Thursday, December 1, 2011

Narration Project

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adobe Contribute- Worth it?

Considering that hiring somebody to make a website for you can cost anywhere from $100-$1,100, buying Adobe Contribute and being able to create as many personalized websites as you like seems like a great option.

It's mostly used to update website that a person already has, but you can also use it to design a website as well.  Either way, it's still easy because all you have to do is create a website on Blogger or Wordpress and then use Contribute to design it afterward.

One thing that I found cool about Contribute is that it can link to your website.  Isn't it odd that a computer program can be linked to the Internet?  Pretty cool.

The problem with Contribute is that it is really hard to navigate, which is probably why they include a tutorial that helps you through it.  A lot of people don't use tutorials (me being one of them) but this one is really necessary if you want to be able to get the full effect of Contribute.

If you don't want to use the built-in tutorial, you can click HERE.

Click HERE to buy Adobe Contribute from Amazon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

5 Best Tips for Journalists' Use of Multimedia/Social Media

Click here for source.

Social media and multimedia are beneficial for journalists.  There are so many social media websites that are just screaming for users to take advantage of them, but most people don't know how.

Click here for source.
1.  Use Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and other social media websites to look for trends.  Check out all of the social media websites to find trends and possible ledes.  There is no better way to see what people like than to go straight to the people.  This is the best way to do it; if you see what people are talking about firsthand, you can easily write a popular lede.  Source: click here.

2.  Use Blogspot, Wordpress, and other blogging websites to promote your work.   Journalists can use all the publicity they can get.  If you start writing a blog, you become part of a community and those are the people that will support you.  Source: click here.

3.  Make podcasts and vlogs to promote yourself.  Use YouTube, make vlogs, and podcasts to promote yourself.  Publish your works on Youtube and other websites and talk yourself up.  YouTube is a popular website and it's very easy to get people to notice you.

Click here for source.
4. Be the first to know something.  Want to be the first person to get a news lede?  Well Facebook is the best place to get this news.  I sometimes find myself checking Facebook before I check the news.  When the Oklahoma earthquake hit a couple weeks ago, I found out about it on Facebook.  Then you can follow up the story on CNN or other news websites.

5.  Compare and contrast both sides of a story.  When writing a story, it's important to be unbiased but be able to get both sides of the story.  With personal websites like Twitter, it's easy to follow 'important' people and read about their personal lives.  It'll also helpful if you want to dig up some dirt on people. Source: click here.

Interesting study:

Click here for source.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Networking- The Most Important Part of a Job Hunt?

There are many ways to get a job.  Duh, we all know that.  Of course it's important to have a good resume, do well in an interview, and get an education, but networking will get you places you never dreamed of.

Think of it this way:  If you send in an outstanding resume to a company of your choice, but someone else whose resume isn't quite as good as yours knows the person doing the hiring, who do you think will get the job?  Probably not you.  But what would have happened if you would have done some networking beforehand and gotten to know the person doing the interview?  Maybe your resume would have mattered then.

So, it's not that a resume isn't important, it's just that you may need to take some necessary steps to make it important.

You have to know how to network, though, which is why the following link is important to read.

Link: 8 Rules of Networking.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Picnik Vs. Photoshop

After working with Photoshop in Steven Youngblood's class, I came to the decision that Photoshop is awesome.   However, I'm a religious user of Picnik and even after using Photoshop in class, I still use Picnik.  Why?  Let's weigh the pros and cons of each:



  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Available online without a download
  • Fun effects
  • Not good for big files
  • Unprofessional



  • Lots of features
  • Professional


  • Difficult to use without help
  • Expensive
Link of the week: Photoshop Alternatives

My work:

Photoshop Photo

Photoshop Illustration

Friday, November 4, 2011

Should You Use Survey Monkey?

Survey Monkey is a website where people can go to create and take surveys.  Dr. Joan Aitken's Theories of Communications class was required to create a survey to distribute to others to acquire information.

There are many advantages of Survey Monkey over other survey websites.
  1. It's free. Not all of their surveys are free, but to a certain extent, you are able to create free, distributional surveys.
  2. Great customization options.  You choose your own style/font/color/etc.
  3. No advertising in free surveys. On most free surveys, you'll find advertising.  Not on Survey Monkey though.
  4. Advanced analyzed responses.  Once you take the survey, you'll be able to see what other people said as well.
To take our Theories of Communication survey, click here: Communications Survey

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mock Newspaper Spread

Creating your own newspaper is difficult work.

In Digital Media class, Dr. Steve Youngblood asked the class to create a 2 page, letter-size newspaper spread using InDesign.

I had never used InDesign before, so the week or so of preparation before was much needed.  InDesign is a program created by Adobe that graphic designers and many other people use to create flyers, brochures, newspapers, books, etc.  Without a proper introduction to the software, it may be difficult to use.

