Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication Portfolio

Welcome to my Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication portfolio. I enrolled in the Strategic Communications program at Washington State University to improve my understanding of communications theory and practices.  I am confident in the individual communications skills I have developed as a project engineer at Boeing,  a small business owner,  a high school teacher, a husband and father. However, I wanted to improve my understanding of communication theory and techniques for mass communications in order to facilitate a career change.

My plan is to become more actively involved in the political process. My goal is to obtain a communications position supporting political candidates and policies I support. This portfolio contains work samples that highlight the important lessons I have learned and skills I have developed while completing the Strategic Communication program at WSU.  I look forward to applying the communications theories, strategies and techniques in my new career.

Final Video Story

Hello everyone,

Embedded below is my final video story. My blog is dedicated to the discussion of minority voting patterns and why they tend not to vote republican and what might cause voters to change the voting decision from democratic to republican.

My story involves Joe Chandler who was a lifelong democratic voter. I have many interesting conversations with Joe for over 20 years that he has been married to my little sister. Frequently our discussion veer into teaching and politics. We are both high school teachers and are in agreement on most things, except for how we vote. We both agree on the importance education, good values and hard work.  However, we conclude the 2 main political parties reflect these common beliefs in totally different ways. So he votes democratic and I vote republican. During a recent visit to my sister’s to visit her and Joe and their kids a discussion led to the admission that he had switched his vote from Obama to against Obama the second election.  This of course made me curious what had finally persuaded him to change his mind on who to vote for in the most recent election. Since that is my goal in my next career to get more people to switch their votes to candidates I support.

I recently interviewed Joe for this assignment and that is the basis for my video story. I titled the story “The UnSeduction of Joe Chandler” because I felt that many of those that voted for Obama the first time were in fact seduced by his charm and style and were taken in by a man whose resume barely qualified him for entry level positions in most professions, but was running to be the most powerful person on earth. Joe was kind enough to share his thoughts on why he had voted for Obama the first time and then changed his vote when Obama ran for re-election.

Once I had created a story board for the interview to lend focus to the discussion we sat down and I recorded Joe on a handheld video recorder. I then took the video and did a rough cut of quotes I wanted to use and felt represented Joe’s views accurately to get a rough timeline of the material I could include in a 3-minute story. I used Adobe Premiere to edit the video and add other still images that were connected to Joe’s audio. I also included brief clips of Joe at the beginning and end of the story to give the feeling that the story was about Joe and his evolution in thinking.

I felt that the storyboard planning provided a good structure and content for a draft of Joe’s story, but I did get feedback from others to help me improve a final version of the story. Among the common suggestions I received was inconsistent image and video size which I was able to correct in the final version. Although the “Change we Can Believe in” image was not able to fully resize the I wanted. I also completed the credits at the end for the materials I used in the story and added some music at the end during the credit to take away the empty feeling created by quiet during the credits. I did not change to much of the content although I added some audio from Obama on one of the broken promises Joe mentioned in the story and rearranged several images around the new audio. Several suggestions were made around adding music to the story and an alternate introduction. I ultimately decided I liked the introduction narrative by me more than any alternate introduction phrasing. I did search for some dramatic mood music, but was unsuccessful finding music that I felt added to the story rather than just music in the background that was distracting.

Overall I am pleased with the final version and I was happy to see Joe could be persuaded to change his vote. I felt like he was actually willing to listen, attentively observing the actions and results of Obama and ultimately came to the wise conclusion in changing his vote. Although I must confess I wanted to say that Joe shouldn’t be surprised when a guy that has never done anything doesn’t know how to get anything done, but left the “I told you so” unspoken in honor of family harmony.


Cheers to all



See video Story below



Video Story Draft

Hello everyone

Welcome back

Below you will see an attached copy of the draft of my video for Com 561. My first challenge for my video story was the same as for my previous audio story and that was finding a black voter that changed from voting democrat to voting republican which is the central them of my blog. This again turned out to be not possible so I interviewed another voter, Joe Chandler, that I knew had changed their vote from democratic to republican in the 2008 to 2012 elections.

The first thing I did was talk to Joe about why he changed his vote so that I could get a sense of how to create a storyboard for the project. I decided to pick up Joe’s story at the 2008 election and why the voted for Obama and progress from there as to what made him change for the next election. My story board is attached below.

It was fairly easy to collect pictures and video from the web with free user’s rights once I had my storyline. I do have a couple concerns on using YouTube clips regarding copyright so I have left those out for now. The biggest challenge in creating the video story was the adobe software. Premiere simply will not import any video clips on my work computer and would not import sound on my home computer.  This caused untold frustration and wasted almost 15 hours before the problems were resolved enough to complete a very rough draft video.

I did use Photoshop to modify one of the web pictures with an X through it to end the story and symbolize the title of the video as Joe came to be very unhappy with Obamas performance in office. I used the multiple tracks of video to help group pictures and video during the editing process before I combined all the video in one video track and the pictures in another video track. I had to unlink most sections of video so that Joe’s voice was over the pictures associated with his thoughts. The titles are fairly straight forward as that is the style of the video.

