch kids from the Union and doing a feature of some sorts. That's got more of a Towson aspect to it, but coming up with a real defined angle on that story might be difficult.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Revisiting "Final Fantasy VII" again

Photo courtesy

As seen on the Anime News Network, yet another spin-off of the ever-popular PlayStation title "Final Fantasy VII" is going to get animated.

Weekly Famitsu confirmed that the novel, "On the Way to a Smile: Denzel" is going to get animated and ship as a supplement to the "Advent Children" Blu-Ray release. The story is part of a series of short novelettes written by Kazushige Nojima that follows the characters of "Final Fantasy VII" through the two years between the events of the video game and the events in "Advent Children."

The original video game was released for the PlayStation console in 1997. Eight years later, "Advent Children" was released in Japan, serving as a sequel to the original story. Though the movie received only an overall 40% rating on, it is a very popular film in its target demographic ("Final Fantasy" fans, mostly).

Other tie-ins are "Last Order: Final Fantasy VII," an Original Video Animation, and "Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII," a mix of scenes used from the video game, live action and CGI.

"On the Way to a Smile: Denzel" will be released with the Blu-Ray edition of "Advent Children" on April 16.

The reporter left out a lot on the original article. I'd have gotten quotes from a representative from Sony or even from fans, just to get someone else's words in the story. More information on the plot of both "Advent Children" and the "Denzel" anime would also be helpful, if that information is available.

Personally, I can't stand most of the "Final Fantasy" franchise. The only game ever worth playing was "IV" or maybe "VI." "Final Fantasy VII" is probably one of the most overrated games in the history of the world, but is treasured by a lot of people simply because it was one of the first decent role-playing games to be rendered in 3-D. The quality of the games has gone down ever since the release of "VII" and the fact that the writers have to keep going back to that game to make money only proves that fact.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A plan for attack

I've settled on my feature - it's going to be what I brought up in the last post, which is a profile on a Towson student who's also a cosplayer. It should be easy for me since I'm also a cosplayer and I know the ins and outs of what goes on.

As far as how I'm going to attack this feature, my plan is relatively simple. It's just a matter of going out and getting it done. I plan on talking to my sources (the two I mentioned last post, Billy and Alex; I have yet to figure out who the third source will be) as soon as I can, taking photos as soon as I can and getting it done as soon as I can.

I just don't want to waste any time on what is a short feature (for me, anyway. I've written several longer features before). If I end up taking longer than a week on this, I'm going to be disappointed in myself.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Following the Formula

Baltimore Sun: Suburban Federal's short, sharp fall

This story definitely follows the Wall Street Journal Formula. The lead features a single person who was effected by Suburban Federal and moves into the main point of the story through the nut graph. With the use of quotes and general information, it gets the main point across and at the end it goes back to how the problem has hurt specific people.

Back to the beat: FEATURE STORY

For my feature story, I'll be writing a profile on a cosplayer who's a freshman at Towson. His name's Billy Saccardi and though he's fresh to the cosplay scene, he's already made his mark.
This fits my beat because cosplay - short for "costume play," where people dress up as their favorite characters - is a big part of the convention scene.

Sources I'll be using for the story will be Billy, of course, as well as Alex Li - also a cosplayer, but he was a cosplay judge at Towson's own Tigercon and saw Billy's craftsmanship up-close. I'm not sure who I'm going to use for the third source yet, but I'm working on it.

The photo should be fun since I'll hopefully be able to get a shot of him in one of his costumes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One crowded convention

Approximately 6,000 people flooded the Hyatt Regency Crystal City from Feb. 13-15 for the area's annual Japanese animation convention, Katsucon.

Celebrating its 15th year running, the convention returned to the Hyatt after its lease with the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C. expired. According to staff, the convention had to scramble to get into a different location and settled on returning to Crystal City - the event was held there in 2004. Katsucon has grown considerably in size since then, and because of that they had to put a 6,000-person cap on the event.

Some convention attendees complained about the decision to return to Crystal City.

"I can't believe they would move it back here. There's not enough room to hold a convention with this many people," Katsucon attendee Jennifer Sampson said. "I'll come back next year, but only because it won't be here again."

Monday, February 9, 2009

'Axis Powers' defeated? Not yet

Original stories:
Korean protests call for 'Hetalia' anime cancellation
Japan's Kids Station cancels its 'Hetalia' anime run
'Hetalia' anime seen by 200,000 on Web, 60,000 on phones

To summarize:

"Axis Powers Hetalia" is originally a series of Web comic shorts by Hidekaz Himaruya. The series is essentially a cynical political satire of the world at large taking place during World War I and World War II. The various countries involved are represented by human characters that are stereotypes of their nation - for example, America wears a leather jacket, eats cheeseburgers constantly and likes to stick his nose in everyone else's business.

