All posts by Devon Gailey

Last Season for a Favorite

The last season of True Blood is coming up this summer. I, of course, have some mixed feelings. I have watched this show since the first episode aired. This will be the first time I have followed a show in real time from beginning to end. I assume this will also be said of Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones. But not quite yet!

True Blood has seen some serious up’s and down’s over the years. I remember times when I couldn’t get enough, and times when I thought I would pull my hair out with how off-the-rails ridiculous the story became. Nonetheless, I have never stopped watching. No matter where the story went, I was already in love with so many of the characters.

La La will forever be one of the most fabulous representations of a strong, gay character on television. He may be the most endearing person on the show for me, simply because he never loses sight of who he is. I love consistency in a character, and he delivers it.

Bill is definitely my least favorite at this point…which I hope will change in this last season. The writers turned this character from being the number one good guy to the ultimate evil. That being said, I love when writers take risks. I love it when they do something utterly unexpected. Thus, I was rooting for the angle. However, there are good bad people and bad bad people. Take Eric for example. I don’t know one person watching the show that has ever fully hated Eric. You can’t! He’s such a complex character. That’s where the writing went wrong on this one. Bill became as simple as can be. He no longer wanted anything but total power via some ancient vampire’s blood. You couldn’t feel for him anymore.

If any episode starts to paint Eric like a bad guy, there is always something that the writers throw in to remind you that he is a victim of several circumstances. I love that. Don’t make it so easy on the viewer. Make them feel real emotion when you kill a bad guy or a good guy. That drives the show!

Either way, I have high hopes for the final season. I will be watching every Sunday at 9:00, religiously. Whether the show crashes and burns or ends on a high note, well, that’s for the writers to decide.

TV Binging

It’s my new favorite hobby.

Right now, I have destroyed five seasons of Dr. Who. I thought that was pretty impressive, but then I realized I still haven’t started Breaking Bad or Sherlock. This brings me to my point: TV Binging.

With the ease of programs like Netflix and HBO Go, all I need is a few hours to devour an entire television series. I love it! I once related to how we read books. We don’t wait a week in between chapters (unless you’re a really slow reader like myself), we read a book in the matter of one or two weeks. We don’t have to wait. The entire story is there at our fingertips.

One show that I absolutely have to catch up on is Boardwalk Empire. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going this season, and I have to say, I’m not sure that I like that. But moreover, I’ve been a huge fan of the show since day one – so I can’t give up on it now. The fact that Margaret isn’t a huge part of the show is probably what bothers me the most. When it comes down to it, any television show or movie is about the relationships. Take any show you’ve ever watched…the surroundings are secondary. In Dr. Who, sure the sci-fi effects are cool. Everyone loves a good time machine! But think about it. The relationship between the Dr. and his companions is what drives the show.

Ever seen Silence of the Lambs? Jody Foster is running around trying to catch a serial killer with the help of another serial killer. First of all, fantastic movie. Anthony Hopkins kills it. The problem is, many people think the movie is about psychotic sexually-confused murderers. It’s now. The movie is about a young woman’s journey to prove herself as a policeman. The relationship she shares with the chief and Hannibal Lecter is what makes it wonderful.

All about the relationships.

And I feel like Boardwalk has taken the big one from me – Margaret and Nucky. Which is so sad! I love the two of them together. I really wanted some sort of Bonnie and Clyde ‘esque romance to happen there. Of course, it did not. Margaret went for another guy (by the way, wonderful romance there). But now she’s nowhere to be found, period. In reality, it makes a certain amount of sense. Why wouldn’t she leave a power-hungry gangster? But you can’t help but feel for Nucky. He’s the Walter White of 1920’s Atlantic City.

That being said, the time jump may also have me confused. After the time jump in True Blood, I remember being mad for weeks. I always feel like I’ve missed out on something huge! Believe it or not, time frame has a lot to do with a story, and jumping forward a few years can really take the viewer out of it.

