J202: In Review

Everyone told me the second I was admitted into the School of Journalism and Mass Communication that the introductory course, J202: Mass Media Practices, was about as overwhelming as overwhelming comes. A six credit course at UW-Madison is as time consuming, if not more, than a part-time job. However, once I was thrown in the the 16-week mayhem that was about to ensue, I could see what was actually going to happen.

After learning essential programs like iMovie, Audacity and WordPress I slowly became literate in the current media world. In my case it was extremely helpful because as I learned the programs in class, I was able to begin using them in my internship in the L&S Advancement Office. Through the simulation of a train derailment in Stoughton, Wisconsin I learned how to write a breaking press release, a strat memo, an infographic and more. This gave me the opportunity to experience what I will be expected to do once I graduate.

Going forward, I know the skills I have obtained throughout this course will become increasingly important to my career. I am able to write concisely and efficiently. Space is always a limiting factor to a written piece and therefore these skills are necessary. In addition, the skill to read news and information objectively and critically is irreplaceable. I knew it was important to not take everything I read at face value, however I did not apply that knowledge to large sources like CNN. I have a new perspective on press releases and statements directly coming from an entity. Everything has a strategic structure to it and now that I know many of these structures it enables me to read between the lines in many situations that I would not have before.

So, despite going through hell and high water to obtain these skills, I know each and every thing I learned through this course was necessary in one way or another.  I truly feel that I am equipped with an impressive basic knowledge to begin my journey through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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Be True to Yourself, Be True to Your Audience

It’s no secret between my friends and family that I’m a huge country music fan and therefore no surprise that my favorite communicator would be a country artist. What may be a surprise is that the person I admire most is Kip Moore. He is an up-and-coming artist with a smaller, distinct fan base. However, the way he runs his performances, in life and in music, is something to be admired.

kip mooreMoore is adamant that he will stay true to himself and to the people that he plays for. According to his home page Moore writes his songs based off of “real” experiences, not the fairytales most people sing of. This reality that he aims to portray is why he intrigues me so much. This has taught me that I should not sugar coat anything. Life is rough, so I need to expose that. Life is also beautiful and I must describe that.

In addition to not sugarcoating life, Moore prides himself on knowing his audience. From a Facebook post off of his page he addresses scalpers very directly. “There are things in this world that piss me off that I know I’ll never be able to change, like shitty people in congress, mechanics that tell you your motor is blown when its most likely a small problem, rising gas prices, selfies every two seconds, duck lip selfies, phones in general, paying 75$ for a decent seat at a baseball game, people that bitch just to bitch and being politically correct, and the list goes on. But above all, the thing that pisses me off the most is scalpers” he said. He goes on to relate to why this is such a problem, stating, “I understand the blue collar lifestyle and I always will. It’s the sole reason I wanted to make this fall tour affordable for everyone since it was the first time I’ve ever been able to control the cost.” Unfortunately scalpers hurt his effort to keep tickets for general admission between 25$ and 35$ for his typical crowd. This lesson has taught me that it is absolutely essential to know the audience I am working for. If I am aiming to reach a blue-collar audience, I must play on the idea of making things affordable. On the other hand, a white-collar audience may be more persuaded by convenience and quality.

album coverMoore also works for perfection. Despite his first three singles all reaching number one on the country music charts, he has delayed his second album for a year. In an interview with radio.com, he stated that he needs a song with more traction that can ensure the new album’s success. So even though he could release the album and give his current fan base what they keep asking for, he is patient enough to withhold from temptation. This has taught me that patience is key. There are times where you need to release something at this very second. Other times, you must take time and prepare to reach the broader audience. I’m sure a happy balance exists between these two and his situation has inspired me to find it.

Throughout his music career Moore has been obsessed with the idea to not lose who he is in the midst of chaos. By the way he has branded himself, he has created a relatable, honest figure for the public. If that’s not an image to be emulated, I don’t know what is.

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