Posted by: annabrader | December 9, 2010

Individual Soundslides Project

For my concluding project in Online Journalism, we did a Soundslides project by ourselves. Learning all the audio editing, photography rules, and writing on blogs this semester showed in this last project. I feel like I have learned so much about journalism and the way it is changing toward the internet. I have loved every minute of it. I hope that I did well on this project and made every detail count.

My Soundslides project is on the Student Activities Council here at the University of Wyoming.

The Student Activities Council, or SAC, is the one group on campus that brings something for students every Wednesday that’s free. The University of Wyoming is not as ‘uncultured’ as outsiders may think. Each week a band, speaker, comedian, and activity come to give the students something to do.

The significance in this story is the assumption that UW has nothing to offer the students. Even though Laramie is not a big busy city or have a large student size, the variety of things the group can bring is impressive. For students to say there is nothing to do, they need look no further than SAC.

The event was the last Wednesday of the semester, and SAC brought the band Meniskus from Boulder, Colorado.

SAC Student Programmer Jordan Evans, Graduate Assistant for SAC Stephanie Long as well as two students at the event I went to were the interviewees. They were all fun and engaging people, and the story was a great to show someone who had never heard of SAC before what it was about.

Working alone on this project for me was well worth the extra effort. I felt that I knew what I wanted, and could edit and work on every little detail with precision. It was tough not knowing how good/bad it was without another person there to critique me. I definitely felt like a journalist for this assignment because of the independence.

I do wish that I would have gotten more pictures of the SAC group instead of the event. It was tough because it was the end of the semester and things were winding down; it left me without options to see them outside of the event that night.

Overall I loved the connections during the interviews and the feeling I got from being present at a student group. SAC wants to include this Soundslides on their Facebook, and I hope that I can. Promoting campus groups and at the same time learing to be a journalist was the best part of the project. On to the next semester, and hopefully my dream will stay the same.

Posted by: annabrader | December 2, 2010

Soundslides Group Project Critique

Once I completed my Soundslides project, it was time to take a look at the work done by my fellow classmates. I know that we all worked extremely hard on them, and each one shows how much we as future journalists care about our assignments.

The first project was about the University of Wyoming Cowboy Basketball team. It was put together by Brooke Eades and Dyann Dierks. From the first photo I became hooked. Everything from the interviews to the pictures, was flawless. I loved the way the slide show moved with ease from one topic to the next, and it shows that they took it seriously. Learning about the team from the player’s point of view was definitely a great story idea and it was executed with a vision.  The only thing I would add are the captions that Kristen wanted, but other than that it is a wonderful project!

The second Soundslides project called High Country, was by Adrienne Morency and Courtney Wilhelm. I liked that from the start you knew how personal the interviews were and that it was done in a group setting. Each member of the band had something to say, and I liked how the pictures varied from the members to the angles of the instruments. The ambient noise at the beginning was my favorite and I think that the audio would have been even stronger if they had incorporated more of it in the entire story. Putting the name of who was knowing speaking would have helped you know the change in the narration. Having the story be about something the band has passion for, really to me needed more ambient noise. Overall it was still a great piece and made me want to go watch them live at the Cowboy.

The last project I looked at was about the Artists of Touchstone in Laramie, which was done by Cameron Patey and Rachel Ross. For this story, there were some great quotes recorded that really gave the story its depth. The photos were also done very well and showed off the work of the two artists they featured. The captions were great because not only did they say what the speaker said but explained more of what happened at the event and gave more to read. My only comment would be the lack of ambient noise. I think that using some would have given the story different levels and would have helped the listener pay attention more, without loosing focus.

The projects were so well done and I had no idea that there could be so many stories in Laramie. I can’t wait to get my individual Soundslides project started and on its way to be heard.

