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Archive for the ‘Classwork’ Category

Boston Marathon Preparation PKG, Spring 2011

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By Cat Viglienzoni — June 14, 2011

There are times when your personal life and your reporter life will intersect. One such case happened for my classmate Meghan Lamontagne’s show, where I was assigned to be a reporter. Her show was on health, and she wanted her last block to be about the Boston Marathon. Since she knew I’d been training all semester for the marathon, she wanted me to do a piece about my preparation for the race to close out the show.

This piece was shot at the end of March, and aired on April 14, a few days before the marathon.

Meghan did the shooting for this piece.

This piece was challenging for me because it was almost entirely on-camera, with me telling my story. I prefer telling my story off-camera, with b-roll illustrating what I am saying. But then again, every other story I’ve covered has not been about me. So making sure that I spoke and shot in ways that could easily be edited later was a bit tricky, and I probably could have done a better job transitioning between pieces.

Also, the lav mic we were given didn’t work (again) and they didn’t have another one, so we had to try to wrangle a regular handheld mic while also doing the demos I needed to do. It was not ideal. And we had to shoot in my room, which was in a basement, so I had to finagle the lighting so that it was bright enough.

And yes, I had run 21 miles that morning prior to shooting this piece.

It was also different for me because I opted to wear what I was planning to wear on race day. It seemed weird to do a piece on my training while wearing business attire.

And what am I doing anchoring, you may ask? Well, it just so happened that the classmate who was slated to anchor couldn’t do it, and since Meghan had stepped up to fill a live shot in my show, I stepped up and filled the anchor desk for hers. To be clear, I don’t want to be behind the desk. In this case it was fun and it made for some nice banter with my co-anchor and friend Justine Frostad, but I’ll leave the anchoring up to people who want to be on camera for that long.

A disclaimer: I ran the marathon unofficially, as a “bandit” runner. That means I crossed the start line in Hopkinton after the numbered runners and crossed the finish line at the Boston Public Library with them. But as far as the B.A.A. is concerned, I wasn’t there, and you won’t find a time for me anywhere. It was somewhere around 4 hours. I didn’t get an exact time. I’ve done that three times so far, with a personal best of 3:56:19.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

June 14, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Handicap Stickers PKG – EIV News, Spring 2011

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By Cat Viglienzoni – June 13, 2011

This piece I did on a local artist in Cambridge who created a sticker that could be placed on a handicap sign to juxtapose two different views of what “disability” is.

I did this piece for EIV News, but I had to reshoot the standup, so this piece doesn’t have the lower-thirds and EIV logo that the original did.

Aside from the standup, everything was shot and edited by me.

Things I’d do differently next time include mainly using a tripod when shooting the b-roll. Biggest mistake ever. Those cameras are too small to get good still shots without a tripod (the general rule seems to be the smaller the camera the harder it is to hold it steady), and I don’t have steady hands to begin with.

They’re pretty much the same, but here is the original. It aired on EIV News at 9 on March 16, 2011.

Handicap Stickers from EIVTV on Vimeo.

Also, on the first standup, I had a friend helping me shoot. Unfortunately, he is not a journalism major and didn’t know how to focus the camera correctly, so the standup was blurry. So I had to reshoot that later on when I re-edited the piece for class, but I didn’t have time to get that done before EIV ran the first version. That was a bummer.

So again, another piece with some great aspects, but it’s not my best.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

June 13, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Sports Nutrition Show Live Shot – Winter 2011

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By Cat Viglienzoni — June 1, 2011

I’m going to assume that most of you have not had the … ah… pleasure of going live before. But you have definitely seen the reporters on TV doing just that, and many of them make it look VERY easy.

It’s not.

First off, we were in a terrible location. It’s great that our school can even DO live shots, because it requires special equipment and setup, but the location is not ideal. It’s in a sketchy and poorly-lit alley across from our school (the one with the two strip clubs farther down the block), on the corner of a busy downtown road, in one of the windiest parts of the city. It’s an ugly backdrop any way you turn.

That’s also why it’s an excellent location to begin in, because you’ll encounter many of the challenges a reporter going live faces – uncooperative weather (hair flying everywhere), passerby who get too curious, loud street noise that can drown you out, etc.

So here’s my attempt. It was for a classmate’s show on sports health, and my piece was on nutrition for athletes. I was assigned as a live reporter for the show.

Okay, so I don’t look great in the live shot. It was super windy, super-freezing (you hopefully can’t tell, but I actually couldn’t feel any of my limbs – including my hands – by the end of it), and we’d been standing out in that weather waiting for the show to set correctly for about an hour. By the time it was my turn to go, I wanted to get inside, so I think I spoke too quickly and rushed my delivery. The piece was long, but that was the length I was told to do. I also didn’t get a chance to get different b-roll for the piece – ideally, I would have been able to go to a grocery store or a cafeteria and get shots of different foods or people eating. You see my mouth moving at the beginning (a no-no) – that was me getting the cue – slightly late – that I was live. (Normally, a reporter has an earpiece that allows him or her to hear what’s going on at the station. We did not, so my photographer had to cue me in.)

I had help setting up and shooting from my producer, Lynn Herman. I did most of the interview and the tracking and editing. The lovely Meghan Lamontagne was the anchor who led into my live shot.

