Tag Archives: audio

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links For June 9, 2013

loislanePhoto courtesy JD Hancock

Lois Lane Isn’t Dead, She’s Reinvented: How Journalists Can Adapt to the Changing News Sphere | Engage

Young journalist Stephanie Schaefer discusses how reporters of any age can stay passionate, and keep their careers viable, in today’s greatly altered media landscape. She encourages writers to study and leverage how readers are engaging with content these days (mobile/social media), to learn how to craft or collaborate with others to create integrated, multimedia/multisensory story experiences, and to retain a passion for storytelling. I couldn’t agree more with her points, and her optimism is refreshing without seeming naive.

A new kind of activist journalism: When finding solutions are part of journalists’ job, too

For old-school journos, this headline on the Nieman Journalism Lab blog is going to sound like heresy – until you consider that all the public affairs reporting done over the years is generally provided with the intent of making readers lives more functional by providing a comprehensive look at pressing problems and possible solutions, in addition to examining when a system is broken. Jan Schaffer, executive director of American University’s J-Lab, argues that with the changing business models for new media outlets, she is also seeing a change in how these outlets view their role in the community when it comes to presenting options to the status quo or encouraging particular solutions:

“To be sure, advocacy is still a dirty word for legacy journalists, unless it’s an editorial-board crusade. But activating examples are rising from both inside and outside mainstream media. …

“From my perch, I see many indie news startups embrace what I call more of a “soft-advocacy” comfort level with news. ClearHealthCosts.com is partnering with WNYC to map widely disparate costs of mammograms in the New York region. PlanPhilly has not only spotlighted the enormous problem of delinquent property taxes in Philadelphia, it reported on how the city might fix its broken system. When Catalyst Chicago reported there were too many empty seats in the city’s pre-school programs, it didn’t stop there. It worked with local community organizations to produce a series of forums on early childhood education. A year later, nearly all the pre-school slots were filled.”

Overall, a very interesting look at where journalism is headed, and how embracing this evolving role might also help make the new ventures more profitable/viable, as well.

What journalists need to know about ‘content marketing’

I’ll be honest – I could do with out the scare quotes in this Poynter.org blog post headline. I found them unbelievably off-putting, but this post by Shane Snow, who creates sponsored content for clients through his firm Contently, is actually a very solid guide for journalists who want to/are working both sides of the editorial fence. I am in complete agreement with Shane’s remarks about the need to retain a highly calibrated ethical compass:

“With the exception, perhaps, of independence, branded content ought to abide by the same principles as journalism: honesty and fairness, accountability and transparency. And because the goal of brand journalism is to create a favorable impression of a brand in order to further various business goals, disclosure must be added to its list of ethics principles. …

“It’s all about not deceiving readers. Brand publishers should make clear who is behind a piece of content and why. Journalists who write for brands need to ensure their clients understand the ethical reasons for such disclosure.”

If you’re drawn to the increasing number of good-paying gigs in content marketing, but are wary of tarnishing your reputation in traditional media, you need to read this piece.

What Public Radio Can Teach Nonprofits About Effective Storytelling

Get ready for a new way to engage with workshop/presentation content: this Storify version of a talk presented by Will Coley, nonprofit staff member turned public radio evangelist and Minnesota Public Radio reporter Sasha Aslanian includes an embedded slideshow on Prezi (which sort of blows PowerPoint out of the water …), live-tweets from the talk, and text summaries of their remarks. You can also access their radio example, an interview with Valencia, a local Twin Cities teen experiencing homelessness.

The thing I found most useful, as an aspiring audio producer, is the list of advantages to using audio for nonprofit storytelling. One that’s right at the top is that audio provides greater anonymity for subjects who may be in situations which call for confidentiality and privacy, while retaining a sense of intimacy with listeners. Another advantage for audio is that it is far cheaper to produce.

If your organization is thinking about multimedia storytelling, and they seem to have overlooked audio-only content, read/view/listen to this post and you can advocate for adding public-radio style audio storytelling to the mix.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for October 15, 2012

Photo courtesy SXC.

Longform Startups, New York and Beer | The FJP

Michael Cervieri of the Future Journalism Project interviews Noah Rosenberg, founder of Narratively, an innovative online/mobile start-up website that’s devoted to covering New York City in a fresh way. Rosenberg explains what the site is and how it works:

Narratively is a digital platform devoted to original, true, in-depth and untold stories. … Each week Narratively explores a different theme about New York and publishes just one story a day, told in the most appropriate medium for each piece. So, Monday might yield a longform essay, followed by a short documentary film on Tuesday, a photo essay on Wednesday, and an animation on Thursday. Fridays, we run a section called the “Park Bench” where we curate meaningful responses we’ve generated from our audience throughout the week, and we publish behind-the-scenes elements from our stories; the “Park Bench” is all about featuring different perspectives on each week’s theme.