The newspaper spread ended up being pretty fun.  We had free reign on topics, titles, colors, photos, etc.  The guidelines we had only related to design.

Click here to check out my mock newspaper spread:  "Food Chronicles"

And, if you'd like a tutorial on how to use Adobe InDesign, click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photography-- Communication?

Photography is a form of communication.  It's nonverbal and visual communication.

A person can easily tell a story with only pictures and convey the message effectively without ever having to write a word.  It can actually be more effective because a person can see something and put themselves in that spot and know every single description.

I am an amateur food photographer and I could not run What Katie's Baking without photography.  I can write every adjective in the dictionary synonymous to "delicious," but a person won't actually 'get the picture' without an actual picture.  The words create a photograph in a persons head, but the pictures produce the drool.

Before I improved my photography, the traffic on my blog was extremely low.  Once it was improved, though, traffic skyrocketed.  Apparently, the following pictures are communicating more than my words were.

Interesting blog on this topic: Iceland Aurora.

Friday, October 7, 2011

How to Get Traffic in the "Blogosphere"

Getting traffic on your blog can be such a daunting task.  It takes time and lots of effort. I had my other blog, What Katie's Baking, for over a year before I began seeing an increase in traffic.  I started out with 10-40 page views a day and just recently, within the past 6 months, started getting 600-2000 page views per day. So, yes, it is difficult, but possible if you set your mind to it.

Things I did included:

1. Submitting my blog to search engine directories.
2. Changing my titles to be more appealing.
3. Adding more "labels" at the end of my posts.
4. Writing about controversial topics.
5. Adding appealing graphics and investing in a good camera.

Those are only a few things that you can do, but remember that people are coming to your blog to get good content, so don't write if you don't have enough time to provide that to your audience.

If you want to submit your blog to search engine directories click here: Free Web Submission.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Learning How to Make Videos (Vlogs)

Making videos is a lot harder than one would think.

Dr. Steven Youngblood, my Digital Media professor, turned me on to the idea.  I'd been wanting to make videos for What Katie's Baking for a while, but I never made the plunge.  I guess all I needed was a required assignment to get me started on my own Vlogs.  

I'm a little embarrassed to post my first video, but you can click here to view the beginning phase of my exploration with creating videos.  

Tonight, I created my first  video for my blog.  I'm sure I'll look back on it a year from now and think, "Man, that's terrible," but you have to start somewhere. 

My only word of advice to beginning video makers: Don't be scared, just do it.

Episode 1 of "What Katie's Baking" vlog:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Is It Possible to Avoid Miscommunication?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone and it turns into an argument, and at the end, it turns out you were both talk about something completely different?

Of course you have.  It's called miscommunication and it happens to almost everyone.  Although I'm not old enough to call myself wise, yet, I have come across a few things to avoid miscommunication.  It is possible to avoid it.

First, keep it simple.  If you're trying to get a point across to someone, don't use every big word you know.  Cut down on the "smart words" and stick to laymen's terms.

Second, be kind.  It's taken me a long time to learn this one.  When you're in an argument, it's really difficult to keep a clear mind and be polite, but it's necessary.  If you're trying to get someone to understand you, they're not going to respond to a rude attitude.

Third, listen.  This one relates to my last post.  Listening is the best part of a conversation.  Hear the other person out because, odds are, you're not hearing what they have to say if there's a miscommunication.

Fourth, don't jump to conclusions.  Making assumptions will almost always get you in trouble.  If you think something is true, but you aren't sure, just ask instead of coming up with your own answer.  Chances are, you're wrong in your assumption.

Fifth, pay attention to nonverbal cues.  Nonverbal communication is almost as important as verbal communication.  Watch for the signs.

Sixth, while you're speaking, stop occasionally and make sure the other person is following.  You may have made a statement that the other person didn't understand, but you're speaking too quickly for them to ask questions.  Every once in a while stop and make sure they understand what you've just said.

Those are only a few, but they're pretty important.

Interesting link of the day: Barriers to Effective Communication.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How to Become a Better Listener

This is my first post as a "communicator" as opposed to a "foodie."  Being a foodie is a much more comfortable role for me because what I lack in communication, I make up for in photographs.  I know that I will inadvertently incorporate food into my posts, so bear with me.

My dad is a resigned Gifted Education teacher and started every one of his classes with a requirement for each of his students to find a quote on the Internet and read it out loud to the rest of the class.  Not only did it get discussion flowing, but every once in a while a student would throw in a controversial quote or another student would disagree with a quote and it would case a debate.  Those were my favorite days.  So, in honor of my dad, I'm going to start my first "What Katie's Communicating" post out with a quote.

Ernest Hemingway

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

As true as I think this quote is, I am sometimes guilty of not listening.  Aren't we all, though?  The other day, one of my professors talked about "people who wait anxiously for the other person in the conversation to pause so they can talk about themselves."  My immediate thought was, "I hate when people do that," and my following thought was "I do that sometimes."  How many of you know people like that?  I know I certainly do.  But how many of you do that yourselves?  I know I certainly do that on occasion, too.  

