Midterm Draft: Jess Arrazolo

My midterm story will be on Aubrey Wilkerson. Aubrey is the Executive Director for Out Youth. Out Youth is a non-profit whose mission is to “promotes the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well being of sexual and gender minority youth so that they can openly and safely explore and affirm their identities.”

For this story, I will be following Aubrey as he spends a day at his job interacting with the youth and continuing to create safe spaces by his projects. In this story, issues surrounding LGBTQ+ including acceptance, safety/security and personal. This will also be fit into the context of Austin and how the city’s culture either encourages and supports or outcasts the community.

While following Aubrey around, I will use a DLSR camera to photograph his day and the staff and youth that surround him. With these pictures, I would like to create a photo story in addition to my text that will further show the work Aubrey does.

Questions I have for Aubrey are as follows:

  1. How long have you been involved with Out Youth?
  2. What about Out Youth made you choose this and not another youth non-profit?
  3. What have you found to be most challenging for this position?
  4. How have you seen yourself change while being at this organization?

Questions for staff:

  1. Why do you work here? What about Out Youth speaks to you?
  2. How has working with Aubrey and the organization challenged you positively?

Questions for youth:

  1. Do you feel as if Out Youth has worked to create a safe space for you?
  2. What’s missing from here that you think would benefit you?
  3. How do you think Austin is in terms of accepting LGBTQ+ communities?

Midterm Pitch: Jess Arrazolo

For my midterm story, I’d like to cover the Festival of Colors on March 25th.  For this story, I would educate the readers about the event and its history. I’d like to take pictures, video. I would also like to interview but the interviews will most likely be text so as not to weigh myself down with equipment.


Jess, here’s the assignment. You MUST write a 400-word story with whatever digital storytelling tool you decide to use. I’d also like you to get beyond an event. Is there an enterprise story? A profile of someone? An issue you’d like to explore? Something that requires you to not just show up and cover an event:

Midterm Story

20 percent: Midterm story: (individual) You will produce a story consisting of an original interactive (or multimedia) element and a written story of 400-600 words. You decide what the story is, but it may not be about or involving people you know. No roommates, relatives or friends. You may cover an event or do an enterprise story. Please post pitch, draft and final story on the class blog under the following subject lines:

Midterm Story Pitch NAME; Midterm Story Draft NAME; Midterm Story final NAME.

Failure to meet any of these three deadlines means you fail the assignment. This assignment is worth 20 percent of your class grade.


Pitch due 3/7

First draft 3/21

Final story due 3/28

Media Critique: Jess Arrazolo

For my media critique, I chose to look at PBS’s Concussion Watch in which the reporters and outside sources are listed. The article does an interesting job of showing concussions throughout the NFL in a creative and interactive way. The article is not a traditional article in the sense that it does not contain paragraphs of text. Instead, there are facts laid out that accompany a separate documentary. The numbers are left for the reader to explore and draw their own conclusions. There is no clear description. Some would say it lacks a description and others would say it is not necessary. I would say that only a person seeking information to back up a claim against the NFL would find this useful and because of that, this article’s purpose and claim speaks for itself.

This particular kind of article, as I stated before, is more for those trying to find the numbers to back a claim. I do not think it serves the function of persuading a reader on its own. I think because of the fact that it is just facts, this article needs at least a paragraph for those who have never heard of or bothered to really learn about injuries within the NFL. An article such as this caters to a specific kind of audience. With that being said, there are still features added that could potentially appeal to a larger audience. There is a feature that allows you to search concussions by player or position. I think this could potentially serve as a way to bring a wondering reader into the article. Once you give them their favorite players, it becomes sort of personal.

There is a feature that allows you to search concussions by player or position. I think this could potentially serve as a way to bring a wondering reader into the article. Once you give them their favorite players, it becomes sort of personal. It is because of this added feature that I want to give the article the benefit of the doubt and say it could possibly still manage to inform. The very basic reason for reporting is to inform and I do believe this can do the job. However, I stated before, the challenge would be to bring readers to it since it is a niche article. There is no clear writing style or even concluding thoughts which make it hard to really suck a reader in. There needs to be a voice other than just facts.

