Storify + final thoughts

13 Oct , 2015 

Before I got involved with this online class, I was one of those Richmonders that was planning on using the bike race as an excuse to leave town and go on vacation. However, my plans changed and I ended up staying in RVA. I’m ultimately really happy I decided to participate in this class because it encouraged me to get involved. For a while, I didn’t fully understand how big of a deal this event was actually going to be. I don’t follow bicycling and I don’t know anyone who follows bicycling. So I had trouble wrapping my head around how impressive it was for Richmond to be hosting. In the beginning, all I knew about the UCI Championships was that it was going to get me out of school for a week.

Once the fall semester came about, I quickly learned that the Championships was much much more than just an early fall break for VCU students. Taking this course motivated me to witness the events taking place and I gained a lot appreciation for it all. I learned about all the preparation that went into planning for the race and how huge the bike race actually is in the bicycling community. Not only that, but I got to meet interesting people and be a part of history. All in all, I’m really glad VCU decided to use the UCI Championships as a learning opportunity for students.




8 Oct , 2015  

I really enjoyed getting involved with the bike race! I never knew cycling was such a popular and interesting sport. It was so cool to meet people from all over the world. I had fun practicing my iPhone photography skills.

I haven’t used Twitter in a few years so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I found it easy and fun to tweet. I was so surprised to recieve responses from the people I was tweeting @! My tweets were favorited by VCU and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, retweeted by a reporter/anchor from CNN and I was tweeted @ by VCU Police. It felt great to interact with my community and help generate buzz about the race.

I’m really glad I took this course. It was fun and simple and I ended up learning a lot about utilizing social media platforms as promotional tools. Creating a Storify was new and intersting. But specifically, I lerned how twitter operates and how to effectively use #hashtags. I think I’ll be using Twitter more often from now on.

Thanks Jeff and Dr. B!


My UCI Experience

8 Oct , 2015  

I enjoyed my experience as an intern with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. I was able to gain real life exposure to journalism by shooting, editing, and producing my own video sometimes twice a day. I applied for this internship because I wanted to gain real world journalistic experience because I was uncertain if I wanted to continue with journalism as my profession.

With work for other classes on top of working part-time and extra curricular activities,   my journalism projects can be overwhelming and I was concerned if I would be able to juggle journalism as a career. I thoroughly enjoyed filming and producing work under a deadline that was less daunting than I anticipated. Interviewing tourists and locals alike was a great experience I thoroughly enjoyed.

Covering the UCI Bike Race not only granted experience to work for an online publication but also allowed me to become more immersed in the Richmond community. I loved conducting interviews for my videos and being sent out on different assignments each day. I truly value the opportunity I was given to report on a once in a lifetime experience.


Come, click.

8 Oct , 2015  

See a link to my Storify above..


Rodri’s Reflection Post

8 Oct , 2015  

When I first registered for this course, I didn’t really have any idea what I was getting into, but I was excited to get to work with the Richmond Times-Dispatch in some capacity and to get to cover this bike race that everyone was talking about. When I first talked to Jeff South prior to our first meeting at the RTD, he said that we would be doing something more along the lines of Q&As with tourists in town for UCI. Q&As with people on the street would’ve been still a little nervous about, but I had already worked on reporting skills like that, so it was something that I would’ve known the basic structure of.

Something I had no idea how to do, however, is journalism through Twitter and live sports coverage. I had to write a tweet every 15 minutes for a twelve hour shift, two days in a row! I was a little overwhelmed, and to make matters worse, I forgot to pack a lunch the first day.

I adapted quickly. Once I settled into the groove of the job, people like Paul Whelan and Phil Riggan were super helpful, and to be honest, I got really swept up in the fervor of the race by the last couple days. Running around the office trying to find the live results and the names of whoever was in the break-away (and even learning terms like break-away and peloton) was actually pretty fun, and seeing people retweet and reply to the posts I made on the Twitter was really rewarding. For a few days, I was going to the Richmond Times-Dispatch and working full shifts like a real life reporter!

It was definitely an experience I won’t forget, and the social media skills that I picked up and the connections I made with people at the Times-Dispatch are already proving super valuable.

Thanks for the opportunity!

-Rodrigo Arriaza


a whole new world

8 Oct , 2015  

The gif pretty much says it all.

Over 70 countries came to RVA to compete in a race I’ve never heard of before. I’m not into cycling, but after seeing these men and women bike around the streets I’ve walked on for the past few years, I’ve gained a new respect for the cyclists.

For most people it was known as “bike week”, but for me, it was my first internship. I spent five days with one camera, a tripod, three batteries, a battery charger and a lav mic set. I was ready to take on the world (yes, the pun was very much intended.)

I was on a team with Ben and Angie (both in our class.) Angie and I were photography and videography and for the first few days we met bright and early in the morning around 9 AM at the Robert E. Lee statue and let me tell ya with all my equipment, it wasn’t easy on my legs or my back. Saturday and Sunday were pretty basic, easy days. We were told to get interviews with fans, grab fan reactions, tweet, get really sick shots of the cyclists and then head back to the editing bay and send our stuff out to our editor. It was so helpful to have another person to work with. In my opinion, it worked out great. We had the same mind set on how our day should be planned to get all the necessary shots.

