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My final audio story is about the University of Washington’s IMA intramural soccer team, “Snakes on a Field”. One of the team’s founders is the subject of the interview and she talks about the story behind the team and the team name. The dynamics of the team are also discussed. My goal was to use natural sound from the game in the story, although I had a major reporting challenge with this aspect of my story. Although I had just used the recorder to record my interview with Erica, a founder of the team, I forgot to make sure the sound was recording while I was on the sideline of the field at the soccer game. Big mistake!

Soccer

After recording minutes upon minutes of the sounds of the game, I came home only to find that the audio files were silent. Because games only are schedules for Tuesdays, there was no way I could get the sound in time for my Wednesday deadline. Unfortunately I just had to do without the sounds I anticipated using. Now I definitely realize how important it is to check that the recording is going smoothly on site (even when equipment just worked successfully beforehand), especially when it cannot be repeated. Evidently, if I could do this project again, I would check my recorder with headphones and using playback of a test sound bite before recording each necessary component.

Through this project I learned how to use many different editing tools on Audacity. I used the envelope tool and amplify tool as well as the fade out tool. I experimented with many tools that I did not end up using in my final project (for instance changing the pitch). I also learned how to send audio files over the internet through You Send It.

::Download (1.9MB) Time 2’05” Time::

I think the first photo Wilhelmina selected is not the best example of a good news photos compared to the other photos in the “Crewing the Peacemaker” gallery from the Boston Globe. The hands in the front of the picture are out of focus (I am guessing on purpose for an artistic approach) in order for the  background to be clear, but I feel there is a lot of wasted space in the photo. The other photos in the gallery are better suited to tell the story of the piece from a news angle.

Police

From the Los Angeles Times

The photo displayed above was selected by Janelle as a good news photo. While I agree with her that the photo shows strong emotion, I am not a big fan on the cropping and framing of it. I do not like how the top of the subject’s head is cropped out and the subject is centered in the picture.

People

From The Stranger

While the photo above (selected by Emma) is creative and artsy, I do not think it is the best fit for a news story. I feel that the picture would be better suited for a promotional ad or something along those lines.

When it comes to taking photos for news, there’s more to it than pointing and shooting. Take a look at some good, and not so good examples of photos for news.

The good…

Obama

From the New York Times

Obama Eulogizes Victims of Mine Accident
-The rule of thirds is well utilized in this photo. Lines (the line of the helmets) are used to direct the eye and there is a nice contrast of dark and light. The picture helps give emotion to the story.

Protest

From CNN

Hundreds protest immigration law in Arizona
-The subject of the photo is aligned following the rule of thirds and the photo helps bring emotion to the story.

Barn

From the San Francisco Chronicle

Poulet Chalets
-This photo is taken from a unique perspective (the eye level of the rooster) and utilizes the rule of thirds as well as an interesting (but not too cluttered) background.

The not so good…

Middle School

From the Chicago Tribune

What’s Chicago’s sex IQ?
-I feel that the picture is not framed very well and there is not a clear focus of the photo. The photo is very busy.

Protestor

From the Los Angeles Times

Lebanese demonstrators march for seclusion
-Although the picture utilizes some aspects of the rule of thirds, I wish the top of the poster would be included so that the viewer could read the sign and know what the protest was about. I understand that the photographer was probably going for a more artistic approach, but I do not feel the picture is the best suited for a news photo.

My Ballard

From My Ballard

Five Ballard projects awarded city funds
-This photo doesn’t have much going for it, it looks like the photographer just pointed and shot the image without much thought.

Heads up to all my fellow COM466ers:
@DigiDave (one of the twitter accounts we were required to follow for class) has a list @Digidave/media-heroes and it is a great source to find journalism related twitter accounts. I found the first of my new followers for the week on his list, and I am sure I will use the list in the future!

The 5 new journalism related accounts I am following on twitter this week are:

@newmediajim– “new media soul trapped in an old media body” I found Jim Long’s twitter account while searching through Digi Dave’s Media Heroes list. The twitter name caught my attention as well as the bio.

