Digital Journalism

COM466 – University of Washington

Week 04 : Text Meet Audio

Subtitle: Create Compelling Audio Stories


  • Housekeeping
  • NewsU Tutorial Review
  • Interviewing
  • Exercise: Interviewing Each Other (pairs or trios)
  • Editing Audio : A Process


NewsU Tutorial Review

  • Tutorial
  • Paired Discussion
  • Kathy’s key points for today
    • Planning -> Know Your Environment (demo/reminder)
    • In The Field -> Record Sound Sources (demo/reminder)
    • Sound File Types : .wav, .aii, .mp4, .mp3 and Audacity Project Files

Interviewing Tips

  • Open ended questions!
  • Pause … let there be silence (for editing, so that the other person may resume talking)
  • Know that you can always re-record your questions, but if ambient sound is important, do so immediately after the interview, not when you are back ‘in the office’

Exercise: Interviewing Each Other

  • Make sure each pair has a recorder
  • Make sure each person has developed a set of questions
  • Each interview should be 5-10 minutes long – record the entire thing!

Interview Pairs and Location

  1. Ashley : Shane -> Near the 3rd floor landing, main stairwell
  2. Bryden : Kanny -> CMU302
  3. Graham : Nicole  -> Hall by the window
  4. Sarah : Ian -> Outside (if it’s not raining)
  5. John H : David -> Outside (if it’s not raining)
  6. Josh : John M -> CMU304
  7. Marci : Marcy -> Ladies restroom
  8. Mia : Reed -> CMU302
  9. Stephanie : Preet -> Stairwell by 302

Absent: Jeremy, Kris, Raanan, Rowdy, Sommer

Next Steps

  1. Figure out how to get the sound file off the recorder (whatever it is) and onto your computer. This will be different for each device.
  2. Upload your file to your Dropbox.
  3. Figure out what file format your recorder uses, if you don’t already know. If you need to convert the file to something Audacity can import, make friends with
  4. Start a new project in Audacity and import your file. Choose MAKE A COPY OF THE ORIGINAL. (See this tutorial overview on importing.)
  5. Plug in your headphones and develop a rough transcript (digital or by hand) of the interview. Note times and transitions, good soundbites.
  6. Identify at least two good clips. Write an intro and conclusion and transition. Record (not here!) before Wednesday.

For Wednesday

  • Find three good examples of audio stories — audio only (not video or slide shows). What makes them exemplary? Blog post due by noon. Be sure to link to each of the stories in your post!
  • Have your transcript – come prepared to edit your interview into a 60-90 second story.

Filed under: Class Notes

One Response

  1. Class take-aways from NewsU tutorial:

    * Ambient and natural sound – quality
    * Types of mikes
    * Importance of angle and mike placement
    * Sound can create memorable narratives
    * Aware of background noise – jewelry – and “p’s” and “s’s”
    * Do your research before you go
    * When chosing a person to interview, try to get someone who doesn’t speak in monotone
    * Use of music – not to use as filler
    * Gear discussion helpful
    * Scouting location – make sure the setting matches the story
    * Have extras
    * Ask people to answer in full sentences
    * Find other sources

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