One thing we did learn together was the police who were patrolling the course site were uber strict. We tried to cross the road when the race was completely over on Sunday but they refused to let us cross (no one was coming.) On Monday, Angie was trying to take pictures on the Robert E. Lee bridge but the police officer told her she couldn’t and wouldn’t let us one step closer than we already were. Angie and I couldn’t help but exchange this glance many times during the week.

My experience wasn’t all easy peasy. Sometimes I was told to get better fan reactions – and it was hard to find people from out of the country let alone the city and get an interesting soundbite. But before I could get into panic mode, I was given a different assignment by my RTD editor, which brings me to my favorite day of my internship: Tuesday.

I was given a different task after covering the cyclist portion for three days. One of my editors had written a story on RVA’s restaurants seeing sales decline during the bike race and she wanted me to create video to go along with it. I went around to three different restaurant/food businesses and made a package I’m really proud of. Turns out businesses were suffering (and RTD got the scoop first!)

(I like to think a lot of people saw my package and went to the restaurants and so the purpose of this image is I’m Aladdin and the businesses are the little children.)

In short, I started the week like this :

But after four more days I felt like this :
(okay, maybe that is a bit too extreme haha.)

Although Bike Week was riveting, I was really happy to have a break before school started again.

Overall, I was really excited but nervous about the bike race because I knew little about the subject and I’d never had an internship before. Working an eight hour shift to produce something that would be on the internet forever felt like a good glimpse into my future. I’m really honored I was chosen and look forward to other opportunities like this.


Final Thoughts

8 Oct , 2015  


Here’s a perspective on the UCI World Race from me. I tried to bring in different angles into  my Storify account that included different opinions. I think a great part of the world race was the anticipation. Advertisement and news hit hard– you couldn’t avoid the traction! I was suprised how empty and quiet Richmond felt during the race. I assumed more locals would be around. For me, it felt like the city avoided the race by all means. I barely had to look twice before crossing commonly busy streets. We were urged to stay away from the bike race if necessary. Tons of businesses (including VCU) closed off and worked from home. You can find in one of my articles how it talks about local businesses getting impacted by the race. I talked to a gas station owner that said the race put him into debt. He said that he prepared for the race by buying extra tobacco and alcohol products to only find that there were no VCU student around. Campus was dead. It was hard to get around the street. You had to walk several blocks before being able to cross. Law enforcement was everywhere. The actual race itself was fun and full of energy! I don’t think anyone could deny that it was pretty cool to have the race in our front yards. It was amazing to see how far people traveled to spectate the race. I really enjoyed talking to race spectators to see what their story was. I think our student body did very well with UCI coverage. In my Storify you will find a link by Eurah Lee done for the Richmond Times Dispatch about an unexpected arrest during the race. (Yes, I had to throw a little drama in there.) I think Richmond handled the race pretty well, overall. If anything…we over prepared. Maybe next year more locals will stick around to enjoy the festivities!




Final Thoughts on the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships

8 Oct , 2015  

I didn’t know what to expect coming into this internship. I’ve never covered sports and have never really been interested in doing so. However, when this opportunity came up I knew it would at the least be something I could do to step out of writers comfort zone. Meeting with the editors at The Dispatch was my first time even remotely in something that resembled a news room, and those were some of the first real professional journalists/editors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. All in all the experience this gave me will resonate with my decisions in journalism for quite a while.

My ultimate thought on the whole gig is that it was over hyped and promoted by the city of Richmond, not that that was a bad thing but a lot of businesses, residents and the general local population expected ALOT more from this event. The first few days started off pretty slow, it was hard to find international people to interview that had decent English, or more importantly had explored Richmond enough to provide me with their thoughts. It did become easier to find tourists as the week reached its end, but still nothing to exciting regarding their thoughts on Richmond. This was in part because of all the road closures, I cant even tell you how many people just said one way or another, “well we plan on going to Cary Town, but other than that nothing really”.

The most interesting thing I got to do was to contribute to the news of the man in the Camaro who sped on to the track. I was literally getting popcorn and searching for tourists with Eurah when the car speeds by followed by 3 cop cars. After that we both started running down monument ave. to see what would come of it. Interviewing the police major on scene and being able to say that I was with the TD also felt neat. Eura also got the clearest and closest video of the suspect being detained which was used on the TD site, I thought that was really cool. Talk about being at the right place at the right time.

My thoughts on the event as a whole though are really not all that great, the city forked out a lot of money to host this event but we wont know until the audits come out and the analyses are done if the city really benefited from this. I witnessed a lot of homeless people loose their usual spots to the bike race. The city claimed it was going to be utilizing Monroe park for the event but it NEVER did really. Several charities and churches closed that week because of the bike race forcing the homeless to have to really scavage for food. One church in Oregon hill remained opened, and it served food to the homeless, but this time there was a line around the block. It is right next to my house, which already has a lot of homeless people around it but for this week there was noticeably a lot more. Ultimately I am not one that cares about sports, but definitely appreciated this opportunity to learn and grow for what it was. I appreciated the help of Louis and Brice at the RTD and my partner Eura Lee. Also, thank you for your supportive roles in this internship professor’s South and Oglesby

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