For the final project of this class, we were asked to work in groups on a feature story that would include a written story, photography, and a video edited with Final Cut Pro.

My final project story will be posted here shortly, but before it goes up I wanted to take a minute to talk about the techniques that went into reporting for it.

My classmate Katie Fernandez and I decided to focus our story on a very interesting individual who is a champion for stray and abandoned cats in Chicago. She’s developed a program to help control the feral cat population called Trap Neuter Return, or TNR.

Because our subject worked with cats (highly photogenic!) and particularly feral cats (outdoors!) Katie and I used a variety of tools to get the story.

I used two types of handheld camera to videotape interviews with our subject, as well as get B-roll. The first, a Flip cam took some great B-roll at Tree House Humane Society, where our subject worked, but got a bit shaky when held in one place for the interview.

The second, a Bloggie Cam, too amazing B-roll and, when I mounted it on a tripod for the second interview, it took steady footage.

Along with taping the interviews, we also used an audio recorder. This enabled us both to have a copy of the full interview when we started putting the written story together.

We interviewed our story’s focus both at work and at home, and then we accompanied her on a “trapping” evening, where she and another volunteer trapped feral cats to be brought in for treatment. The trapping took place on a blustery, wet night in a relatively busy alley.

Since it was dark and the wind noise would have been immense, the video cameras were not a good choice. Instead, we took a still camera, a Canon Rebel to take photos of the evening. Katie did the majority of the photo taking and I took copious notes for interviews. Katie also used a similar camera when she visited the clinic where the feral cats were treated.

The topic for our feature story gave us the opportunity to use several different tools and techniques to best capture a story that takes place in several settings, indoor and outdoor. We are hoping that we used these tools to tell the story in the best way possible.

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