Digital Journalism

COM466 – University of Washington

Week 4 : Wednesday


  • Text meet sound continued
  • Thinking about images
  • Group project work

Sound Tips and Resources

(1) File names: all lower case, no spaces. For assignments, your first name should be the first word in the file name.

(2) Free hosting services for MP3s

(3) How to embed a “play” button in WordPress (WP How-To)

  • Upload your audio to your UW account or a free account; requires FTP (“how to FTP” will be part of Monday’s lab, which will also include time for editing help). Or pay WordPress $15 for expanded storage and upload to your WP blog just like you upload images – no external FTP client required.
  • Capture the URL of the audio file (remember : it must be an MP3)
  • Use the WP “short code” (see How-To) to create the play button

:: Audio File : Download (4.3 MB) Time 4′ 10″ ::

Examples from last year’s class: Example 1 – coffee; Example 2 – restaurant

Audacity Tips

  • Settings that ensure your sound doesn’t remind you of chipmunks (pdf)
  • How to adjust sound on a track (envelope tool)

The envelope tool is found on the Audacity Control Toolbar. Use this tool to manually adjust the volume of any portion of your sample without actually changing the sound file (until it is exported). The envelope tool is especially useful for editing interviews and is also the tool you will use to bring sound “up” or take it “down” in your intro.

Turn the envelope tool “on” and you’ll see blue borders around your track. Click the blue line to add a handle (it will look like a white square point). When you have more than one handle, you can change the volume of the sound between the two handles. Widen to increase volume and narrow to reduce volume. To remove a handle, click-and-drag it off the track. Source: Audacity Help. Watch video tutorial; tutorial.

audacity tool bar

audacity envelope editing

Thinking About Images

  • Create Compelling Digital Photos
  • Plan your shoot
  • Get close
  • Shoot in the best light possible
  • Equipment (when shooting for the web) doesn’t matter _that_ much
  • Be creative!


  • What is a pixel?
  • Image formats : GIF, JPG, PNG
  • What is RGB v CMYK?
  • File types: RAW and TIFF (like WAV – lossless) v JPG (like mp3 – lossy) [resource 1, resource 2]
    • RAW: 12 bit data, up to 4096 different intensity levels for each pixel
    • Why shoot JPG? More shots on a memory card, faster
    • Why shoot RAW? When you plan to do post exposure processing, you have a large memory card

Group Project Work

  • The project blog is
  • Working in your small groups, identify stories you want to work on as an individual and as a group. Identify roles on the website. Get everyone added to the blog as editors.

Discussion groups:

  • Aaron, Fereshta, Janelle
  • Brianna, Ganelle, Tom
  • Brian, Gwen, Wilhelmina
  • Emma, Krista, Nate
  • Katie, Keala, Liz

Seattle Habitat For Humanity : Story Ideas

Page to manage project


For Friday 23 April

  • Comment on four more proof-of-concept audio stories.

For Monday 25 April

  • Blog post with recommended accounts to follow on Twitter (people!) and why by 8 am
  • Blog post with three examples of excellent news photos and three examples of not-so-good ones. (Stills, not slideshows. One step at a time.)


For Wednesday 28 April
Final Audio Assignment
2-3 minute audio story – New story or continue refining story number 1

For Monday 3 May

Everyone brings at least 40 photos of an agreed upon “subject” to class. We will “cull” your photos and share. Subject: “Red Square”

  • Photos taken at one time, on one day
  • The photos must focus on at least three very different things
  • At least half of the photos should contain a person or people
  • Before you shoot, please make sure the settings on your camera are for a high resolution. This is often a number such as 2345×1000. For this exercise, it is OK to shoot as a high quality JPG instead of RAW.
  • Work hard to follow the rules of composition.

Learnings from first round of audio

  1. Aaron
  2. Brian
  3. Brianna
  4. Emma
  5. Fereshta
  6. Ganelle
  7. Gwen
  8. Janelle
  9. Katie
  10. Keala
  11. Krista
  12. Liz
  13. Nate (**)
  14. Tom
  15. Wilhelmina

    Filed under: Class Notes

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