Read & Respond week 12 – 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 emphasize sound over sight. We’ll focus on one: Podcasting. This semester, for the first time, we’ve got a fully functional podcasting studio, and our class will be the ones to break it in (and hopefully not just break it). Read on, and think about what you might have to say.

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 (Buzzfeed has its own list of the ones 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?

Most importantly, what’s a subject (ideally one relevant to your group blog) you could see running an approximately 10-minute podcast on? Would you have guests, or would it just be you and your groupmates? What are some questions/topics you can set up in advance to avoid the dreaded Dead Air? Post your responses by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 2.

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15 Responses to Read & Respond week 12 – Audio

  1. Rebecca Toro says:

    This week I learned about another media platform, Podcasts and audio.
    From my experience I have used audio to record my interviews. One of my previous class assignments from a couple semesters ago was to record an interview, edit it, and then post it on SoundCloud. Sounds easy but, the editing takes a ton of time.
    According to Digital Trend’s on How to Make a Podcast, you need to first plan. Then you need to have a common theme, just like how we had to come up with one for our blogs. You have to not exceed an hour because people will lose interest. Then you write a script. Lastly you schedule, you plan on how often you will have podcasts. Totally doable, but you have to have the time to create a good podcast.
    I went onto the 27 Podcasts You Should Listen to in 2017, and I was lead to a podcast called Made of Humans. This podcast consisted of an interview with Jayde Adams, a British comedian.
    These podcasts are just interviews of human beings living. Adams discussed how when she was a child she was called fat. She said she was skinny at some time, and now she’s “plump.” She doesn’t care because she’s still funny, she just continued on to have a conversation with Sofie, the interviewer about life.
    http://www.sofiehagen.com/the-moh-pod/
    I like writing too much to give it up. I would add podcasts to my blog instead of just giving up on blogging. These mediums are all just as popular as the other and I think audio, video, and writing can all tie into a blog and make it more interesting and engaging.

    If I were to have a podcast I would have a college problems debate podcast. I want the youth to have a voice and discuss problems we go through and bring light to the issues. I would seek all sides of the issue. I would have experts come onto the show. I would have students. I would have adults. I would have alumni.
    Some topics I would come up with are dress codes, drinking, internships, politics, working out of college. Really, this theme has endless topics.

    For Nightlife, I could have live podcasts of concerts, of interviews discussing harassment, drinking, fake id’s. Pretty much I would convert all my nightlife topics and turn it into an audio podcast. So my guests would be students, adults, business owners, bouncers, bartenders, experts, and more. Say my topic was on health violations, I would ask the expert on what they look for, what are common issues they find. Then I would interview bar owners and see what they do when they have these health violations, how they maintain, etc.

  2. When I worked at U92, we were required to do one podcast a semester, and honestly it freaked me out! It freaked me out simply because I didn’t like doing it myself, but I like listening to others. I learned that it is basically an interview without cutting anything, or it is a discussion among a group of people.

    Briggs mentions in chapter six that photographs give the audience a visual context, but audio gives the audience an even more closer insight by using audio clips. Of course you can see emotion and what might be going on in a photograph, but to hear emotion through an actual clip can make the audience feel a certain way. Briggs also mentions three important things that help with making your clips clear and concise: presence, emotions, and atmosphere. When I worked at U92, and even for my broadcasting classes, we always had to make sure our background was quiet and that our tone fit the atmosphere in the way we wanted it to- to go along with the story.

    I listened to the Serial series because I am one who loves mystery stories and crime because they just interest me because I like figuring out the outcome and I also like the emotion it brings me because this type of stuff is very real. This podcast informed my work because hearing someone who knows what they are talking about, makes it easier for me to learn about the subject. For me, it is easier to listen to audio and learn from it rather than reading something. When I hear audio I get different feelings that draw me closer to the subject that is being talked about. However, podcasting is something I do not like doing therefore I plan on sticking to just typing rather than talking!

    For WV women’s health we could do a podcast on the top diseases that affect women in WV by giving stats and if anyone in our group has seen someone gone through it- what it was like. My group can do it together if we cannot find someone who would like to be a guest, but if we could, that guest would be someone who has the disease or once again- knows someone who does and what it is like to see what they go through.

  3. I have never created a podcast, but I have been interviewed by U92 and been featured in one of those. It’s weird because it’s like being on the radio where all your verbal mistakes are heard, but you aren’t live. It’s a little nerve wracking.

