Weekly Wednesday Update

By Katie Kreis

Robby monitoring a camera mid-interview.

Robby monitoring a camera mid-interview.

We called it a marathon weekend, some said it was a whirlwind and others dubbed us as crazy. However you put it, traveling over 500 miles to complete 10 interviews in just 48 hours is exhausting — physically and emotionally.

Part of the team drove to Des Moines Thursday night and stayed over with Ian’s parents (shoutout to the Coons) before Friday alarm clocks began going off at 4:55 a.m. It was an early morning of NPR and Starbucks on the quick trip to KCCI to interview Eric Hanson and Paul Yeager. KCCI is absolutely gorgeous — two sleek studios that liberated us from setting up lights (no, liberated is not too strong of a word to describe the freedom from this process). The two shared stories of Grant Price that made us laugh, tear up and want to meet the media legend for ourselves.

After tearing down the set, we headed back to Wartburg to interview Senator Liz Mathis, who shared some awesome stories about mistakes she made under Price’s supervision that caused papers to be thrown (Senator, we wouldn’t know the difference between a warship and a battleship either). We’re also incredibly grateful to Dr. Penni Pier for letting us use her office for this shoot, though I have the suspicion that she wanted a break from her office anyway. The entire Flash Films team was able to make it to this interview and it was refreshing to see an entire shoot go smoothly with everyone in their roles.

Next, the team trekked south to KWWL in Waterloo, where we interviewed Rick Coleman. Though it’s difficult to choose, I think this was my favorite interview of the day. First of all, the background of our shot was the newsroom. Second, Coleman made me shed actual tears as he described the character of Price.

I, a night owl who only begins thinking of sleeping at about 1 a.m. most days, was passed out by 10 p.m.

Day two of our mega marathon started at 6 a.m. with a trip to Iowa City to interview David McCartney, an archivist who worked with Price to start the broadcasting archives housed at Wartburg, and Dean Borg, a renowned journalist who worked with Price in his early years. Both were incredibly interesting interviews that gave us insights into parts of Price’s live we hadn’t seen before.

I have to insert a short shoutout to Noodles & Company for our lunch this day, because their Thai Green Curry with Shrimp hit all the right spots and made me a very happy camper.

Madison interviewing Julie Barnd.

Madison interviewing Julie Barnd.

Our next set of interviews took us just outside of Cedar Rapids to the home of Price’s younger daughter, Julie. Her husband was there along with their three grown children, Emily, Andrew and Matt, significant others, and Emily’s toddler Grace. I would also be remiss to not mention their two gorgeous dogs and a feline named Grey Cat. I’m not going to say much about our time with this family because it is important that you hear from them in the actual documentary. However, I will say that they welcomed us into their home and lives with open arms. Their family is one that loves each other, cares for others, isn’t afraid to laugh and understands the importance of remembering.

We headed back to Waverly with the understanding of what an absolute legacy Grant Price left on the world through his roles as friend, pioneer, journalist, employer, mentor, professor, dad and granddad, and how that legacy continues to spread by everyone who knew him. We have a huge, amazing and incredibly important task at hand. How do we tell Price’s story to honor this legacy? How do we make possibly the most influential journalist in Iowa proud in 15 minutes?

Stay tuned.

Photos and real-time updates can be found on Facebook @flashfilmsmedia.

Tom: Camera-in-Chief

By Katie Kreis

DSC08068.jpg

KATIE: What is your role?
TOM: Cinematographer.

What do you enjoy most about creating this documentary?
I like watching people telling their stories, the emotions. You only have one moment to capture the perfect expressions of people when they tell a story and I treasurer capturing that. It’s rare and very tough.

What are you passionate about?
Images in general. Still like in photography or motion.

What do you want to do after graduation?
As a dreamer, be a photographer. Realistically, I want to challenge myself to head into the marketing and events fields because there is greater potential there. I want to push myself to not just be a photographer or videographer — I can do more.

Madison: Putting People in Places

By Katie Kreis

Madison models while videographers set up shot at KCCI.

Madison models while videographers set up shot at KCCI.

KATIE: What is your role on the team?
Madison: Project manager. Basically, I oversee everything that happens within the group. I’m an overhaul editor and get-your-stuff-done-er.

