Class Agenda – Wednesday, Oct. 4


No class on Monday because it’s Columbus Day.

In class on Wednesday next week, we’ll be doing a script-writing exercise. Scripts for the radio piece will be due Wednesday, October 18.

Final produced radio story will be due Monday, October 30.

Fundamentals of Audio Reporting

Photo by Flickr user kqedquest

Here are some basics you’ll want to keep in mind as you set out to collect sound:

Choose your environment wisely. Be aware of your surroundings. If you interview someone under a subway track, your recording will be impossible to understand. Pick a relatively quiet space. A little background noise is fine and adds atmosphere – except for music. Music makes editing difficult, so avoid it if possible.

Check your batteries beforehand. It’s a real bummer when you start interviewing someone and realize you only have ten minutes of life left on your recorder or phone.

Cell phones off. Yours and theirs. If you’re using your phone to record, make sure it’s set to silent.

Don’t forget your nats. Natural sound is a crucial element of any audio piece. Think about what sounds will most effectively place your listener in the scene. Footsteps, dishes clinking, phones ringing. Don’t be afraid to get in there and get close. Music is fine to use as a nat sound.

Ask open-ended questions. Yes or no questions won’t give you good long responses filled with usable quotes.

Get close, but not too close. Putting a mic right up against someone’s mouth can result in popping and crackling sounds on the recording. Make sure to test your equipment so you know roughly where to hold your recorder for optimal sound quality.

Ask your question, then shut up. Active listening is a fantastic skill for a journalist to have, but if you keep murmuring “Uh-huh,” “Yeah,” and “Sure,” while they’re answering your questions, you won’t be able to use the material. Stick with smiling and nodding.

Using a Zoom. Set it to XY. Bring backup AA batteries if you’re not conducting the interview in a place where you can plug it in. Hold it 1-2 feet from the interviewee’s mouth. Don’t let them hold it. Use the handle to reduce handling noise. Highly recommended to you use your own headphones to monitor sound levels while you’re recording. Please format the card before you return it. MENU –> SD CARD –> FORMAT

Pitch Workshop

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