All posts by whitneyashton

Not so smartwatch: Crowdfunding campaign backer still waiting for two-year-old technology

Orange County real estate agent Michael Wiener has committed himself to the principles of hard work and integrity. These two principles are something that he has built his business on, he says.

Although he is paid for his skills as a seller, Wiener is also a buyer in his spare time. The self-described entrepreneur often contributes to online crowdfunding campaigns. He contributes money to back projects and helps bring creative projects to life. Rather than back books or films, Wiener funds campaigns where he is offered a tangible reward in return.

“It seems like a great way for an individual to get funding to be able to create something that starts out as an idea that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to produce or bring to market,” Wiener said.

Over the past few years, Wiener has contributed money to 20 different projects via the global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. In 2013, he paid $200 to back a project claiming to deliver its supporters a “next generation smartwatch with brand-new technology.”

“At that point, that was long before Apple or really anybody else had a smartwatch on the market and to me that was a very appealing product,” Wiener said.

Since its creation, the project titled “AGENT: The World’s Smartest Watch” has surpassed its $100,000 goal and raked in more than $1 million in donations from 5,685 backers.

It is now more than two years after the campaign’s start date and Wiener and the other backers have yet to receive the AGENT smartwatch.

“This smartwatch will not be smart … If it comes out today, it’s going to be two years behind the times,” Wiener said. “Pretty useless, I would think.”

Wiener has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Chris Walker, the project manager and campaign creator of the AGENT smartwatch.

He said that Kickstarter’s Integrity team must hold creators responsible if they do not deliver what their campaign promises.

“The project creator has to have a legitimate project that they can create and Kickstarter needs to hold them to that … there needs to be some sort of recourse if they don’t fulfill their obligations,” Wiener said.

The crowdfunding platform encourages its creators to be honest and ethical while conducting business on the website, according to Kickstarter’s Trust and Safety guidelines.

“Personally it just feels like somebody stole $200 from me. I was just scammed out of it.”

Wiener says his experience with the AGENT smartwatch campaign has “absolutely” made him wary of backing other Kickstarter campaigns, although he has backed other projects since AGENT.

“I have backed some others since this, but I do my due diligence. I research the company and the individual,” he said.

Whitney’s Water Polo Snapchat Story

WATCH: https://youtu.be/lSt26_zZ41s

For my Snapchat story assignment, I chose to profile a member of the USC’s men’s water polo team. I visited the Uytengsu Aquatics Center and spoke with Murphy Slater, a water polo player and fourth generation Trojan.

Before meeting Slater, I had a hard time nailing down an interviewee. The men’s water polo team had just finished their first practice of the day and most of the men were on their way to lunch. Unfortunately, I was unable to get photos or video of Slater and his teammates actually playing water polo since practice had just ended. Instead, I decided to take more of a first-person approach to this feature. I had Slater narrate what a typical day in the life of a water polo player looks like and followed him during some of these activities.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at how this Snapchat story turned out. Although I have run NBCLA’s Snapchat and various Snapchat campaigns, I typically use Snapchat for my own private use. I enjoy Snapchat for breaking news updates and regular news stories, however my work with the mobile app today showed me that profiles can work too.

Personally, I am more inclined to watch a Snapchat story if it is a dramatic event or a breaking news story. If a Snapchat story is a mundane topic, I will not finish watching it.

I learned that planning is imperative to a successful Snapchat story. As a journalist, you need to plan out the sequences in your head so that you ultimately create a cohesive story. We live in a world of small screens and short attention spans, so I wanted my Snapchat story to be interesting and engaging for the audience. Although I was embarrassed to share this Snap story in front of my friends, I had a few people reply to the Snaps stating that they thought it was interesting. They even asked me questions about the content I was posting — something that media outlets like the New York Times will receive via Snapchat and reply in real time.

Overall, Snapchat is not my go-to app when engaging in mobile storytelling, but this exercise gave me more confidence in my Snapchat skills. I wanted to share Slater’s narrative in the most personal, visual way possible. Although the story is far from perfect, I think it’s good to experiment with new storytelling tools.