Is it what you expected?
It’s been a big learning curve. Walking in, I knew this would be a big project, but I did not realize how important it is to have the position of project manager. I really am responsible for every small task that gets accomplished. I’ve made mistakes but I’m learning a lot, and we’re only getting better.

What do you want to do after graduation?
I decided that I’m not going to grad school right away because I want to gain experience. I’m looking to utilize my writing ability, communication, service and leadership passions. I want to stay in the Cedar Valley and I’m also getting married!

What’s your favorite part of creating this documentary?
It’s really fun to learn and grow. It sounds cheesy, but it’s very good for us to fail and make mistakes now, so that when we get real jobs we’re fully prepared for everything. Working with people you wouldn’t work with every day is a good experience, too. I’m proud of everybody, and everybody’s done really good job of stepping up when things don’t go right and being upbeat when things do go right. I’m really, really excited to see the life of Grant Price get documented

The Times (No Pun Intended)

By Katie Kreis

Grant Price witnessed a rapidly changing world, from technological advancements like the television and computer that catapulted journalism forward through the Great Depression, Civil Rights Movement and multiple wars. From 1923 to 2008, his 85-year life saw Iowa elect women for the first time ever to the positions of Supreme Court Justice, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, and reported during the time Iowa Caucuses began their strong influence on presidential elections. He also saw the world of legacy media and First Amendment laws adapt to the world of ever-changing new media - a transition that many struggled with.

As research shows, communication means between 1840 and 1970 were only as advanced as the oldest software; this meant that telephones used the telegraph to help transmit messages. At the time Grant Price entered the media industry, television was a new technology. He utilized this emerging technology for business rather than the more popular novelty usage, setting a precedence for how journalism could utilize television. The telephone had outsmarted the telegraph and the television had outsmarted the radio, but print journalism remained a constant; the trouble was the question of connecting all of these forms of communication to operate on a similar system and be available to the mass public. In 1970, the world of communication changed forever with the invention of computer-to-computer networks as a precursor to the internet. A changing world consequently required changing of the legal system.

The difference in just telephones since their invention in 1876 shows a rapidly changing world.

The difference in just telephones since their invention in 1876 shows a rapidly changing world.

“In 1967, the Supreme Court mied that the imperative to deliver timely news reduced liability for the harm it might cause. This decision relieved the producers of telegraphic news from owning responsibility for its effects even though, paradoxically, earlier rulings had recognized that they owned timeliness for the purposes of marketing wire stories” (Kielbowicz, 2015, p. 4).

Now, we have the internet, websites, social media, smart phones, YouTube, Netflix, Vox and other entirely new ways to consume news. “Exploring the regulation of timely telegraphic news brings together three lines of inquiry: timeliness as a journalistic attribute, the powerful albeit contingent effects of technology and political economy on newsgathering, and the interplay of disparate regulatory forms” (Kielbowicz, 2015, p. 5). The Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics states that journalists shall “respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness,” but that “neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy” (SPJ Code of Ethics, 2014). Grant Price lived through the transition of a world where newspapers were the most relevant source of news consumption and journalism was a hardcore lifestyle to a world where much of the population getting their news on Facebook, where anyone and everyone can be a journalist. The Vietnam War was the first televised war to the American public. This new access to information with moving pictures drastically shaped public opinion on the war and ultimately the way in which stations, news directors and reporters covered the topic. As a journalist during the Vietnam War, Price would have never been able to even conceive of ideas spreading as quickly as they do online or other countries interfering with propaganda on social websites.

Grant Price lived in a journalistic world built on the foundation of accuracy, relevance and timeliness unlike the modern emphasis on timeliness above all else.

On the Rise

By Kailee O’Brien

Hello everyone! Buckle up and get ready for the ride because this week is going to be a good one!

Last Friday we had the pleasure of interviewing Steph Boeding in Marketing & Communication here at Wartburg College. To say the least, we are glad we have our first interview under our belt. Like all things in life, there is good and bad to learn from every situation and we did just that. First, we learned that preparation goes a long way and that when all pieces of the puzzle are clicked, we work better as a team. Second, we learned that having a pre-checked “what to do during interviews” list will help us identify our roles to make the most of the short time we have with our interviewees. Third, we learned that communication is KEY! This is huge when it comes to working with a team. This comes from our body language when times can get a little frustrating (which they are going to) and how we actually speak to each other.