@CathyHorynNYT– “Fashion critic of The New York Times, editor of the On the Runway blog. Reports from the shows in Paris, Milan and New York.” Can I please have her job?

@mrjoezee– Joe Zee is the “Creative Director of ELLE Magazine, Stylist, Fashion Loudmouth, Backup Dancer” Once again can I have his job? (back up dancer included!)

@carr2n-“David Carr writes Media Equation column, blogs @ Decoder & covers pop culture at NY Times. Tweets news, ephemera and links. Thinks Web nice is the new black.”

@BarbaraJWalters- I stumbled across her account while surfing around on twitter and thought she would be interesting to follow as she is a popular figure in American broadcast journalism.

Throughout the audio unit in Com 466, I have expanded my knowledge on the planning, preparation and production of audio stories. For planning, one must always think of how the story will lend itself to sound. You want to make sure the interview subject has a voice that can be understood over audio. A good audio story provides the opportunity for both ambient and natural sound (sounds at the scene of the interview and background noise). You need to make sure you record at least a few minutes of room tone to put behind your audio to make smoother transitions between clips.

Recorder

An Edirol recorder

For preparation you need to make sure you have the necessary recording equipment available at the time of your interview. Many students, myself included, use the Communication Equipment Reservation system to check out equipment, so it is important to familiarize yourself with their rules and restrictions. After having interned for the Equipment Reservation system this summer, I did not have difficulties as to how to work with the check out process. In preparation for the actual recording and interviewing, you need to make sure you have questions drafted up before you arrive at the destination of your interview. Once you arrive at your interview location, you need to do a couple of test clips (using ear phones) to make sure that the sound quality is good at your recording location and that the equipment is working. You can practice with holding the mic at different spots with your interview subject during the test to see what sound you like best.

For the acutal audio production, you need to be familiar with the tools Audacity and the site  Zamzar. As I have used these tools in previous classes, I did not learn too much more in this course than what I already knew, but a refresher was nice.

My final audio story for Com 466 will be a story about my sorority’s soccer team Snakes on a Field. I feel this story will lend itself well to audio because I will have the opportunity for a lot of ambient and natural sound as I will bring the recorder to our game next Tuesday. I will record sounds of the game in action, such as the referee’s whistle and team cheers. I will interview one of the coaches and ask them many different questions about the team and the game. I feel that I will not have a specific angle until after I conduct the interview and see what kind of clips I get from a coach. A possible angle I have for the story would be behind the name of the team.

Habitat for Humanity

Three stories that would be best told as text/stills:

  • A story explaining the selection process for families to receive a home through Habitat for Humanities. There is a lot of criteria that would be best explained directly through text and because there would be limited stills, the story would probably not have enough photos to fill up an entire audio/visual slide show.
  • A general story about what Habitat for Humanity does. Because the story would encompass a lot of varying information, text would help really explain the story while a few accompanying photos would add to the text.
  • A story about the Habitat for Humanity Home Improvement Outlet. The text would explain the purpose of the Outlet and provide information on what people can donate and so forth. A few pictures of the outlet would accompany the text.

Three stories that would be best told through audio and pictures:

  • A story on site at one of the project sites (currently High Point in West Seattle) about the work that goes into building a house. There would be plenty of opportunities for ambient and natural sound (the sounds of hammering, saws, workers talking, etc.) as well as photos of the work. The people working on the house (the family and volunteers) could be interviewed on location about what they are doing on site.
  • A personal story about a family that was selected for Habitat for Humanity. It would be necessary to locate a family that was willing to share why they selected Habitat for Humanity and how it has affected them. The voices of the family members would lend itself well to audio as well as pictures of the family.
  • A tour through a Habitat for Humanity house. Pictures and video could be taken through the house, with audio of the family living in it or workers who built it narrating a tour through the house. The family members or workers could tell their own stories about things that occurred during building certain portions of the house.

For my #FF (Friday Follow) on Twitter, I am now following 5 accounts of individuals related to journalism.