Towards the end of 2008, it was announced by Studio DEEN and KIDS STATION that a series of five-minute animated shorts based off of the Web comic would begin airing in January 2009. This sparked protest from Korean citizens, who began petitioning to stop the show due to the portrayal of their country. They eventually succeeded in their cause and on January 14 the show was canceled.

However, the station decided that the show would still be distributed online and through mobile phone services. The demand for the show overloaded the servers involved and the website involved,, had to temporarily shut down.

These three stories from Anime News Network cover the story pretty well overall. It was a big developing story and the updates they provided within the stories, as well as the additional stories themselves, help to tell the audience what happened.

Despite this, I think they could have done more. The stance the Korean protesters took wasn't explained very well and I think that could have been improved a lot. Fact is, Korea and Japan haven't exactly been the best of friends... ever. If more research was done into the tension between those two nations and the protest could have been explained more, I think it would have made the articles a lot better. Simply saying "Korea doesn't like it so they're protesting" doesn't do enough.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The nerdiest beat you'll ever see

My beat can be summed up pretty much in one word: nerd.

Seeing as I am one myself (it's a severe case) and I know about the culture surrounding it, I figured it'd be the best beat I could do that wasn't baseball. Topics that will be discussed and covered will include anime, cosplay, video games, model building and more. This will give me a nice wide range of things to cover. The big event I'll actually be reporting on will be Katsucon, an anime convention in D.C. taking place Valentine's Day weekend.

Now I know what you're thinking.
"Oh jeez... anime. She must be one of those couch kids." or "Man, this girl must not get out at all, she must spend all of her time watching Japanese cartoons and playing video games."
No, I'm not a couch kid. Yes, I have a life. I also have a nice set of social skills.

To wrap things up, here's a photo of a model kit I constructed last semester:

The exact model is MS-14S Char Aznable Custom Gelgoog
I've made about a half-dozen of these kits. They take about three hours to build but they're nice to have around to build on a rainy day.

Next post: "Axis Powers Hetalia" anime canceled before it even airs.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who is Carrie Wood?

My name's Carrie Wood (you may already know this) and I'm currently the arts editor and baseball beat reporter for The Towerlight. I'm usually pretty busy during the semester because of this, especially Sundays and Wednesdays (production day). At first it was a little difficult to get used to, but I've gotten myself into a routine.

When I'm not writing or in class, I'm likely either at a sporting event of some kind or playing video games.
I've grown up around sports. Baseball is essentially my lifeblood, though I'm a pretty big Washington Capitals fan as well. Once the season starts, I'm at almost every Towson University baseball game up in the press box (which is fortunately fully enclosed and heated this year, woohoo!). I'm a bigger Nationals fan than I am an Orioles fan, but I like both teams and once the MLB season kicks off, I'm at a game - either in DC or in Baltimore - on average once a week.
Video games are something my parents tried to prevent from entering my life, but to no avail. Once Pokemon got popular when I was in fourth grade, there was no stopping me. I had my Game Boy Color and my copy of Pokemon Red and I was set. My addiction to Nintendo grew from there - I discovered The Legend of Zelda, then River City Ransom, Fire Emblem, Golden Sun... you get the gist. Unfortunately, I'm not the one with the tech/geek column at the paper, so I have no outlet to unleash my inner nerd rage when I need it.
To add to the whole nerd thing, I go to anime conventions and yes, I cosplay. Maybe I'll go more in-depth on that whole thing another time.

I hope to learn from this course the same skills I learned from 257, but more in-depth. Reporting and editing skills as well as all of the new media stuff - audio, video, photography - are all things I hope to gain. I'm taking three different mass communications courses this semester: this, news editing and sportswriting. Hopefully, after finishing all three, I'll be a much better journalist and editor.

I'm not sure what I want to be once I've graduated. If I can get a job at a newspaper, that'd be great, but I'll only take the job if I get to cover baseball. The guy who's in charge of marketing for the Nationals has apparently been following my work at the newspaper and is interested in having me work there (so I hear), so I'm actually going to start taking marketing classes next semester to make myself more market-able to him and the franchise. As long as I'm in baseball (the Nationals, especially), I'll be happy.

That's it for now. I hoped to be able to stretch this post out a lot more so that I wouldn't have to sit around for 50 minutes before my next class starts, but alas.