I wasn’t sure what to think of the hero project. I mean, I know who my heroes are and why, but I had never thought of it from another person or cultures’ perspective. This assignment really made me think about what being a hero really means and what the general qualifications are.
My favorite part of this assignment was writing the article. I love learning about World War II and the kamikaze pilots are a lesser-known part of the war. These heroes took dying for their country to a whole new extreme and it was really interesting to learn Japan’s perspective on kamikaze pilots.
I don’t think I was ever able to define what being a hero really truly means. People have all different lifestyles and experiences and those experiences define a person’s heroes. If anything I have a broader sense of what a hero is. One general qualification I found: Someone’s hero has influenced and affected them in some way or another. That’s as broad as it gets…
Engagement! My favorite part! I wish we had more social engagement for the hero project. It would have been fascinating to learn more about other people’s heroes and whom really the public perceives as heroes. That’s why I really liked my final project-I was able to use social media to determine impact of people and events. It was fascinating!
In terms of the website, it should be really visual. People respond to pictures movies…ect. I’m guessing the articles probably should have been a bit shorter too. People get bored after a while- they need more pictures. This is why I really like storify- it’s telling a story but with all forms of media!
Teamwork. Hmmmmmmmmmm. I don’t really like teamwork. Probably because I like to work on projects at my own schedule and pace. However, what I did like about this project was the fact that it played it our different strengths.
I still can’t believe you left, Serena L You were one of the best professors at the Cronkite School and I believe that your class is what is going to give me a leg up in securing a job in the future. I was honestly sad leaving on the last day of class- I really looked forward to it. Good look in Michigan!! We’re all going to miss you.
1) It was definitely something different, doing a project on heroes for this class. I have never been a part of something like this and the experience was so interesting what with all of the different things we got to do.
2) I think my favorite part was getting assigned to put together a hero playlist for the website. I put together playlists on a daily basis and getting class credit for something that I enjoy so much was fantastic.
3) To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully define a hero because there are so many characteristics that heroes can have. If anything, this project only broadened what I can consider the definition of hero to be and made me realize that there are far more categories of hero than I could have ever thought possible.
4) I think it is best to use our new knowledge of social media to engage site visitors. Polls, contests, and encouraging lots of comments and feedback are great ways to engage people. Twitter seems to be great for engagement and having a Share button for sites like Twitter and Facebook I think actually helps people to want to share the content with others.
5) This semester has been really great and I have truly enjoyed my experience in this class. Thank you very much, Serena, and best of luck in Michigan!
1 — At the end of this project, even after I hit send on the final email, I’m still not sure how I feel about the topic. I agree with Cassie: The topic is very nebulous. When looking to past projects for guidance, I continually felt as if the ambiguous nature overtook the content. However, I did enjoy my article/essay. I got to talk to some really interesting scholars. I wish the overall project lent itself to more concrete ideas.
2 — My favorite part of the project was two-fold. I loved the web design portion! It was stressful and confusing, but I liked being able to design graphics and work within a program. It’s so much better than my other finals. I would rather spend an hour coding without Dreamweaver because it’s crashed again than studying for the last Spanish exam of my college career. Second, I liked making the personal hero video. My mom is my best friend, but we’re 1,400 miles away each day. Soon, I’ll be in New Orleans and she’ll be in China — even farther apart. It was so beautiful to immerse myself in why I love her and why I miss her. It was problematic because I don’t feel comfortable in Final Cut Pro. But, taking photos of my mom playing the piano (unused footage), looking through old photographs (recently unearthed at my grandmother’s funeral), and interviewing her about baseball, sewing, music (all the things she taught me)… It was sublime. Thanks for that assignment.
3 — My own understanding of heroes… I’m not sure I had an understanding of heroes of in the broad sense. I previously understood who mine were. I admired Jonathan Safran Foer and Miranda July for their beautiful prose; I aspired to be like Katherine Graham, Kate White, Jessica Coen and Jill Abramson for their contributions as women in journalism; I respected Mike Bloomberg and Jack Shepard (LOST character…) for being great leaders. But other people’s understanding of heroes? I was lost when we started thinking about topics for articles, sidebars and the overall project. I had a hard time taking what I felt and knew about my own beliefs and translating them into a universal topic.This project helped me to figure out how to translate my views into a broader picture.
4 — I hope this website is engaging! It’s completely different from past projects, partly because there are nine themes opposed to three, but also because of the layout. Cassie and I put a lot of heart into this, and we built it to be user friendly. Cassie figured out how to do tabs so the articles are broken down into smaller sections and I figured out how to get video and graphics into the aside. However, I do understand that there is room for improvement. The site could be improved by spending further time fine-tooning the articles (making them shorter please!?) and making more interactive elements.
5 — I’m not sure how I feel about group projects and teamwork right now; it’s been a long project. I can acknowledge this though: Serena, you have taught us 294015x more than most professors. I’m already using things you have taught me outside of class, and I can’t wait to take these skills onto my summer internship. This project taught me about creativity and collaboration.
