Read & Respond – Week 13

If it wasn’t clear before, I haven’t assigned you any online readings this week because you’ve got two chapters from Briggs to read already. Address these in adequate detail in your response – how does what he has to say on the audio/visual side of blogging inform your work? It’s our last week of Briggs readings, so it wouldn’t hurt to provide some overview on the text as well; I take your feedback into account in my book selection.

Okay, there’s just one more thing. We’ll have grad student/course alumnus/broadcast jack-of-all-trades Corey Preece in class this week discussing his German travels last year, courtesy of (*ahem*) this course. To get up to speed, have a look through this blog, which consists of posts he made/facilitated while over there, and come prepared with questions.

Your responses (say it with me, now) are due as a comment posted to this blog by noon Tuesday, April 10. Even though the only readings are assigned in the syllabus, I thought I’d give you an extra day just because I like you.


16 Responses to Read & Respond – Week 13

  1. The quick summary of these chapters is telling a good story. I learned a lot about what Briggs discussed in these chapters in my TVJ 386 (Beginning TV Reporting) class. We always strived to get strong natural sound to make listeners and viewers feel like they were actually present at the locations we were reporting from. We would always strive to get powerful, emotional sound bites from our interviewees because they evoke more emotion than we can (as reporters) in our words. Now Briggs discusses holding an interview with someone and then turning the recording device on and re-asking the questions. From what I’ve been taught, this is a bad idea. Interviewees often give their best answers the first time around because they’re more honest and don’t have the options to revise what they say (making it sound rehearsed).
    Also discussed was the fact that viewers don’t care about how bad the quality of videos are, as long as the content is good. I would definitely say that the audio is a huge component of this. I’ll watch bad video quality, but I cannot stand bad audio quality.

  2. Briggs talks about audio journalism and its importance. While I agree that NPR does some amazing pieces,the whole medium that has certain advantages, as well as disadvantages. I know way too many people who have a podcast and say “listen to my podcast!” It’s like saying “follow me on Twitter!” Not untl I think it’s worthwhile, and quite frankly, I haven’t found any podcasts to be worth my while. But thats also not how I’m used to getting my information.

    Briggs packed a lot, and I mean a lot, into this book, so not much goes into great detail. Instead, it touches a little on everything. A lot of the editing tips are helpful, but unless you’re really familiar with the programs, they’re going to go over your head. The delayed recording portion though goes beyond me. I would never do that. That seems staged to me. Questionable ethics there.

    Then he talks about video. This, to me, seems to be the way journalism is heading. We’re constantly hearing about new media and multimedia. The five-shot sequences is a good tip, and if you’re blogging and trying to explain something, this is probably also helpful. You’ll see people show a screencap, then a close up of the menu, etc. Getting variety is key here because you don’t want to be boring. Just like in blogging, you have to mix up the content, some text, some photos, maybe some audio, etc., so it’s not bland.

    I actually just blogged about some basic video tips for WV Uncovered (the blog will post tomorrow) that has a lot of the same tips. Again, I really enjoyed this book as a general overview. It’ll be one I’ll hold onto. For more in-depth looks into any of these chapters though, you’ll have to go elsewhere.

  3. greerhughes says:

    One of my favorite mediums is radio. While Briggs argues that audio has always posed a challenge to every reporter, knowing how to use the lack of visuals to your advantage can prove to be a powerful thing. This American Life does this every week and one of the best episodes they did (obviously in my opinion) covered a busy rest stop outside New York City on a Memorial Day weekend. The story contains presence, emotions, and atmosphere – 3 things that Briggs says can’t be matched by other forms of media. Ira Glass stands outside the entrance in the middle of the night interviewing people walking in and out. The sound of the creaking of the automatic sliding doors puts the story into a context that wouldn’t be easy to imagine in a print story. It can be captured in a video, but it’s much easier to imagine yourself being there when you aren’t provided with any visuals. Briggs also says that unfortunately interviews are the most common form of audio journalism, but TAL is a different case. Their interviews with everyday Americans bring an aspect to every story that makes the characters feel relatable. It feels like every person Ira talks to is authentic.

