I spent my first two weekends of grad school in a journalism bootcamp… and I liked it

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

I remember when I registered for my fall 2014 Print Journalism graduate classes at BU’s College of Communication (COM). I took a good hard look at my schedule… I thought for sure there was a mistake. A typo. An abomination.

There, in black and white, on my BU Student Portal were the words “Multimedia Toolkit: Saturdays-Sundays 9-5:30 P.M.”

DAY 1- SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6:  What I thought was just a sick joke, quickly turned to a harsh reality. Bright and early, I was on the Green Line with my backpack, blurry-eyed, hung-over and asking myself why on earth I was going to campus on a weekend. It was definitely boot camp alright. I felt as though I had joined the military.

Upon arriving at COM, we first learned how to rent equipment from the basement of COM. This included a Nikon camera, boom mic, and video/sound recorders (don’t worry, as I didn’t know what a boom mic was either). That day, Professor Peter Smith taught us everything we needed to know about operating a Nikon camera. He explained things in a “For Dummies” manner, so those who had never touched a camera before were not lost. We learned about camera terms including, aperture, light, F-Stops, ISO, etc. To say it was not a bit overwhelming for the first day would be a lie, but we all worked together and managed to get by.

Photo of Lauren Westberg by Pankaj Khadka, MS Photojournalism ’15

After a lengthy lecture, we were given a few hours to go outside, get some fresh air (thank goodness), and take some test shots for practice. I’ve messed around with friends’ Canons and Nikons before, but I never knew what it really meant to fix apertures, quicken/slow down shutter stops, or how to fix lighting. It was incredibly interesting and actually quite enjoyable realizing all I had been missing out on in the photo world. Photography was always something I had been interested in, but I never really pushed myself out of my comfort zone to pursue the art. This boot camp reminded me of how multimedia skills and the art of photography are such important, integral parts of journalism and storytelling.

Photo of Paul Dudley by Gina Kim, MS Journalism ’16

DAY 2- SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7:  Today would be the day we learned how to use Adobe Lightroom. It sounds easier than it was, as there was so much information to take and remember. For our practice assignment, we had to upload nine finalized photos onto our Smug Mug accounts. Each photo had to meet specific requirements, such as different F-stops, a sequence shot, an action shot, etc. Once we actually started editing on the computer, Lightroom wasn’t too difficult to get the hang of, which was a relief. I think the lecture just sounded a lot more complicated than it actually was.

Photo of Michelle Marino by Ann Wang

Over the next two weeks, we were expected to complete a multimedia project that determined our final grade.  The project entailed taking specific photos of our subject (our partners we chose for the duration of the boot-camp), and a feature mini-documentary on our subjects.

Photo of Paul Dudley by Gina Kim, MS Journalism ’16

DAYS 3 & 4- SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13-14: This weekend we learned how to record video. Now, I’m no stranger to a video recorder (I formed an all-girl rock band in high school with my four best friends and made movies and music videos), but I still had a lot to learn.

Additionally, we learned how to use a mic and audio recorder, so that we could practice editing and syncing our audio and video footage in Final Cut Pro. This weekend was also when brainstormed ideas for our final multimedia projects. My partner Paul and I wanted to come up with a creative way of sharing our unique stories, like a feature piece of each other. That part wasn’t too tough; my subject was interesting, funny, inspiring, and intelligent. My biggest issue was trying to showcase all the things I wanted to about my partner in just two minutes.

Multimedia boot camp was a weekend class, but it didn’t mean our tasks were limited to just that Saturday and Sunday. My partner and I had to plan out production schedules, shoot b-roll, and edit. Luckily, we both were flexible and made it work. Click on the picture below to watch my video on Broadcast Journalism graduate student, Paul Dudley.

This video is about KIM_PROJECT 1

POST BOOT CAMP REFLECTION:  Now that our class has been done for weeks, I have to be honest: physically, that class was a nightmare. It was tough being on campus all day, sacrificing our weekends and our freedom to go out to bars on Friday/Saturday nights.

