Website Security

I didn’t anticipate learning about website security through my internship, but I’m glad to say I have. Most of my efforts so far have been focused on content. I’ve met with individuals on a few occasions, like the interviews I conducted for the FEIA and “Sticking it to the Man” articles. In other instances, I have gathered information through e-mail conversations or typical online research. My focus has been more on the department website’s material than the ‘web’ side of things.

I had a learning opportunity a few weeks back when a notification arrived in my e-mail inbox. It was a comment on my most recently posted article, and WordPress was requesting my approval for the comment to be posted. That seemed harmless enough to me, but as with anything new, I figured I should ask Dr. Wolek first before taking an action. I waited until our next meeting to bring it up.

As I should have expected, it wasn’t so simple as clicking approve. Dr. Wolek explained to me how comments can be used to gain greater access to a website, and therefore threaten the website’s security. Sure enough, the one that had appeared in my inbox seemed to match the description he’d given me of security-threatening comments. With a far stronger background in the writing aspect of my work than the web aspect, this was all news to me. As the internship expands, I hope to expand my understanding of how websites function.

The Value of a Team

I’ve always thought that being a web designer or a journalist would be an independent job. With so much of the work being done on a computer—be it typing, editing, or working in a program like Photoshop—very little involves human interaction. Thus, I thought my work as a web intern would be relatively independent as well. 

The past few weeks have taught me otherwise. 

When my supervisor, Dr. Nathan Wolek, was out of the office sick, I still met with my faculty advisor, Laura Glander. The meeting was productive and concise. We listed a few tasks, I took notes, and that week’s job got done. But parts of the system I had grown familiar with fell apart. There were areas outside of Laura’s expertise that I needed to question Dr. Wolek about. I realized quickly that I was far from self-sufficient. My tasks were not going to get done unless I figured something out of my own, did a bit of trouble-shooting, and carved a path to the answers I needed. 

The following week, Laura was out of town. Then the week after that, Dr. Wolek was unable to attend our weekly meeting. 

My faculty adviser and supervisor are back, and I’m thankful. More gets done at a meeting and time is used more efficiently. We can plan ahead for future projects and there’s room for me to ask questions about improvement, both things that cannot do on my own. As much as my mix of journalism and web work is a solo job, I’m coming to understand how valuable a team can be. 

The Critiques Are In!!!!

Well, the critiques are in and I must say that I am shocked at the positive feedback! Being a complete novice at videography I was expecting harsh reviews, but thank goodness, I was wrong. I chose to capture stories in the Digital Arts because it’s my major, and I knew this would keep my attention throughout pre-and post-production. Once things got going and I became more comfortable with interviewing the editing process presented challenges for me. I never knew how many hours could go into editing, but now I’m appreciative to those working diligently to provide us with entertainment.

I spent 10-19 hours a week in post-production trying to produce quality videos.  I tried out both Windows Movie Maker and Premier to compare which software would produce the best outcome. While Windows Movie Maker is decent for beginners, it doesn’t deliver better quality than Premier. I found it complicated to add and edit audio, and when adding background music to videos the monologues were drowned out completely. I did the best I could with Windows Movie Maker, but when I began edits in Premier I was in heaven. The way things are organized there made my work flow much easier. Now, I learn some things the hard way when I first started with Premier, but once I got a hang of it, it was smooth sailing.

After submitting my final edits to my supervisor, he informed to incorporate more B-roll, increase the audio levels, record more steady takes, and pay attention to better lighting. The interviews were great but there were ways to make it better. With that said, I opted to redo them all and present a better product. Amid this, I received an amazing opportunity to edit a video for a possible news story, EXCITING! I’ve submitted a final product for that, but now I want to take that three-minute video and turn it into 20 seconds. I honestly feel more comfortable with editing and I’m learning to relax and have fun. A lot of times I miss the opportunity to be creative because I overthink things, and it’s an honor to have leadership that encourages you to relax and view things from a positive perspective.

I don’t know where this internship will lead but, I’m thankful that I said yes, and I have to ability to learn something new each day.