Things I plan on improving

  • Finishing titles at the end with complete attributions
  • Hopefully including YouTube video clips of Obamas own words which heavily influenced Joe’s decision to switch his vote and so would be powerful additions to the story- usage rights dependent
  • Additional editing on story to reduce audio gaps
  • I also need a few different images to better match Joe’s thoughts
  • Better arrangement of images to go with narration
  • Also video transitions need to be added as well

please ignore material beyond rolling credits, it is simply stored there for convenience of access later


Cheers until next time



Video draft story board

intro Audio by me Video of joe pics Pic source
Morph into title
Title Video of title- the Unseduction of Joe Chandler
Obama speaking


Obama 2008 logo/bumper sticker etc Change we can believe


Story starts Audio of joe- why voted for obama Pic of Obama at podium speaking I voted obama


stimulus Audio joe- why hated Dems /harry reaid pics

And nancy pelosi

Shovel ready pics
obama audio?- get? Legal use? Obama admits no such thing as shovel ready jobs Can I use a you tube clip?







” At this point, Obama smiled and interjected, “Shovel-ready was not as … uh .. shovel-ready as we expected.” The Council, led by GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, erupted in laughter.


Shovel ready pics w/ ghost buster


Audio joe – I didn’t find the humor in the situation

He lied or didn’t know anything- ie incompetent- either way not funny for people wanting jobs

Obama jokes not ready


Duplicate ad placement! Placement already exists: mobile-320×50

Obama Jokes at Jobs Council: ‘Shovel-Ready Was Not as Shovel-Ready as We Expected’


Healthcare Audio joe- why hated Dems pics again- same pics got
Health care pics got
obama audio?- get? Legal use? Obama admits cant keep docter Can I use youtube?



Audio joe

I dont like being lied to or being played

Fool me once my bad


Lie to me twice and its on you

Lie of the year


So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong.



Audio Story Final Draft

Hello again everyone

The specific topic I have been focusing for the com 561 class projects is why black voters so heavily favor democratic candidates. My initial challenge for this audio story assignment was finding an African American voter that changed their vote from Obama the in 2008 to the republicans in 2012. This proved to be unsurmountable. After some searching I was able to find someone that would admit to changing and was willing to talk about why they changed their vote. Ultimately I had to settle for a different demographic single woman. that had also highly favored Obama in his first election, my interviewee was Sue Chandler who lives in the swing state of Colorado. Sue also happens to be my little sister.

I wanted to explore the reason voters had for voting for the democratic candidate over the republican candidate and then what policies, actions or events caused them to switch candidates or parties in the next election cycle. This is a critical piece of information for me as my goal upon completion of the communications program at WSU is to become involved in changing people’s political opinions and voting habits. I have been aware for several years that Sue doesn’t always vote the same as me and the rest of our family so it was interesting to find out more about why that has been the case.

The interview with my sister did yield some insight into some of the issues that could cause a voter to reconsider their voting preferences as well as the role of performance plays in voters changing their vote in a campaign involving a candidate seeking reelection. Specific issues that influenced Sue to change her vote were related to Obama not performing in office in a way that was consistent with campaign promises. Some of Obama’s failures that convinced Sue to change her vote were related to his promise to work with all groups to bring the country together to accomplish common goals. Specifically, Obama’s style of my way or the highway with health care and the economy were troubling for Sue as was Obamas failure to keep his promise to deal with immigration. She was also very concerned with Obamas lack of fiscal discipline even though he savaged president Bush for adding to the national debt during his time in office. All of these factors contributed to Sue changing her vote during 2012 election. This leads me to the question why more people did not evaluate Obamas first term performance in a similar manner and change their vote as well.

The lessons learned in my tutorial recordings proved very helpful for my interview with my sister. We then did a couple practice runs which helped Sue become more aware of her speaking style and in turn make my editing much easier. I ran into several audio recording issues that resulted in additional practice sessions for the interview. This was frustrating but did have the hidden benefit of creating audio tape that was much easier to edit due to the clarity of speaking by myself and Sue resulting from the repeated attempts to get an interview recorded.

I finally got an audible interview recorded after trying many combinations of computers and microphones. It is still a mystery why it was so hard to get Sue’s voice to record cleanly.

Feedback from my peer group members and the class Professor focused on a few content issues. The most common was bumper music to start and end the interview. Additional suggestions involved a more complete intro narrative and better interview wrap up. The common comment on technical issues was the recording was a bit too loud and there some “unclean” transitions from previous edits and some audio “pops” associated with the edit transitions.

While I was originally resistant to the bumper music, I must confess it is an improvement to the non-bumper music version. I used an free use instrumental track from FMA site for my music bumpers. I also rerecorded the introduction and conclusion narratives to try to make the purpose of the interview more clear and provide a cleaner wrap up to the interview. Unfortunately, this did result in a noticeable difference between the new narration and the original interview audio. The combination of changes resulted in the total length exceeding the 3-minute limit. So I did have to go back and selectively delete approximately 20 seconds of less important comments and any dead air that could be deleted without disrupting flow of the audio and conversation After all the content and technical modifications were made I went and adjusted volume level a bit lower to between 6db-12db per Professor Waananen Jones’s suggestion. I also tried to use the noise reduction tools in Audition, but had no success improving the sound quality. Unfortunately neither approach really did much to reduce some of the audio imperfections.

I look forward to further investigation into voter’s thoughts and behavior in future assignments and sharing what I learn in future posts.

Until then

cheers Rob


soundcloud link below in case embed doesn’t function