Overcoming my fears of multimedia journalism


University of Missouri students Zach Beattie (left) and Nick Droege (right) present their idea for Safe Trek Friday, Sept. 13 at Startup Weekend Columbia.

Today an original photo of mine was published by a professional news organization. Say what? Granted the photo (pictured above) is very dark, sort of out of focus and marginally interesting at best; however, up until this point I only had confidence in my writing and reporting ability as a journalist.

I joined a newspaper staff in high school partly because I liked to write, but also in large part because I knew I could write well. It is much easier to jump into an opportunity when you have a fair amount of confidence that you can seize said opportunity. Though I am very proud of a number of articles I have written since I first joined that first publication, seeing a photo of mine published this morning filled me with an equal sense of accomplishment. The multimedia class I am currently enrolled in (and writing all of these blog posts for) seriously terrified me at the beginning of this semester. What if after a semester of attempting to take photos and produce audio and video stories I realized I didn’t have the ability to survive as a well-rounded journalist in today’s ever-changing world of new technology? What if (gasp) I got a B or a C in a journalism class?

This past weekend something really neat happened though. I went out into the real world and simply attempted to do some of the very things that had been scaring me. I went to Startup Weekend Columbia to get quotes for a story I was writing for a technology and business publication called Silicon Prairie News, and I brought a camera just for fun. I also went to an alpaca farm for my multimedia class prepared to both try and fail –and possibly succeed– at capturing photos.

Most of the pictures I took this weekend weren’t great. Even some of my “best” pictures like the one above for Silicon Prairie News aren’t great. At a certain point while I was reviewing the pictures I had taken, bad and good, I also realized I didn’t care if most of my pictures were bad. I was learning, and that was success.

Now a few weeks into my multimedia class, I am excited to learn about all of those technology skills that used to scare me. I’m even considering pursuing convergence journalism which would require me to take advanced multimedia classes.

Sometimes success is simply not being afraid to be bad at a new skill.

Below are a few of my favorite pictures from my weekend shoot at Curly Eye Alpaca Farm:


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