Thank you, just thank you. I wish you weren’t moving to Michigan.
Since I first learned about the hero project, I was excited to delve into the subject of heroism and better understand it. Heroism is interesting because it shows that humans aren’t content with just being themselves. We had the opportunity to discuss why humans need to look up to people, a question that a group of journalists could pursue with passion and rigor. My only regret was that our class did not last the entire year, which would have added depth and thoroughness to the project.
I liked that we were allowed to personalize our studies around a certain type of heroism, because looking at just “heroism” would have been broad and overwhelming. I felt right at home researching comic books and superheroes, where I could base my studies on material I already learned. Even though I had to stop sleeping to finish my article at times, it was OK because I was enjoying the research and the subject matter. However, not even writing about superheroes could top making a video about my dad as my personal hero. It was the most meaningful and special thing I did this entire semester. I love my dad, and showing my respect for him through my hard work and creativity paid off during that special moment when we watched the video together and I held his hand.
In my comic book class, there was some dissection of the meaning of heroism, but we focused more on looking at comic books as a form of literature. So the opportunity to analyze superheroes under this perspective brought me a greater understanding of their purpose. I chose to study the evolution of superheroes through American history because it highlighted their importance and provided years of evidence to support my conclusion: people use superheroes to simultaneously escape from and connect with their lives. I never would have come to understand this multifaceted purpose without the Hero Project.
So now we have created the Hero Project, a multimedia website that explores the concept of “hero” from many angles, but how do we get people to visit it? We have already completed the first step—make interesting, engaging content. From here, the website will reach people via search engine optimization and networking with groups interested in heroism. For example, when someone asks a hero-related question on Quora, one of us could answer it and then link to the website for more information. We can attract followers on Twitter by posting interesting tidbits with a “read more” link at the end of tweets. For example: “Did you know Captain America’s first ever nemesis was Hitler? Read more: (link).” Lastly, if we had a team find professors and other universities and share the content with them, they could then show the project to their students and we could build a more academic community around our website.
I would much rather do a project like this with teamwork and an end result than a paper that I leave in my computer and forget about in two weeks. More classes should emphasize engaging their students, so their students can learn how to apply their studies to the real world. I am proud of the work I did for the Hero Project, and I hope it receives a good reception.
At first, I was dubious about spending most of the semester on various aspects of a project about heroes. I felt the topic was too nebulous, and what we would end up with wouldn’t be satisfactory. That said, when it came time to do our articles, they turned out much better than expected. The articles on all different hero-related topics — which were essentially all essays of sorts — combined to make a rather interesting medley.
My favorite part of the project was actually two parts. First, the article. As a broadcast journalism major, I feel that I don’t write as much as I want to and any chance I get to do research on a topic than even vaguely interests me for a class is a good day. I was nervous about my topic at first, and it definitely could have turned out better — however, I still enjoyed the process.
Second, the website (even though it’s still in progress). The only way to master web design is to practice it, and although I probably bit off more than I could chew, it’s more enjoyable than most finals and I feel as if I am really “getting something out of it,” as opposed to digesting useless facts. I probably spent too long thinking of the color scheme!
How did it affect my understanding of heroes… Well, I’m not sure it did. I can’t say what my understanding of heroes even was prior to the project. It did encourage me to think about them, though. My personal topic for the articles, heroism in athletics and the paradigm of heroism vs. celebrity, definitely interested me. That caused me to think about that differentiation and especially how it manifests itself in our everyday world with things like Tim Tebow and people idolizing reality TV stars. I suppose the project made me think more about who I view as a hero, which was positive for me.
Hopefully this website does engage viewers! Our home page is adorable (who doesn’t love cute graphics?) and we hope it will draw viewers into the different “themes” as we are calling them. Each “theme” corresponds to an article + sidebar. Then, on each page, we have an aside (we think we will) with links to a few other themes that are sort of related to the current theme. We also split the articles up with tabs so they are a bit easier to navigate.
As far as actual engagement, we will obviously have a “resources” page for people to get involved in their own communities. I’m thinking of having a little section on volunteering, with a “how-to” for people who haven’t before (this is a little childish, perhaps, but I’m still thinking of it).
In terms of how a site can, in general, engage visitors…
Interactive things on a site will up engagement. Anything that asks people to submit their opinion on a topic - people love to be heard, and a huge advantage of the Web is the enabling of two-way communication. Anything that asks people to share a personal story, submit photos, etc. Contests are great too, especially those that involve site visitors voting on said contest - people will vote for others, submit their own, etc.
This was a wonderful class! I feel like I learned 30942904x what I usually do, and moreover, I learned stuff I will actually, literally use right away. Which is awesome. Thanks so much, Serena!
Before starting this project I hadn’t really thought about heroes in depth. I accepted that they existed for people and had a few heroes myself but I had not truly examined their importance to society. Now, however, I feel better prepared to answer the question, “Who is your hero?”