He also explains the relaxed approach to editorial meetings that’s alluded to in the post’s title – and I have to say, this sounds good to me!

We like to refer to our weekly editorial gatherings as more “soiree” and less “meeting.” They’re very informal affairs that are as much about story-generation and feedback as they are about forming bonds within our passionate group of contributors. I’ve always loved bringing new people together and it’s been so rewarding to help foster friendships and connections all in the name of good times and great storytelling. The beer and the bar snacks are just a backdrop to some energizing discussions about important stories that would otherwise remain untold.

How Journalists are Using Soundcloud | Read Write Web

John Paul Titlow explains how radio journalists and many other writers are using Soundcloud, a social media tool that allows anyone with an account to share sounds with other users. Radio producers and podcasters are expanding their audience with Soundcloud; content experts such as Robert Scoble are publishing interviews with thought leaders, and The Huffington Post is using the service to crowdsource coverage of political robo-calls readers are receiving this election season. I am just scratching the surface of what Soundcloud can do, so this story was an inspiring prompt to dig deeper.

Best Book Editors on Twitter – GalleyCat

Jason Boog offers a list of editors, from a variety of genres and specialties, who have a presence on Twitter. It’s a great resource if you’re a writer or editor looking to make friends with social media folks who tweet, and the bios/intros for the editors on the list are instructive in and of themselves, in terms of how to be eye-catching in your introductory statement.

The Millions : Where We Write
The Millions, an online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture, asked its readers who are writers to send them photos of where they worked. The photos are both a little astonishing (to me) and reassuring: from the writer who uses a guest bed to create a “writing nest,” to the scribe who created her own improvised standing desk to the gentleman who writes on a Royal manual typewriter and edits and transcribes on a Mac, each set up is quirky, individualized and tells a story about the storyteller.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for September 24, 2010

Photo courtesy Julia Freeman-Woolpert via SXC.

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words « Steve McCurry’s Blog
An amazing photo essay with lots of shots of people around the world interacting with the written word in various ways. Beautiful!

The powers and problems of the audio slideshow « Adam Westbrook
A British journalist discusses the pros and cons of audio slideshows as an online media format and provides links to some good examples.

AP Begins Crediting Bloggers as News Sources
From The Next Web. In a major shift in policy, the Associated Press released an announcement to its affiliates that bloggers could and should be sited as news sources in AP stories.

3 iPad Apps that Reinvent News Reading
Jennifer Van Grove, writing on Mashable.com, reports on Pulse News, Flipboard and FLUD, 3 iPad apps that allow readers to customize their media reading experience and share information on social networks.

The Future of Social Media in Journalism
Vadim Lavrusik outlines some very provocative, but possibly accurate scenarios for how journalism will be affected by the evolution of social media and how it is impacting journalism.

Storyful uses professional curators to gather social and web content and produce a story out of it.


Can Twitter Make You a Better Editor?
Erin Everhart, a marketing associate for 352 Media Group and a freelance journalist, argues on the Journalistics blog that Twitter has forced writers to become better at editing their own work — especially when that work has a character count of 140!

Confessions of a Recovering Bookaholic
Victoria Vargas, author of the Smaller Living blog, discusses applying her philosophy of simpler living to her passion for collecting books. Good tips, and the comment stream includes a variety of solutions and perspectives on the importance of books in our lives.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Writer’s Guide to Podcasting

Photo courtesy of SXC.

With this post, I’m starting a new series introducing readers to new media tools and venues they may not be familiar with. For the most part, I’ll stick with things that I’m familiar with, but a few of them may require me to learn along with you!

Podcasting is something that I’ve become a lot more familiar with in the past year. I suggested and organized a podcasting series at my day job, and I was offered the chance to co-produce a podcast series with a fellow blogger, Dee Wilcox of Creative Perch.