Still, I didn’t flub the words too much, and I was more comfortable the next time I got to go live, so I think it was a great experience to have.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

June 1, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Election 2010: Voter Turnout – EIV News, Fall 2010

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By Cat Viglienzoni — May 29, 2011

Election day never coincides with a convenient time in one’s schedule to go out and cover things. If I recall, I’d been pulling virtually no sleep for a few days because of schoolwork and cross-country, and then wham! election coverage was upon us. But it’s an opportunity you can’t pass up, even when you’re exhausted.

My assignment, because of my schedule, was to go to the polls and talk to voters as they came out. This is not an easy task, as there are strict rules about cameras in the polls (obviously). Most are common sense for a courteous person, but I made sure I had them memorized before I went over there anyway.

Here is the original version for EIV. It aired the next day (November 3) on our election show, but I had it completed on Tuesday because of a busy class schedule on Wednesday. Then I came into the studio on Wednesday to do a live, in-studio tag to my piece during the show.

Voter Turnout from EIVTV on Vimeo.

Clearly, there are things that could have been done better. It was pretty tough to get people to talk, since we couldn’t go outside (not enough light) and we also couldn’t get near the polls (because of the rules). So I had to work with the few interviews I got.

I had a photographer with me, so some of the shooting I did, some I didn’t.

I did get the chance to re-work the piece the next week for class, and this is that version:

Again, there are things that could have been changed, but I worked with what I had. It was definitely a good experience diving into a political story and turning it around within hours.

One thing I do remember about that was walking out of the BPL from the first shooting set, only to see Governor Deval Patrick leaving, surrounded by the press. I think I remember going into haywire mode trying to pull the camera out and get the mic on (my photog had NO idea why I suddenly went into speed-setup mode), but alas, too late. Oh well. Would have been nice to get a quote.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 29, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Read for the Record – Fall 2010

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By Cat Viglienzoni — May 24, 2011

I don’t know if you’ve gotten this from the earlier post on being the library poster child but… I like reading. A lot.

So you can imagine that covering a story on adorable children reading books to set a record (and promote literacy) was a lot of fun for me to go do. This piece I did for class in the fall last year about the Read for the Record project put on by Jumpstart. The project aims to get the most children to read the same book on the same day to promote literacy.

This was the fourth piece I’d ever done. Disclosure again: I did have to re-shoot the standup.

This was for class, so I didn’t air it anywhere.

I did this piece with my classmate Greg Burud.

Things I’d change: I edited some shots on movements, which isn’t good to do (it looks just a bit off). We also should have had the interviewees facing the camera more instead of getting a profile shot. I also should have boosted the nat sound track more so that the background noise was more audible throughout.

And if you’re curious, this year’s Read for the Record is on October 6, 2011 and children will read Llama, Llama Red Pajama, which I think you should read because that title is pretty amazing.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 24, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Park Spark – Fall 2010, or: “that dog poop lamp piece”

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By Cat Viglienzoni — May 23, 2011

I hope the title of this post didn’t gross you out. I promise there’s a rhyme and reason behind what I do.

Believe it or not, despite (or perhaps because of) its unusual content, this is probably my favorite or second-favorite piece I’ve done. And I hope you’ll watch it to see why.

The gist of this piece is that I went out to a dog park in Cambridge to check out a unique project that harnessed the methane from dog waste to power a lamp in the park. By burning the methane, the gas (which is far worse for the environment than carbon dioxide) was broken down into two components: carbon dioxide and water.

Unfortunately, it never officially aired for a student news station. But if I’d had the chance to air it, I totally would have.

I did this piece with my teammate and friend Katie Eastman, who did most of the shooting. I conducted my own interviews and wrote and edited everything.

There isn’t TOO much I’d change on this version, except for that I needed to conclude my otherwise-good standup a bit sooner instead of taking another step. The hands also needed to go down. (However, that was the third real standup I’d done ever, so it wasn’t that bad, considering. The dog was also rather cooperative.)

My teacher and classmates loved it. I had people asking me during the spring semester about three or four times if they could use this piece in their shows for practicum classes (and I allowed them to, even though I reminded them it was VERY outdated at that point, considering the project was taken down at the end of September 2010). But people had a hard time remembering the project’s name, so it earned the title I have in quotes: “that dog poop lamp piece.”

I love this piece because it shows an example of the way science can be directly related to everyday life and how a reporter can break down a concept to explain to people how a project like this works and why it matters. It doesn’t hurt that the piece also has cute puppies running around everywhere either.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 23, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Small Business Saturday – Fall 2010

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By Cat Viglienzoni – May 19, 2011

This reporter piece is on Small Business Saturday, a campaign aimed at promoting small businesses during the holiday retail season. I went out to Roslindale, MA to cover this, kind-of at the last minute. Small Business Saturday was on November 27, 2010.

This was another class piece, so it did not air.

The major thing keeping this piece from being a good one was the unfortunate fact that my lav mic (the one that clips onto someone’s shirt) died, and I couldn’t tell. So the only reason I got any of what the store owner said in her interview was because my camera’s internal mic (the one built in to the camera) picked up the interview. Unfortunately, it also picked up all the background noise as well, including the humming of the refrigerators for the cheese. And it picked up her voice very faintly. So when I boosted the audio so you could hear her, I also had to boost the background noise. It’s a no-win scenario.

Also, I wasn’t able to use a tripod for some of the b-roll shots because the locations didn’t allow for it (crowds + tripod = people blocking your camera’s view), so some of the shots are shaky, which isn’t great.

I had help shooting the standup from a photographer who was also covering the event for his station.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 19, 2011 at 2:02 PM