All in all, our first interview went great; we learned about what we did well and what we can improve on. To me, which I think is what makes the greatest teams!

Now onto the REALLY good stuff. On Wednesday we are interviewing Cliff Brockman in the archives at Wartburg College. Thursday night we are traveling to Des Moines (WOOHOO — my home town) to get up bright and early on Friday and head to KCCI to interview Eric Hansen and Paul Yeager from IPTV. From there, we are heading back to campus to get an interview from Liz Mathis. After that, we are traveling again to Waterloo for Ron Steele and Rick Coleman. Once Friday comes and goes, Saturday will be here and that means one thing: more interviews! To start we have David and Dean Borg in Iowa City followed by the family interviews.

I don’t know if you were keeping up but that is NINE interviews! We are bookin’ it, people. As for me, I have updated our logo and have started on the animated infographic that we are created as a timeline of Grant L. Price’s life. This journey is absolutely incredible and I cannot believe the progress we have made and am thrilled for what is in store.

Yes, the team is still consuming an abundant amount of guacamole.

One of my favorite things so far about this process is waking up, listening to my Christian music with my cat on my lap, working on designs and sipping coffee out of my Marauder’s Map coffee mug (Harry Potter, of course).

Until next time.

Kailee with her final logo design.

Kailee with her final logo design.

Weekly Wednesday Update

By Jon Mohwinkle

Another week has gone by, and the framework of our documentary is really starting to take shape. We know that we have a ton of work ahead of us, but we are certainly ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

Here is a synopsis of what we’ve accomplished in the past week:

Flash Films in action.

Flash Films in action.

  • Have a multitude of interviews set up. These are going to require a fair amount of travel, so we’ve created tentative itineraries.

  • We made a slight change to our logo, and we are excited with the image our team will be represented by!

  • Made some edits to our script, just to clean/tighten things up.

  • Became familiarized with the logging process. This is going to be a very time consuming, but is a very necessary process.

  • We also finished up our storyboard.

We have several interviews set up already, but we still have more people to get in touch with. It is our hope to get all of these done by the end of February, so that we can have all our content and focus on creating our product! We are confident in our abilities and know that this project is going to rule our lives over the next few months, but the outlook is definitely bright!

Ian Coon: For Education

By Katie Kreis

Ian Coon, a third-year from Des Moines studying public relations and journalism, sat down with me to chat more in-depth about how his passions connect to this documentary.

KATIE: What do you want to be when you grow up?
IAN: When I was a kid, I wanted to be the ginger guy with reflective glasses from CSI: Miami, but now I just want to be in PR. [Laughing]

Coon’s first-ever selfie.

Coon’s first-ever selfie.

What are you passionate about?
A lot of things — everything. Education is the root of everything I’m passionate about. If you want to see change in anything, that all starts with education, and the people who are directly effected by anything know best how to enact that. Every movement starts with young people; in education that trend is not seen as often as it should be for as many young people as are effected by it. Colleges and universities are a place where research and innovation happen, but all of that can happen earlier in high school or even middle school. You shouldn’t have to wait until you’re 24 to come up with the next life-saving idea. So I guess when I grow up I want to intersect communications with social activism through the power of education.

Coon believes education is the root of change.

Coon believes education is the root of change.

What part of journalism and communication is most interesting to you?
Understanding how people think and consume the advertising and media we create in our field. Knowing how that consumer influences us and how we must change our thinking to impact our goals. It’s almost how to manipulate our audience, but that’s not a good word for it.

What is your role for this documentary?
Producer… question mark? [Shrugs]

What part of this documentary are you excited for?
Getting to hear from all of the people we are interviewing about how great the man was and how that will help us put together a story that inspires others in the future. I’m excited to see that outcome of what true journalism and storytelling is, because that might be different from what we know journalism in our lifetime to be. Government and media are two things that ebb and flow. Things can get very divided, but they always come back together. We’re on this outward, wide stretch and now we’re hopefully coming back together. Grant Price seems like he was there for the news and the story, and was the constant through it all.