Posted by: annabrader | November 23, 2010

Soundslides Group Project

The hardest part of journalism is to merge different medias. For the past two weeks in class we were assigned to come up with a story to cover using photography and an audio recorder. This was a group project which helped to have the work load equalized and cover the story with the best efforts. My partner was Tiffany LeGal, and we decided to do our story on International Night which is run by the International Student Association. The event was sponsored by the student programming group Friday Night Fever.

Working with Tiffany was a great way to join our styles of reporting and make something that was truly unique. Our ideas bounced off one another which helped us brainstorm and choose a topic. We both had enthusiasm for getting the feeling as well as the fun experience of International Night.

For me, the hardest part was getting the pictures and audio to go hand in hand with the Soundslides. In order to have a great project the pictures, audio, and the captions need to fit each second. Getting the hang of the program was definitely tough for me; it’s a new program and I know that more experience will help me understand it better.

Having Tiffany and myself meet up to create and edit the audio didn’t work out like I planned; part of having a partner is finding tine that works for both of the people. Still we went with the flow and did what we could with not meeting each other as often as we would have liked. Hopefully the finished project shows our strengths and not our weaknesses.

Despite the difficulties, I felt like this was a great learning experience. I know now that there is more to putting together an audio/slide project than it looks. The work load is something you just have to learn to multitask, and I can always use a challenge.

Next time I plan on putting together more of a timeline to collect the interview, pictures, that way I can put it together in less of a hurry. The result was well worth the effort; I think this was a good practice run and I can’t wait for the next one!

Posted by: annabrader | November 11, 2010

Audio Story Ideas

A good story is usually hiding in the most common of places; and trying to find them is harder than you might think. The assignment for the next week is an audio story on anything that we want. I have brainstormed ideas for the story and so far it’s down to these three:

Jeffery’s Bistro

This local restaurant is one of my favorites because of the atmosphere and of course the organic, slighty vegetarian food. The story would involve the history and start of the restaurant and include why they choose the food they have. Of all the things to serve to the Laramie community, a more vegetarian option seems a bit out of the ordinary. I know that they are have a bit of family history in Laramie with the food business having once owned a bakery next door.

The significance of this story could be the economic struggles of owning a restaurant as well as the passion the owners have towards the up keep of Jeffrey’s. I always wonder what actually goes on behind the scenes and I think it would be interesting to find out.

Interviewing the owners, a cook, one or two waiters/waitresses, and a regular customer would give the story depth. Viewing it from all angles would help the reader see the good and possible bad side of owning a restaurant in Laramie Wyoming.

Student Activities Council

The Student Activities Council, or SAC, is the one group on campus that brings something for students every Wednesday that’s free. The University of Wyoming is not as ‘uncultured’ as outsiders may think. Each week a band, speaker, comedian, and activity come to give the students something to do.

The significance of this story is the assumption that UW has nothing to offer the students. Even though Laramie is not a big busy city or have a large student size, the variety of things the group can bring is impressive. For students to say there is nothing to do, they need look no further than SAC.

SAC Student Programmer Jordan Evans would be a great person to interview, as well as the Campus Activities Center programmer Mike Lang. They both are fun and engaging people, and it would give the story a great aspect to someone who had never heard of SAC. A student who likes to go the events would be help the students know what they think of the group.

The Super Senior

The last story idea is a human interest piece about the seniors who either choose to or have to stay an extra semester or two.

Many seniors graduate thinking that a job is their next step, but with the way the economy is recently, staying in school may be the best option. Understanding the reasons why students stay an extra year; whether it is because of grades, money, or it is the economic crisis, do students become super seniors to earn more experience or to stay out of the real world?

Interviewing two students who are super seniors would give two diffent perspectives on the situaiton. Also an advisor or counselor interview and asking them about the future of graduation in the job market, and if students should stay a fifth year or not.

Hopefully the stories that myself and my partner come up with turn out to be great interviews!

Posted by: annabrader | November 8, 2010

Audio Profile Critique

Doing my audio interview was something I throughly enjoyed; for my classmates, it was interesting finding out who they interviewed and learning about a part of their lives.

