The main skill I learned this semester was working with WordPress. Whether this was by working with HTML to add paragraphs or headings or changing the color of text or the text font on my website through CSS. Earlier on in the semester, I learned how to create pages and change what order they go in. I also learned how to use the mean, median, mode, percentages, sum, rank, difference, and ratio features on Google Sheets as well as create charts through the data I had on Google Sheets.
Developing the Project
I would have to say key ethical guidelines I followed while working on the story were truthfulness and independence. This was especially important when interviewing my sources for the story. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t misconstrue or misrepresent my sources and what they said. Keeping true to their voice and not my voice was something that I maintained throughout the process of writing my story. This is also true when it comes to looking for data on burnout. When looking at articles that were a third-party source of the data I wanted, I always went back to find the source of the data. I specifically tried to find the original article or journal of where the data came from. Also, I stayed independent when writing my story. I had some pre-existing ideas of burnout before writing this story, but I didn’t let my personal opinions sway my research. An example of this is when I interviewed Dr. Laumakis and used him as a source. When he said that there wasn’t a lot of correlational data on social media and depression on burnout I hesitated on including it, because it didn’t fully back up my position. However, it’s still relevant and part of the story. It was another point of view that my story needed.
I had a hard time getting interviews with people, specifically professors in the Psychology Department at SDSU. I think I contacted about eight or nine people and only two people got back to me, and one of them was pure luck. Adding onto that, I had to make sure my sources felt comfortable being recorded. There was a lot of hesitation in having their opinion put out into the world. But I made sure I was open and honest with my sources on what the interview was for. Another hard part was finding visual multimedia for my story. It’s hard to visualize burnout because it is something that happens internally and can sometimes have physical effects, but even those effects are hard to document.
I didn’t face any opportunities while working on this story, but I did gain more interviewing experience through this process which is always good. I always get nervous when interviewing but getting more practice helps with getting more comfortable.
Digital Media Experience
I think this class showed me that it takes a lot of knowledge and skill to be a multimedia journalist. I think the new generation of journalists are going to be more skilled than previous generations. While this is an objective opinion, I think having to be skilled in video, audio, photography, writing, editing, interviewing and technology is a lot for one person. Not too long ago these skills were given to individual journalists, and now one journalist needs to have many of the skills I listed above. Reading and hearing about having to do all this work is completely different than living it. At times, it was a lot for me to juggle with.
I think learning how to use Google Sheets online is something I’m proud of. I previously had no experience using the program, so I was definitely nervous coming into it. I still need to work on my Google Sheet skills, but I have improved significantly since the beginning of the semester. Google Sheets is extremely useful yet complex. As time passes, I want to learn more about how to complete other functions on Google Sheets and have it become second nature.
Using HTML and CSS this semester was a new experience for me, yet it was doable with the instructions given. For the most part, the HTML and CSS assignments this semester were reasonable and somewhat easy to follow and understand. The CSS functions were cool to know and will help me a lot if I continue to keep up with this website. Moreover, this was not my first time using WordPress, but it was my first time using WordPress to this extent. It was very interesting and beneficial to learn how to add different features to my website.
I’ve never used social media sites as a social storytelling tool thus far in my journalism classes. However, I think it’s a great resource to see what people are talking about because it’s so accessible; you can get a wide variety of opinions by using social media as a storytelling tool. I’ve never used Reddit before, especially for a class, but it was interesting to see how many people were comfortable sharing their experiences with mental health on Reddit. Of course, many of these opinions were anonymous, but there was an overwhelming amount of people sharing their experiences with mental health. It was fascinating to see the communities built through issues like burnout and more specific communities like burnout among college students.
Looking back, I think my most enjoyable moments were while I was working on my website. I’ve always wanted to start a website but I never knew how to. This semester I’ve learned a lot more about how to create a website, edit a website, make a website more secure and somewhat code. It’s been nice to see the pages of my website fill up with the hard work I’ve put in this semester. Regarding my story, It was great to see all the data behind the idea of burnout within a college setting. I do have to say it wasn’t the easiest of topics to write about. At times, it was a little draining to write about stress, anxiety and exhaustion because they were things I felt at times throughout the semester. Overall, I am very proud of myself for the work I did.