    I know that audio is meant to bring out emotion in a different way than photos, or video. Briggs mentions that tone in audio can evoke emotion, which I have to agree. When a listener can hear ever breath/pause, grunt, grumble, pitch increase/decrease, etc. it paints a picture of how the person is actually feeling. You can’t really capture that from a photo unless they are conveying extreme emotions with volatile or ecstatic poses. Typically audio just does a better job at portraying emotion in my opinion.

    Mostly Chapter six focuses on audio in general, with a short section dedicated to explaining podcasting and vodcasting. I really wish it went more in depth.

    I chose to listen to a podcast on Buzzfeed for this reading response. It was from the sugested link that you gave us. I chose to listen to the Presidential Channel and then narrowed my choice further by picking the Nixon podcast. It was very lengthy, but really great to listen to. Listening about history is always easier to do instead of read in my opinion and this is a great way to learn.

    For our own blog I think we could do a podcast about coal mining in Morgantown and how it has affected the forests. I took an environmental science class my sophomore year and I learned that many of the trees die and never regrow due to coal mining. Since our blog is more focused toward environment I think this would be a great topic. I could even ask a professor if he’d be willing to explain what occurs to trees and plants when mine drainage happens.

  4. Found this week’s read and response to be pretty enjoyable. I already enjoy listening to a few podcasts already so I’m not new to this form of media. I mainly listen to a gaming podcast, called NeebsGaming, and another by Power 105 which is a New York radio station called the Breakfast Club. By watching these podcasts I can pretty much hear about what’s relevant and currently happening in my community in a much more interactive way.

    I personally prefer to listen to my news rather than read it. However I am aware that this form of information can be particularly susceptible to biases because it is easier for emotion to get involved during a podcast when you are actively speaking about an issue.

    I definitely don’t think blogging is dead but I do think that podcasts give blogging some effective competition because podcasts are essential blogging as well but the medium at which they are produced through makes them more adaptable to a wide variety of lifestyles. Now you can multitask while listening to a podcast. There is no need to sit in front of a screen and personally focus on a written piece. Now you can just listen to it, if a podcast is available.

    I think my group could definitely create a really fun and interesting podcast pertaining to our unique experiences pertaining to race and diversity here in Morgantown. I feel like we could talk all day about what it’s like to go to a pwi as a minority or white person and how our views about people of other races have been shaped by the societies that we’be lived in.

  5. mglamastro says:

    Hi!

    This assignment is out of my comfort zone, but I am pretty excited for it because it has the potential to produce some super cool results. I do not think blogging is dead– especially because some popular blogs/bloggers integrate weekly podcasts into their sites. However, I definitely believe some people prefer traditional, “read-able” blogs. The voice/tone/demeanor/delivery of the person or people in a podcast can definitely make it or break, and for that reason alone, many people prefer NOT to listen to or to even produce podcasts.

    A subject that would work for my group blog is food accessibility in West Virginia; in addition to ourselves, we could have several guests come on the air to talk about the unique ways in which they access food in West Virginia. This would add variety and personal perspective to our blog. To avoid “dead air” we could all come up with a list of questions (5-10 each, maybe??) to ask our guests. Since we only have 10 minutes, we could maybe break this up into two or multiple podcasts– kind of like a podcast series.

    Questions could be:
    1) Where do you do most of your grocery shopping: traditional grocery stores (e.g., Kroger), small box stores (e.g., drugstores like Walgreens, convenience stores like Sheetz), large box stores (e.g., Target), discounters like Aldi, farmer’s markets, etc. ??
    2) How often do you eat out, including fast food… how many times a week?
    3) Do you believe eating out is more costly than grocery shopping?
    4) Where do you typically like to eat out?
    5) What is one thing you wish you could change about the way you access food in the Morgantown area and in West Virginia as a whole?

    I agree with Briggs that a podcast has the potential to make a blog more personal through the use of emotion. Typically, the reader of a blog does not get much emotion from text-only blogs, so bloggers usually add photos and short video clips. Podcasts are an alternative and/or a supplement to all these other things that make up a good blog. It is another way to connect to your audience. I know a lot of people who have long commutes, so they prefer to listen to audio books and/or podcasts instead of music– they feel it is a better use of their time in the car, on the train, etc. So there is definitely a large market for podcasts out there.

    –Madalyn

  6. miaswanegan says:

    This weeks podcast assignment is without a doubt out of my comfort zone. I’ve never done something like that before and I’m also rather shy so even though I’m not speaking in front of others..it is still something that has the potential to be heard by many. Even though it is something I’m not use to doing, I do think it will be enjoyable and a cool experience.

