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Sorry, Technical Difficulties

I’m getting the feeling that I’m attracting bad luck to my news team, Team UnBIASed.

One of our assignments for the week was make a video profiling Stony Brook’s Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). We planned on interviewing the project director Dr. Carlos Vidal and the education specialist Mr. Erik Flynn at the university’s Health Science Center. Brittany, Ian, Stephanie and I worked together to record the interview and things went according to plan. Or so we thought.

After the interview with Dr. Vidal and Mr. Flynn on Tuesday, we got started on editing the video. But soon Team UnBIASed made a crushing discovery: There was no audio. Maybe the microphone wasn’t on, maybe it wasn’t plugged into the camera, but the point is that the video was unusable.

But it seemed that all was not lost. We were going to go back to the Health Science center on Thursday to interview some of the students in the HCOP program. We could use that footage for the video and we’d all live happily ever after, right? WRONG.

We asked four teenagers about their experiences at HCOP. Their answers gave us good information for our article and video. But when we got back to the Newsroom for editing, guess what we found. No audio. AGAIN. What was with these microphones?!

The next time I interview someone on video, I swear on everything to double–no TRIPLE–check that the microphone is working.

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Thank you, Greene Team

As the third annual Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists comes to a close, the faculty members are feeling just as nostalgic as the team members themselves. Given the intensity of the week, it may have felt at times like it was not going to end. But like all things, we knew it would. And soon.

We’re amazed each year how quickly a group of young journalists can grow, learn — and bond — during their week here. It’s gratifying to feel like we’re making a difference in students’ lives. We added a student blog this year and the insights it gave us into their experiences here was informative, entertaining and frequently quite moving. The positive feedback from friends and family members reinforced the great work the students were doing and inspired us to carry on.

For my colleague, Zachary Dowdy, and I, the Greene program is a labor of love. We were both students of Bob Greene’s here at Stony Brook and to be a part of this program that he imagined is an honor. Bob was a hard-driving editor who enjoyed life to the fullest. He would have felt right at home among this year’s group of fun-loving and dedicated journalists. Like him, they knew when to buckle down and when to cut loose. They did both with gusto, as you’ll see from this site.

The Greene Gazette would not be possible without the incredible dedication and meticulous attention to detail of our friend and colleague Wasim Ahmad. His contributions here were legion, and we’re so grateful.

Thank you, Greene Team parents, for trusting us with your sons and daughters this week. We hope the time we have shared with them allows them to continue to grow as journalists and as young adults.

And thanks, Greene Team. We appreciate all the effort you put into each blog post, story, video and photo. This is your site. Bob would be proud.

Congratulations to the 2011 Greene Team from Zachary Dowdy, Cathrine Duffy and Wasim Ahmad.

Congratulations to the 2011 Greene Team from Zachary Dowdy, Cathrine Duffy and Wasim Ahmad.

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Looking forward, looking back

I finished! I just completed my fan reaction video on the film festival and I have to say I have no idea how video editors could possibly spend a whole day editing a piece for a product of only 50 seconds! I have so much more respect for broadcast journalists now that I have been put in their position.

Brittany Planking

After a long day of reporting it's good to have some fun! photo by Christine Angell

I have never used a Mac before this workshop and I have never really edited video before this workshop. Having your entire piece dependent on technology functioning properly is so frustrating. I just happened to step on the on/off switch on my power strip, turning off my computer four times throughout the day.

I am extremely happy to be finished with all my projects, but I am also a little upset that our week together is over. All of the Greene Team members have connected in a way I would have never expected 16 strangers ever could.

Whether we are singing on the bus or buying out the SAC, we always have a good time. This experience has me so excited for my future both in college and in my career as a journalist.

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Almost the end

Before I say anything else I guess I should start off with how my day was yesterday. It was an unusual day full of suspense since everyone was trying to finish their work. But the real highlight of my day was when we went to go see the film, The Tree. It was really an exciting and fun treat.

But on the other hand, wow, I can’t believe it. We’re so close to the end. It’s truly been a  roller coaster. My team has had some ups and downs with videos and all, but I really do think we all did a good job and worked so hard.  It really is going to be bittersweet when we have to say goodbye.

I can’t believe how much I learned in just one week. At first, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know anything about journalism and my social skills are terrible. But in the end everything came together. I can’t lie. I really do miss my family and friends but I am going to miss everyone here. This was truly an amazing experience that I will never forget!