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy call it quits

INTRO: 

KERMIT THE FROG AND MISS PIGGY OF THE MUPPETS HAVE CALLED IT QUITS AFTER 40 YEARS TOGETHER. THE BREAKUP IS JUST ONE IN WHAT HAS BEEN CALLED THE “SUMMER OF CELEBRITY BREAKUPS.” WE SENT WHITNEY ASHTON OUT ON THE U-S-C CAMPUS TO SEE HOW PEOPLE ARE REACTING TO THE NEWS.

OUTRO:

DESPITE THE SPLIT, KERMIT AND MISS PIGGY ARE STARRING IN A NEW SERIES THIS FALL, CALLED THE MUPPETS ON A-B-C.

Jasmine Kianfard: Television Host in Training

Irick - Digital Footprint Infographic FinalBy Whitney Ashton

Jasmine Kianfard is sitting in the lobby of a multi-million-dollar, 88,000-square-foot converged media center in Los Angeles.

“To be honest, I really don’t need to be here,” she says while reclining in the lobby’s modern accent chair.

Even though she is already a working journalist at ABC7 in LA, Kianfard just began USC Annenberg’s nine-month M.S. in Journalism degree program.

“I just feel like I haven’t learned everything that there is to learn. And I know I will never learn everything … But I want to get trained.”

The technologically transformative Wallis Annenberg Hall at the University of Southern California houses the journalism programs, laboratories and equipment for student journalists. Kianfard hopes to utilize these resources to further her professional career.

The 22-year-old recently graduated from California State University, Fullerton, where she majored in broadcast journalism. During her time as an undergraduate, Kianfard was heavily involved in Titan Communications and Media, the home of Cal State Fullerton’s digital media center. She hosted a show on Titan TV in addition to doing field work as a reporter for the station, which broadcasts locally.

After interning at KTLA5 in LA for nearly three years while she was a student, Kianfard was offered a position on the assignment desk. She consulted her mentor at the station about whether or not she should take the job.

“I felt really burnt out. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 … I was tired,” Kianfard recalled.

She declined KTLA’s offer and took about a month off. Kianfard called ABC7, where a news assistant position was open. She was hired and recently relocated from Orange County to LA to be closer to her school and job.

Although she is now a full-time graduate student, Kianfard works part time at ABC7 where she helps gather and transfer archived footage and user-generated content.

Why go to USC if she already has a job in the journalism field?

“I feel like I’m not confident enough in myself and in my skill set,” she confides about her aspirations to be a TV host.

Upon graduation from Annenberg, Kianfard hopes to land a job hosting her own show focusing on entertainment journalism.

The move hasn’t been easy for Kianfard and she’s living on her own for the first time. She misses her family and her cat, Tiger, which she affectionately refers to as her “fur baby.”

But she’s not leaving Annenberg’s Media Center any time soon.

“I really want this. This just makes me happy. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything as bad as I want this.”

 

WEB/MOBILE LEAD:

Jasmine Kianfard recently began USC Annenberg’s nine-month M.S. in journalism degree program, even though she is already a working journalist at ABC7 in Los Angeles.

“To be honest, I really don’t need to be here,” she says while sitting in the school’s multi-million-dollar Wallis Annenberg Hall.

 

AUDIO/VIDEO LEAD:

MOST PEOPLE PURSUE A GRADUATE DEGREE TO OPEN THE DOOR TO A SUCCESSFUL CAREER. BUT JASMINE KIANFARD (KEE-AN-FARD) IS ALREADY A WORKING JOURNALIST.

“TO BE HONEST, I REALLY DON’T NEED TO BE HERE.”

From Titan TV to USC Trojan: Jasmine Kianfard

By Whitney Irick

She’s sitting in the lobby of a multi-million dollar, 88,000-square-foot converged media center in Los Angeles.

“To be honest, I really don’t need to be here.”