    In the Briggs reading for this week, they bring up a valid point that podcast do have the potential to bring in more emotion which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it as well as how the whole thing plays out. Too much emotion can give off the wrong vibe to your listeners depending on the topic but it can also give them something to relate to as well as them being able to sense what exactly you’re, which with a regular blog post can be difficult.

    I wouldn’t say that blogging is dead, it is far from such but podcast are rather a way to shake it up. Everyone is different but I wouldn’t say that i have a preference on reading a post rather than listening to one.

    After reading through some of the other post, people came up with some really cool ideas! Madalyn had a neat idea just because in a way it totally could be broken up into multiple segments. Other questions being asked could be:
    – How many times a week/month do you go?
    – Do you try to stay within a budget or just buy whatever you see?
    – If you have a roommate, do you try and buy together? (meaning split the bill and make meals together during the week, etc.)
    -What is your opinion on the lack of a Whole Foods or Trader Joes? ( if you have one)

    I think podcast have the potential to be something really cool if thought through and executed properly.

  7. In the Briggs chapter for this week, Karin Hough says,“An audio journalist can create a more intimate and personal relationship with the listener and take advantage of that in many different ways,”

    I agree with this statement. As someone who has cut my teeth in radio, I can’t help but feel the medium is more personal. A good personalty (no matter if its a podcast or news report), can make it feel like one end of a phone conversation between friends. That builds a significant level of trust between voice and listener.

    Radiolab dives deep into important topics, such as gun violence, medical advancements, as well as incorporating just interesting places and people. It’s news but told in a way that makes the listener feel part of the conversation, though we can’t chime in. At U92, we have a show called Feedback, which is a similar type of weekly podcast.

    Not every show makes it onto TV but, with a few steps, anything can be a podcast. I’ve listened to podcasts on a variety of topics, from local news to Star Wars. You put your voice out there, and (with promotion of course) find your community. It’s like a different form of blogging, catered to listeners instead of readers.

    I don’t think blogging is dead. I know plenty of people (including myself at times) that prefers to read instead of listen to their content. Blogs can also add media, such as photos, videos, etc. that can’t be put in a podcast.

    Our group could do a podcast on life as a woman at WVU. We blog about women’s health here and can branch out to the podcast with different topics that women here care about and situations they can relate to.

    Topics could include:
    – Walking at night by yourself/safety of
    Morgantown
    – Pressure to be sexually active
    – Parties/ Drinking
    – Title 9
    – Access to health/ beauty products
    -The role of female mountaineers
    – Lack of attendance at Women’s Basketball
    games (even when they’re doing better)
    – Greek life stereotypes

  8. Cayla Nolder says:

    I enjoyed this week’s reading about podcasts because I’ve never really thought about how they can impact a listener. I think that it’s a lot more tricky to write for the ear and still illicit the same emotions that the use of words or visuals would bring.

    At the end of the Briggs chapter is a brief blurb from Robert Smith. His first sentence basically sums up the one goal you need to achieve when telling an audio story, “Make sure the listener stays with you until the end. No matter how many great facts and interviews you have, none of it matters if someone gets bored and turns it off.” This really stuck with me as I began to think how I would hold the attention of an audience using audio… I already know this would be a difficult feat.

    Going through the various podcast links my personal favorite was the “Serial” podcast because I’m absolutely obsessed with murder mysteries! I have to know what happened. I was originally a Forensics major, so it should come as no surprise that it was my favorite podcast. I think I’ll continue listening to the series.

    I don’t believe that blogging will ever be dead. The written word allows for people to keep their identities anonymous while a podcast betrays who you are. Therefore, I don’t see blogging disappearing anytime soon.

    I can see myself running a podcast on the topic of Blue Hole. Maybe my group could do a series of podcasts during our Blue Hole week. There would be interviews from both opposing sides, locals and student voices.

  9. I’ve never really been big on podcasts personally, but I do see why people do like them. I am a big reader and like to read while working out so unless I am on a machine with not as much movement, I am able to hold a book. I can see where podcasting would come in handy. I just have too old school when it comes to reading books. With that being said, I found it interesting to learn more about it in the Briggs chapter. Karin Hogh said “Somehow audio has been considered the ‘invisible’ medium. However, if done right, audio can be as powerful in journalism as written articles or even TV or video.” I agree with her. I think audio can be seen as not as effective, just as I noted above. When people are looking for information, I think they tend to look for visuals but really the strength can be in the words. I also liked that Briggs included a “Writing for the Ear” step list. I think it is very helpful to use along with the digital trends article provided. Writing and then performing without a visual is an added component to podcasts that regular blogging doesn’t have. In a sense it is very similar to the radio. With all of that said, I still don’t really love the idea of podcasts. Although good for on the go, I just can’t get myself to change up my ways. I’m definitely for blogging and vlogging rather than podcasting.

