Read & Respond week 13 – Audio

When we think blogging, we think writing. Recent weeks have emphasized images and other tools, but things still seem to come back to the written word. Briggs, in this week’s chapter, proposes some ways to focus on sound over sight. We’ll focus on one: Podcasting.

A podcast is essentially an audio blog. Instead of reading, you can download and listen, which is helpful if you like to do your “reading” while exercising, cooking, or doing something else. The process can be simple or complex, but it boils down to four basic steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Record
  3. Convert/Upload
  4. Promote

This guide from DigitalTrends gets into more detail, but at minimum you need a theme (and usually some guests), a topic, a mic, and a (free) copy of Audacity; anything more can give a cleaner, more polished product but isn’t absolutely necessary.

Audiences listen to podcasts via apps such as Stitcher (free), iTunes, or just listening to them streaming online. Consider these examples of the form:

Your response this week should be enjoyable: Listen to some podcasts, especially if you never have. Pick some from the links above, or find some of your own (Vox suggests 26 you should be listening to). How do these (and Briggs’ other audio subject) inform your work? Have you now decided blogging is dead, and you’re going to become a podcaster instead? Post your responses by 10a Monday, April 6.

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20 Responses to Read & Respond week 13 – Audio

  1. Jazz says:

    If you learn the secrets of that fourth one, “promotion,” I would love to hear it.

  2. Sara Wells says:

    Audio may be regarded as the invisible medium as the text points out, but good audio and podcasts can make you visualize almost anything. Presence, emotion and atmosphere also are really important parts of podcasts that Briggs mentions might not be all available in another medium- and the best podcast I’ve ever heard do this is NPR’s “This American Life”. They used natural sound, pauses, emotion, and outside sources in able to really tell a compelling story that the listener will remember.

    When I was listening to Serial, it reminded me a lot of some of my favorite podcasts. No wonder, because it was created by the same producers of TAL. However, I like how each of their podcasts left something to be desired! They don’t tell the whole story- you have to come back! I’d like to do a series like this, and it could be cool for the group blog.

    I think podcasts can offer something different to your blog. Some blogs are posts based on only podcasts, and I’ve seen some blogs incorporate them for big features. I think blogs can inform your work by giving readers/listeners another medium. When you’re using only pictures and words, people can get bored or too used to your work. I think podcasts are a great way to show just how passionate about your topic you are! You can put your style into it and still cite sources as you would in broadcast, but your readers get to hear you and put a voice to a name.

    I don’t think blogging is dead. I think that blogging can be so many things, and can include so many mediums, and there are new ways to make it work every day. While I agree that you need to have a (loose) script, be careful what you say and interview the right people with the right questions, I disagree with Briggs that you have to have a good recorder. You can use your phone! There are so many cheap mics you can plug into the headphone jack and get good, quality sound, and that way when you find a source randomly, you can interview them!

  3. I have never thought of podcasting as blogging, however, the spoken word is pretty much the same as reading text. In fact, if the writing is done well, it can be just as effective. Podcasts are great because they allow you to listen and become engaged while on the go. The most successful podcasts are able to use good sound in a creative way and make the soundbites flow into the story. In my opinion, NPR definitely comes out on top when it comes to podcasting. It’s no wonder that Serial has become so popular and has gained so many listeners. I myself had never heard of it before, but I decided to listen to a few episodes. The stories themselves are fascinating and they keep you coming back for more by leaving you hanging at the end of each episode!

    I think podcasts can be a great compliment to blogging. I don’t think I would base my blog on podcasts only, but I would definitely be willing to incorporate them into my posts. Podcasts seems to add that extra personal touch by allowing your listeners to hear your voice and perhaps others. This would be a great way to do an in-depth interview or feature a story that has a lot of compelling sounds and audio.

    I am not a frequent podcast listener, but one of my favorites is Coffee Break Spanish by Radio Lingua. I listened to this a lot when I was trying to learn Spanish. The podcasts were enjoyable to listen to and they really helped me learn. The best thing about it was that I could listen to it in my car, at the gym, or anywhere on my phone.