The first audio profile I listened to was edited by Dyann Dierks and featured Brooke Eades as the interviewee. This story was of great interest for me because Brooke has worked with K2 radio in Casper, so I genuinely loved hearing how much she liked her experience and what she took from working there. Brooke’s exciting stories about what she got to cover  makes me ready to get a radio internship. It makes me want to strive for the same experience she had.  I also had a brief but intense love for horses and hearing her story made me remember my childhood. Hearing her passion was the best part of this audio story. I was distracted by the sudden cuts to the next quote and I think that the transitions could have been smoother to go from one topic to the next.

The second audio profile that I listened to was by Tiffany Le Gal, in which she interviewed her fiancé, Zak Bolender about his interest in science and journalism. Being a nerd in many things like science, I found that Tiffany made the audio story very personable. Her editing was smooth and I felt it kept your interest for the whole interview. I did find that there was some background noise that sounded like tapping towards the end, but overall it was a great piece and I definitely want to know more about Zak.

 I liked that Tiffany (whether she did it on purpose) had it flow like a story you would read in the paper; it kept it easy to listen to. The ending did get a little choppy with the sudden stop of the quote but overall it was great!

The last audio story is by Faryn Babbit who interviewed  Jamie Crew. This story’s audio was very clear and had no background noise which made it easier to listen to. Jamie has a lot of experiences with jobs as well as finding jobs. I enjoyed her explanations of herself throughout the stories she told. It was easy to follow her story and having the transitions flow from one to the next helped the story come together. I didn’t find anything wrong with the story, except that having more emotion in her voice would have helped me stay interested throughout the audio story.

Each interview has taught me something about my own audio story. I found that I liked hearing about someone’s life, but you need to have a clear and smooth editing to make it interesting to a listener. Making sure there is no background noise will help the interviewee in the recording. I can’t wait to do the next audio piece, because I want to grow in this area of journalism. Audio interviewing is such a great way to hear the emotion and connect with the person talking compared to just a newspaper interview.

Posted by: annabrader | November 3, 2010

Audio Profile: Rachel Ross

  Rachel Edited by Anna B.

After taking Rachel’s raw interview into the editing program Audacity, I found that being precise and meticulous really come in handy when editing audio.

 At first I had problems finding when to end a quote and then smoothly start into another one. The tool of zooming into the file shows each sound wave and really helped make the transitions clean and not at all choppy. Putting it all together started off slow but sitting there and listening  to the interview over and over helped me find what I needed to cut and what I could keep.

The interview needed to be cut down to 2 minutes, which is harder than it sounds. Having 5 minutes of audio had me thinking each part of her story was important to keep.

Once I figured out what were the most important sections, it made it easy to have it flow from one quote to the next. I learned to hear each part of her story intently that way I could easily cut it down. If you take at least an hour or more to sit and only concentrate on editing, it all comes together faster than being distracted or leaving to take care of it another day.

Not surprisingly, I loved editing the audio and finding the bumps that needed to be smooth. It was once again like a puzzle or painting that needs the details to become a masterpiece (or at least a well-edited audio piece). It was tough getting it to sound like an actually story that had not been touched up. Each little mistake in the audio is heard and knowing that you can’t go back and redo the interview was a bit frustrating.

For the next time I do an audio interview, I would like to have the interviewee write the interview and questions; this way they can cancel out any um’s and uh’s. I felt that I did a great job editing it to sound like a complete story but I think I would have liked to know exactly what makes a good audio story.

Some of the quotes still have stutters and uh’s, but I felt that editing them out would make it seem obvious I took words away. Hopefully I will improve because this is something I truly find exciting!

Posted by: annabrader | October 27, 2010

Rachel Ross: The Raw Interview

Rachel’s Raw Interview by Anna B.

Having another opportunity to use my new audio recorder made this assignment one I couldn’t wait to get started on. Considering that this is an area that I want to eventually get into, made me take it very seriously. I still had a great time finding my niche in with the recorder and loved every minute.

