Digital Journalism

COM466 – University of Washington

UW Squirrels – audio story

My audio story is about the UW squirrels.  Walking around campus I notice them everywhere from in the trees, to the bushes and along the sidewalks.  I decided to use the topic of squirrels in my story because they have a relevancy to people who attend the UW and/or visit our campus.

Brian is a friend of mine who is an out-of-state student from Sacramento, California.  He’s a senior majoring in mathematics and has graciously donated some time to my project.

My story is more or less a question and answer format.  I began by asking Brian what his thoughts were on UW squirrels.  He replied that they seem used to our presence and just plainly a part of our ecosystem.  Brian doesn’t believe squirrels are prevalent on campus, he hasn’t seen more than two squirrels in one area during passing [of his classes].  When asked what his thoughts were about the UW squirrel feeder next to Suzzalo and whether the UW should be providing food to them considering recent budget cuts, Brian doesn’t think it shouldn’t be a problem if they’re not over spending for this.  He uses the example of Spanish professors recently laid off. He adds that if money is being used to pay for squirrel food and not toward keeping professors that are important to have for students to meet the requirements then it’s wrong.

Most of the time Brian sees squirrels in places where trees are thick and ubiquitous possibly where they build their homes.  What he enjoys about the squirrels is that they don’t  make the campus seem like a big slab of concrete like at the University of Davis.  He adds the presence of squirrels offers that natural feeling without being in the middle of nowhere.   When asked a hypothetical question of what his thoughts are on if the UW decided to exterminate the squirrels he states that it would be unfair.  He doesn’t see the squirrels causing any major problems, however if they carried a plague there might be some justification in it.  He continues by stating the animal does not cause problems; they don’t bother people and they’re not overpopulating.

Some problems I ran into during the filming of my audio story was that what I pictured in my head was nothing like what was produced.  Initially, I recorded an international student from Japan, but the language barrier did not have a good story flow.  There were many long pauses and lots of ‘digging’ for more substantial and colorful answers.

My other problem with the UW Squirrel video was transitioning from my questions to Brian’s answers.  Sometimes I cut him off and other times I let Brian talk until it was clear he was running out of words to say.

From this project I feel like I met my goal of interviewing on a topic that was light, fun and relevant to a majority of people who visit UW.  My goal was also to get a lot of illustration from him so that it would give listeners a good perspective of UW squirrels.  I think Brian did a great job in his choice of words and examples.  My goal was also to keep the interview short and interesting which I think was accomplished; I managed to keep the interview a little over five minutes long with a good beginning and end.  I don’t think there’s anything I would redo about this assignment.  We were in a good location outside, but unfortunately you can’t hear as many birds chirping in the background as I was hoping.  Perhaps if there was anything I could change, I would have studied up more on hints to transition the conversation from interviewer to interviewee for a much better flow.

Audio Story: File Size, 4.61 MB; Time 0:05:02; Download


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Filed under: Student Projects

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