    I know that they did a couple of seasons of a TV show version for Showtime, but I haven’t watched it because the purist in me wants to preserve the visual images my brain has conjured up from their radio stories over the years. I know the content is different, but to me, This American Life will always be a radio show.

  4. Mary Power says:

    I think the importance of an audio narrative is something that isn’t given as much attention as it deserves. Some of the best pieces of reporting I’ve experienced have been moments on NPR and on local talk radio. Sometimes I’m a little bummed out that my “broadcast journalism” degree hasn’t included a single class on radio broadcasting. Some of the greatest reporters and interviewers I have ever met have been radio DJ’s and reporters (my respect for Hoppy Kercheval could fill pages. But I digress). It’s depressing to see that most of the radio kids here at WVU have to rely only on U92 (which is a great learning tool and resource) for their basic training. I like this section on podcasting; it’s something I’ve been curious about and might take a stab at sometime this semester.
    I’m not sure how I feel about the tip to try delayed recording, but that’s because I’m always nervous the subject would not say the thing in as compelling a way as they might have the first time. I’d hate to miss an honest moment of reflection because I had my recorder off.
    As a broadcast major I couldn’t agree more with the fact that there are so many different aspects to video editing and that certain things are key to each project. Documentary shooting is different from news stories, which are different from online content, which is different from long expert interviews. It’s not difficult to learn each medium but it is important to do so to give your audience what they are looking for. I go to certain sites for compelling shots and sequences and other sites for long interviews of experts. You need to know your audience.
    When it comes to HD, I stay away. I’ve had issues with it and the compatibility with my version of FinalCut (I’m a lucky duck who has it on her computer.) My short affair with iMovie ended like most relationships, with both partners unhappy; it’s icon removed from my Dock and my projects lost or uneditable. But really is whatever works for the individual; my mother has become a champ at Windows Movie Maker.

  5. Anan Wan says:

    Actually I didn’t know much about the audio journalism before I read this chapter. I always thought radio is the only format of audio journalism, and it’s the favorite of my grandfather’s generation… But from Briggs, audio is as powerful as other types of journalism and also simple and flexible. My favorite idea from this chapters is that sound makes listeners to “see” more by their mind– their imagination and shows better atmosphere to the listeners. His ideas are so fresh to me! I think it’s more exciting to listen a football game than watch it from the TV. And now, with the combination of the new techs, mobile phones and Internet, audio journalism can be more useful either for the audiences or for the reporter overviews.

    Then, Briggs talked about the videos. Except the traditional video news on TV and Internet, self-produced videos on Youtube are also an interesting and easy way of telling story with video. Everyone has the access to do that with the easy-enough softwares on the computer and of course, the Internet. From my experience at the TV station when I was an intern there, I was not that into the TV programs there. The cameramen and the producers can determine what they want the audiences to see– the can control the perspectives of the audiences. I hope that only happens in China.

    For the whole book, I pretty like this one. It’s easy to read and understand than the other all-theories ones. It’s kind of a how-to book and has useful and detailed tips. I’ll keep it, although I might won’t have the chance to use them to interview others (I’m the one always been interviewed to).

  6. Matt Murphy says:

    In each chapter, Briggs gives a quick and dirty overview of why journalists (namely print journalists) should embrace audio and video reporting, and how to create stories in those mediums.

    Being in West Virginia Uncovered, I feel like I’ve already learned many of the basics that Briggs mentions, especially since it does seem that these chapters are directed at journalists with a print background (like me). Briggs also gives examples of how traditional print media outlets are beginning to intertwine audio and video reporting into print stories, such as The New York Times adding audio components to stories under the name, “Backstory.”