However, it was DEFINITELY worth it. Even though I am in Print Journalism, I now know how to shoot, edit, use Adobe Lightroom, and operate Final Cut Pro 10! I realize what a blessing this course actually was, as it made me recognize the value of a journalist who can master multiple skills such as, producing, writing, shooting, and editing. This class is another addition to my list of somewhat “impressive” achievements on my resume, so hopefully it’ll give me more credibility as to what I can accomplish in the newsroom or out in the field.

Although going to school on the weekends was tough, it opened my eyes to the real-life demands of this profession. When it comes to reporting, journalism has no set schedule or designated weekends off. Journalism doesn’t wait for anyone. You have to be on top of things. I know, for sure, that later down the line during our successful careers (thanks BU), we will encounter many occasions where we sacrifice sleep, food, and a life for a story. Being a journalist means we eat, breathe, and live this field. It’s in our blood.

Want to know more about our Master’s Program in Journalism? Visit our page to learn how you can become a part of BU’s College of Communication. 

Check out Broadcast Journalism graduate student and COMgrad blogger, Nikita Sampath’s video from the Multimedia Toolkit boot camp class.

This video is about Interview Simeng 2, bestof502

Let us know what you think of our bloggers’ work in the comment section below!



About COMGrad

Boston University College of Communication offers graduate degrees in Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations; Emerging Media Studies; Film & Television; and Journalism. The mission of the College of Communication (COM) is to provide an educational center of excellence focused on teaching, research and service in the study and professional practice of communication.

6 thoughts on “I spent my first two weekends of grad school in a journalism bootcamp… and I liked it

  1. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your weekend boot camp after all! It sounds like Boston really is making sure you have a solid foundation to become a well rounded future journalist.
    Learning Final Cut X in such a short time span must have been gnarly, but I hope you found it more fun than frustrating after a short while. Did this boot camp inspire/encourage you to examine any other areas of journalism any further? What benefits (if any) do you feel come from having such a multimedia heavy course so early in your graduate career?
    I hope you are finding your other classes just as fruitful, and as always, Santa Cruz misses you.

    1. Tessa! Thanks so much for your question! And for being an avid reader. 🙂 Yes, this bootcamp did inspire me to go beyond all fields of journalism beyond just writing. My entire life I’ve been a writer, and becoming a published writer was something that was always my personal goal. However, coming to BU and after Multimedia, I realized that I was also interested in Broadcast as well, except I just feel like I’m a far better writer than a speaker. I can’t just professionally shoot words out in front of the camera on a whim…I always feel like I’d mess up or laugh because I’m just like that. I’d definitely feel way safer behind a computer screen or simply on paper…you can always start over or hit that backspace and delete button while expressing your thoughts. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed Multimedia so much…it allows you to be creative and create anything you want, but also be able to correct yourself and edit it however you want, the same way I do this with writing!

      The benefits I hope to reap from this course is to add this to my resume (which I did!) because it’s internship application season for Summer 2015. It can never hurt, and our professor reminded us that a class like this shows that we can do more than just simply write. We can now do creative things beyond just words, in the world of multimedia journalism. There is more than one way to relay a message to the mass media and the public! And of course, I utilize all these applications in my other courses this semester.

      And as always, I feel so homesick for Santa Cruz every day I’m here! But I’m glad I’m learning a lot here in Boston. 🙂

  2. Bootcamps are great, especially for journalists. They need to have much communication and fresh experience for better inspiration which is always required.

    1. Alex, you are so right! This was the first year BU journalism did this, and I think it was a great idea. It is always a positive thing to have more exposure to different areas of journalism or any field. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog! Stay tuned for more posts!

      1. Thanks for approving my comment. I have also a little experience in journalism and understand what is the lack of inspiration. Unfortunately my experience haven’t inspired me to make journalism my profession but it helped me to find myself in online marketing. Unfortunately there is pretty few really free and independent journalists. I wish you to become one of them and analyze things happening in this world with your own mind. Journalists are the fourth branch of power, don’t forget it. I have war in my country and know the cost of the journalist’s word and the things it makes.

  3. So great to hear that you are being inspired by working hard. Love being able to get an inside view on the life of a journalism student! As always, beautifully written!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *