2020: “In-Person or Virtual”

2020: “In-Person or Virtual”

Syracuse University did an exceptional job of allowing students to utilize campus resources in a pandemic riddled semester, along with letting students who were uncomfortable going to campus learn from home. As universities around the nation were shutting down or going fully virtual, Syracuse did its best to comply with the student body.

Although the last few weeks of the 2020 fall semester were filled with stress for many SU students as virtual classes took over due to a spike in positive cases, I first and foremost was thankful for the fact that much of the semester was in-person. This was important for me because I wanted to be able to use the equipment, such as the Canon camera, that is used in the real world by professionals.

As part of the curriculum for the news reporting class in the fall semester, students had to submit a virtual story using only their phones. This was in large part due to the unknown future of the pandemic and whether students will be able to have access to the equipment. Thankfully, students had access to the equipment from the Newhouse cage for the entire semester, even after the school went fully virtual the last two weeks of classes.

Personally, I did not come to Newhouse to shoot stories via my phone. But I understood the times we are currently living in and how adaptability is crucial at a time like this. My professors did a great job of instilling that mentality in me by reminding me this is what the real world is about; adaptability and professionalism.

When given the option to do the final story of the semester virtually or in-person, with all the equipment, the choice was easy for me; I picked in-person. As Professor Perez likes to say, “anyone can take out their phone and start shooting.” However, using a phone CAN be beneficial in stories, as sometimes the big cameras cannot get you the specific shots needed to gauge the viewer.

I was unsure of how the university would handle a situation where virtual classes would take over completely. I was pleased with still being able to go to the cage to get the camera, but the one bummer was that no lab access on campus meant students could not edit in Adobe Premiere on the big computers. My suggestion would be to have a strong internet connection, so Adobe does not crash and delete all your work. As for the big computers, they are nice to use because everything on the screen is spaced out much more, whereas on your personal computer it may be cluttered together making it sometimes irritating to find all the settings in Adobe.

Looking forward to the spring semester, I am hopeful Newhouse will allow cage access to its students, even if the university decides to go full-virtual. However, it is important for students to know how to be successful in the real world. A big part of that is adaptability. If there is no equipment available, how will students shoot the story? Deadlines must be met. In such a case, students must be able to use their phones to produce quality work.

Newhouse teaches you the skills to produce virtual stories. As a student, you have the opportunity to work in the field like a real professional and learn from your own experiences. Take advantage.

Talha Rao