Introducing Myself!

In the olden days, a connection with an employee from a potential job interest meant a good chance to get a job. Today, it simply means an interview. With hundreds of people competing for the same job, it is essential to stand out as much as you can. A digital portfolio is a great way to highlight your skills and experience.

 

With that said, here is my digital portfolio. Check it out and explore!

 

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Creating a website with solid content

Digital portfolios are one of the most crucial tools anyone can have, especially in the Communication field. Anyone can create a website, it is however, including relevant and strong content that is the challenge. These three websites are good examples of content driven websites:

Meranda Writes

Meranda started her website as a personal blog to keep friends and family updated on her busy life. Eventually, she built credibility and a wider audience by keeping up with blog posts and updates. As you scan through her website, you will immediately notice a few things: she has a lot of personality and her resume is impressive. Now, she is an associate editor for Angie’s List Magazine. Prior to that, she was an education reporter for Journal & Courier in Indiana. She follows a similar format suggested by website design experts:

  • Links to her other pages are easily found
  • She includes links to previous professional works for other companies and organizations
  • She includes personality and originality and maintains professionalism at the same time

Lam Thuy Vo

Lam Thuy Vo is a multimedia reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Her website serves as an innovative portfolio containing all aspects of her work. Her work ranges from video to digital pictures to articles. While her website does not appear to be content driven, it definitely displays her work in a creative and professional manner. Although her digital portfolio is impressive, it is somewhat difficult to navigate through the website because it is packed with links to samples of her work. Her contact information is difficult to find.

  • eye catching and appealing pictures
  • provides links to articles and previous work samples
  • displays a wide range of variety in skill and technique

Women’s Sports Network

This particular website is directed towards a specific public – those who are advocates for women’s sports, female athletes and avid sports fans. The Women’s Sports Network covers a wide variety of women’s sports, specifically at the collegiate and elite level. WSN is more of a grass root organization that does not have much professionally made videos, however they provide links and information to any sports related news. The WSN front page follows a similar format recommended by Go Globe.com. The highlighted features of this website are:

  • Interactive social media – provides links to YouTube videos and tweets
  • Blogs – personally written by two different women who share great stories
  • Content driven – there is always more to the story. WSN strives to tell every story in the best way they can

All of these websites are different in purpose, but fulfill a similar goal: to be known by the public. Each website offers unique perspectives and navigation.  The best way to determine the quality of a website can be based on accessibility to information, navigation, and appealing graphics. The content is a crucial factor as well, for without content, you do not have a story to share.

Ethical tips for publishing work on the ‘net

Finding information used to be a rigorous trek – students went to the library, looked up the book catalog, climbed the stairs and used the Dewey decimal system to find the book, the very source, the answer to their question. Today, we simply use Google as a starting search engine to answer our deep and silly questions. The search for knowledge is available in our palms, what a sensation! However, the credibility is not always consistent. Freedom of speech has a impressive presence on the internet.

While knowledge is available at our fingertips with ease, we also face the challenge of maintaining ethical standpoints when expressing ourselves on the internet. There are ways to keep yourself from stealing information or “accidentally” stating the same thing four other people might have already said. Here are some quick tips on how to not get sued:

  • Respect the privacy of people – too often have I seen people post private details about other people without their permission. This is considered an invasion of privacy and you can land yourself a nice lawsuit.
  • Be chill, don’t defame anyone – sure, we have our moments where we just don’t get along with this one person, but it is not cool to publicly and falsely tell the internet world lies about this one person you might be disliking.
  • Recognize the rights of intellectual property – While you are writing clever and witty things online, chances are you might have “borrowed” the thought from someone else. Do them a favor and give them recognition for their intellectual property. Beware of trademark words and copyrighted brands!
  • Look into licensing your work – Sometimes we publish work online that we are extremely proud of. Find ways to protect your work and gain credibility for it!
  • Check out Creative Commons‘ network – While we may publish original thought and creativity, sometimes we need to collaborate someone else’s work to boost our work’s wow factor. Creative Commons allows for us to find other work and safely use the work without risking lawsuit.

Publishing your creative thoughts and ideas online is as easy as ABC, however be sure to protect yourself! There are several traps you can easily fall into if you do not apply practical ethics to your internet surfing adventures.

Beyond the luck of the Billiken

SLU students fiercely support for the currently ranked No. 18 men's basketball team.

SLU students fiercely support for the currently ranked No. 18 men’s basketball team. (SLU/Allison Galoob)

With its rising basketball success, the Saint Louis University Billikens have found a place in the spotlight. Characterized by its goofy smile, the Billiken’s individuality famously confuses people.

For many years, the Billiken statue resided at the heart of campus, in front of the West Pine gym, until four years ago when it was mysteriously moved. The missing Billiken set off a frenzy of conspiracy theories and student movements. The small, yet majestic smiling Billiken is more than a mascot, he represents SLU on a much deeper level.

Topped with a tuft of hair, big eyes, a funny smile and pointy ears, the Billiken’s cryptic identity and roots raises eyebrows and questions. Determining the iconic Billiken’s identity is not easily confined to a simple explanation.

“Explaining the history behind how it became attached to the university is a tricky one because there are a few different versions of the histories,” explains senior SLU student ambassador Briana Wright. A version suggests that a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter dubbed the SLU football coach, Jack Bender, a strong resemblance to a Billiken. Wright continues, “We generally tend to believe that the Billiken became connected to our university after many people said our past football coach Jack Bender resembled this magical creature in 1910. From then on the team became known as “Bender’s Billikens”, and has stuck with us ever since.”

The Billiken continues to smile after 103 years of bringing luck to SLU.