So, for those of you who are the "most people" that Hemingway is talking about, and for those of you reading this and denying that you're occasionally one of those people, but you really are (aka me), I found a great article written by Dumb Little Man to help us all out:

  1. Remove All Distractions
    In this day and age, in our quest to get as much done as we can, we multi-task the whole time - from web browsing, checking emails, replying emails, working, talking on the phone, fiddling with our phones, writing in our notebooks, etc. So when people approach us to talk, it's natural we add that to the list of things we're doing at the moment, vs. giving them our full attention.

    To be honest, I do this myself, especially if it's just a short or casual conversation. I think it's fine if you're able to attend to the other party's request. However, if the person is trying to tell you something important, or share something personal, you should ideally stop what you are doing and give him/her your full attention. What I do is I close the lid of my laptop (hence eliminating all distractions), turn myself towards the person and give him/her my full focus. Doing so is a sign of respecting him/her.
  2. Be Present
    Are you present when you're around other people? Or are you lost in your own thoughts?

    In the example I shared in the opening, it was apparent my friend was not present during the conversations. Even though she would nod as a sign of acknowledgement while others were speaking, her mind was lost in her thoughts. Hence, when it was her turn to speak, her comments would be off tangent to what was being communicated.

    To be a good listener, you have to be present. Being present means (a) not being preoccupied physically (b) not being preoccupied mentally. The former means to remove distractions, as I mentioned in Tip #1. The latter requires you to clear your mind of other thoughts and focus on the person speaking. This means to stop thinking about the argument you had at work with your co-worker in the morning, the report you've yet to finish, or where you're going to have your dinner, and to pay attention to what's being communicated now.

    How does one become more present? I see it as an ongoing path, rather than one end goal. One activity that never fails me is this 15 minute brain dumping exercise, whereby I clear out mental clutter instantly. Meditation is another useful habit that helps me to be more present - instead of thinking about the past or the future, I'll be in the current moment, which is the moment we are living in anyway.
  3. Wait for the Person to Finish Speaking (in the start)
    It's good etiquette to let the other party finish what he/she wants to say, before you butt in with your comments. I know there are times you feel you get what the person is trying to say and you can't wait to share your comments, but hold it off in the beginning of the conversation. Because the person may have other things to share but can't because you are speaking.

    I find that often times when I just sit and wait, the person will often have something to add on - which I would never have known if I had interjected or stepped in to speak. Once I get a hang of what the person has to say and where the person is coming from, I'll be more open in interjecting, while being conscious of the person's needs and letting him/her go ahead if there's anything he/she wants to say.
  4. Don't Assume Anything
    An important part of listening is not to assume. When you assume, you automatically layer over what the person says with your presumptions, which makes it near impossible to have any meaningful conversation. While the person may say A, ultimately you can only hear B, simply because your mind is not open to receiving new information in the first place.

    When it comes to communication, err on the side of safety and assume you know nothing. In this regard, questions are your best friends (see #7).
  5. Look at the Sub-Text
    Powerful listening requires you to understand that the words articulated in a conversation do not always represent the person's intentions. Many times, we are not 100% clear about what we're trying to say, and talking is really our way of processing our thoughts.

    In this regard, don't rely too much on the words communicated, per se. Instead, look at the sub-text - such as the facial expressions of the person, the tone of the voice, the body language, the choice of words, and so on. What is the person trying to say? What do you think he/she is feeling? What is he/she thinking behind his/her words? Combine this with what he/she is saying to you and you'll get a lot more out of the conversation.
  6. Clarify to ensure you got what the person is saying
    At every stage of the conversation, clarify to ensure you got the message right. This can be done by simply paraphrasing what he/she just said, in your own words. Sometimes we may take away one message when it's really something else, and it's not good to assume without clarifying first (see #4).

    What I do is I'd interject every now and then and make 1-2 clarifying statements, such as "Ok, so what you're saying is that ..........., right?", in which the person simply needs to say "Yes" or "No". This helps ensure everyone is on the same page before any more new information is shared.
  7. Ask Questions
    Questions are highly important in any conversation. Firstly, there are things which the person does not share (either because he/she thinks you already know them or because he/she thinks they are irrelevant) that you can only uncover by asking questions. Secondly, questions lets you get more information about specific areas you are unclear about, such that you get a better picture of what the person is saying.

    My conversing style involves a lot of questions, especially at the beginning of the conversation. This is because because I see this as the "understanding" or "information gathering" phase. Rather than overshare at the start, I prefer to understand the person and get a good grasp of who he/she is, then share my point of view. This has worked very well in my communications with others, as others quickly ease into their natural persona and open up about what they want to talk about. Because of this, it has allowed me to easily connect with others and develop meaningful relationships - which is what we want to achieve at the end of the day.