Riley Wowk’s summer employment with Virden Empire-Advance has drawn to a close.
The son of Dave and Twyla Wowk graduated from VCI two years ago. He came to work for the newspaper this summer, after one year of a two-year course in Brandon, where he studied Interactive Media Arts at ACC.
In school, he entered the world of digital cameras and computer programs, to produce radio, television and movies. Graphic design, both print and video graphics and editing were components of the course. “We learned to create documentaries; we wrapped up the year with a 15-minute documentary that we created, based on the subject we [chose].”
“Music, sound in general, is a definite interest. It’s something we can’t see, but it’s really cool to know how it works.”
Within the media course, journalism plays a part. Wowk amits journalism, a component of the course, wasn’t his strong suit at school. “My ‘D’ in journalism made me think, ‘Okay, that’s something I need to do better’, So I contacted Cheryl Rushing, manager of Virden Empire-Advance, hooked up an interview and got the job.”
Work with Virden’s newspaper has taught the media student something about himself and about small-town print journalism. He says, “Writing the news is not all about what you like.”
He admits, “I have the mindset of a more fictional writer - I could write for hours about superheroes - my brain is more action based.”
But, he found going on location to photograph hard news to be a highlight. Wowk also takes a keen interest in digital photo editing.
“We did photo restoration in school. I had a really ripped up photo of my grandparents.” It was yellow with age and quite damaged, but the student brought the family photo back to life. “I got rid of the lines and bends. I had to remake the front of the sled.” The project took several days. Much like a researcher, he says, “I like doing things that take me a while, if I can fiddle with it ...”
Wowk returns to the media course this fall, and to an apartment in Brandon.
“In second year, we get to make documentaries - full length, half hour to an hour. We pitch them to MTS....” These films will be broadcast through “Stories From Home” under instructor Graham Street’s guidance, with MTS TV providing funding and assistance.
From completing a simple, short film, a ‘sense of place’ piece, Riley Wowk knows he enjoys digital media “A Ukrainian Thanksgiving” opened with a shot of the exterior of Wowk’s grandparents’ house and moved on to follow the traditional Thanksgiving dinner preparations...
Wowk has gained some practical experience at the newspaper over the summer, filling in the gaps when there was only one full-time reporter. He is looking forward to continuing Interactive Media Arts this fall, and then on to a career using skills he gains in Assiniboine Community College.