Jasmine Kianfard, who just began USC Annenberg’s nine-month M.S. in Journalism degree program sits back in the lobby’s modern accent chair.

The technologically transformative Wallis Annenberg Hall at the University of Southern California houses the college’s journalism programs as well as laboratories and equipment for its student journalists.

Kianfard, a working journalist, hopes to utilize these resources to further prep her for a professional career.

“I just feel like I haven’t learned everything that there is to learn. And, I know I will never learn everything … But, I want to get trained.”

The 22-year-old recently graduated from California State University, Fullerton, where she majored in broadcast journalism. During her time as an undergraduate, Kianfard was heavily involved in Titan Communications and Media, the home of the college’s digital media center. She hosted her own show on Titan TV in addition to doing fieldwork as a reporter for the station.

After interning at KTLA5 in Los Angeles for nearly three years, Kianfard was offered a position at the assignment desk. She consulted her mentor at the station about whether or not she should take the job.

“I felt really burnt out. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 … I was tired,” Kianfard recalled.

She declined KTLA’s offer and took about a month off. Kianfard called ABC7, where a news assistant position was open. She recently relocated from Orange County to Los Angeles to be closer to her school and job.

Although she is now a full-time graduate student, Kianfard works part-time at ABC7 where she helps gather and transfer archived footage and user-generated content to a P2 card.

I ask her why she’s here if she already has a job in the journalism field.

“I feel like I’m not confident enough in myself and in my skill set enough in order to go and hold a reporting job,” she confides.

Upon graduation from Annenberg, Kianfard hopes to land a job hosting her own show focusing on entertainment journalism.

Living on her own for the first time, the move hasn’t been easy for Kianfard. She misses her family and her cat Tiger, who she affectionately refers to as her “fur baby.”

But she’s not leaving Annenberg’s Media Center any time soon.

“I really want this. This just makes me happy. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything as bad as I want this.”

 

WEB/MOBILE LEAD:

Jasmine Kianfard recently began USC Annenberg’s nine-month M.S. in journalism degree program, although she is already a working journalist at ABC7 in Los Angeles.

“To be honest, I really don’t need to be here,” she says while sitting in the school’s multi-million dollar Wallis Annenberg Hall.

 

AUDIO/VIDEO LEAD:

MOST PEOPLE PURSUE HIGHER EDUCATION TO OPEN UP THE DOOR FOR A SUCCESSFUL CAREER. BUT JASMINE KIANFARD (KEE-AN-FARD) IS ALREADY A WORKING JOURNALIST.

“TO BE HONEST, I REALLY DON’T NEED TO BE HERE.”

Jasmine Kianfard Goes from Titan TV to USC Trojan

By Whitney Irick

She’s taking her broadcast journalist skills from Titan TV to USC.  Yasaman (Jasmine) Kianfard is pursuing her master’s in journalism at USC Annenberg this fall. The 22-year-old recently graduated from California State University, Fullerton, where she majored in broadcast journalism.

Kianfard’s love for journalism began as a teenager. She was the Opinion editor at Woodbridge High School in Irvine. At CSUF, Kianfard was heavily involved in Titan Communications and Media, the home of the college’s digital media center. She learned by doing at Titan Communications. A quick Google search reveals numerous broadcast journalism packages created for the student media outlet, which were broadcast locally. In addition to field reporting, Kianfard’s Instagram account hosts several photos of Kianfard working as a weather girl for Titan TV.

Her passion for journalism has led her from the classroom to real world newsrooms. Kianfard has landed prestigious internships with ABC7, KTLA 5 and the KTLA 5 morning news. The graduate student recently relocated from Orange County to Los Angeles, where she is simultaneously attending USC and working at ABC7.

Kianfard is active on her Facebook and Twitter accounts and just recently created a Twitter and LinkedIn. Her digital footprint is most visible on Instagram where she mostly posts photographs of herself, her family and her cat, who she lovingly refers to as her “fur baby.”