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We’re having technical difficulties

I’m getting the feeling that I’m attracting bad luck to my news team, Team UnBIASed.

One of our assignments for the week was make a video profiling Stony Brook’s Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). We planned on interviewing the project director Dr. Carlos Vidal and the education specialist Mr. Erik Flynn at the university’s Health Science Center. Brittany, Ian, Stephanie and I worked together to record the interview and things went according to plan. Or so we thought.

After the interview with Dr. Vidal and Mr. Flynn on Tuesday, we got started on editing the video. But soon Team UnBIASed made a crushing discovery: There was no audio. Maybe the microphone wasn’t on, maybe it wasn’t plugged into the camera, but the point is that the video was unusable.

But it seemed that all was not lost. We were going to go back to the Health Science center on Thursday to interview some of the students in the HCOP program. We could use that footage for the video and we’d all live happily ever after, right? WRONG.

We asked four teenagers about their experiences at HCOP. Their answers gave us good information for our article and video. But when we got back to the Newsroom for editing, guess what we found. No audio. AGAIN. What was with these microphones?!

The next time I interview someone on video, I swear on everything to double — no TRIPLE — check that the microphone is working.

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Is this the right way to pay?

Is capitalism really fair? America’s highest paid employees are those which have the least effect on society.

Changing the world on no pay this week. Photo by Sarah Elsesser

Baseball, basketball, football players, actors. Sure, these people have their fair share of inspirational stories, but they aren’t holding America together. Moreover, the president makes $400,000 a year for being commander in chief. Every player from the entire Yankees infield makes more than that.

In fact, on average a baseball player is paid $3,305,393 a year. Wow. Why aren’t soldiers paid that? These baseball players’ lives are not on the line twenty-four seven, they only sweat six days a week.

Don’t get me wrong, soldiers are well off when they return home, and athletes don’t have aneasy job.  But perhaps, if it were flipped, if journalists were paid millions along with soldiers and teachers while athletes received blue collar pay, how different would this world be?

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Sleep, rest, zzz’s

A Team catching up on some much needed sleep. Photo taken by Ana Rios

“We love following the Greene Team on the website everyday and reading all the bios/blogs that have been posted, KEEP IT UP!” I received this text message from my parents the other day, two days since my last blog post. I admit that I have been lacking in my updates, but we’ve been so busy with countless field trips, project after project and unforgettable experiences. How many people can say they ran a newscast at Stony Brook’s School of Journalism television studio, or met and spoke with the anchor of WLNY TV 10/55, Richard Rose?

The days here may be long, but there’s never a dull moment. This program will easily be the highlight of my summer and something that I will recommend for anyone interested in a career affiliated with journalism.

Most members of the Greene Team get along as if they have known each for ages, which in reality has been five days. Being on the move 14 hours a day can be a lot, especially when most of us are running on little sleep and recovering from a rigorous day of events, but we don’t mind.

When we don’t get enough rest, we don’t complain. Why should we? Compromising a few hours of sleep for unforgettable memories is something everyone here would agree with. Not taking advantage of this amazing opportunity would be a crime. Not everyone is offered a chance like this.

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Last chance

Today has been such a busy day, I couldn’t even think about what to do for the final blog. It is 8:55 p.m., almost an hour after deadline and I understand this is my last chance. I would just like to say my time here at the Greene Gazette has been extremely fun, and I am amazed I’m not dying right now from sleep deprivation. The adrenaline of excitement of waking up and spending time with the people I’ve been dealing with over the past five days has kept me upbeat. I hope the Greene Team stays in contact for a long time to come.

The Greene Team after our tour of Newsday. Photo by Wasim Ahmad

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Making lemons from lemonade

These were the famous words that came out of Wasim’s mouth today. My group, unfortunately, was the reason he said them.

They say the third time’s the charm but this was not the case when it came to our HCOP audio. Three individual times we went to the Stony Brook Health Sciences Center to interview Carlos Vidal and his HCOP students, we captured some solid video only to import them into our Macs and find no audio.

We had to make do with the material we had. We salvaged one quote from Carlos Vidal and another from Deborah Firestone that we worked into our videos.

Although this seemed like one failure after another, the professors here reminded us to look at this as a learning experience. This problematic story will prepare us for our future as journalists.

