Monday, November 17, 2008

Can you hear me now?

One of the most effective ways of giving any story life is to give it sound, or audio. By doing so, readers become listeners and are more likely to understand the message or meaning behind the story. One of my favorite web sites that uses audio is "Living on Earth" (LOE). A non-profit organization affiliated with Harvard University, LOE strives to provide "sound journalism for the planet." What I enjoy most about LOE is how host Steve Curwood uses sources from around the country to get different perspectives on many environmental issues. Recently there have been a few guest hosts to raise good questions.

After listening to quite a few podcasts, I understand how online audio files work to help a web site. One thing journalists can do to make a better podcast would be to make sure there is no background noise to distract the listener such as breathing on the microphone or an ambulance passing nearby. Another way to make audio better for web sites is to not make them too long. Like a long story, a long audio file can cause the audience to tune out instead of in. One thing I will aim to fix in my own audio making is the sound levels of the parties involved. For example, during my own practice using audio with classmate Sabrina Lindsey, I found she was more soft spoken than I had been. During the editing process, I found many parts when she spoke were hard to hear. This was my fault as I should have realized this before and moved the microphone accordingly. I feel moving the microphone closer to Sabrina would have been a simple fix to the problem.

To listen to a podcast of the most recent Living on Earth radio show click here. If you would like to listen to the show as it airs tune into WYPR 88.1 FM on Sunday afternoons from 2-3P.M.

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