My First Videojournalism Project! Denver’s Light Rail

Well…it’s a start.

So for at least the past few years, I’ve been part of that large and pitiful club of Undergrad Aspiring Journalists. It’s the same old deal: I write for my college newspaper, I know what gonzo journalism is, my heroes include Nicholas Kristof, Ronan Farrow, and Jeremy Scahill, and I often don’t see the point of differentiating press releases from lengthy, crass op-eds.

Okay, so maybe this is just the lament of an Undergrad Aspiring Journalist who doesn’t actually go to journalism school. Really, though, what can The Denver Post teach me that Geoffrey Chaucer can’t?

Or more accurately, what do I actually want to get out of journalism that I can’t go out and get myself? That’s the question that’s been teasing my bees for a few weeks now, and it eventually occurred to me to go investigate things on my own, rather than bend over backwards so some boss can tell me what to investigate, probably some hungry World Cup player or celebrity colonoscopy.

Also, one article I found by Dorie Clark about tips for aspiring journalists had some useful insights. (Way better than a different article by Jenna Goodreau: “One good option for young, aspiring journalists is to get in the door at a wire service like the Associated Press or Dow Jones.” Oh yeah, I’ll just go do that Jenna.) Dorie says it pretty straight: if you want to be a journalist in this age, understand that journalists lose jobs every day, and newspapers die every week. So throw away all the back-to-the-good-ol-days, purity crap. You either do it all or don’t do it at all.  You have to sell yourself: sell your writing, sell your knowledge, sell your social media network, sell your audiovisual skills, and–this is where I draw the line–sell your voice.

Don’t touch my voice.

So this is where I’ve arrived. With a pen and paper and trusty new iPhone 5c (the yellow plastic one), I started gathering shots and stories. For this project, I interviewed four people, but I didn’t manage to film any of those interviews. Stay tuned for some actual interview footage in my next project!

This Denver Light Rail project was more practice than anything, and I’ll be shocked and flattered if you watch it. It was a ton of fun to make, and on top of facts about the Light Rail, it quickly taught me that journalism doesn’t have to be a profession, it can be a hobby. And I think that’s wonderful.


5 thoughts on “My First Videojournalism Project! Denver’s Light Rail

  1. Hi Kewy!

    I decided to give it a looksy, as I’ve been following the RTD transportation network extensively for the last few years.

    A) I really enjoyed your video editing, ya its a little choppy at times, and you can stand to allow more time for the text to remain, but I thought it was good!

    B) From what I understand, you barely touched the surface on the RTD. For instance, you paid 8 dollars for your ticket to travel downtown, but it would be half that if you got on at Yale instead. Also, enforcing the lightrail is mostly on the honor-based system, with infrequent checks on the trains. Ultimately people get away with not paying quite frequently. Finally, talking about the RTD’s overall affect on the Denver area might be good. I think it would be neat if you make a follow-up video about this, with a more in-depth look at its effects.

    C) Parking varies doesn’t it? The Arapahoe station is never full with its massive free parking garage, but I know Belleview and Yale suck to park at. I would look into RTD policies for parking. They also have reserved spots at many stops for people that pay a monthly fee that stay open from 6 am to 10 am every day for them.

    Neat vid mang!


    1. Hey Jamesy,
      I couldn’t agree more, actually. This video cannot use enough caveats of “I’m just an amateur and this is just video production practice.” There is SO much more to be explored here: what people really pay to ride the Light Rail, the lack of enforcement, the different parking situations, the details of the building and expansions, the people who lost their property due to the Light Rail’s construction, the South Denver vs. North Denver bias….it goes on and on and on. And the whole time I was making and editing this, I thought of all these ideas, and yes, I did think about doing follow ups!
      But when it comes down to it, I chose the Light Rail as my first topic because I was riding it all the time and it was built into my weekly schedule. I made the video, and I might have learned less about RTD than I did about iMovie and YouTube. Moving forward, I think before I focus in on the Light Rail, I want to diversify.
      Speaking of…I’m putting together right now a report about these three used bookstores on Broadway (which was also kind of built into my weekly schedule). Those should be more comprehensive: it’s a smaller topic and includes plenty of personal testimony. Plus, video footage of those stores actually tells much of the story–dramatic shots of the Light Rail don’t exactly delve into the successes and failures of RTD.
      Thanks for watchin’, buddy.


  2. This would be a lot better if you had a montage of people getting on and singing and dancing at the stations to Jai Ho a la Slumdog Millionaire. But you’re no Danny Boyle so I’ll cut you some slack


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