As I look around the room and all of our smiling yet exhausted faces, I am full of bittersweet emotions. I can’t wait to go home with all of the skills I have acquired this week, but leaving the 15 students I have created new friendships with will be borderline depressing. I can’t think of not eating every meal and spending every minute of the day with them.

To the Greene Team: It will be impossible to forget each one of your faces. You all taught me something and all of your personalities are what made the program amazing. Wherever I end up in life, it is all of you that will be in my “When I was younger …” stories we have all heard from our relatives. And maybe if I’m lucky, you will be the ones I refer to when I get interviewed by a bunch of high school journalists.

Greene Team on the big screen ..some day. Photo by Wasim Ahmad

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Wrapping it up

It’s been a long journey here at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. It really seems like this week flew by but yet, at the same time, I feel like I’ve been here for a month rather than just a few days due to the amount of work that we have completed this week. The Greene Team recently did some intense reporting at both the Long Island Ducks game on Wednesday, July 27 and the Stony Brook Film Festival on Thursday, July 28.

At the Ducks game, each of the four teams did some reporting at Bethpage Ballpark on topics such as the economy, fans and even just the game itself. My team, the Fantastic Four, was in charge of getting a play-by-play of the game. Sarah, Kristen and I walked basically the entire stadium up, down back and forth trying to capture the perfect shots of the game and people at their natural game habitat. Drew watched the game intently, taking down the actual play-by-play. It was a long day with Ducks game considering that, earlier in the day, we were on the Stony Brook TV studios learning from Associate Dean Marcy McGinnis the ins and outs of TV news. After that, we went to Newsday and TV 10/55, where we heard from speakers such as TC McCarthy, Herman Wong, Anchor Richard Rose and a few others who took the time to talk to the Greene Team.

On Thursday, we all received the chance to review, watch and question others after watching a filmThe Treeat the Stony Brook Film Festival. It was very entertaining — the movie and reporting.

The Tree

Flyers of "The Tree". Photo By Brionna Cook

We all got the opportunity to do a lot here. A lot of us did things that were probably out of our comfort zone from using an SLR camera to being put on the spot in front a camera with your entire Greene Team surrounding you — Me!

So much was learned here during this program. We all learned and experienced things that we’ll never forget. From Final Cut Pro to buying almost $200 worth of food in the Student Activities Center Cafeteria.

I’m proud to go back home and say that I was part of the 2011 Greene Team.

The Greene Team on the big screen. Photo by Wasim Ahmad

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Life is about challenges

It’s the last night here in the newsroom, and as I’m sitting here typing up this blog, I find myself coming to a realization that this perhaps can be one of the best summers I have ever had.

My work statiion, where my day begin and ends. Photo by Ana Rios

I’ve meet so many amazingly talented people in this program that it’s going to be hard leaving this fun-filled camp. I’m super glad there’s the Greene Website, that way I can reflect on our week and our hard work.

Today’s talk with Professor Duffy made me realize that I shouldn’t give up just yet. Just because journalism is all factual it doesn’t mean there isn’t a creative side to journalism. She compared it to wearing a dress, when we learn to wear the dress with a flair, we finally find what suits us best. Don’t look at it as wearing a straight jacket, it’s more like a dress with a flair.

And right now it seems like I’m wearing a straight jacket, however I’m considering buying that customized dress that mirrors my personality, just the right size, just the right fit.

I really don’t have much experience with writing an article with the eyes of a journalist, so it was kind of a struggle. Today, Carol Hernandez edited my article about the Marriage Equality Law, and she was such a tremendous help.

She spoke to me about my future plans, such as which college I’d be attending next fall, we also talked about what I would like to major in (which I’m really not sure of), and also if I’m considering moving off of Long Island.

She said it would be a great opportunity if I decide to move off of Long Island in order to branch out and broaden my perspective. And you know what, I probably will for a time, but I’m pretty sure I will stay in Long Island.

It’s just really motivational when you have a person you don’t know speak to you about different aspects of life, well at least some of the things we can explore.

It’s my last night, and tomorrow I leave. But everything I learned here, I will use forever.

Here, everybody is crazy talented and this is such an incredible experience.

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Final Cut Pros

Lunch with the Greene Team

As the last full day comes to a close, there are so many things that are running through my mind. I am sitting here and writing as we are in the middle of a frenzy in the newsroom. Deadlines are approaching fast and the pressure is on. Articles, pictures, videos and blogs all need to be edited and “put to bed.” Basically its getting real crazy in here.

I spent the entire day editing my alumni video. I must admit that I am extremely proud of myself. It took me three days, 8 copies and 2 restarts. The Fantastic Four was afraid to be around their “captain” during this entire process. They must have heard me say “OH MY GOSH” and “I NEED HELP” a thousand times. It was the longest process I think I have ever endeavored. I might have had a couple of minor heart attacks. From my point of view, Final Cut Pro is a beast. It was my biggest challenge at camp and I am happy that I was able to overcome with a ton of help from every computer wiz in the newsroom.

It’s 8 o’clock now, which means we only have a half hour left until everything is supposed to be in. I am so beyond excited to look through this year’s Greene Gazette. Everyone has worked extremely hard since day one. Thinking back to then, it was the most awkward group of  teens ever. However, now they have become like a mini family to me. We have done some weird things, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can finally agree with the all of the alums when they said that this is something I will never forget.

At camp this week, I have meet some of the most incredible people. Each person has helped me in one way or another. Amanda was the one that I spent the most time with. In the past week we have really relied on each other for moral support. Its probably because of her that I survived this week. This applies to Alex, Jess, Ian, Joe, and of course my team the Fantastic Four and the rest of the Greene Team. So, thank you all for making my first time at camp amazing.

Lastly, I would like to thank all the professors for helping me this week. All of you have had patience with me from start to finish. You truly made this week perfect.

Have you all had enough of the mushy, gushy stuff yet?!

Oh by the way guys, i ended my week just like i started it! No, i didn’t lose my key, but i did lose my food card! I don’t know what i am going to do when i have to go to college!! wish me luck!

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Final day

I thought that I had lost you. Friday July 29, 2011. Photo by Drew Mongiello

There is no catchy title for this one, a fun week comes to an end with a headache. I woke up in a great mood as always and got my morning started. The day went bad all of a sudden when I realized I could not find my wallet.

Luckily for my peers, I was in a good mood and I stayed upbeat when it seemed like it was gone. We finished the first part of the day in the newsroom when I then went back to the dorm during lunch to find it. I made a last attempt to look in the student lounge. I looked through the couch cushions where I saw the side of my wallet wedged in the back of the couch. It looked like the wallet was smiling at me as to say that I am a moron. I am in such a great mood as I head back to the newsroom.

The middle section of the day went by slowly on the account that I had not eaten at all today. I wasn’t hungry in the morning and I borrowed my friend’s card to pay for my chocolate milk. I did not have enough time to get food for lunch, because I found my wallet at about 12:30, so I only got a cup of Wild Cherry Pepsi.

I returned to work as I learned that my GPA from last year is about the average GPA of a freshmen at Stony Brook. After I worked with Rick to finish the baseball game video, and tied up the loose ends of my game recap with a quote from the Long Island Ducks’ commentator from Wednesday’s game Mike Polack. I felt pretty good when I heard myself as an actual journalist by calling a source instead of just using Google. The dinner session was fun and relaxed as I now see myself finishing up my final blog to a week full of interaction, stress, headaches, and fun.

Thinking back on this week as a journalist. I have realized that I want to be in broadcast rather than print. I have no problem writing up a game recap, but I want to be the one behind the mic calling the shots that land in a families’ living room. This week was plenty of work, from adjusting to a problem out of my control to learning from my  mistakes. It seems that I have a lot of mistakes to learn from. It is tough to be a journalist, having to be ready for a new story every day, knowing that none of the information is going to fall into my lap, that I have to go get it. One thing I have learned though, if I don’t work around sports for the rest of my career, I might go crazy!

Thinking back on this week outside of the newsroom, I had a lot of fun. Never was there a dull moment, as it seems that this Greene Team made a mark on Stony Brook’s summer camps.

I can’t wait for college for many reasons. Now I have another reason, that reason is that I can handle college life of dorms, tiny showers and the same food everyday. It’ll be weird not having to wake up early on Monday and knock on my friend’s door so he gets up in time for his 30 minute showers so we aren’t late to breakfast. The fact that I can stay in my living room after 11 p.m., and that I get to watch TV will bring me back to reality.

I will miss staring at my Sean Avery backgrounds on my awesome double computer screens when I first get in in the morning, and that I get two breaks off from work when at my real job I only have one. I’ll get over it, and at least I had fun.

