Storytelling

Storytelling is certainly not perfect, which is probably the main thing I learned today. As we walked around Washington Square Park to try and create a story surrounding the people that visit New York City, we also realized that many of these people did not want to help us create the story. Although the first people we interviewed were incredibly friendly, approachable, and interesting—we got dismissed by more than seven people afterward. This was a problem. We needed to ask people questions about their reason for being in New York City to create a story that would encompass why the city draws so many individuals from all over the world. When we finally came across a woman sitting on a lawn chair in the park, I learned that storytelling is much simpler and genuine when there is a real story filled with details and a storyline to be told. Interviewing people in the park to figure out why they were in New York led us to simple answers: “the food,” ‘business,” or “just visiting.” The woman we met, on the other hand, told us about her beginnings as a tarot reader traveling around Europe, her passion for music, her desire to spread love and happiness, and her time in New York. We learned her story, and are going to try and tell it through our video. I really fell in love with learning details about a person by just going up to them and asking them questions. Had we never stopped to learn about her passion, we would have never realized that the bumps at the beginning of our attempt at storytelling could be smoothed out by really learning the depth of a certain individual. Although interviewing different people is very beneficial in many cases because it adds more value to certain stories, the story of why certain people visit New York was told genuinely by the tarot reader. Storytelling may not go as you think it will, but in this case, the story went off track and fell into the lap of a person who made the story personal and authentic.

Interview

Ever since history class in freshman year of high school, I have become strongly interested in journalism, writing, and documenting stories. Learning about muckrakers such as Jacob Riis left me in complete awe of the impact that pictures and words could have on the world. Uncovering and exposing certain events, news, and injustices in ways that everyone should have access to can really have the ability to shake the foundations of society. When I strolled across the NYU SPS Summer Program for Digital Journalism online after school one day, I was compelled to take the opportunity for these reasons. I also have a strong desire to learn the ins and outs of journalism and also how to create stories that will urge people to learn more and even make a difference, which I felt this course would be perfect for. After the first day, I have already realized that the work done in digital journalism is incredibly important in our society. Seeing and hearing actual issues and lifestyles can portray more to the audience than words can; it adds emotion and “humanizes” the story. Words can tell the story and elicit emotion, but the story can gain a new layer of meaning once the audience actually sees what is happening. The discussions surrounding Planet Money and Superman really prove how one project could uncover so much depth about the world and certain individuals. I have also learned that it is just as important to use specific strategies and stray away from distracting and other flawed methods of journalism, for it could take away from valuable stories and make them appear deluded. I have never interviewed anyone and I am excited to do so because it will be interesting to learn more about people and explore how individuals answer certain questions. I am also very excited to learn more as the class goes on and create a project that goes into depth about the intriguing Washington Square Park and the people it holds.

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Q: To start off: what is your name, where are you from, and why are you in New York City right now?

A: My name is Kyle Chouinard and I am from Somers, NY, which is in Westchester County. I am in New York City right now to take a course in Digital Journalism at NYU.

Q: Have you always been interested in journalism? If so, why?

A: For a long time— all throughout middle school and even in high school— I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in advertising. Though, towards the end of last year, I changed my mind when I started writing for a very small sports blog about hockey.

Q: How did you get involved with this sports blog?

A: I was on the website Reddit one day and someone made a post calling for authors to write about the New York Islanders. I messaged them saying that I was interested and they gave me the job writing for them.

Q: Since then, have you branched off and began to write about other topics? What other topics interest you?

A: Since then I haven’t written for the website about anything but sports, but, I really want to write about politics one day. I really love the subject of political science.

Q: Why do you like political science?

A: I mean, the past election was the first one where I was at an age that I could actually understand everything that was happening and follow it well. I just found following it, recognizing how each candidate campaigned, and learning specific policies of the government really interesting.

Q: Do you feel that it is important that everyone in our nation can understand and follow politics in this manner? Why?

A: Yeah, it is a citizens duty to vote for officials in their government, in my opinion.  A citizen cannot vote properly if they have not collected and received all of the correct information about the candidates.

Q: How do you think journalists, and maybe you someday, can help increase public awareness about political information?

A: I think a very simple way to increase public awareness would be creating articles that are in simpler terms for non-native speakers and also by publishing articles in different languages, which many people do but not enough.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add about yourself and your interests?

A: I spend a lot of my free time on Adobe Illustrator making logos for companies that at most times don’t exist.