Learning Log #2

Before joining this Beginning Journalism course I had no idea what a proper cutline was. I knew photos had captions, of course. I grew up thinking that pictures were only meant to have “captions,” and when we write those captions we can basically do it like anyone does with an Instagram picture or another picture they might post onto social media.

I have always been fascinated with photography journalism. In fact, when I was in high school I was the copy editor of our yearbook, along with head photographer. So, my responsibilities were taking pictures, and then creating a “caption” for them for the yearbook. I guess I didn’t realize there was a whole process to creating those descriptions to go under those pictures. If I had known what I knew now, I can imagine that my writing and photography would’ve looked a lot more professional.

When I did my photography project for this class, we were required to take pictures and provide a cutline on each picture we took. I decided to do mine on an art show that was being featured at a local coffee shop, that many students went to. For my photos, I thought that by simply stating what was happening in the photo was good enough for a caption, but it was not. A proper cutline needs more detail, it needs the names and as much shortened information you can put in without overwhelming the reader. You want to make yourself appear credible as a photo journalist so that’s why the facts are needed in the cutline. After reading Professor Larson’s feedback on my cutlines from the photography project, and job shadow project I know what I need to work harder on. I also am hoping to set up a meeting time with the student assistant, Sammi, to discuss more in depth what I should work on with my cutlines.

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Independent filmmaker offers story of his success

By Lucas Semb


Miguel Coyula interatcs with UW – Eau Claire students during a post-presentation Q&A. Many students had questions about his talent editing video backgrounds. © 2017 Lucas Semb

Award winning independent filmmaker Miguel Coyula, of Cuba, spoke last night at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire as part of the school’s Latin American Study Week. The Cuba native touched on his start in filmmaking and what has led to his success today.

Some credit his success to his dedication on creating his films with small budgets, which forced him to get the most out of his resources at hand. In fact, Coyula’s first feature story took him two years to complete, but cost him only $2000.

Some credit his success to his early years, where he made his videos completely with VHS camcorders, and no such thing as computer editing.

All these helped him get to where he is now, however, his success should be accredited to his clever mindset when it comes to independent filmmaking.

“To me, if you want to be an independent filmmaker, you need to be willing to take on ideas that can’t be in mainstream media.”

Coyula says this can be hard to do In Cuba, where government censorship limits your options. His way around it?

“I’m not part of the Cuban society. That’s why I’m over here in America showing my films. They can’t limit you over here.”

Coyula said he made the decision to remove himself from Cuban society after a film he made caught the attention of the Cuban government. A subject Coyula interviewed in the film was critical of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, leading to the government keeping close tabs on the filmmaker.

“You have to be willing to pay this price, but it’s worth it because you are happy doing what you do.”

One person who wasn’t willing to pay the price was one of Coyula’s music producers for the film. He was ordered by his boss to write an appeal letter to the government, otherwise he would lose his job. Coyula shared with the crowd of roughly 75 people that this letter stated he did not allow Coyula to use his music.

Besides giving himself the opportunity to freely produce independent films by spending most of his time in America, he has also given himself the opportunity to shoot good films by trespassing. Yes, trespassing.

“We had to sneak into the back side of this building once, avoiding the guards out front. But it’s worth it to get the shots you need for your film.”

These sorts of courageous acts from Coyula caught the crowd’s attention as well. One attendee, 19-year-old Eau Claire student Seth Leavens, spoke highly of Coyula afterwards.

“I was very impressed by how much dedication he puts into his work…even with all the dangers associated with making his films, he stated he feels like he needs to do it. I think that’s very admirable.”

Leavens didn’t stop there, as the high praise for Coyula continued when he was asked what he enjoyed most of the short films.

“I enjoyed his explanations of how he edited his films and did all of his visual effects. It was cool to see how his shots started and how he finished them.”

Coyula wrapped up the presentation by telling the group that he is currently working on another film, a sci-fi film, which has been in the works for five years now. When asked what’s next for him, Coyula said he is only focused on finishing his current work.

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Coffee shop attracts many with modern vibes

By Gretchen Reese

Eau Claire Downtown Coffee (ECDC) is a popular spot to enjoy specialty coffee drinks in a modern space. The coffee shop is attached to The Lismore Hotel and is located on Barstow Street in downtown Eau Claire.

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Chippewa Falls hosts 15th annual Oktoberfest

By Grant Geier

Chippewa Falls held their 15th annual Oktoberfest over the weekend.  There were a variety of attractions, events, and food for those of all ages to enjoy.

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Towers South construction begins at UW-Eau Claire campus

By Ben Petersen

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire began renovation construction on one of the campus dorms, Towers South, on Sept. 6, and plan to complete the project by fall of 2019.

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Local YMCA hosts children’s triathlon

By Lucas Semb

Eau Claire hosted a children’s triathlon through the YMCA, where both parents and kids could be involved. Some parents assisted their young kids through the course while parents of the older kids cheered on from the finish line. The weather cooperated well for the event to be a success.


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The Eviction Epidemic


Matthew Desmond

What is it like to be evicted? “It starts on the ground, and ends on the ground.” said Matthew Desmond during his speech on the complex topics of poverty and profit in American society Thursday, Oct. 19 in Schofield Auditorium to a crowd of about 600. 

By, Kelsey Lorraine Smith

Professor, author and codirector of the Justice and Poverty Project Matthew Desmond gave a speech on the complex topics of poverty and profit in American society Thursday, Oct. 19 in Schofield Auditorium to a crowd of about 600. His remarks touched on how eviction rates are increasing in the U.S. and specifically how Arleen Beale’s latest eviction began with a snowball fight.

When Arleen was evicted from her apartment on Arthur Avenue, she was receiving a stipend from Wisconsin Works, a family-aid program—a reduced amount, because she wasn’t working.

In addition to sharing Beale’s story, Desmond said he tried to put himself in the shoes of these people in America to get a better understanding of what living in poverty is like. Desmond went on to say that he lived in a trailer park on the southside of Milwaukee.

“Poverty starts on the ground, and ends on the ground.” said Desmond

Desmond moved to Milwaukee to live among the poorest people in one of the world’s richest countries. First, he lived in a mainly white trailer park and then, until the end of 2009, in a rooming house in the black north side. Desmond documented the obstacles poor people had in keeping a safe foundation around them.

Troubled by poverty, strangers become roommates to endure then divide just as quickly when arrangements become indefensible. Desmond said these relationships are often made difficult by the presence of landlords who make significant wages on inner city properties.

Audience Members

Audience members stay moments after Matthew Desmond’s speech on poverty in the American city for an open Q and A Thursday, Oct. 19 in Schofield Auditorium.

went on to say that individuals in poverty are trapped because they are already at the bottom and can’t get cheaper housing unless they relocate their lives, quit their jobs and leave the city. Those with eviction records are pushed into substandard private housing in high-crime neighborhoods because many landlords and public housing authorities turn them away.

When families finally find a new place to rent, they start off owing their landlord because they can’t pay the first and last month’s rent and a security deposit.

“Some spend 70 percent of their income in housing” said Desmond.

Desmond went on to say that the National Housing Act of 1937 believed that families should spend no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Until recently, most renting households in the United States have met this goal.

“Utility costs have jumped as well. Since 2000, the cost of fuels and utilities has risen by over 53 percent, owing to increasing global demand and the expiration of price caps.” said Desmond

“Desmond has to be repeated in every single city. We as a nation really don’t care about poor people.” said Cathy Sultan of Eau Claire

715-839-9298 (Cathy Sultan)

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