Audio Journalism for 3/6

Audio (read Chapter 7 in Journalism Next)

Audio has characteristics that can’t be matched by other forms of media:

Presence – you can bring readers to the story.

Emotions – tone of voice, expressions, intonations and pauses enhance the message

Atmosphere – natural sound – the sound that’s happening around you as you report – helps pull the listener in close. Weather, anything that’s happening in that particular setting.

NPR sets the standard in audio journalism. – creates “driveway moments” and connects the listener to the story. Listen to this story about Julio Diaz – you have to listen to the very end!

Here’s an example of an audio interview that includes natural sound. Click on the audio link in this Mindy McAdams’ assignment.

To Record:

Location – choose a quiet location for the interview

Room Tone – grab several seconds of room tone, an empty room, if there is a refrigerator clicking, the editing program can identify and take it out.

Interview – do a pre-interview first, then ask specific questions to record, ask questions (that will be cut out) but make sure that when the subject is talking you keep quiet, no I see, really, hum, when you hold the mic, you add noise, use the stand if you can, not more than 5 minutes – you will be reducing to 2 minutes

Natural sound – is there anything that can go with the sound, skateboarder, chef kitchen sounds

To use a Zoom H2N:

Here’s a tutorial on using the recorder.

Edit in Audacity (or Garageband):

This is a free program that you can download from the Internet. It is very important that you set up the preferences correctly. They have to be set up BEFORE you open your file in Audacity.

There are multiple tutorials on Audacity under this site’s Helpful Links.

To practice with Audacity, I will email you two files, one of natural sound and one of the interview.

Next week’s assignment:

Audio Interview – Tell me a story about…

            When your subject had an embarrassing moment

Accomplishing a difficult task

The moment your subject realized what your passion is

How someone’s kindness/compassion impacted your subject for life

(I am open to other suggestions, but please check first)

Besides the story, make sure your subject identifies himself/herself and answers who, what, where, when, why and how of his story. You will have to prompt him/her with questions.

1. You will choose an SNC student, staff or faculty member for an audio interview. Choose someone who has a story to tell. (You may need a pre-interview to ensure that the story is interesting.) Please tell your subject that this interview will probably be posted on

2. Check out one of the H2n audio recorders or other recorders from Tanya to conduct your interview. I know you can do it with your iPhone, but I would like you to have the experience with a true audio recorder. You can only have it for two days, so others can use it too.

3. Record your interview in a quiet place. Make sure your subject states his or her full name and major if a student or subject matter if professor. Basically name and identification.

4. Either install Audacity on your laptop via the instructions, use the software in the DART lab to edit your interview or use GarageBand. It should not have any of your voice on the final audio file – only your subject. It should be between 60 to 120 seconds long – no more or less! Make sure you know the DART lab hours (they are posted on the door).

5. Once you are finished, upload the interview to the Eagle’s Eye SoundCloud account. SoundCloud  user name-  password: eagleseye

Congratulations! You have made your first audio interview!


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