    An idea for podcasting would be for my Liquor Liability License article that will be posted in two weeks. I could do a podcast for the interviews of the issues and safety.

  10. Clutter Mama says:

    This week’s lesson provided a lot of information about audio. I have never experimented with audio before, so most of it was new for me. Briggs points out that audio allows the listener to see the story with the “lens of the mind” (p. 188) which is so accurately descriptive of what stories should do. Before the use of the internet to share audio files, this was mainly carried out on radio.

    When I was in junior high in the late 80’s, there used to be a radio show on WVAQ each evening hosted by Lacy Neff. Each Thursday, there was a show called the “Request and Dedication Hour.” People could call in and request a song and/or dedicate it to someone. One segment of the show was called the “Sappy Love Letter of the Week” in which Neff read one listeners sappy letter about a relationship problem aloud and then asked listeners for advice. You didn’t want to be at school Friday if you hadn’t listened to the show.

    Podcasts are descendent of shows like this. Listeners tuned in and talked about and shared the content through face-to-face conversations, telephone calls, and of course passing notes. Today that sharing happens through texting, email, and social media.

    Another great point from Briggs was about allowing interviewees to ramble on tape because some of the best material comes from that (p. 195). Last semester, I interviewed the Executive Director of a non-profit organization. Upon reviewing the audio recording, some of the most pertinent information came from allowing her to expand on topics, with less direct question and answer.

    I think the points about punching up voice overs with volume, pitch, rhythm, and tempo are important (p. 197). I listened to the “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” podcast (https://www.apmpodcasts.org/ttfa/) and thought the author Norma McInerny did a great job in this area. Habits about warming up (p. 196) and being prepared (p. 204) were also good tips for those that have never done this.

    Besides podcasts, I like the idea of using audio slide shows. I watch these when I’m trying to learn about something new, because they usually break it down into simple components. I watched one today because I didn’t really know how Reddit works (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/what-is-reddit/279579/).

    For our group, a good topic might be experiences that brought us to WVU. We each come from different backgrounds and we could discuss differences and similarities in our experiences. I don’t think we will need additional guests since it only lasts for 10 minutes. An outline of topics could help us keep things moving and prevent dead air space.

  11. Ashley Conley says:

    I’ve actually never listened to a podcast before, most likely because I’m a very visual person. I like to actually see subjects (like a ballgame) or if I’m talking to a person, I like to actually see this person rather than just hear their voice. I’m also one of those people who isn’t a fan of listening to games on the radio, because it’s just way harder to get into the game when you can’t actually see it.

    With that being said, I definitely don’t think blogging is dead and podcasts are the “new thing”. But, that’s just my opinion. However, after listening to a few, I found that they’re not all that bad. I listened to PTI (Pardon the Interruption) which is a sports podcast. This is actually also broadcast on ESPN, so I’ve seen the show, but listening to the podcast was super similar. Listening rather than watching was actually kind of cool because I could leave my house and still listen on my phone.

    I found Briggs’ advice in chapter 6 on audio journalism to be super helpful. “Watch what you say (pg. 194).” This is so important, especially for print-specific journalists (like myself). We’re so used to recording audio that only we hear and then turning it into print. In podcasts, everyone who’s listening can hear everything you’re going to say. The DigitalTrends article also hinted on this. Their advice is to actually have a script, even if you know what you want to, because it’s okay to venture off topic momentarily, but it’s still important to stay within your topic boundaries in order to keep your audience’s attention.

    I feel like our group’s podcast will definitely be centered around the conservation of the campus area. I don’t really know of any guests we could bring on at the moment, but there are a few professors and maybe even some students who are super vocal about conservation that could easily be entertaining guests on our podcast.

  12. I found This weeks readings very enjoyable. I have always enjoyed podcasts, but not all podcasts. I have always found sports Podcasts to be really interesting and fun to listen to, especially since it is not always just sports for the entire segment. I also like comedy podcasts, specifically Bill Burr’s podcast which I usually listen to on long car rides.

    When it comes to informational podcasts though, I don’t have as much of an interest. If I am trying to actually get informed by something I would much rather read about that topic or watch a video segment rather than just listening to a podcast.

    In this weeks readings, Briggs mentions how an audio podcast can develop a relationship with a listener and I definitely agree. I follow an Islanders podcast called Obstructed Views. The podcast is about the Islanders, but they don’t just talk hockey for 60 minutes. They bullshit about everything and I really enjoy listening to it. I will listen to it throughout the week while walking to class. I think I’m interested in it for the idea that they break it up with all sorts of funny takes that don’t necessarily deal with hockey or the Islanders.