    That being said, I still am not convinced of Briggs’ assertion that audio and video are replacing text stories. The depth of information that can be obtained from audio and video, I would argue, is much less than information presented in a text story. In addition, how many people actually view news videos online? My guess is that news videos are viewed much less than text stories, in part because most videos necessitate having sound, which is an immediate no-view for many people (think about how much time people waste online at work – reading a text story is more discreet than watching and hearing a video or audio story.
    Yet, I do agree with Briggs that it is important for journalists to have some knowledge of audio and video – at least to have the skill, if nothing else. The methods and tips Briggs provides are great starting points, but it still does not replace hands-on experience gained in the field, nor does it replace a full course on those types of media.

  7. mwlfrd says:

    Briggs uses Chapters 7 and 8 almost as a guide for journalists to promote audio and video in their work. He points to NPR as being a growing news source with a focus on audio, and while that’s true, I think that audio journalism is only for those that seek it. I have never been interested in audio-only media and it would take convincing before I would turn to NPR or the radio as a news source. I can honestly say that I have never downloaded a podcast; I would much rather sit down and watch a video news story.
    I find video to be extremely important and attractive to news seekers that have the spare time to watch it. One problem that I see with audio and video media is that people want their news fast and are always on the move. For these people that want the quickest way to get the news, they would most likely read the news online rather than watch and listen to a podcast or video.

    His chapter on video did provide some information that I was not aware of since I have no experience in broadcast and I’m glad it was included. I think it’s important that all journalists have the skills and knowledge to use many forms of media.

    As for the entire book, I’ve enjoyed the chapters and think that it’s a good book. He always has great tips to provide to those learning skills in journalism.

  8. I’ve been very interested in audio journalism for quite some time now, and it’s something that I feel should be a lot more popular than it is. This may be because I’ve been a regular podcast listener for a few years now and spend a lot of my time at work listening to those, as opposed to reading or watching a video about something I’m interested in.

    Like Hogh said in Chapter 7, “if done right, audio can be as powerful in journalism as written articles or even TV and video.” I find that podcasting (again, I go to this because I listen to them a lot more than I do the radio … there are a few radio shows I’ll listen to, but not many) has the allure to consumers that audiobooks do. Quite frankly, I don’t always feel like sitting down and reading a story about something that happened yesterday, especially if I’m at work or doing classwork/studying and need to be doing something more productive with my time.

    Audio journalism gives you a chance to get your news about the things that interest you (for me, it’s sports) in a different way that is, in my opinion, just as effective when you do it right.

    I don’t think people are giving audio journalism the credit that it really deserves as a medium in this industry, and I wouldn’t be very surprised if before long podcasts and other forms of audio were common at a ton of different news organizations. It’s only going to grow.

    As for video, I’m not the biggest fan but like everyone else, I get a fair share of my news from visual journalism and when it’s done right it can be arguably the most effect medium to get a story across. It helps that you can see the emotion in video, rather than hearing it (audio) or just reading the words that the people said (print).

    I don’t have any idea about anything in broadcasting and editing video for the most part, so this chapter was an interesting mix of intriguing and confusing for me. It’s stuff that I would love to continue to gain more knowledge about because, as it is right now, the stuff about editing and things like that seem like a foreign language to me. But Briggs did a really good job of conveying it to me, and I definitely felt like I picked up some stuff that I’m going to look further into in the future.

  9. Briggs is a little too optimistic about the ease of audio journalism. Recording a fairly respectable podcast with a USB microphone is not difficult, but any sort of on the scene audio recording is way more challenging than buying a digital voice recorder and a microphone. Having recorded interviews in the field and done some video field work, I know that capturing high quality, useful audio can be very challenging.

    Beyond that, the costs of producing this sort of content are a bit greater than Briggs lets on. Yes, there is free software for editing audio, but if you want to scrub out audio imperfections you will probably need premium software. Hosting your audio is also a challenge. used to be a great free audio podcast service, but they recently dropped that support to focus on their video. To my knowledge, there is no free podcasting service left (if there is, please let me know), so hosting fees and bandwidth monitoring become a new issue.