I interviewed classmate Rachel Ross; expecting a boring twenty minutes or so was not the case. We had a fun time laughing and learning a lot about one another from our interview session. We chose to find an empty room in A&S, which luckily we found.

Interviewing with a recorder not only made me feel more professional but it helped me better connect with the interviewee. We had more eye contact, smiling and I quite enjoyed not using the pen and paper; technology won me over this time.

The recorder was very easy to use and I had little or no problems conducting the interview. At the beginning did we have to stop and start again and that was because Rachel and I kept laughing about what to say, as well as how to make the recorder sound good without echoing. Once I figured out that putting the recording not on the table but right under her mouth, the sound quality turned out superb. The room we were in had a bit of an echo, still it did not distract too much upon reviewing the recording. 

Being interviewed by Rachel  had me talking on and on about the things that I’m involved with on campus. It surprised Rachel because she thought she would be asking more questions. Letting her into one part of my life felt like I was making a new friend. Telling a story that meant something to someone other than myself was a great experience. Mostly I think it was the recorder that had that effect, which I don’t mind at all. I am quite smitten by the piece of technology 🙂

Using the internet program Soundcloud and the program of Audacity have really leant me skills that I would have never known existed. I also learned that it is very helpful to be ready ahead of time for an interview. Rachel and I had to practice twice before I got her all warmed up to talk more in-depth about her topic. My only concern is completely understanding the recorder volume control and sensitivity. Without practicing first I can see how it would ruin an interview without making sure everything is in order before hitting record.

I think that this is one area of journalism I definitely want more of. I am counting on myself to improve and move forward with audio editing and production. I just might go out on the street and do random interviews with my recorder, to get the practice down. Hopefully the edited version of Rachel’s interview will be one worth putting on NPR 😉

Posted by: annabrader | October 20, 2010

Ambient Noise

This week we used our audio recorders to collect sounds around campus and our homes. I became familiar with my recorder and learned to listen to the sounds that are normally forgotten because of their normality.

Making Chai Tea by Anna B.

The first sound is from The Gardens coffee shop in the Union. I know that when I am in coffee shops I hear the sounds of the barista’s making the steamed milk. I ordered a chai tea and recorded the all to familiar sound of the hot milk steaming. This sound could be used for a story about Starbucks stores versus a local coffee store with the quality of their drinks. It makes me want to get a good book and listen to the atmospheric sounds of coffee being made.

Crunching Leaves by Anna B.

I love the sound of leaves crunching under my feet during the fall time. This makes a great sound because everyone knows what it sounds like and it creates a memory or feeling once you hear it. This is perfect for an autumn related story with a concern for trees, or just for Halloween.

Hey Hey Goodbye by Anna B.

This past weekend there was a football game, and there were definitely many opportunities for ambient sounds. During the transition of the first quarter the song “Hey Hey Goodbye” played, and the crowed cheered on. This could be used for a story about football team rivalries or about the songs used to pump up a crowd during a game.

Beer Song by Anna B.

Also during the football game there is a song that is a traditional Wyoming Cowboys song called the Beer Song. The feeling that the crowd has, you can hear their excitement. I of course couldn’t resist recording it. This would be perfect for a story on college football games, traditions, or even the influence on alcohol on college students.

 Water Cooler by Anna B.

In my sorority house there is only one water cooler that has cold, fresh water for 40 girls. Let’s just say it gets used often. The sound of the water coming out as well as the air bubbles, when put without the visual, make a foreign sound. I liked that without the explanation it seems unfamiliar. This could be used for a story about water usage compared to using tap water.

 Cowboy Joe by Anna B.

This last sound is from the Football game as well. It has the UW famous “Cowboy Joe” school song. Being from Wyoming, the song becomes ingrained into your soul because it’s used many times. The crowd and the announcer all sing along and you can hear the massive size of the crowd there. This song could be used about college school songs and which school has the best one, making it competition. It could also be used for a story on the pride that Wyoming has for it’s University and traditions.

