Online Journalism

Guest speaker: Mark Stencel

April 14th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Mark Stencel

Mark Stencel’s journalism career began around 1995 where he worked at the Washington Post for 12 years (9 focusing in online things), The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He currently works for NPR (National Public Radio), has been there for just under 2 years and is the digital managing editor.

NPR is a non-profit organization, so money comes mainly from individual donations. It is very news-centralized and one of the largest, most-consumed news organizations in North America with around 20-30 million listeners. They are being challenged, though, by people who are in their offices not wanting to listen to or the radio.

NPR has used the iPhone and Android markets to expand to listeners through those capabilities. NPR staff also take pictures for their website which show you pictures. The radio’s job is to paint that picture for the listener.

It is very difficult to work with three mediums (radio, text, video) so NPR typically just does text and radio.

Historically, NPR has produced great audio. Now, they have also added great text to their capabilities.

Don’t cover events, cover implications.

At the Post, he tried to bring talk radio into text form through interactivity with the audience.

On NPR’s Facebook page, they take stories that never got huge amounts of views on their site and add them onto their Facebook page so it can receive more views.

Twitter is also a very dynamic form of social media for NPR. Andy Carvin and others tweet some stories for their followers and turned the reporting process inside-out to show everyone how it’s done.

These social mediums are great ways to tell people what is going on air soon. It also helps show how interactive the hosts are.

NPR’s job is to cover news and break it in every possible way whether its on the radio, blogging, etc.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

Mark Stencel

April 12th, 2011 · Comments Off on Mark Stencel

Mark Stencel

Mark Stencel

Mark Stencel came to speak to my class:

  • Doesn’t use the term new media because he’s been working with it for 16 years
  • Gave us an intro on NPR.
  • Showed us his blog
  • NPR’s national audience on the radio is growing when may other outlets are losing theirs. They’re doing a lot of experimenting with trying to find the right way to tell a story to their audience.
  • But their problem is a lack of online audience. They hired a lot of print journalists to do site.
  • Social media is one way they are trying to reach out to followers
  • Ethics are important to think about now so when you’re confronted with something then you know what to do.

Tags: Comm361 · social media · Student Blog Posts

Briggs Chapter 7

March 29th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Chapter 7

Making Audio Journalism Visible

Audio Journalism? It works when using a few tools like a microphone or recorder to make full-featured segments that sound like radio epidodes. You can distribute them as podcosts to gain an audience!


  • Presence
  • Emotions
  • Atmosphere

How to use this audio? 

  • Reporter overview
  • Podcasts
  • Audio slide show
  • Breaking news

National Public Radio has set this standerd. NPR’s success stems from the connection to the audience its reporters and show hosts are able to make. Personal wins the audience.

Getting started with audio is easy, but improvising is not good enough when it comes time to add voice to a multimedia project. Investing time to plan and prepare your voice contribution will make your effort worthwhile.

Getting ready for prime time! You need to:

  • Record interviews
  • Choose location
  • Gather natural sound
  • Prepare your subject
  • Watch what you sau
  • Try delayed recording
  • Do voice-overs

Now edit, edit, edit your piece! And publish!

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Chapter 7: Making Audio Journalism Visible

March 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 7: Making Audio Journalism Visible

Some might say audio journalism is not as exciting as video or Web journalism, and will die along with newspaper. Despite this belief, because of its distinct taste and unique content delivery, audio journalism is strong and will be strong as long as there are listeners who seek its essence. For example, 14 million downloads podcasts from NPR and visits its website every month. The key to success is encouraging show hosts and reporters to engage personally to their audience, therefore allowing the audience to enjoy the intimacy with them.

Jackie Martinez with a microphone 01

Image via Creative Commons

Advantages of audio journalism:

  1. Flexible to work with many different devices — file size is usually smaller than video files
  2. Opens up imaginations for the listeners
  3. Can be consumed while commuting
  4. A reporter can literally bring readers to the story
  5. Tone of voices, expressions, intonation and pauses can be reserved
  6. Atmosphere of the scene can be brought to the audience
  7. Podcast — Episodes can be uploaded without establishing difficult schedule
  8. Breaking news can be packaged in a quick audio report

How can you use audio journalism? The recipe may vary depending on the goal and the subject. However, generally audio journalism can be used with the following:

  • Interviews
    • Choose your location — pick a place that’s quite and has good acoustics
    • Gather natural sound — search for sounds that will help describe the setting
    • Prepare your subject
      • What part of the story will audio play?
      • Who is the audience?
      • How long will the interview be?
      • What kinds of questions will be asked?
      • How much editing will be done?
    • Watch what you say — keep quite while the subject is talking
    • Delayed recording — ask the subject to repeat their answer
    • Mark the best spots
  • Voice-overs
    • Write a script — be prepared
    • Warm up — practice
    • Find operative words — words that convey the story
    • Keep it conversational
  • Natural or environmental sound
  • imported sound clips, including music

Devices range from cheap compact recorders to $500 recorder with stereo recording. It is recommended to use a recorder that can upload its files directly to the computer so that the recordings can be stored securely. Also, use telephone recorder for over-the-phone interviews. It is also recommended to record the interviews in WAV format, which is an uncompressed format, so that tweaks that are made after the recording will not drastically reduce the quality of the sound. Input volume level is suggested to be set at about 70 percent of its possible level.

For the better recording for quiet subjects, external microphone can be used to amplify the sound. Headphones can be used to examine the quality of the recording as the recording is being done. While recording, make a note for each 10 minutes of the recording in the notebook. This will save time for browsing through the notes and recordings during editing.


Image via Wikipedia


MP3 is the most balanced audio format that is widely used by many different media players, while conserving high quality sound with small file size. Widely used professional audio editing programs are: Avid’s Pro Tools, Adobe Audition and Sony’s Sound Forge. However, for the most of users, free audio editing programs such as Audacity should suffice their needs.

Besides cropping and cutting pieces out of audio, Audacity offers a variety of effects:

  • Fade: A gradual increase or decrease in volume of audio
  • Cross-fading: A mix of fades with one track level increasing with another decreasing
  • Establishing music: Use of song clips to set tone
  • Segue: Smooth transition between tracks
  • Transition: Connecting different tracks
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    Tags: Comm361 · multimedia · Student Blog Posts