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It’s 2:08 pm, and my eyes are closing

That is a short sum up of how my physical state had been all week. I finally understand why college kids drink so many energy drinks to stay awake all day and night. Getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep every night really takes a toll on you after a while.

Considering you are in the newsroom for the majority of the day breathing in your computer screen and reporting and editing, it’s hard not to start procrastinating in order to sneak off and take a nap. Too bad everything here is too interesting and important to pass up for a power nap.

Since today is unfortunately the last day here I wanted to do the future Greene Team a favor by offering them some advice on how to prepare:

1. SLEEP. A lot. Esspecially before you arrive to Stony Brook. Trust me, this is not the time to catch up on lost sleep the night before.

2. You are going to want to stay  up as late as possible talking to your friends at home, and of course everybody at the dorm. (Well, only if they are as awesome as us.)

3. Don’t be scared, adjusting to communal bathrooms is not as bad as expected.

4. Whatever you do, DO NOT forget your camera. If you do, you will regret it since there are countless funny photo opportunities you wouldn’t want to miss.

5 Lastly, as corny as it may sound, enjoying yourself is the most important thing. Every aspect of this experience is what you make it to be. As your interviewing, writing and reporting, I found the most important thing is to stay true to yourself no matter what job is assigned to you. Keeping an open mind makes everything 10 times more fun and will make your experience here at Stony Brook worth while.

I honestly can’t believe the last full day here is almost half way over. I didn’t expect to say this, but tomorrow is going to be so sad when we leave. You know what that means? No sleeping again tonight! Regardless of how tired we are now, we all know that we Greene Team members are going to be up as late as possible to live up our final moments here. We even got about 15 bags filled with food and drinks that would last a normal person about a month. Wow, it’s been fun Stony Brook!

Green Team at the ducks game! Photo by Wasim Ahmad

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Hi, my name is…

Videos scare me.

We had a few technical malfunctions and group miscommunications, and we ended up missing the name of one of our interviewees. We did, however, catch the last five letters of said interviewee’s last name, though this wasn’t very helpful.  What were those last five letters, you ask? “Xcwik.”

Not even Facebook could creep up this mess.

But that’s okay, because Brionna Cook, Mac and film editor extraordinaire, is currently on the scene, and I am taking a mental break.  I’m so glad that the Greene institute took the time to teach me all of these computer and electronic techniques.  I’m not too shabby on plain old Windows Movie Maker. However, Macs and Kristens are not very compatible, and when it comes to technical mistakes, my mind gets a little too frazzled to continue. I should probably work on that, since I’m guessing these kinds of issues — to a more intelligent extent — are everyday quirks in the life of a professional journalist.

Note: Maybe I should stop blogging about my extensive technical difficulties — they just give Professor Ahmad more reasons to make fun of me.

Making sound bites. Photo by Sarah Elsesser

Today’s the last day of the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, but I’m finding it tough to come to terms with that fact — most likely because I’m too busy to notice. This morning, I typed up my two-page review for the film, The Tree. I love writing reviews for the arts, mostly because those are what I have the most experience in, but thinking back now, I kind of wish I’d ventured toward a story farther from my comfort zone. I’m really happy with my final product and my editor, April Warren‘s, comments, though, and I’m excited to see my article, as well as everyone else’s work, on the website. Thinking back, I’m really happy that my group of four in class — Brionna, Sarah, Drew, and me — worked out the way it did, and I’m so thankful for all of the free, amazing experiences and opportunities given to me here. Though only a few hours remain for my Greene experience, I certainly can’t wait to spend the next half-or-so day with all of the amazing students and professors that I’ve met here.

Fantastic Four minus one. Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

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“Reporting for the Greene Team.”

Right now it is 3:19 p.m. and it’s deadline! The entire team is running around finishing up all our stories — the newsroom is pretty chaotic. Team Greatness … well we really are great because all three of our articles are done, the photos are edited, and two out of our three videos are finished. Yay!

Our website is really coming together now. It’s all so exciting and amazing that we all got to experience everything that we did this week. In such a short amount of time we all have grown to become so close and learned so many things that are going to help us so much in the future.

Before this camp I was very shy and I hardly ever went outside my comfort zone. But now I talk to any person that I can about a story and really have come outside my comfort zone. I loved this entire week.  I love the Greene Team!

The best team ever; The Greene Team. Photo by Wasim Ahmad

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