    I have also done a fair amount of video podcasting, and Briggs’ brevity makes it sound a lot easier than it is. Shooting video is incredibly time consuming, and again the hardware and software necessary for producing quality video is expensive. Can you capture video on a flip cam and upload it to YouTube immediately? Well, yeah, but if you’re doing anything other than on the scene reporting or recording your buddy eat it on a skate board, fans will eventually demand better quality video and better quality audio.

    I agree that audio and video production is a good way to increase the quality of a blog, but Briggs is a bit misleading about the ease of incorporating these elements, and he also does not address the challenges of getting people to listen or watch your new content. Does CNN use audio and video clips? Yes. Can I remember the last time I bothered to listen or watch to either? Nope. Downloading a podcast is a big time commitment, and most of them are terrible. I don’t just try a new podcast on a whim. It takes a serious amount of hype for me to take the plunge. Just because you produce audio and video does not mean people will care.

  10. thecoalfist says:

    I think Briggs’ ideas about audio and visual journalism are interesting, helpful and…way too simplified.

    He makes useful points that I do not disagree with, saying that audio can bring different emotions and a different presence to a story that words cannot, but recording audio is a tricky, tricky task.

    I’ve dabbled in recording music, and there are people that spend a lifetime mastering the art (and this is in a monitored, controlled setting of a studio).

    In the field, interference and a variety of unwanted noise can make what should have been a great take useless, in my opinion. I personally would rather not listen to audio at all than listen to poorly recorded audio, so there is a tricky balance there that I think he needs to touch on.

    Doing it is one thing, but doing it right is the thing.

    (Let me step off my soapbox before I continue…)

    Video, like audio, is a two-headed beast in my opinion. Yes, it adds a depth to the story that words cannot, but, just like audio, bad video is much more harmful than no video at all.

    After briefly skimming over his video editing tips, it becomes clear how easy it would be to make a bad video. I didn’t understand half (90%) of what he talked about, so how could I incorporate it into a video I’m editing?

    I couldn’t.

    Does that make my video bad? I’m really not sure, but I think it’s useful to explore what people generally see as a good video and what people see as a poorly done video. Really, that chapter made me a little cautious about posting video-based content. When I do something, I want to do it right, and Briggs makes it seem as though “doing a video right” takes a certain level of expertise that I don’t have. Time to practice and learn, I suppose!

    Overall though, I think he’s absolutely right about the dynamics audio and video can bring to a story. I love podcasts (when they’re done well) and video-based stories are great as well. Especially for lists/rankings of moments, when you can click and see the moment, that makes the story infinitely more effective in my opinion.

    But, you have to make sure you’re doing it right, and even then maybe nobody will care. The important thing, though, is to understand and maintain a high level of quality, and Briggs’ book certainly helps a blogger/online journalist achieve that.

  11. This part of Briggs’ book is all on the importance of audio in journalism. Everyone is always more concerned with how they look and the visual aspect, but the audio is what really draws the viewer in. In news packages you are supposed to open up with nat sound so that it gives your audience something to connect to. If the video associated with it isn’t very good, the audience can still connect because the sound helps them feel like their there. If this is reverse, the audience won’t be as hooked because without that audio, it seems like they are just looking at a picture and they don’t really have any connection.
    Another thing Briggs talked about was interviews. What he says and what I have learned here are very opposite. He thinks that you should do the interview twice, so they can be ready the second time through. This may make the interviewee more relaxed and sound more fluent in their answers, but the answers aren’t as real. By not letting the interviewee know the questions, their answers will be less scripted and be in their own words.
    For your book selection, I liked it. The book was a pretty easy read which was nice. Also, Briggs tried to fit as much as he could into the book, so its full of a lot of good information. The only problem with the book is that because it has so much in it, it doesn’t go deep enough into some topics I felt like.

