Digital Journalism

COM466 – University of Washington

Audio Assignment

Preliminary Audio and Proof of Concept Audio Story (total 75 points)
~ 2 minute audio story for Wednesday April 20 2011
~ 2 minute audio story for noon Friday April 29 2011 – see email sent after class on Wed and again on Th

(1) Due end of class Monday April 18th:

The first audio story is designed for practice in obtaining and editing audio. The purpose is to acquaint you with your recorder (ho to use it, how well it records sound, how to get the sound off of the recorder) as well as Audacity.

(a) Completed interview with fellow student

Due end of class Wednesday April 20th:

(a) Your edited Audacity file con uploaded to Dropbox public folder as an MP3 (preferred) or WAV (because the lab computers did not have LAME installed)
(b) Properly named filed: “yourFirstName-first-audio.mp3”
(c) Email to me with Dropbox public folder link, proper subject line (COM466 First Audio Story)
(d) Students who did not have audio until Wednesday could upload stories shorter than 2 minutes

Summary Mon/Wed Lab Results

(2) Second Story

The second story is your first “reporting” for the class. As mentioned on Monday and Wednesday (18th and 20th) and as recorded as an assignment on Wednesday, you need to get your story idea and interviews done before class on Monday. We will have lab time to work on the stories. For this story, you should not be interviewing family members or friends.

Due by noon Wednesday April 27th: a blog post (your blog) with

(a) one to two paragraph succinct summary of the story and explanation your goals; note any reporting challenges
(b) one to two paragraphs explaining how well you met your goals, what you learned doing this project, and what you would do differently if you had a chance to redo this assignment.

There will be lab time for audio tweaks but not basic editing. In lab, you will learn how to create a “play” button for your audio file and how to use free hosting services for your audio files.

Due noon Friday April 29th: a blog post and an email with link to the finished file

(1) Blog Post:

You will create a blog post on your blog as well as the COM466 site that promotes your audio story; you can use the story summary from your earlier blog post. You will include a line of text that provides information on the file size, the length of the audio and a download link.

The blog post headline should be illustrative of the story (not “audio assignment”) and you should tweet a promotional link.

Be sure to name the final story something like “mike-final-one-or-two-word-description.mp3”. The file name MUST BEGIN with your first name (lower case) and there can be no spaces in the file name. Upload it to your Dropbox public folder as well as your free host. Your Dropbox link will be your download link.

(2) Email to me:

Put “COM466 Final Audio Story” in the email subject line; assignments that use any other subject line will not be read and the assignment will be considered “not turned in” (no points).

In the email, include the Dropbox public folder link and the links to your blog post (both on your site and on the course site).  See email sent after class on Wed and again on Th

Examples from 2009 class: Example 1 – coffee; Example 2 – restaurant


  • Content – Does the audio tell a story? Are sound bites logical (progression, relevance)? Are you giving the listener the information she needs to understand the story? Is each person clearly identified? Can this story stand alone or does it need text or images for context?
  • Sound – Is the audio listenable? Is there some natural sound and is effective or gimmicky? Remember: Do not use music unless it was recorded in the background of your interview, and it’s critical to your story. All natural (ambient) sound must be “true” to the story (if you’re interviewing the chef of a restaurant and want clanging dishes, record it at that the chef’s restaurant – not another).
  • Bonus points for news value (your framing is critical here)

NOTE: These are the same criteria that will be used to assess the audio on your final project.

Grading (Preliminary Audio – 10)

  • 2 points – interview (Monday)
  • 2 points – transcript (Wednesday)
  • 2 points – Dropbox link (mp3 or wav, Wednesday)
  • 2 points – email submitted on time (Wednesday)
  • 1 point – MP3
  • 1 point – correct subject line

Grading (Final Audio – 65)

  • 10 points – content is coherent and interesting
  • 10 points – the story can stand alone (it does not need text or images to make sense)
  • 5 points – acceptable volume and sound clarity (not tinny, not muddy, not echo-y)
  • 5 points – content includes clear, complete ID of interviewee
  • 4 points – sound used to set scene
  • 4 points – no distracting background noises
  • 3 points – cuts are smooth, not jarring; pauses are not cut too short
  • 3 points – MP3 is mono, 44.1 kHz
  • 2 points – correct length
  • 2 points – there are at least two voices (yours and an interviewee)
  • 2 points – content includes a clear, complete self-ID to begin or end the story (for example, “My name is Jack Jones, and I’m a senior at UW”)


  • 5 points – blog post due noon on Wednesday
  • 5 points – promotion/announce blog post (both sites) has compelling headline, overview and embedded sound file
  • 5 points – tweet promoting blog post is compelling, timely and contains course hashtag
  • 5 points – news value (bonus points)

If you turn in a file that is not an MP3, you will have missed your deadline (no points).

If you do not use the proper subject line for your email to me, you will have missed your deadline (no points).


6 Responses

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  3. […] For Wednesday 28 April : Final Audio Assignment 2-3 minute audio story – New story or continue refining story number 1 Details […]

  4. […] You will complete a proof of concept audio story by end of class on Wednesday. This means you need to get your story idea and interviews done before class on Monday! We will have lab time to work on the stories. […]

  5. […] This week’s audio story: details on audio assignment page […]

  6. […] your second audio story, is the first “reporting” for the […]

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