Where do we go from here?

The Flash Films team at work.

The Flash Films team at work.

How are we going to tackle describing the life of this media legend in 15 minutes? Good question.

We’re obviously not going to give you all of the nitty gritty and (quite frankly) awesome ideas we have… You’ll have to wait until April 11 to see that for yourself. We’ve worked tirelessly to create a plan and set it in motion. Here are our thoughts for the three-act film:

Act 1
Imagine: Grant L. Price before the camera called his name. Who was he as a young child, a teenager? When did he develop a passion for journalism. Throughout, we hope to use photos and video from Price’s family, and we’re working to contact his family. This section will look to build the human side of Price that his coworkers and students may not have seen. We want to know more about the people he loved most dearly like his wife, children, grandchildren and best friends, to name some. He was obviously a very loved man. We want to know why. Price’s time growing up on the ranch in Nebraska taught him many skills like horseback riding, guitar and various craftsmanship skills. These not only furthered his motivations to work diligently, but gave pleasant memories to his children and grandchildren when they remember him; we hope to encapsulate these emotions to better understand Price.

This section will continue to build Grant’s life by telling the story of how he found his passion for journalism in high school speech competition. Once he chose to follow a career in broadcasting, Price left to attend college in Washington D.C. However, his time would be cut short by the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States entering in World War II. Price chose to attend college closer to home anticipating to be drafted. Through an interview of someone (maybe a Wartburg faculty member) who was alive during these times, we will learn more about how impactful this was to life back in the United States and show how this will shape Price’s outlook upon his return home.

Act 2
The primary focus of this act is to show the audience why Price became the legend he now is in the Iowa broadcasting community. Price began work in broadcasting at a time when radio was the largest form of mass communication and television was only a novelty. As he continued work, television news started to grow exponentially in popularity and availability throughout the United States. As Price saw a big shift in broadcasting on the horizon, he transitioned into television and radio broadcasting. It is in this realm that Price began to thrive. We will show how Price became a recognizable figure, earned respect and set a level of excellence that became standardized throughout the industry.

Price was also one of the leading voices in Iowa to push for legislation to allow cameras in the courtroom. Working with elected officials and other colleagues, he fought long and hard for the rights of journalists to report on important trials instead of having to rely on sketch artists for coverage. Eventually, he helped in creation of that legislation and was able to report on the first case in Iowa to allow cameras. We will use shots from the archives to showcase this camera in the courtroom case.

Act 3
The documentary will conclude with Price’s time spent at Wartburg College and how his impact has affected the lives of his students and journalism across the nation. Price came out of retirement to teach communication arts at Wartburg College in 1990, and loved the opportunity to give back and teach future journalists. Professor Cliff Brockman said this was “one of his greatest joys of his life” (2018). Students raved about his hands-on style of teaching and guiding to the best practices of the industry. Interviews with his students will help to share some personal details about what it was like to see Price in the classroom. Upon retiring he not only left behind a donation of $2 million for the Department of Journalism and Communication, but created and helped operate the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting, which is housed at Wartburg College. The importance of this donation will be shown with modern footage of the department today with its students and student workers in Knight Vision, Cedar Valley Today, KWAR and the Trumpet.

This draws us back to the main point of why Grant Price is seen as a legend. He gave everything he had to journalism and those involved in it. Every moment of his life since he found his calling was focused on his craft, and he achieved nothing short of excellence.

Roll credits

What’d you think? This is just the bare bones. If you think we left anything out, don’t hesitate to reach out to us — we only know what we know at this point!

Weekly Wednesday Update

By Ian Coon

Holy guacamole! It’s been a week full of kicking butt and taking names since we last gave y’all an update on our project progress. This past week flew by and it’s time to take a minute, pause and reflect on all that happened.

We...

  • Made a whole semester plan of the content you’ll be reading on this blog.

  • Barely passed film treatment. Yikes. But, for real, it was a good learning experience and immensely helpful in ensuring the whole group has the same vision going forward.

  • Finalized a logo concept (now live on this very website!)

  • Collected bios from our team. Check them out on the team page!

  • Called a lot of state historians and researchers that pointed us to manuscripts, online court cases and a book or two!

