Midterm Story Draft: JM Blay-Tofey

When it comes to the spread of culture and embracing the youth, more and more attention is being focused on the younger scene. From art, to music, and even social issues, the many different cultures in which play a part is growing daily. With this growth the appearances of new and independent ventures striving to bring many different sources of “fresh” unique talents and minds are providing a new view in terms of culture.

Within this growing likeliness for independent work, self/cultural expression, and the influence of youth MUD Magazine is making waves to create a foundation for the wide variety of people who are creatively expressing theirselves, as well as their culture through curation, photography, music, and many other creative directions incorporating individuality.

MUD Magazine is an independent publication inspired by “a love for our hometowns” as well as the many different arts and music that spawn from the cracks of each unique street. MUD is striving to bring and capture southern culture to the world by showcasing an abundance of “talents, work, and spirit of individuals across the region and beyond”.

My Midterm story will be on the Independent publication know as MUD Magazine and will follow their second official appearance at Austin’s very own music festival South by South west. “SXSW” being a staple in live music to date is a platform for new artist and organizations to be put on the forefront, with hundreds of performers flooding the streets of downtown Austin. MUD, having grown substantially from previous years will be hosting their very own events and artist.

During the festival i will collect images of the cultural environment MUD resides in, as well as the people who work everyday to see the spread of content reach the corners of the world.

I will also Interview one of MUD’s publishers to:

  • Gaining insight on what MUD has to offer
  • Figure out why MUD is here at SXSW
  • Find out what MUD aims to do in terms of culture and youth
  • Lastly ask why people should care about the work MUD is doing in general

Midterm story PITCH: JM Blay-Tofey

My story will cover an independent publication during Austin’s very own South by South West. During the week long event, i will conduct recorded interviews with the employees, gain insight with the foundation through video (interviews, the events they are working on, etc.), and capture this movement through photos to appropriately address the progress, views, and goals of this independent publication. Sounds promising. What does this publication have to do with SXSW and what are they going to be doing that week? Are we going to see the writers, photographers and editors putting an issue together? What is the story?

Media Critique: JM Blay-Tofey

When it comes to information and the way in which we receive, process, and conclude from the form its given in, one can imagine the many different ways and methods to either stress the importance or even show relevance to the reader/viewer. Traditionally, stories covering incidents or unthinkable circumstances tend to fall flat in terms of complete understanding when it comes to the usual story read in a news paper or over an online blog really? , but the New York times are is taking an extra step into the direction of complete “coverage” with author John Branch producing an interactive story illustrating a treacherous avalanche at Tunnel Creek called “Snow Fall.”

From the very beginning, the story gives each reader a glimpse of what is to come with an elaborate representation of the windy/snowy environment in which this story takes place. Accompanied by personal interviews and unique videos and pictures of each member included, the story supplies more than just personal testaments of the incident, but also gives you an insight to each member bringing the article “closer to home.” Although these elements provide a familiar feel to this article, the inclusion of weather maps to show the fashion in snow storms in the Washington, 3-D representations of the mountain to give a better idea of the surrounding area, and trail patterns to highlight the adventure that took place all provide valuable representations to give any reader an abundance of knowledge to better identify with, and understand the story. With all of these different methods of backing up the stories entirety this article is the beginning of a revolution in news distribution and packaging when it comes to delivering the audience with a compelling piece of news that not only provides adequate information, but ultimately gives a deeper understanding of the people and their experiences. These are all things traditional news have lacked when looking at how we take in, and relate with therefore this article gave me, and I’m sure every other reader, a new perspective on digital news along with the many pros it has to offer.

Overall i found reading “Snow Fall” fulfilling and important for three reasons. The first was that i haven’t seen news done in such a way i felt as if i was actually interacting with the story which gave a refreshing take on the typical article I would usually read on the NY Times ass well as any other site. The second was the sheer fact that revolved around the addition of the interactive elements due to the engaging and intuitive feeling the elements gave me as i progressed through the story. Lastly, the style in which the whole article was presented, from the interviews and files of each member that experienced this avalanche to the accurate representations on the trails they took accompanied by models to truly show the mountains scale caught my eye in ways a regular article never could.

Thought Exercise 4: JM Blay-Tofey

identify two quotes, one direct and one indirect (you may include partial quotes), from Mr. Cardenas that appear in the passage. Write the two quotes below and identify them as direct or indirect. (4 points)                      

  • Direct – he would like to bring a few snacks home for his 5-year-old daughter, but as a contract worker, he can’t… “I see people taking to-go boxes…. they give you to-go boxes if you ask for them, but we aren’t allowed to do that.”                                                   
  • Indirect – Most of the time, he guards a parking lot during special events at the nearby Shoreline Amphitheater. This isn’t a quote, direct or indirect. Here is an example of an indirect quote (also known as paraphrase): Sometimes, Cardenas says, he doesn’t make enough money to feed himself and his daughter, which feels strange, working at a place like Google.

Write down one question you imagine the reporter asked to get one of these quotes. (1 point)


  • “In terms of compensation and treatment, how does google treat is employees, and what differences in jobs create different benefits for employees?

Identify a potential source for a news story of your choosing (think back to thought exercise #3). Write down the source and four potential questions for your interviewee.  (5 points)

A potential news story would be focused around the current immigration unrest; gathering a census on perceived requirements that give immigrants “leeway” to escape prosecution and deportation. Who are you posing these questions to?

  • What are your thoughts on the new immigration policy/raids being conducted in and around austin?
  • What would you define as an illegal immigrant? Why ask this? Isn’t it easy enough to research the definition of an undocumented immigrant? Ask questions you can’t find the answers to in routine research.
  • In terms of criminal records, what determines an immigrants as a criminal? (tickets, possession charges, etc.) Not sure I understand the question. Aren’t all of these part of a criminal record? Do you mean does it have to be a felony, or can someone be deported for misdemeanor traffic tickets? Is that what you’re asking?
  • Is it necessary/just/ethical as a country to attempt to dismiss and deport perceived immigrants from their own homes in general? What’s a “perceived immigrant”? Relax and write simple, direct prose.

Thought Exercise 3: JM Blay-Tofey

Brainstorm possible news story ideas. If it helps you may think about news story ideas by using some of your own life experiences and those of your family, friends, neighbors and community. Think about what makes the stories interesting and important, select 2 and write them down.
– Perceptions and thoughts on Trumps presidency (so far)
– The changing relations between race, gender, and ideologies

Think about news values (timeliness, proximity, conflict and controversy, human interest, relevance), pick one of your story ideas from question #1 above and explain which news values are present in your story.
– Coverage and perceptions of trumps presidency would most likely provide the most interesting and engaging conversations due to the current events being displayed throughout the media (social as well), along with everyday life occurrences whether being simple interactions with differing points of views, or the immediate and possible regret of choice in candidate.

Identify and list potential sources and interviewees for your story.
Think about some of the interactive media elements from thought exercise #2. What types (photos, video, interactive maps, etc.) of interactive media would add depth and understanding to your story?
– Classmates
– Students on campus
– Professors on Campus (possibly the dean)
– People around the south Austin area

Explain why the public would find the story relevant, interesting or important.
– The public will find this story relevant due to the current times we live in where politics have willingly split the country in two (whether or not people are informed has cease to matter) therefore gathering a public opinion after the first decisions made by the head of our country may have caused new perceptions over the current state, and future of the united states. Maybe even the world.