    With that being said I’m not sure I could stay interested in an informational podcast. That’s just the type of person I am I guess.

    However, for our group blog I think there are some ideas we could talk about dealing with WV and the environment and nature. Some of these ideas would be

    1. A podcast taking with WV students who have jumped off the bridge at Bluehole. I know several people who have done it and had both good and bad experiences. I think this would be both informational and entertaining.
    2. A podcast talking to WVU students on how much they recycle, and if they wish they would recycle more. I feel this could get a good amount of listeners because this is something students care about.
    3. A podcast talking to students about spots where they go fly fishing. I’m not sure this could reach our audience but it could be a great way to tell a story. Many students fly fish in WV and go to all sorts of different spots. There is definitely a story to be told about this and maybe a podcast would be a cool way to do this.

  13. Laura Andrea says:

    I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts for a couple of years now. I mostly listen to comedy podcasts, sometimes surrounding the discussion of a television show. A particularly interesting piece of information that the Briggs gives is that audio journalism consists mostly of interviews. That depends on what your definition of journalism is. As an entertainment reporting minor, podcasts reviewing/recapping/analyzing television shows is a form of entertainment reporting/journalism. Although they often feature interviews when they can get people from the cast or crew to talk about the show. If there’s anything I’ve learned from these podcasts it’s that involving comedy in some capacity does not negate the integrity of the journalism/reporting, but enhances it.

    My main idea for a group podcast is informative about the experience marginalized groups, particularly at a PWI. Being a student of color at a PWI you’re often forced, directly or indirectly, to constantly educate your peers. This an emotionally taxing burden that should not be left to students in their day to day. The purpose is to have a resource for white students and professors to listen and learn within a designated space. Each episode can have a specific focus and we can have guests who are educated in and have firsthand knowledge on the topic at hand. I’m thinking something inspired by “Dear White People”, the 2014 movie and soon to be Netflix series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LzggK5DRBA

  14. dshedrick says:

    Firstly, I never realized podcasts took that much equipment! I’m a really big fan of watching YouTubers, usually makeup reviews and tutorials and things like that, and it seems like everyone there just starts out with a camera and a dream. I suppose now they also have photoshoot lighting too, but I was still surprised by the amount of gear it seems to take to run a successful podcast.
    For someone who does not religiously follow any Podcasts, I freaking love Podcasts. I first learned about This American Life in my English 101 class. I didn’t realize anything like this existed and I adored hearing the unique stories. Around this time I also got super into talk radio and now I listen to NPR on long car rides because to me, it’s better than just listening to music and its conversational tone is much different than a book on tape.
    And now I’m currently binge listening to Serial, which according to Briggs is the most popular podcast in what I would assume is the short history of podcasting. The conversational nature, along with the suspense, is the reason why, I would imagine.
    Although I don’t think it would necessarily work for our blog, since the rules are no profiles, I think a great way to utilize a podcast int he scope of what we are aiming to do would follow that format. That is, maybe a weekly interview with a diverse student or community member of Morgantown. Hearing their story and their perspectives from their own voice would be very powerful, I would imagine even more so than interviewing them and then using excerpts of the transcription or paraphrasing their words. I imagine their testimony being the bulk of the podcast. I think this would have a greater effect than simply debating issues in the diverse communities of Morgantown or talking about current events. The intimacy of such a piece could appeal to a wider audience and help others experience the truths of students unlike themselves.

  15. zamuhammad says:

    I am honestly not a big fan of podcasts. Briggs says that in chapter six that photographs give the audience a visual context. But you can hear the emotion through audio which can make the audience become more emotionally connected.

    I believe that blogging will become more uncommon as podcasting will advance and be more of a norm in the journalism world. Some ideas I can think of to talk about in my podcast would be:
    – What is your “normal” going out experience like?
    – (for girls) how many guys hit on you while you’re out?
    -(for guys) Is it hard to approach a girl during a night out?
    – Has there been a time where you’ve been kicked out of a club/bar?why?
    -What do you do when you leave the club/bar?

    Readers of blogs do not get much emotion therefore bloggers usually add photos. Podcasts are a unique way to get listeners more involved emotionally with the topic of discussion. This is the alternative way to connect to your audience. This is effective because people can do it while driving to work, school, and even on a road trip. The car is where people do most of their thinking (guilty of it). Podcasts also are taking less attention which is what we like. You don’t have to concentrate and read what a blog has to say, instead you can multitask and listen to a podcast while finishing your daily tasks.

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