I think the intensity and workload required for this project sunk in this week and has our team yearning to begin on capturing film, video and searching through archives of documents. This stress has taken a toll on our spirits at time, but we recover with jokes about Flash Films sound effects and inquiring about each other’s Mexican food eating preferences, IE: guacamole.

Until next week -- Ian

The Hype

By Robby Newell

I’m not much of a writer. I second guess almost every word I type and have always struggled to find the right words to say when I write any paper, email or blog post. I’m always on edge wondering if my mistakes will reflect poorly on myself or the group I represent. But when it comes to working on videos, I have never had a doubt in the world.

Robby working with film equipment.

Robby working with film equipment.

I love making videos, going out on shoots to record footage and even sitting in an editing room all night to get the final cut just right. Working for television news shows, Knight Vision broadcasts and professional film projects has given me the greatest sense of belonging and purpose that I could’ve ever hoped for in a career. I can’t imagine any other path than video production and film. That is why I am so excited to be a part of this capstone project.

It is the final, ultimate test of all our teammates and classmates’ abilities from the last four years of education and experience. Everything has been building up to this project. All the late nights and early mornings, the good and bad moments, all of it has been practice for making one last ultimate project.  Not only am I personally looking forward to this to see what final product I can create, but our subject is someone who I have only known as a legend until he became the focus of our documentary.

Grant Price was a journalist at one of television news’s earliest and most impactful points of history. He set standards for best practices at a time when formats for television were still being developed. He worked on several documentary projects, made himself a reliable household name to many, taught future generations of now accomplished journalists and spent 50 years of his life dedicated to perfecting the craft he loved. He is everything I hope to be at the end of my life. He was a creator, an innovator and an inspiration to all people who knew him.

Getting the chance to tell his story is an honor that I do not take lightly. After researching Price for these last few weeks, it is easy to see just how much he meant to people all around Iowa and what he meant to journalism around the nation. This project with Wartburg College is rightfully going to be the most challenging one, but it in the end will also be the most rewarding. As a fellow digital creator, I hope to honor Price’s legacy by giving him one last moment to shine. Stay tuned to see more on our progress with the Grant Price story.

R&R: Research and (more) Research

Grant L. Price was a journalist through and through — we know that much. But who was he off air? What does his life look like when the camera was down and the lights were off? Who did he love and what made him tick?

Honestly, we struggled a little here. We could create a 30-minute documentary just about Price’s time at Wartburg, so it was difficult for us to identify exactly what we wanted to highlight. We didn’t have a solid or narrow audience or story we wanted to tell, so there was a lot for us to discern. We decided that our intended audience is all United States citizens, particularly First Amendment supporters, journalists and news connoisseurs. The man has a story that people need to hear and helped shape the way we consume news today.

Price was born in Saskatchewan, Canada but grew up near Sioux City, South Dakota. He first started his career in news and broadcast journalism on the radio station in Sioux City, KSCJ. Price served in World War II and worked at another radio station, KTRI, in Sioux City after arriving home from the war. Shortly after in 1948, Price uprooted himself and moved to Waterloo where he joined a larger radio station, KXEL-AM, which is still on air today, and eventually took over as the news director. In the context of the times, television was just on the horizon. Little did we know that this would fill Price’s life and the rest of his career.

Price wrote the history we read in textbooks and primary sources in classes today living through the frontlines of modern U.S. history, and was well known for his weekly show covering public interest entitled “Focal Point: The Community” on KWWL. He retired in 1989 but the weekly edition was so popular among viewers he continued to host it on air until 1993. To provide additional context, the film The Field of Dreams was filmed in Dyersville, Iowa in 1988.

When Price retired from his professional career in media, he began a new one by joining the faculty at Wartburg College. Decades of professional experience provided ample experiences for students to learn from in his ubiquitous knowledge of Iowa broadcast journalism. The times Price lived and reported through strengthened his strong belief in the first amendment, highlighting the right to free speech and freedom of the press. In his retirement as part of the faculty at Wartburg, Price founded the broadcasting program that still lives on as an influential program at the college. Price also founded the Iowa Broadcasting Oral History Project that was the beginning of the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting and is still housed at Wartburg.  He retired from teaching in 2005, leaving large shoes to fill and an endowed chair in his name.