I think this article could, under the right circumstances, inform and persuade a reader to agree with the article’s claim. But, to be clear, the article still lacks a few minor details that could make it reader friendly such as a brief description and/or a conclusion.

Thought Exercise 4 Jess Arrazolo

1. Indirect quote: “Cardenas says it’s strange being on Google’s campus…”
Direct quote: “‘I see people taking to-go boxes,’…”

2. Is it frustrating that you cannot have the same benefits other Google employees have? How does it make you feel?

3. Boy playing Witch in Into the Woods, his mother

What did you think when your son first told you he wanted to play this role?
Did you have any fears that he may not be safe?
How has the school been supportive (or not) with your son undertaking this role?
Wouldn’t it have been easier to have a son who wanted to play traditional roles? Why do you feel so blessed to have him as your son?

Thought Exercise 3 Jess Arrazolo

1. a- Teenage boy to play the Witch in local highschool’s production of the musical, ‘Into the Woods’.
This would be an interesting story mainly because it a role meant for a woman. This story could also be explored through a historical context that looks at other drag roles such as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. The story would bring attention to the changing gender culture and add to a progressive point of view.
b- Grandma opens a cooking school for Hispanic and Latin American cuisine.
This story would be interesting because the elderly population is not known for starting new careers. It would be a new take on the idea that it is never too late. In addition, the type of food she is teaching to cook would add to a cultural awareness as well as ensure the culture stays in intact in the LatinX youth.

2. The news values present in the school production story are the responsibility to report about local events.The reason it is so important this is covered is because of the controversy surrounding as well as a progressive v. conservative side. It will also peak interest and possibly act as publicity simply because it is so untraditional.

3. -the boy in the focused role
– his parents
-school drama teacher
-a couple of broadway experts to comment on the changing gender roles
– Stephen Sondheim (composer) and James Lapine (play write)

4. One thing that I think would be interesting to have is an interactive stage in the article that has characters that are traditionally (or have become drag). There could also be videos that play instantly from each interviewee.

5. The story is relevant to the changing climate of gender. This would be interesting and important because it would add a new perspective to gender equality. The public would want to know how and where things are changing.

Thought Exercise 2 Jess Arrazolo

1. Do the interactive media elements help you to understand the problem of predatory lending? Why or why not?
The interactive elements help me see the inequity in this particular loan business. It is not lost on me that they chose this specific part of the puzzle to make interactive. Flipping through kept me engaged with the bottom line that the articles stresses; people are being taken advantage of. I think the articles was selected to be this way so that when you are most engaged in the story, the make sure you understand what the article is really about. It is because of that I agree that it did help me somewhat understand the problem of predatory lending. It allowed me to see in a visual way what happens during the lending process.

2. Who might benefit from reading and engaging with this content?
The article talks about a story that, while relevant to this era overall theme of injustice, can be tightened to a smaller portion of people. The people in the tribes and those close to them, who cannot quite get a handle on how to express the problem, may benefit from reading this and sharing it in order to better spread awareness about the problem. In addition, those who are investigating or looking to fight for the cause may also find some foundational information.

3. Why do you think there are such differences in the percentage change in childhood homelessness from state to state? Does the map help you to understand causes or reasons for the different increases?
The film talked a little about the different industries each state had as well as the housing market crash. I think these things have a way in of affecting how each state came about with their homeless populations. The map helps by separating the homeless population in two different year-long times that each followed the recession. This helps dissect each time period better than if it were clumped together.

4. Name the two states with the highest percentage of homeless students as a “share of all students.” (Be careful, not looking for percentage change)
Texas and New York

5. Explore the Frontline web app “Concussion Watch (Links to an external site.)” and answer this question: What creative techniques are used to attract your attention?
The site uses the positions of each player on a football field to initially get the reader to recognize what the article is about and to make them automatically connect with the piece. They then make each position interactive in which you can click and learn more about the injuries associated with that positons. This final feature is connecting it with who was hurt so the audience can find their favorite player and now that emotionally invested in the problem.

6. Does the interactive web app “Concussion Watch” help you understand the issue of concussions in the National Football League? Why or why not?
It definitely helps me understand that magnitude and high risk associated with the sport. The other interesting thing is that it seems to be an injury that increases with time especially in the cornerback position. This makes me think there is an outside factor that could warrant a full blown article with the explanation.