    I do not feel as if blogging is dead. If that were the case, then none of us would even be doing it. Blogging is alive and well and podcasting is just another alternative route that bloggers can simply utilize. The more types of mediums you are able to incorporate into your blog, the more likely readers are going to be interested in what you have to say. Reading text without any visuals becomes boring. Podcasting can become easy and exciting. Microphones can be inexpensive and you don’t even need a studio to start up. There’s great software out there to help you achieve quality sound, as well as editing your interviews.

  4. dillondurst says:

    As a print journalism major and a blogger in this course, I had never really given much thought to audio/podcasts. “Sound allows listeners to ‘see’ with the best lens of all, the mind,” said Jim Stovall in Briggs’ chapter 7. I can definitely see why comedians in particular have adopted audio/podcasts. A joke written in print form is much less amusing than when spoken.

    I’m subscribed to a few college football podcasts through iTunes, but never really listened to them before. After sitting down and spending just a few minutes listening, I can tell why podcasts can be so useful, not only on their own, but in support of a blog or print story. For one, blogs are meant to start a conversation and a community. I listened to BroBible’s Jared Freid’s podcast, which I’m subscribed to, about why the man bun is ruining this country. He’s a naturally humorous and quirky guy and his opinion on weird matters such as this one are always funny, but he invited a guest to have a conversation with and bounce thoughts off of each other.

    The link about how to make a podcast was very useful because I had no idea how to make one. I also didn’t know it was that simple to make one. “Given the ease with which audio clips can be produced, it is surprising that their use is not more widespread,” Stovall said in Briggs. I had never given much thought to including audio in my blog, but now I see that in some cases it can be very useful. For instance, the popular 12-week podcast Serial was brilliant because it not only was structured well, it left listeners wanting more by breaking it up into 12 episodes.

    I definitely don’t think blogging is dead after this week’s response. I do, however, think that audio clips and podcasts can be extremely beneficial in terms of reaching out to busy people who don’t have time to read a 400-word blog post.

  5. Renata Di Gregorio says:

    Briggs says the three biggest things in audio journalism are presence (bringing the reader into the location), emotion (in voices), and atmosphere (natural sounds), but I think the most important one is emotion. You can bring a person into a location with “presence” in writing, but hearing that person’s voice, their inflection and the way they speak or emphasize certain words, is something that can change one’s perception of them as you immediately feel or do not feel a connection to this person whose voice you heard in your own home. An adamant listener of Serial, the story is told differently and I think more effectively through audio because you can hear the strain and struggle in Adnon’s voice as well as others’ voices. You take into account the pauses, the deep breaths. It is like you are the one on the other end of that jail telephone line. Listening to the people involved in a tragedy talk about it makes it more personal and more effective of a story.
    This American Life uses “atmosphere” probably more than I have heard in any other podcast because of their often comical sounds put into stories.
    Overall, I enjoy audio podcast but usually only while driving and they are still not my medium of choice because I do not know how long or interesting something is going to be for me to devote time listening to it rather than scanning through reading something.

  6. paigeczyzewski says:

    Last semester I took Media & Applications 225 where I learned all about audio journalism. At the time, I wasn’t exactly a fan of the actual process, but I definitely appreciate it now. Many of the things Briggs notes in this chapter I can attest to myself: you can’t get the same atmosphere in a video as you can with music and the sound of emotion in audio, choose your location wisely to get the best sound or else you’ll have nothing great to work with, and plan the whole project otherwise you’ll end up stuck and without the right material during editing (And though I’ve never worked with Audacity, Adobe Premiere Pro has been great to me).

