I finally did some reporting this semester, which I’m excited to tell you about for Journalism Friday, my weekly post on journalism and j-school. My first assignment for Integrated Multimedia Storytelling is an audio and photo project. We need to edit 30-60 seconds of audio, then tie it to 10-15 pictures for a slideshow. Although I’m happy we’re starting small, editing a story down to less than a minute was hard! But, I’m getting ahead of myself — I want to take this post to talk a little bit about the process I went through to report the story and edit down my audio.
I decided to cover a performance at the Overture Center as part of their Kids in the Rotunda program. Every Saturday during the school year, a different artist or performer comes to the Overture and gives three free performances designed for kids age 3 – 7. Last week, the performers were Art and Maral Shegonee, Native American storytellers and dancers. Maral, Art’s daughter, is 23-years-old (the same age as me), so I was particularly excited to talk with her. Before I went to the performance, I interviewed the program coordinator over the phone for some details about Kids in the Rotunda and make sure I could take picture and audio at the performance.
I got to the Overture just before the second performance, and stood in the back taking pictures and recording some sounds of the dance. I’d forgotten how difficult it can be to take good pictures inside a performance hall without good light, so a lot of the pictures I took ended up pretty blurry. However, I was surprisingly happy with the audio I got of the performance — the bells on Art’s regalia and the songs they danced to recorded really well. This audio is what we call ambient sound (sound that gives the listener a sense of the place you’re at).
After Art and Maral finished performing, I got introduced to both of them and they invited me to interview them over lunch. I was hesitant to tape my interview in a noisy restaurant — usually it’s better to record in a quiet place because any background noise is nearly impossible to cut out. Luckily, the recording picked up a lot of the sound of kids laughing, which blends pretty well with the ambient sound, so it worked well.
One of the biggest challenges in doing this assignment was to keep it focused. I had a ton of questions to ask Art and Maral, but I wanted to keep my interview short and to the point, asking them just about their dancing. I got really articulate and interesting answers from Maral, so those became the focus of my audio as I edited on Wednesday. The best question I asked her was what she felt and thought about while she danced — she gave a beautiful quote about how she just feelings the music and free spirit dances. I love when I interview someone and they articulate a feeling more beautifully than I could write it myself, it makes it so much easier to put a story together.
Anyway, I did most of my audio editing this Wednesday during our class workshop. A lot of my classmates seemed to struggle when we got to audio editing this week because they had too much material. I was fortunate that I didn’t have too much to sort through — the 10 minute interview with Art and Maral, and a few clips of performance sound. I got all my audio edited in about three hours, thankfully, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I’m not going to post it (I know, lame after talking it up so much) because I want to show the entire package to you when it’s finished!
So there you have it, a little information about how I went about reporting my first multimedia project. We’re doing photo editing next week, then putting photo and audio together into a Soundslides package the week after that. I’ll keep you updated on how things are going?
Any questions about my reporting process for this story? Want to know more specifics about my first experience with multimedia? Any suggestions for future stories? Sound off in the comments 🙂