I loved this topic. It was a concept everyone was familiar with, but there are so many underlying factors to explore that we had the chance to have some fun with the work. Each person working on the project was able to select an area of interest to focus on and in time those topics became an area of expertise for each of us. Now I hear or see the word hero, and I’m instantly hooked and want to know more.
After doing my own research I learned how academics define the term. I also truly came to understand my own definition of a hero, and this is probably the most rewarding thing to come of this project. We were able to educate the public on heroes and at the same time learn more about who we are individually.
My favorite assignment was definitely the personal hero video. I started it multiple times before I really understood what message I wanted to get across with my video. I loved that for once we were able to put a piece of ourselves into our work. In journalism we are asked to remain objective, but it was fun to tell our personal story. Seeing my dad’s reaction to the video made all the hard work worth it in the end.
As fun as it was to add a personal spin, I wish we had more time to engage with the public too. Social media is now an important part of all publications and businesses and I would have liked to gain more experience working on developing one specific site for this project. That being said I did still learn some important aspects of reader engagement.
First, I think that companies need to remember to keep it simple. Don’t try and engage readers on topics that only a few people will respond to like a neighborhood feud with a nearby business. Try to involve readers on stories that everyone in the community is aware of and can give an intelligent answer on.
Second, you want readers to feel comfortable expressing their opinion with confidence, and so I feel it is best to ask them to participate in stories that are directly related to their lives. For our project, speaking with people on the street they all had a hero – it took them time to figure out what they wanted to say but they all had an answer. Adding that personal touch adds interest for the reader and they are more willing to get involved. People’s faces lit up when we said the project was about heroes, and they were curious what role they could play.
Finally, it is important to have fun when seeking reader engagement. There are so many different social media sites that it is easy to get bogged down and do the same thing for each site – but that doesn’t work. Have fun and develop a different identity for each site based on researched methods of the site. Know the audience for that particular platform and find new, creative ways to get those members involved. The more fun you have with it, the more your readers will be drawn in.
1) I think doing a project on heroes is a great idea. I liked that we were all able to focus on different aspects of heroism- villainy, war heroes, video game heroes, organizations as heroes- to offer many different perspectives on the word. The thing about heroes is that as technology progresses, the definition changes as well, so it’s a project we could potentially work on forever.
2) I have to say my favorite part was doing the video. I am a broadcast journalism major so doing videos is what I am all about. I especially enjoyed it because I did my hero video on my sister, something I know my family was able to really appreciate.
3) In researching for my paper on villains, the antithesis of heroes, I discovered why heroes are so important. It’s easy to wish for a world without villains, but without villains, we wouldn’t have heroes. My initial reaction to this was, so what? But I later was able to decide that if we had didn’t have the two extremes, we would just have a bunch of regular people, and with a bunch of regular people, to what do you aspire? What is your goal for improvement as a person? If you’re not growing, you’re not living, and heroes set the standard for growth. But without villains, we have no heroes.
4) I am a visual person, so for me, I am all about videos and clicking. I don’t like to read lengthy articles unless it’s a subject that is particularly interesting to me, but in order to get to that article, I need a picture or something flashy to draw me to it (ADD problems).
5) Be someone’s hero.
My initial feelings on doing a project on heroes were excitement mixed with apprehension. I was excited with the potential for the project to impact how people see heroes while creating a new definition for the word “hero.” I was apprehensive about the parameters of the project, since it was not clearly defined and it had never been done before, it was difficult to determine how we would tackle such an extensive topic. But after we divided up the social media responsibilities and began working on our personal hero videos, it became clear to me that the scope of the project was manageable for the size of our class.
My favorite part of the Hero Project was creating a personal video dedicated to my hero. I had never created a video before, and the process turned out to be easier than I expected. Working with iMovie was more convenient than I anticipated and gathering material for the video was also relatively easy. I originally feared I would not have enough material to make a long video, but I ended up with more than enough visual content. I was pleasantly surprised with my final product, and encouraged to create more videos in the future.
This project did change my understanding of heroes. Before, I only perceived heroes as being larger-than-life figures, whether movie heroes like Superman, or book heroes like Odysseus. But this project forced me to reflect, and with more reflection I realized that a hero could be anyone, because anyone can mean the world to somebody. After talking to people on the street for the slideshow, I also noticed that many people have personal heroes within their own lives. Our heroes are really the people who make a difference in our lives on a daily basis or inspire us to be the best we can be.
Communicators can engage site visitors by building interactive tools into the site. This could include discussion boards, comments sections, quizzes, polls, contests or other activities that encourage participation from website visitors. Organizations can also engage people by holding exciting events, reaching out to fans via social media, and inviting feedback so fans know that their voice is being heard.
Thanks to our online media professor, Serena Carpenter, for giving us such an intriguing and interesting assignment that challenged us in many ways.