    Generally I enjoy listening to audio podcasts, but don’t get that much time to do so. I used to listen to quite a few comedians when I was younger though (a lot of Dane Cook). For this week, I listened to the first part of Serial and a recent episode of Worst Idea of All Time to get a feel of both series. I really enjoyed Serial, and I plan to listen to the rest of the season. I wasn’t a fan of the narrator’s voice, Koenig, at first, but it was calming and extremely well done by the end of the first part. The sound of the interviews and natural noise were so clear that it really brought me there. I was intrigued to no end. However, maybe I’m just not a fan of the idea, but the Worst Idea of All Time wasn’t that great, but I think I also didn’t like it because I would rather see these guys faces. It sounds like their facial expressions would be much funnier to watch than to listen to.

    Lastly, I don’t think blogging is dead at all, I rather enjoy it because I feel text captures my attention more. With podcasts, they’re interesting, but I can easily get distracted by other things and miss part of the story. I would really like to do a podcast of some sort though and for my personal blog. Ever since I started writing about pornography, I’ve felt pretty confident with talking about sex. I feel like doing an interview with a sex therapist of some sort would be so incredibly interesting. Audio is definitely a benefit and does a great job of adding a different element and character to journalism work.

  7. The podcast in which the two guys watch a movie everyday for a year is outstanding. What a concept! It’s hysterical and it made me want to listen, because really, who does that?

    Other podcasts I usually listen to involve pro wrestling. I’m a bit of nerd when it comes to WWE. I really enjoy the industry and I listen to a good bit of podcast from wrestlers like Chris Jericho, Stone Cold, and other guys. Audio adds to the depth of a blog post and it allows readers to actually hear the authors rather than just read their work. It adds emotion that can’t be conveyed in writing. To actually hear someone’s voice when talking about something is very effective, rather than just reading it.

    This relates to what Briggs mentions about bringing the audience to the location and hearing the emotion in the audio. Podcast are a great way for people to get noticed who don’t have access to a big-time radio company or something along those lines. It’s as easy as recording it on your computer and posting it on Youtube, Soundcloud or iTunes.

    I think it adds to blogging. I don’t think blogging is dead either. It’s growing in my opinion and with the option for adding audio and other components to make content even stronger it’s going to continue to be relevant.

  8. sjl0693 says:

    Podcasts are something that I have never gotten into over the years. I have heard some different ones on occasion, but never really got into listening to them on a daily or weekly basis. However, they can be a great way to get yourself and your ideas out there while just feeling like you are having a normal conversation talking about your feelings on something.

    I definitely don’t think that blogging is dead, instead I think that podcasts can compliment and add to blogs. You can get a taste of both worlds by reading and listening. I can see why podcasts could feel like they take over because as Briggs mentioned about the three most important parts of audio journalism, podcasts bring presence, emotion and atmosphere. These are aspects that you have to work much harder at bringing in just text. You have to paint a picture for the reader and make them imagine the atmosphere and the emotion, while in a podcast you can hear the emotion and get a feel for the atmosphere just from listening (if the person speaking is good enough).

    I couldn’t see myself ever becoming a podcaster, but I could definitely see myself beginning to listen to different podcasts and start to get a taste for what that part of journalism has to offer rather than just sticking with text.

  9. tmertins says:

    Although words seem to flow easily onto a page for my blog, adding any kind of media makes it a lot more effective. I had a lot of fun with my video blog of Cities: Skylines. I’d really like to do more of that, just talking over playing a game. Most video blogs involving video games on a YouTube channel are mostly for entertainment purposes only. Sips is one of my favorites to watch and he’s currently doing a Cities: Skylines series as well.

    I am a huge fan of RadioLab. The way they make you “see” the story with natural sound, effects and music is brilliant. My favorite episode so far would probably have to be the latest with the Japanese paper bombs. It’s something so informative that you would never hear about in a history class. I had no idea this was a thing. It was like a part of the war that was just swept under the rug. And there could still be live bombs out there.

    I will say that podcasts can be very entertainment, word blogs still have a place because of their “reprocessability.” That is, the ability to reread something until you understand it. You’re able to “rewind” a podcast if you missed something, but you’re much more likely to reread a sentence on a page than stop the flow of continuous audio to go back and try to find something they said. All media have a place in the blogging world. It all has to do with the message you’re trying to send.

