Saturday, October 3, 2015



For this week, we will:
  • Discuss and review examples of the third reporting assignment -- a digital audio production.
  • Train on the basics of digital audio editing using Audacity
  • Begin work on the third reporting assignment (digital audio production) - due Oct. 22
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 11: Interviewing
    • 12: Writing for Radio and TV News 

Audio Assignment - Create a two-minute edited audio news report or podcast

One of the basic multimedia skills that Web editors/producers use is audio editing. As you strengthen your technical skills for audio editing, you can use this knowledge to produce your own audio news segments, podcasts and even narrated slide shows. The same skills are also transferable to video editing (which shares a similar "timeline-based" interface).


Write and produce an audio news or podcast production. Duration should be between one and two minutes in length. You may complete this production alone or with up to one other person on your team.

Tell a news or feature story with a production that includes a narration and/or integration of audio interview segments from at least two sources.


You should include music or other production elements to bring the story to life. Some examples of existing productions are at the end of this post.

Use Audacity or another editing program to edit and "mixdown" this production into a single audio file that will be posted on your genre-specific blog.You can use a file-hosting service (such as SoundCloud) to create an embeddable version of your audio production when completed.

Please note that SoundCloud supports uploading of audio files in these formats: AIFF, WAVE (WAV), FLAC, ALAC, OGG, MP2, MP3, AAC, AMR, and WMA files.

Audio Reporting Case Studies

In preparation for your own original audio report for this class, you might want to listen to some examples from professionals and even previous students for inspiration.

Here are some examples of strong audio-only reporting pieces by professional journalists:
"This American Life" recently aired multiple audio segments detailing the story of Dr. Benjamin Gilmer and the dark secrets he uncovered as he assumed new duties in a small, rural town.
BBC Radio correspondent Kevin Connolly filed an impressive audio report on a British Libyan who was "willing to die" for his country's freedom. Listen to the following brief audio report and notice the power and impact of the interviewing techniques that are used to bring out powerful quotes and comments. Also notice that this particular interview has very few noticeable edits, yet the interview itself remains impactful.
In previous semesters, many COMJOUR 333 students have created their own small audio reporting segments. Some examples are below:

Audacity Tutorial

A very common program used for audio editing is Audacity. This is a free "open-source" program that can be used on either PC or MAC platforms.

Unless you are familiar with and/or prefer another audio editing program, it is recommended that you use Audacity to complete this week's audio reporting assignment.

Students will get basic training on how to record and edit in Audacity in COM 210. However, I've recorded a very basic refresher tutorial that shows how to record, import audio, conduct basic edits and export in Audacity. Take a look if you need a reminder on how to use Audacity!

For a more comprehensive lesson on how to use Audacity, please visit this fantastic tutorial (provided courtesy of kdmcBerkeley):
Here are some supplemental links and tutorials:


If you have recorded an audio file and wish to import it into Audacity, then first check to see what file format you have saved your audio recording in. (Note: Many cell phones and apps use different file formats -- so there is no guarantee that your file will work without it first being converted into a compatible format.)

If your file type for importing audio is not supported or working, you may need to install the free FFmpeg encoder.

Digital Audio Editing - Sample Sounds Files for Practice Editing

For practice, you can download some sample .mp3 files (right-click and save):