Anyway, that’s my spill for today. I’m going to go catch up on some Boardwalk Empire. If you have never seen it, please do. It’s a great example of how cinematic and beautiful modern television can be. Oh, and Margaret and Nucky will be there for you to swoon over. You’re welcome.


elondocs welcomes its new members for the 2013-2014 school year

Way to go, guys!


Brian Binder is a junior at Elon University with a Major in Media Arts and Entertainment and Minor in Business Administration. Brian loves to tell stories with the camera whether it be through narrative or documentary filmmaking. With the experience gained through Elondocs, he plans to further his knowledge in cinematography and story construction, and be an all-around student of film. Brian plans to work for a small production company as a director/cinematographer on feature films.

Stefan Fortmann is a junior majoring in Media Arts and Entertainment and minoring in Psychology. He is a “born and bred” South African and came to the US to play tennis. He works with the Elon Athletic Department and the Pendulum as a sports photographer. He would love to work with the African Wildlife one day either through photo or documentary work.

Brad Hinkle is a media arts and entertainment major with a concentration…

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Analyzing the Radio

“Ideas initially take form as hunches. They don’t come into the world fully realized. The light-bulb moment is greatly overrated.” — Steven Johnson

I recently had the pleasure of listening to “Where Ideas Come From,” a discussion from the Ted Radio Hour on National Public Radio. Matt Ridley, Susan Cain, and Steven Johnson all talk about the process of discovering or creating an idea.

I was enthralled as I listened to these people. But I also instantly noticed the difference between a Ted Talk from television and the Ted Radio Hour.

The sound bites were interspersed almost in a pattern. I slowly became able to predict when another sound bite was being inserted as I heard the narrator deliberately pause to give the bite time to run.

Further, music slowly creeped in beneath the voices. The music grew and became louder as the sound bites of the interviewees got closer to the question: where do ideas come from?

Also, some of the sound bites were overlapped with the narration in a way that would not be featured on television. It just wouldn’t make sense. But on the radio, you can do it because visuals do not accompany what you are hearing.

Take the first talk for example, what most listeners will not notice is that the show is changing between Ridley speaking in the studio and Ridley’s past talks. Visually, this would not make sense. Yet, in radio, it is barely noticeable. Ridley’s voice only slightly changes in quality when he is in studio. 

Lastly, the actual topic is very interesting, but I am not sure how many people would watch a television segment or a short video on the matter. There is a lot of talking going on. This, of course, is fine for me. However, the general public does not want strictly talking. They want visual elements. 

I believe sometimes certain stories are almost ready-made for the radio. This one in particular was a great example of a story that needs to be told, but needs to be told in a particular medium as well.

Live Tweeting Reflection

I live tweeted an event for the first time in my life on election night. In short, I loved it. In a bit longer fashion, I was very surprised at how exciting it can be to get information out before anyone else. I almost exceeded my tweet minimum within an hour or two of tweeting. After that, I slowed down. I watched more carefully, and tried to pick out the important information.

However, just like in any form of communication, the audience must be kept entertained. It is terribly easy for your 140 character tweets to slowly slip into monotony if you do not add some interactivity.

I started posting photos of student organizations preparing for election night. Then, I posted more photos of what my friends and I were doing at our own self-proclaimed election party. These tweets were interspersed with quotes from students and any breaking details on the polls.

This brings me to the troubles of live tweeting. Any so-called breaking information may or may not be entirely true. As much as I loved tweeting information just as soon as it was aired on television or the web, not every piece of news you hear should be then re-posted on social media sites until it has been fact checked. My friends and I were very interested in this as three different websites read different poll results for states around the country.

Overall, it was a great experience. I never take the time to engage in live tweeting when I watch an event. I would like to say that I absorb the moment more than report it, but there have been times I have looked back and wished I had documented something more. Whether through photography, live tweeting, or any other form of documentation you must remember that accuracy is of the highest importance.

Chapter 3 and Feeling Free

In Chapter 3 of Harrower’s “Inside Reporting,” I really enjoyed the article on story structure. The book breaks it down by “The Inverted Pyramid,” “The Martini  Glass,” and “The Kabob.”