  10. Audio is an underrated medium that many people on think belongs in radio. Audio can enhance any story. A reader can imagine what is happening through the words on a page but audio can help the reader put them self in the scene. Small audio clips that help simulate where the story is taking place can be exponentially more beneficial.

    Briggs says that audio can even do this better than video in some instances. He refers to listening to a baseball game compared to watching it on television. The TV lets you see what is occurring but doesn’t allow you to see the entire field. Audio allows us to close our eyes and imagine ourselves on the field watching the game from whichever perspective our mind can put us in.

    I personally enjoyed The Worst Idea of All Time ironically.The podcast had a focus that I would have never thought of. Literally watching the same movie multiple times and breaking it down into episodes is genius! It allows the listeners to further break down confusing scenes or topics they may not have considered.

    Podcast also allow for the content creators to use their voices to send messages. When reading text on a page the reader may not be able to detect when the author wanted to emphasize certain words. Through audio the speaker can use their voice to give verbal clues. The way they say certain words can create endless new meanings that you simply can’t do through writing.

    Finally, podcasts are something fun you and your friends can collaborate on or something you do on your own. You can create your own introductions and segments for the show and tailor it specifically to you. Some people may think podcasts are dead but in all honestly they are not.

  11. abdulazizq8 says:

    I listened to some NPR news podcasts and I liked the way they do their podcasts. The “authors” made me feel like we were having a conversation, which is interesting because Briggs recommends “keeping it conversational”. I liked how the hosts interviewed other people and asked them about their views on certain topics. In a blog, you could throw in some quotes but having a live conversation is not possible.

    Podcasting is closer to TV shows, but without video, than blogging. In a blog, you could proofread, edit and delete whatever you want but in a podcast you have to do it all over again if you want to change something. Also, in a podcast you can change the rhythm of your voice to get your audience engaged with your topic.

    I do not think that blogging is dead because podcasting and blogging are two different things. There are people who enjoy reading blogs, others who prefer to listen to podcasts and many who do both. Also, blogging has the advantage of using visuals, which is another reason for keeping blogs alive.

  12. Collen Lewis says:

    I’m from Ripley WV which means when I go home I have to travel Rt. 50 down to Parkersburg. If anyone is familiar with Rt. 50 they know it flat out sucks, and cell service and radio stations are few and far in-between. Except for the WV public radio stations which always play NPR.

    I have grown to love NPR and especially Radiolab. My favorite episode has to be Speedy Beet (http://www.radiolab.org/story/269783-speedy-beet/). Basically, they talk about how Beethoven actually marked his symphonies to be played much faster than they traditionally have been. Alan Pierson of the Brooklyn Philharmonic is the guest, and he has even taken his orchestra through the symphonies at the appropriate speeds. It really changes the way you think of Beethoven.

    As for shirking the blogging world and evolving to podcasting, why not have the best of both worlds. If there is a particularly great interview you have in your pocket make a podcast and showcase it on your blog, but as for completely ditching writing, no. The written word provides a greater landscape for the reader to imagine what the author means.

  13. ctomes says:

    I have honestly never gotten into podcasts before and until now I have never listened to one. I have heard people who love them but I personally have never wanted to hear one. Although after today I think its really great. I mean when listening to one you can hear the emotions of the person talking and just how they are saying it. When you read a blog you try and think about how the person is saying this but its more effective when you are listening to the words being spoken.

    With Briggs he talks about how audio like this can be better than video sometimes. I feel like that is very true because when you are watching something all you see is what they show you but with audio you are hearing everything and almost just visualizing it as if you are watching a video. I mean listening to these podcasts I can hear the conversation and when there’s more than one person I can just think about them saying it and it brings more of a story out and with the conversation Briggs says that audio should be a conversation.