@rickreilly– I used to read Rick Reilly’s column on the last page of Sports Illustrated when I was younger. I thought his articles were humorous and he had a strong, conversational voice. I have not read any of his work since he moved to ESPN Magazine how ever long ago but I decided it would be worth following him since his column really sparked my interest in journalism.

The rest of the new accounts I am following I found on the “Recommended Twitter Accounts to Follow” post.

@nytkeller– Bill Keller is the Executive Editor of the New York Times

@paulbradshaw– Paul Bradshaw blogs about online journalism

@rorymartin– Rory Martin in a local blogger and philanthropist who works in Social Media Marketing for the company Seattle Web Design

@joanwalsh– Joan Walsh is the editor of Salon.com

What is a Multimedia Story? Good question.

I was surprised to find that my definition of a multimedia story was more general than the one provided by Jane Stevens in her article for the Knight Digital Media Center. According to Stevens, in order for a story to be considered a multimedia story, it has to be nonlinear.

This means that “rather than reading a rigidly structured single narrative, the user chooses how to navigate through the elements of a story.” The information should be presented in multiple mediums that do not repeat information but supplement each other.

Stories that are presented as multimedia packages where each component can stand-alone as a print story in a magazine or newspaper or a video story on television should not be considered multimedia stories.

“Good” multimedia sites:
*Sites that are created with the intention of publishing non-linear multimedia stories

Virgin of Guadalupe

The Virgin of Guadalupe

News21.com
This site presents investigative multimedia stories created from top journalism schools around the nation. The story The Virgin of Guadalupe is an excellent example of a creative multimedia story format that utilizes multiple mediums. The format is in an interactive web that has posts of slide shows, videos, audio, and links all pertaining to the topic.

Mediastorm.com
This site produces outstanding multimedia stories, as photos and audio (sometimes video) are incorporated into stories. I have viewed”The Ninth Floor” and “Friends for life” and have found both stories to provide a personal look inside lives of the interview subjects. The stories are deep and go beyond the normal boundaries that one is used to for journalism. The mutlimedia content is long (over 13 minutes for “The Ninth Floor and 8 minutes for “Friends for life”) but the stories draw you in. “The Ninth Floor” follows the lives of drug addicts who lived in a New York City apartment. Only pictures and audio are used in “The Ninth Floor” while there are captions every now and then guiding the story. “Friends like us” tells the story of two elderly men who became best friends. An audio narration is utilized as well as video, pictures and audio.

Hit or miss sites:
*Both “good” and bad” multimedia stories are presented on media sites Read the rest of this entry »

As someone interested in magazine journalism “Six reasons why magazines have a future” is a reassuring article to stumble across. From a six person panel working in the magazine industry (both print and online), reasons were provided why magazines as brands have a future.

“When I first saw Twitter I thought it was the stupidest thing ever.” -Marshall Kirkpatrick

My first thoughts exactly. I remember when over winter break after of my freshman year in college (December of 2008), my dad told me about this new site called Twitter. He said it was “the next big thing” and would be the next Facebook. I did not believe him. He kept urging me to make an account and eventually I made one just to prove to him how pointless it really was.

Now twitter is a requirement for my digital journalism class. Why is my dad always right? Although in my defense, at the time twitter did not serve a purpose to me. None of my friends had it, so I found it was useless for social networking and communicating with my peers (which is all I expected of it, like Facebook). While a lot of my friends still do not tweet, I have found that it is useful in the arena of journalism as well as consumerism.

The article “How We Use Twitter for Journalism” outlines four main points of the benefits of twitter in journalism.

As pulled from the article, twitter is used for:

  • the discovery of breaking stories,
  • performing interviews,
  • quality assurance
  • and promotion of our work.

To return to the opening quote, “When I first saw Twitter I thought it was the stupidest thing ever.” Kirkpatrick follows with, “Now, despite the length of this post, I find 140 characters plenty of space to communicate about almost anything.”

I must say I agree.

Follow me on twitter!