Posted by: annabrader | October 20, 2010

Counting To Ten

Learing to use my audio recorder as been a fun experience. Having to think about editing any sounds I recorded however intimidated me. After this assignment I found that I had nothing to worry about; it opened another door into the world of journalism technology. I used a recorder to count to ten in a random order and then edited the recording  by copying and pasting the sound bites into their correct order. Here’s the original recording and the edited recording:

The purpose of this assignment is to learn how to edit audio. It came very naturally to me, although we will see how I feel when the audio assignments become harder. For now, I really loved feeling I got from seeing the sound waves and from the media process. I can see now that editing audio is something that when giving the right directions, anyone can do it.

This is the first time that I have ever worked with sound or editing. I’m looking forward to more assignments involving the recorder and editing it. Having Kristen decide to use this is something I will probably always be grateful for. I can’t wait to discover more and more ways to cut and create audio stories from not only interviews but ambient noise as well. I think that having gone behind the scenes makes me appreciate NPR stories a lot more.

The way they’re transitions flow shows how hard they work to get the stories to sound perfect. I also had no idea that there were programs available to use for free to edit audio. Audacity was easy to use and Soundcloud is such a great way to share audio and keep connected to the internet. I’m impressed with the skills I am requiring from each new assignment; and the audio editing and recording is by far my favorite.

Posted by: annabrader | October 18, 2010

Hearing Instead of Seeing: Audio Journalism

I have always had passion for audio journalism. Listening to NPR since I was little has helped me find a special connection to hearing a story instead of reading one in a newspaper. Learning how to use audio in a story will help me become a better journalist and can enhance the aspect of catching the little details in a scene by how it sounds. In the assignment for this week I found three audio stories that to me express the direction I want to go as a journalist as well as what is a great example for everyone who aspires to learn audio recording.

Living in a city such as New York gives a journalist thousands upon thousands of stories to cover. The New York Times did an audio slide show about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Every story has a piece of unique history and is a glimpse into someone’s life.

 The one that caught my eye was a story titled The Walker. Everything thing that the women interviewed said, I identified with. It was a connection that could not have been experienced if it was read from a newspaper. Hearing her voice, while hearing her inflections, helped me visualize her experiences.  

Maggie Nesciur, who is the narrator of the story, is a simple subject for a simple story; yet her story sounds novelette because of the audio. Thanks to the interviewer, with how she put the pictures and audio together,  it is executed very well. The only thing I didn’t like about the piece was I thought the need for ambient noise for transitions or behind the narration. When talking about walking around the country or city I feel the need for sounds of the surroundings would have improved the story ten-fold.

The next audio story is from NPR and the story is perfect for those (like myself) who are journalism majors. The topic is What’s the Point of Journalism School Anyway? 

When I tell my friends, family, or strangers what my major is, the response is “You know that is a dying profession?” Without hesitation I knew all of this going into journalism, so why should I stay? This story shows the viewpoint of students and faculty from USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism and how they see the future of journalism. The use of ambient noise, various quotes from more than one source helps this story’s impact on listeners. 

Hearing the harsh reality of going into journalism doesn’t help the concern but motivates me to challenge it from the hearing the problems. Understanding that it is not just myself who is feeling anxious from my choice of major empowers me to move forward. I liked hearing experiences such as my own as well as hearing professionals give advice on the topic.

The last audio story instantly got my attention because of the title. First Contact, involves instances with first experiences ranging from sound, girls and even aliens. This story is done with not only the interviews, but ambient noise and music. It surrounds you, involving you in the story.  Instead of just an audio interview, you become part of the story.

It felt like you were in a movie; it created a picture in your minds-eye. I loved how the story weaved all sorts of audio, humor, and sound bites in each interview. Each story connected into one another because of the smooth transitions with the audio. To me this is a perfect example of when an audio story is done right.

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