Why do a podcast?
It already takes quite a bit of work to be a good nonfiction writer, why bother diving into podcasting, too? Here are several compelling reasons, some practical, some philosophical:

  • If you want to work in the future, you will need to understand how a story can be presented across a variety of media–from print to audio to video to social media. Newspaper journalists are learning this one the hard way. Traditional journalism skills now form the core of a writer or reporter’s education–not the whole thing. Podcasting can be done on the cheap and is an easy way to demonstrate you know multimedia.
  • Podcasting improves your presentation skills. The days when you could depend on your portfolio to speak for itself are over. Journalists, particularly print journalists, are not renowned for their self-promotion skills or for their ability to connect with a live audience. Monica O’Brien, writing on her Social Pollination blog, makes the case that producing a podcast that you star in on-air can help you become a more spell-binding presenter:

“Don’t get me wrong, I can get through a presentation with a little practice and a powerpoint.  Most people can, but most also have plenty of room for improvement in their presentations … After some thought, I have concluded that the best way for someone to improve their presentation skills is through new media outlets, specifically a podcast or vodcast.

“The learning curve is steep, but worth the investment; in my observation you can make huge improvements on your presentation skills within 3 to 4 ‘casts.  How?  Well, obviously the practice helps, but there’s something that sets a podcast/vodcast apart from just doing lots of speeches – instant feedback … That’s what a podcast or vodcast allows for, which is why your presentation skills will improve more after a few ’casts than after an entire semester of Required Speech Class 101.”

  • Podcasting allows you to test market your ideas and stories. Britt Bravo, presenting at the February 2009 San Francisco Writers Conference, asserts that podcasting and blogging are ideal vehicles for gathering valuable marketing information about which topics and angles are popular among core members of their audience. In a book publishing environment where authors are expected to build their own “platform” before their book comes out, knowing who likes your work and will return again and again to it is crucial. Who knows? If they like it that much, they might even pay for it.
  • Podcasting forces you to write for the ear! Books that focus on the writer’s craft constantly discuss the need to read your work aloud. Poets, I’ve found, often make crackerjack reporters because they understand rhythm and meter in writing and use it to good effect in their writing. When you produce a podcast, all you have is the spoken word–yours and those of your interviewees–to carry your story along. (You can also use “wild” sound to tell a story, but that’s another post.) My first attempts at interviewing in a podcast required MASSIVE editing of my remarks afterwards–my sources did OK, but I realized that I tend to ask 3 questions at once, instead of one tightly focused one. In an e-interview, this might work, but when replayed out loud, it’s chaos! Later, when I was recording an intro for a podcast interview, I realized that the 1 paragraph “frame” I had created for my program, while it looked good on paper, was impossible for me to record without falling all over myself. Many rewrites and “takes” later, I had a simpler, less tongue-twisting version. Podcasting will make you a more ruthless editor of your own work–for the simple reason that you will have to listen to it over and over and over!
  • It’s possible to make money podcasting. You won’t necessarily be able to retire to your dream mansion, but plenty of people have made money directly or indirectly from their podcasts. Mashable had a great post late last year about 9 business models for podcasting and provided real-life examples for each. In an era when entrepreneurial journalism is on the rise, being able to figure out how to monetize the content you’re producing is a very good skill to have.

Getting started

OK, so you’d like to try to produce a podcast. One of the advantages writers have over many other podcasters is that we’re comfortable with interviews and many of us have a feel for how to organize content, either on the fly or via post-interview editing. You’ll want to lean on those skills heavily as you plan your first podcast.

Laying out the process step-by-step is beyond the scope of this post, but here are a few resources that can help you get there.

How to Create Your Own Podcast – A Step-by-Step Tutorial
About.com Guide Corey Deitz walks would-be podcasters through the basics of podcasting in detail.

How to Create Your Own Podcast With No Technical Knowledge
Deitz calls this guide, updated late last year, “Podcasting for Dumb Dumbs.” But it really just strips out the technical know-how and shows you some easy ways to focus on content and let web-based vendors help you record and produce your show.

Editing for Story
Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer of the Speaking of Faith radio show, discusses the art of editing audio to tell true stories on the SOF Observed blog.

CBC Dispatches (Part 2): composing with sound
Second installment of a 2-part series on the Nieman Storyboard blog about the art of radio documentary storytelling. Wonderful tips and examples to help the reader understand how to make the most of the audio medium.

CDC – Podcast Best Practices
Ideas for effective podcasting from the Centers for Disease Control. Who would have thought a government agency would have such good advice on new media?

Podcasting Toolbox: 70+ Podcasting Tools and Resources
This Mashable.com’s guide is fairly old (2007) but so comprehensive it’s worth checking out.

10 Podcasts for Writers Worth Listening To
Dustin Wax of the Writer’s Technology Companion outlines 10 podcasts that either feature writers or are of use to writers who plan to podcast.

Tagged , , , , , , ,