    I decided to look at The Nerdist podcast because well i’m a nerd and I wanted to see what it would be like. I listened to the Workaholics episode with the cast of the TV show. It was really funny they kept a conversation going like how Briggs talks about and you can hear each individual voice so you know exactly who is talking. You can also just hear how funny they are and what there tones are and it really brings the interview out making it very fun to listen too.

    I think that audio especially podcast can be very good to use especially if you want to use them for your blog. I think if you don’t have just a full audio blog you can use them to bring in some voice from whoever your talking about or who ever is talking about your topic. I think in general audio can be great to just not make someone read something every time its a good break.

  14. Karly Marie says:

    Karin Hughes said “Audio is considered the invisible medium, but if done right, it can be as powerful in journalism as written articles or even TV and video.” I never really thought audio to be a type of journalism, but as Briggs stated audio has presence, emotions, and atmosphere.

    I think audio can be a powerful type of journalism because it can bring an emotional aspect to a story that written journalism may not. It also allows the audience to focus solely on the words and sounds, so they are not distracted by different visuals.

    The tips DigitalTrend gave for making a podcast is similar to a blog. When making our blogs, we were advised to pick a theme. No one wants to hear a play-by-play of a person’s day. By picking a distinct theme, audience members will be drawn into listening to a podcast.

    I was drawn to the “10 Best Comedy Podcasts of 2014.” I have heard some of the podcasters’ names before but never knew that they had their own podcast. The great thing about listening to podcast is you can hear the sarcasm and the tone that these comedians are trying to convey, which is not always easy with blogs. Many things are taken out of context with the written word because readers cannot always sense the tone.

    I don’t think blogging is dead. I don’t think podcasts will eventually wipeout blogs or vice versa, they actually can work together quite well. I would like to incorporate podcasts onto my personal blog, I feel this is a great way to introduce people to the tone I have set throughout my blog.

    Audio journalism has become so much more than it was. The emotion that audio adds to a story allows it to draw in a larger audience. Audio journalism can work hand-in-hand with written word and create an amazing story.

  15. cposey32014 says:

    Audio seems to be somewhat of a lost medium when you think about journalism because most people consume their news either from television, newspaper, or read it offline. However, Briggs says that podcasts could be a part of the future. He likes the idea of audio because it lets you get real time feedback from people off the street, but you also get to hear the tone in someone’s voice which can much easier portray the emotion they are going through.

    I think podcasts are neat because to me they seem like a blog, but instead of sitting behind a computer typing it you are just talking. I tend to think that maybe a podcast would be easier to do because there would be less grammatical error and rereading.

    I tend to like things that require audio because I am a broadcast major. I really like that you can make a story sound totally different just by the different interviews you get or even the way you read your script.

    Audio opens up a whole new thing that newspaper and internet readers can’t experience. Television of course they get the whole experience, but some people just don’t like getting their news and stuff from television.

    I think it would be fun to dabble a little with podcasts, but I still think I like blogging better because you can give more visuals. Audio has to be really vivid and thought provoking to the person listening, and I think I am better at using visuals than writing to make someone see what I want them to.

  16. Although I’ve never given much thought to producing my own podcast, listening to NPR shows like Radiolab and Invisibilia are the only things that make driving to D.C tolerable! In all seriousness though, podcasts are an amazing way to tell a story. What makes them successful is the use of background noise and sound clips. I find it nearly impossible to listen to nothing but talking heads around a microphone, but the addition of scene setting noises completely pulls a listener’s attention to the story. Briggs talked about this in his chapter a bit and I think it’s a very important point.

    If you’re going to produce a podcast, it must be something that’s worthy of a listen. I’ve listened to a few podcasts on politics and law that would have served me much better if I had just read it. Although I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, his podcast, Star Talk Radio, doesn’t draw me in as much as a Radiolab episode on professional wrestling. The tight editing and sound bites make all the difference.