The Billiken continues to smile after 103 years of bringing luck to SLU. (SLU/Allison Galoob)

With its mysterious origins and legends, the Billiken serves its role as the school mascot and much more for the SLU community. Japanese legends proclaim the Billiken as a symbol of good luck. As a student, Dr. Dan Kozlowski “rubbed its belly for luck every time I passed it, which was a lot,” and today, he continues the tradition with the next generation of Billiken fans, “I tell my daughters to rub its belly.”

Proclaimed as one of the most unique mascots in the U.S., the Billiken does not simply symbolize luck,  “Historically, it is a good luck symbol. To me, it is a funny looking, fat, little man that we use as a mascot. It symbolizes the university. I look at it and I think of SLU,” groundskeeper Tommy Wessel justifies.

The Billiken signifies a sense of purpose at SLU for Wright, “I believe that to be a Billiken means to harvest all of your uniqueness and foster your talents to go out in the world and help others in whatever way you are most passionate about.”

Senior SLU student ambassador Briana Wright prepares an information pamphlet for prospective SLU students. The "Be a Billiken" motto exemplifies SLU's Billiken pride

Senior SLU student ambassador Briana Wright prepares an information pamphlet for prospective SLU students. The “Be a Billiken” motto exemplifies SLU’s strong Billiken pride. (SLU/Allison Galoob)

Being a Billiken does not simply mean being a part of SLU’s community, but more than that. Wright illuminates, “It calls us to be appreciative of what we have and spread joy to all of the individuals around you.”

Dr. Dan Kozlowski, a former undergraduate and graduate student and current Communication professor, describes the Billiken as a symbol of “hope, social justice, caring for others, and a commitment to the Jesuit mission.” The Billiken is not simply an icon for the phenomenal SLU men’s basketball team, but a symbol of what SLU truly stands for, the Jesuit mission. Wright proclaims, “The Billiken embodies all of the uniqueness that makes up this wonderful institution. Embrace it and make it your own!”

Shortly after its disappearance, the Billiken statue reemerged near the Chafietz arena, home of the Billikens, where he continues to smile proudly. Fans, alumni, students, staff and faculty alike walk by him and rub his belly, believing and continuing the long tradition of Billiken luck. 

Characteristics of good visual storytelling

Visual storytelling is not simply about having a good story and putting it in front of a camera. You could have great camera skills, but visual storytelling demands for more than skills. It requires creativity and innovative ideas. “Quality, time and collaboration are the keys to great storytelling,” says Brian Storm, founder and executive producer of the multimedia production studio MediaStorm. There is only so much a story can tell, once the right music, visual transitions, and pace are established, the story becomes greater and more powerful. It is about inviting your audience, allowing them to feel the emotions, become inspired, and learn something from the story.

An example of visual storytelling is the promotional commercial for the National Relay Service for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Australia. The two part video promotes the use of relay services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Instead of simply telling their audience about the services the company provides, the advantages and purposes are shown through a love story between a hearing man and a Deaf woman. Using the relationship as a timeline, the National Relay Service draw in people and tug their heartstrings as the main characters endure the joy and heartbreak of romance. Not once does it seem like a video for relay service, it appears to be a preview for an upcoming short film.

According to Deborah Potter‘s checklist, the National Relay Service promotional video uses these components to solidify their visual story:

  • Pacing – the music works with the events of the story, elevating the emotions of the story
  • Structure – there is a beginning, a middle and an end, all are important parts of the story. The story is linear, there is sheer focus on the development of the romantic relationship
  • Focus – although the short film appears to be about a relationship between a Deaf woman and a hearing man, the focus is on the communication between the two. In particular, the phone conversations that can occur, thanks to the National Relay Service.

The short film, Quiet Signs of Love, is not used for traditional Journalism, but more for a promotional video for a service company. It could be used as a journalistic story, as a human interest story exposing the communication challenges between two individuals from different perspectives and sharing the Deaf culture. The compelling love story presents the services of the National Relay Service in an interesting and creative way, in which can draw in more viewers and support.

The newest kid on the block – online writing

A brief introduction, I promise

Writing has been around since man invented the wheel, literally. Writing styles morphed over the years, tweaking itself to fit the social norms. We have gone from the romantic and lengthy to straightforward and simple. Online writing is the newest kid on the writing block and it is most definitely different.

So, how do I become an efficient online writer? 

There’s so much you can write about, but only about 28% of your words will be read by your audience. So, what can you do to draw them in and keep ’em reading? Compiling most of the advices given by these proclaimed online writing experts:

  • Use subheadings, bold up the key words to add emphasis

All we do these days is blast through news articles and take in maybe two things from the story if we’re paying enough attention. Subheadings and bold letters will attract attention and slow down that speed reader.

In Journalism, the acronym is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. The last thing we want to do is confuse our audience. Tell the story right off the bat!

  • Integrate with your audience, allow them to converse with you

Today’s journalism is a two-way street. The audience/readers have power, just like the gatekeepers. Create ways to allow for them to converse with you and each other.

  • Use images

Our world moves much faster these days. It seems that the only way we’ll stop is if we see an intriguing image. Use your pictures, for a picture is worth a thousand words. Polls, charts and galore!

  • Write in active voice, pack in that action!

If someone brave enough told our history teachers to stop telling historical stories passively, we would probably remember more dates! Nobody wants to read a story that drags on in passive voice. It’s just not that attractive. Bring your audience to the action. Let them feel the sweat, the dodging, the tears.

Okay, what now?

There is only so much online writers can do to maintain interest, but the best thing we can do is adapt to change. Go with the flow. Do what works and keep at it. Venture for more stories, speak the truth and tell the story.