Learning new tools: A look into Flash and InDesign

By REBECCA LATTANZIO

With journalism ever changing and becoming more and more competitive, every aspiring journalist must have an edge. One of my first professors at UM told the story of how her son, a journalism major, came out of college struggling to find a job. In the end, it wasn’t his journalism degree that got him hired, but rather his skills in editing that he picked up on the side in college by working in the school’s TV studios. Every skill that you add to your resume adds one more reason why you should be hired over the journalist sitting next to you.

I have been learning to use Adobe Flash, a programming multimedia platform. Flash allows you to add animation and graphics to Web sites, giving them a new dimension. You can do everything from creating working buttons to making cartoon movies. Most people have probably had some experience with Flash, even if it’s just from watching “South Park,” a program that uses a lot of Flash animation. The program is constantly updating though and it is not easy to use, especially if you are a beginner like myself. The Flash TV website is where I have turned to teach myself the basics and work my way through the more complicated features.

Flash TV has hundreds of tutorials that walk you through the processes step by step. It takes a couple of tutorial videos before you get the hang of Flash lingo, but, like anything else, it gets easier with time. The tutorial library shows you the ins and outs of motion tweens, symbols, and compressing FLA files, among other things. It is a great spot to get started.

Another tool that is great to know for layout and graphic design purposes is Adobe InDesign, which is an advanced word processing and page design program. InDesign has thousands of features that make it easy and interesting to create original designs. Offices use it to create business cards, schools use it to design yearbooks, and magazines use it to create page layouts.

The Adobe website also has an in depth list of InDesign tutorials for people that are just getting started. The tutorials are all-inclusive and start from simple steps like setting up a new document.

Flash and InDesign are both complicated programs, but understanding them can greatly increase your ability to be successful in the work force and in personal journalism careers. One of the most beneficial parts of using these tools is that Adobe makes it simple to put these in HTML form so any websites can be easily jazzed up.

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