Workshop for Journalism Students

Posts tagged ‘audio’

Soundslides tips & tricks

Download Soundslides –> here (Windows or Mac).

  • Soundslides: A Brief Introduction — this is a short summary of some of the things we discussed in class. It includes links to a few other helpful resources.
  • Examples — explore some good examples of what kind of stories you can tell with Soundslides (links).
  • Soundslides Storytelling — watch this PowerPoint to learn how to think about the story you want to tell.

As we discussed in class, if you want to try Soundslides, it is free to download. You can add any photos and any music track and just experiment. Remember to SAVE and EXPORT after you have finished editing the project.

To tell a real journalism story, you must record and edit an interview. Do not be lazy and use music.

A good journalist will write a caption for EACH photo. Include the names of everyone in the photo. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct!

NEW: One student encountered a problem with her audio in Soundslides. Before import, the audio file sounded okay. After import to Soundslides, the audio is bad — high and squeaky, sounding strange. This happens because the project settings (in the editing program) are not correct. Please read about how to solve this problem. The audio file must be 16-bit and have a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.

Audacity: Tutorial handout

During the workshop on Friday, I mentioned that I have a handout or instruction sheet for Audacity. It will be helpful if you forgot to take notes during class.

Here is the link:

Super-Fast Guide to Audio Editing (PDF, 290 KB)

This handout covers everything I showed during our workshop and also some additional things.

On page 5, it shows how to convert a stereo file to mono. This cuts the file size in half (very good for Web downloads).

You can find more audio resources here.

There is a second handout for Audacity. It shows how to edit multiple audio tracks in one project. This is good for adding natural sound, or combining more than one interview.

Here is the link:

Editing Audio with Audacity (Part 2) (PDF, 181 KB)

How to convert audio files

When we record an interview with a digital audio recorder, or with HP, the file is saved in some format. If the file format is MP3 or WAV, then it can be opened in Audacity.

If the file is another format, such as AMR (BlackBerry) or WMA, we must convert it first, and then open it in Audacity.

I like to use a free converter program called Switch. You can download it (Windows or Mac) here.

One of the Year 2 students recommended Format Factory (also free; Windows only).

When you convert the file, please convert it to WAV format. This makes a large, uncompressed file — best for editing. After you have the WAV file, open it in Audacity for editing.

After you have finished editing in Audacity, you will export an MP3 file. The MP3 format is compressed, making a better file for the Web because the download time is faster.

Links to today’s examples

These are the five examples of engaging journalism that were shown during today’s meeting:

  1. I Hope So Too: Flash, audio, database
  2. Los Angeles Homicides: database, maps, blog
  3. Tracking US Airways Flight 1549: Flash, animation, graphics
  4. WNYC Radio snow map: SMS + map + voice messages + radio
  5. William and the Windmill: creative video editing

Explore them!