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About 'Portraits of LA : 2014'

View of Los Angeles
This images is borrowed from Flickr. The graduate students explored all regions of Los Angeles and came up with new, timely and interesting stories for their final projects.

Reporting Assignments
Many students used the same story for all three of their final projects, which were for their broadcast, text and digital classes. While some chose to stick to the districts they had been assigned to at the beginning of the semester, others ventured out and explored other areas of their interest. Therefore, we now have stories from all over L.A. County.

Section 1: Robert Hernandez - Thursday 9 am Class

Section 2: David LaFontaine - Thursday 12 pm Class

Section 3: Ben Adair - Friday 9 am Class

Map Source

By Beatrice Verhoeven

Students from three different digital classes led by Robert Hernandez, Ben Adair and David LaFontaine spread out all over Los Angeles to find timely and compelling stories worth telling.

The three sections all were assigned different districts of Los Angeles county for the entire semester, but students could choose whether to do a story based on their districts for their final projects.

After a semester of learning different tools that enhance digital storytelling, the 43 graduate students used tools such as Photoshop to create a wire frame, and Dreamweaver and Textwrangler for HTML coding. Other tools that were used included GoPano, Jquery plugins, BatchGeo, etc. Adair's class was required to include a photo essay.

“I am doing my project on the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and will be including a photo gallery and videos to accompany my text piece,” says Ani Ucar, a student of Ben Adair. “Overall, I think this project is a great way to showcase everything we have learned thus far and truly illustrate our ‘one-bandness.’”

Some students found themselves reporting from areas of Los Angeles that they hadn’t encountered before. Stories ranged from San Pedro and Watts (District 15) to Boyle Heights (District 14), and everything in between.

JJ Maldonado, a student in Robert Hernandez’s class, was assigned District 15.

“Reporting in District 15 (San Pedro, Watts, Wilmington and Harbor City) has been great,” he says. “I was able to learn about the people, culture and art that thrives in their community.”

However, for his final project, Maldonado chose to report on the murals in L.A., which once again shows the diversity of the various projects chosen by these Annenberg students.

Story topics ranged too. Students reported on poetry, French desserts, health food deserts of LA, banning pony rides in Santa Monica, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Margaux Farrell, a student in David LaFontaine's class, decided to write a story about something that is important to her entire family: French desserts.

"It's something that holds a lot of meaning and memories in my family so when I realized it was starting to come to the United States, I was intrigued to learn the stories behind the different shops," says Farrell. "In writing this, I hope to increase awareness of this dessert that is so popular in France. I hope that that piece of my childhood could some day become popular here and give American people a taste of some of my fondest French family memories."

Los Angeles is a diverse city in many aspects, and this is exactly what students learnt throughout the semester. L.A. has mountains, deserts, ocean views – everything. One neighborhood has 34,000 people (Beverly Hills), while another has 893 (Rolling Hills). Some people are rich, and some people are poor. Our class was able to expose all of these angles not only with our final projects, but throughout the entire semester as well.

But Mostly, Fun | Cassie Paton and Scarlett Chen. Photo Credit: Alan Mittelstaedt