  17. Mike Marsh says:

    I am a big fan of podcasts. Even though I respect the elements of print, it is always nice to be able to use your ears instead of your eyes. I mostly listen to sports podcasts for sports news, fantasy updates and capping advice, (anything that’s NOT espn) and some general news podcasts occasionally. They are fun to listen to on long car rides or even instead of listening to music, a well-done podcast can keep your mind occupied for hours. The element of sound also gives the words more meaning than when you would be reading them off a piece of paper.

    Briggs talks about the free tools that are out there that we can use to edit audio to make something like a podcast or any type of interview clip. I have experience using Premiere Pro to edit audio and video from JRL 215 but have never used audacity. He talks about the importance of fading (gradual increase or decrease in sound levels) and transitions when editing audio that can make your sound clip as smooth as possible.

    I don’t think print is dead because of podcasts . They both can co-exist because there are specific times when you want to be able to read something and there are also times when listening to the content is easier. I have noticed the podcast industry growing and this is likely because people don’t have enough time in their day to sit down an read something. Having on headphones at work, listening in the car, or having one playing while you’re cleaning allow you to multitask, while when your reading something instead of listening it is much more difficult to multitask.

    The Worst Idea of All Time was a very entertaining and funny podcast. It is interesting to see how poscasts are used for comedy and entertainment and also more formal things like news and current events.

  18. Logan Barry says:

    I think the idea of podcasts are a great way to take a break reading every once in a while, but I think their content is some what different from that of blogs. I think podcasts are meant to be listened to, because if you were to read them, they might not convey the same meaning as they do when you actually are listening to them.

    For example, I listened to the podcast “You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes,” and chose to listen to the comedian, Daniel Sloss. After hearing Daniel Sloss, I feel like it backs up my claim that it wouldn’t be something that I would want to read, it would definitely be something that I would rather listen to traveling down the road, or while I;m cleaning my room, or just doing something else on my computer.

    So I think that podcasts and blog posts have separate meanings, I think that the content in blog posts are meant to be read, and the content in podcasts are meant more to be heard, and listened to, like any talk show.

    But I also agree with my classmate, Collen Lewis,l because why not have the best of both worlds. If you are writing about something on a blog post that you can incorporate a podcast into, why not showcase the podcast that relates to your topic that you’re writing about on to your blog post for readers to click on and listen to? I feel like that would only help make the blog post more interesting, this increasing your viewers, and selling your product more. But other than that, I think that the content in podcasts is meant to be heard, like Briggs said, they are like the future, you can get real-time feedback from other listeners. I mean you can also do that with blog posts, but I don’t think it has the same feeling as actually hearing someone comment in real time.

  19. I have had many experiences in podcasts. I regularly appear on them for the U92 radio station, and also I appear on them on my own website. I think of podcasts as another form of talk radio, one that can be downloaded and transported anywhere without having to connect to an AM or FM frequency. Through what I heard this week and what Briggs said, I feel differently about the subject all together.

    In addition, for my personal blog, podcasting could be really beneficial for what I am trying to do. I could try out jokes and other lines and things that I’ve written, and they could probably get better play on a podcast then if I wrote them down and posted them. Ass Briggs says, podcasts can provide real-time feedback on your work, and it is easy and more personal. Daniel Sloss really displayed this well.

    The idea that Print is dead because of podcasts is erronious. There will always be material better suited for print and there will always b material better suited for podcast. I also think that while using the free editing tools that Briggs had discussed is beneficial, students looking to produce a professional podcast should pay to produce and edit their work. I prefer Premiere Pro.

  20. When it comes to blogging audio story telling is just as necessary as images…and pretty cool too! I think it gives the reader (or listener) a more emotional experience. Audio messaging provides something that ordinary text sometimes can not. When listening to podcast, you can recognize the power of voice tone, pauses, ect. Text writing is beautiful…it’s like art, in fact. But something reading out long worry text can be overwhelming and boring. Audio story telling, such as podcast, can really spice up your story and make it original. Although it seems a little advanced, bloggers definitely need to adapt audio story telling world.

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