  12. Briggs talks about a plethora of subjects including audio journalism, editing and video. In my opinion, I sway toward incorporating audio into journalism. However, I cannot say that I agree with the tip to delay recording. Like photography, I think that you should get as much coverage as possible so that you don’t miss the “perfect” shot. In terms of recording, I would never want to miss an important quote or statement, so I’d say I’d leave my recorder on at all times unless asked otherwise. I believe that listening to audio forces the audience to imagine what they are hearing, and leaves us room to escape into our creative side. It is completely inventive and I love that! Biggs explains that audio is also less complicated and flexible.

    On another note, I agree that video captures much more details and emotions than plain text. For example, I think that the usage of video, imagery and audio in a blog enhances posts and allows the reader to get a better understanding of the subject matter. This is also good for people who are more visual learners. However, then I think of concepts like product placement and am turned off by video. I think that TV producers, directors and so on have the power to determine how we feel about what we are watching. Audio, on the other hand, is all about our opinion.

    Overall, I believe that print journalism is shifting away from their traditional ways and beginning to intertwine audio and video into their stories. That being said, I agree with Biggs that every journalist should broaden their knowledge of these fields. After all, it could help them with their career.

    In terms of this book choice, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think hat Briggs gives great tips for journalists to help them in their future endeavors. However, I think that hands-on experience is the best way to do so.

  13. erinfitzwilliams says:

    Audio narrative can have a great impact on the way the story is understood. I always think about the like 1940s when people would sit around the radio listening to it, but now I feel sort of differently. News reporting on the radio is quick and dirty and readily available. You know all the information within like 30 seconds and you didn’t have to Google search or read a whole story.

    Other times, like multimedia pieces with audio, or a podcast, you’re listening for an entertainment value. You don’t necessarily need the news, but you get the entertainment. I don’t know if I’d ever do a podcast or anything because I hate the sound of my own voice (who does?). But, it offers a honest opinion, similar to the political radio talk show hosts like the infamous Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern.

  14. Autumn L. says:

    In this chapter of Briggs’ text he talked about why audio and visual skills are crucial to every journalists career. Being in broadcast they have always stressed that both print and other multimedia skills always go hand-in-hand to tell a good story.

    It’s kind of like our blogs. The content you type must have relevance to your page somehow. If I am talking about hygiene and wellness products, I shouldn’t be poring sideshows of kittens. Not to say that my audience doesn’t like them, but it just doesn’t fo with the flow of my posts. Same thing with audio packages. If the whole “say it, see it” aspect must be there to have a direct connection within the story for the audience to follow.
    Although some information was a bit repetitive I really liked his chapter and was an easy, enjoyable read.

  15. bre7714 says:

    Briggs talks about audio/visual aspects of a story and their importance in storytelling. I don’t have much experience with audio journalism, except for some introduction to learning how to write broadcast news releases. However, I can see how there are advantages to audio news, in that the quality of the news experience becomes almost recreational, like sitting back and listening to a story as opposed to getting all the bare facts quick and dirty, like how NPR approaches things. However, the downsides are that people have busy lives and often prefer their news quick and dirty.

    But when I do have time for a more in-depth news experience, visuals are important to me. I remember doing a research paper on the ethics of certain visuals in journalism, and it really outlined the difference between news with and news without visuals. It’s like if you read a number that represents a death toll from a disaster versus seeing pictures of bodies scattered across a ruined landscape. The meaning behind that number suddenly becomes meaningful whereas before, it was merely a scary-sounding number. In many cases, the news story is newsworthy only because of the power of the visuals.

    Which is why I started to make an effort to pick and choose pictures for my blog more carefully. In the beginning, a lot of the time I rarely included visuals of any kind. But I quickly learned that isn’t very engaging and diminishes the value of my storytelling.

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