The Inverted Period is the most used form of story structure. It’s really best for news briefs, stories about breaking news events. Basically, you start with with the most important facts first and move to the less important as you go down. It summarizes the key facts in a concise lead. Then, you organize the story as logically as possible by arranging the paragraphs in descending order of importance.

The Martini Glass was very interesting to me. It’s also known as the Hourglass story structure. You start with the lead, followed by key facts in the Inverted Pyramid form, a chronology of events and a kicker. These are best for crimes, disasters or other dramatic news stories where you want to include a chronology that tracks how events unfolded. I find it really interesting because of the chronological narrative that it involves. I never knew before reading this chapter that a story structure like this existed.

The Kabob story structure is also known as “The Wall Street Journal” formula or the “Circle.” It starts with an anecdote, followed by a nut graf, the meat of the story and ends with another anecdote. It’s best for stories on trends or events where you want to show how actual people are affected or involved. You basically think about it as arranging meats and veggies on a shish kabob skewer.

Reading this one section seriously helped me put the whole idea of story structures into perspective. There is always a formula to writing, and these are the major ways to write an interesting piece for the general public.

Five Things Every Reporter Needs to Remember About Readers

Sticking to my “five things” theme, what interested me the most in chapter two of our reading was the section concerning what every reporter need remember when writing.

First and foremost, readers are always in a hurry. This is something that will never change. I, myself, know that I skip over reading material that looks too lengthy. I want the main points so I can move on to something else. So, when you are writing for the general public, space out your paragraphs. Use bullet points. You could even use pictures! People love pictures. It is one reason that the television started taking the radio’s previous audience.

Second, readers have short attention spans. It would not surprise me in the least if people have already clicked to another web page before getting to this paragraph. Reading things online is even more difficult than reading print. Why would I sit here and read a blog post when I could check my email, watch a video, and tweet my life simultaneously?

Next, readers want stories they can personally connect with. No one wants to read a story directed towards a small audience. Whatever you are writing must focus on the reader. It makes you feel special. You do not want a story focused on the other guys. This is about you.

Furthermore, if you thought the above steps were easy enough, here is the one that gets a lot of writers. Stories must be written in a compelling way. The idea of a “hook” has been drilled into my head for as long as I have been writing papers. Professional reporting is no different. People will not stop to read a story that does not convince them from the first line that it is worth reading.

Last, there is always more than one type of reader. You cannot please everyone. If you try, your writing will only suffer for it. Do what is ethical, compelling, and fresh. Keep an open mind. Write without fear of criticism, but constantly keep in mind that you are writing for an audience.

Media Writing has begun.

Along with this, it means I will be writing my future blog posts on stuff going on in this class. So far, it’s been pretty great. Though this class probably proves much more interesting for broadcast news or print journalism students, I have found the textbook very interesting indeed. It is written in such a unique style. There are plenty of pictures, timelines, and general separation between paragraphs.

In short, I like it a lot.

However, this post is supposed to be about something I found particularly fascinating in our first chapter. I would have to say the part that stuck out the most for me, mostly because I am a cinema student, was the Five Essential Journalism Films section. I cannot wait to rent some of these movies. It goes without saying that anything in movie form will spark my interest, but the fact they revolve around journalism makes it even better. You can never learn enough about the journalism world. It’s a world that has covered the nation’s most important events for as long as it has existed.

Needless to say, I will be checking out these films shortly. And if I could add one to the list, I would add a film we watched in my COMM 100 class called Shattered Glass. It is a story about a young journalist who destroys his career after fabricating the majority of his articles. It was a story that definitely opened my eyes to the perils of writing, in more ways than one. People who want a career in the media need to take extreme caution before writing something. I know we hardly write in pen anymore, but the idea that the “pen is mightier than the sword” still rings true. What is written in the news whether online or tangible, is taken very seriously by the public. Once credibility is lost, it is very hard to achieve it once more.