When discussing the life and legacy of Grant Price, the impact he had during his life continues to be on display after his passing — something akin to a legend. Price excelled during his years of work in journalism, both as reporter and director. As one of the first recipients of the Jack Shelley Award in 1975, Price exemplified the standard for the highest journalistic achievement in Iowa by displaying, “a high degree of professionalism, dedication to broadcast news, demonstrated competence in the field, and a record of cooperation with fellow broadcast journalists.” Throughout his career, he pushed himself to become better and did the same for all that worked with and for him. Excellence was a requirement and perfection was the goal.

We cannot stress enough how important Grant Price was to the field of journalism and the First Amendment rights of United States citizens in general. There is an endless amount of information that we are constantly learning about.

Stay tuned for more!

*Research references available upon request

Weekly Wednesday Update

By Katie Kreis

Let us tell you, it’s been a busy week. As is normal when forming a team, establishing timelines, doing research and beginning to create content, we are coming down from an overwhelming couple of days. Here’s what the week consisted of:

  • Developed this website (yay!)

  • Took headshots and group photos (check them out)

  • Created the Flash Films Facebook page (give us a thumbs-up)

  • Began designing logo (TBD)

  • Did a serious amount of research into the life of Grant Price, including having conversations with our former (and beloved) professor Cliff Brockman and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Scott Leisinger

  • Wrote a film treatment and synopsis

  • Created a timeline (just a little bit of effort when coordinating seven schedules)

Tom Le setting up for headshots and group photo.

Tom Le setting up for headshots and group photo.

We learned a an incredible amount about the world Grant Price lived in, his history, the context of the times and the journalism profession among other things. For all of us, it was a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the life he lived and the people he might have influenced.

We’re also still figuring out each other. We are all inherently different with a wide array of background and interests, so it is obviously a learning curve. If anything, we come together in excitement over great ideas and progress.

I had a great week doing the thing I love: creating this digital universe where we can share our own stories, passions and progress. You know that feeling when you’ve gotten lost in a project and don’t want to stop until it’s done? That’s what this was for me. I always have a flashfilmsmedia.com tab open on my browser to check, double check, edit and just look at my work. This week was crazy, enlightening and awesome, and I cannot wait for the next.

Welcome to Flash Films

When you think of the word flash, what comes to mind? Many scream, “Flash. Ah-ah!” in reference to the timeless Queen song while others daydream of superheroes. To us, flash is a word that encompasses much more. We imagine the flash of a camera and the story it is capturing. We imagine people, places and things worth documenting. We imagine flashing forward to endless possibilities and flashing backward to histories we can learn so much from. We are Flash Films.

Back row (left to right): Jon Mohwinkle, Katie Kreis, Ian Coon Front row (left to right): Madison Bloker, Robby Newell, Kailee O’Brien, Tom Le

Back row (left to right): Jon Mohwinkle, Katie Kreis, Ian Coon
Front row (left to right): Madison Bloker, Robby Newell, Kailee O’Brien, Tom Le

We seven emerging Journalism & Communication professionals are in our final course at Wartburg College, which entails creating documentaries from start to finish. Our documentary will cover not a topic, per se, but a person: Grant L. Price. This man had an incredible impact on Wartburg College, having served as the Chair of the Department of Journalism & Communication and leaving behind over two million dollars to the college upon his passing in 2008; more than that, Price mentored countless students who maintain his lessons and regard him with high respect.

Before he came to Wartburg, Price dominated the world of journalism, setting precedence for the high quality of reporting and gleaming journalistic integrity we see today.

The Flash Films team consists of Project Manager Madison Bloker, Writer and Producer Ian Coon, Digital Producer Katie Kreis, Videographer Tom Le, Videographer Jon Mohwinkle, Film Editor and Assistant Videographer Robby Newell, and Graphic Designer Kailee O’Brien. Our academic studies range from public relations, journalism and digital cinema to design, women’s studies, photography, leadership, music and foreign languages.

We hope that we can soak up even a smidgen of the lessons Grant Price taught and share with the world an in-depth look at the legacy he left. Please join us for the journey.