BP #15: Reflection

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Honestly this course has been fun, as fun as college courses can be anyway. Probably my favorite project overall was the group SoundSlides project, working with Zac while being able to tag some good photos worked out really well. I was also proud to send the photos back to the Walk organizers for use on their website. I also really liked the Laramie website. It allowed me to fix (I hope!) most of the problems with my professor website and allow me to learn a little bit more about table top, card, and “vanilla” board games.

I probably learned the most about audio interviewing, it was something I didn’t really have experience with. Phrasing and being able to think on your feet are two great skills I developed through interviewing fro this course. I also was able to “morph” my projects somewhat, they were nearly all different in the planning phase than in practice. My roller derby nationals project was especially difficult because of this, all of the “real” press has passes and better opportunities with players. Getting interviews and relevant pictures was difficult, not to mention the kinda hefty price tag for admission.

This class definitely helped me get an edge into online reporting. I can see myself using all of the things I learned from working with programs, whether it’s enveloping audio in Audicity for nice transitions or editing HTML code in Dreamweaver for clean vertical shots. It was also helpful to learn more about the actual style and substance of online journalism, knowing all of the programs does nothing for the actual story.

I wish we could’ve had more coding, and some more sessions in class devoted to working with it. I liked the structure of the course however, all the pieces of the puzzle fit really well together for me at the end. I’m exciting to go more into coding with the next section but feel like I have a really good primer to start.


Roller Derby Nationals (BP #14)

Posted: November 14, 2011 in Blog Posts

SoundSlides project link

For my individual SoundSlides project I went to the 2011 Roller Derby National tournament for a day (out of three!). Since I wasn’t going to be able to attend the final game, which the Gotham Girls (from New York) won, I decided to interview skaters, merchandisers, and attendees to see why derby is important to them. I got some pretty interesting people to interview and in that respect I was pretty lucky. There was no end of interesting things to take pictures of, except I was restricted in some of my rink photos.

As giant event however there were some problems. The audio was a little hard to gather, most people only had either a second to talk or were working a merchandise booth. While (almost) everyone was nice enough to consent to an interview the actual process was more than a little tedious. I also couldn’t get very close to the rink. Being a starving college student, the $40 general admission ticket was pricey for me. No way could I have afforded a VIP seat and the press passes were reserved for, not surprisingly, actual members of the press.  So I was stuck in the stands, another reason I decided for a broader coverage approach. If I could change anything I would’ve tried to go for all three days and do a story on the actual tournament but due to time and money constraints that wasn’t possible. If I could’ve gotten my interviewees in a quiet room that also would’ve been a plus. This project was fun, and despite a couple of setbacks I really enjoyed making and watching the slideshow. Now back off to watch QuadZilla jam.

As a kind of funny side note for lunch I got nachos. A little off topic but I had to trade some chips off for an interview with the elusive Silver Fox, of the Denver Roller Dolls.

Alex Edwards and Ashlee Oslund “Geological Museum”

I really liked this project, I knew about the ‘cones but it was a fun story. I also liked that they got 2 (3?) interviews for the project, it gives the project some good flow. The ambient noise of the dino growl was a fun edition.

The audio at the begining has some weird echo going on, understandable though. It also got a little clunky when the two interview voices were spliced together, merely because I didn’t know if a new person was introduced or not. (I’m assuming no because only two pictures have the “pasted nameplate”) I also felt like some of the photography inside the museum got a little repetive with angles, maybe try shooting from below or above to get some interesting light/angles. I also would’ve liked if the “pasted nameplates”, the photoshoped tags, could be extended to include the speakers credentials. This wasn’t required but sometimes the photo captions are a little quick for a lot of information. Overall a fun project, my favorite pic was of the dino sporting a Wyo tee.

Zach Gruebel and Peter Stevens “Mitch Kunce: A brewing Artisanin Laramie”

First of all, the sectioning of the pictures with Mitch’s audio description of brewing is spot on. It was interesting to see all of the steps in the process accompanied with some pics.

The audio is pretty difficult to hear, it becomes completely indecipherable during the second interview with Pete. I couldn’t understand anything during those last twenty five (ish) seconds and this made me tune out the last bit of the project. The best audio of the piece is the 5-6 second long clip of the beer tap pouring, it came through crisply and was instantly recognizable. Some of the photos felt very “point-and-click”, I would’ve liked to have seen some more interesting shots of the bar or the equiptment than glasses of beer. I’m also a total sucker for lighting and angles. (see above)

Andie Knous and Jessica Peck “Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Masters of Misery Haunted House”

This project was cool, the audio and pictures did a great job of telling the story. Some of the photos really stuck out as being nice and interesting while conveying the atmosphere of halloween.

I would’ve liked some more pictures of people actually attending but I understand with time constraints that wouldn’t really work. I was also scared when I had to pump the audio up to hear anything, it worked out well however and didn’t blow out my ears. I also would’ve liked some ambient noise, but it’s possible I just keep missing it.

Undead Shuffle (BP #12)

Posted: October 31, 2011 in Blog Posts

“Wish Upon a Zombie” Project

Overall I have to say that this project was a blast. I managed to learn something about working with SoundSlides, all while extending my picture portfolio. Zac did an awesome job with the interviews and audio editing, he was also a big help the day of the run by taking some supplemental pictures for the final cut.Audio interviewing was tough because of all the ambient noise we caught. It also bears mentioning that the event, technically titled “The 2011 Make-a-Wish Zombie Walk”, should have been an actual walk, I managed to catch a lot of people’s backs as they sprinted away from me. Everyone we interviewed was extremely excited and cordial, it made that side of the process much easier. It was difficult getting names, I don’t know if people just didn’t want to give them out but it was a struggle.

SoundSlides is an interesting piece of software, you really can beat it for ease of use. An embed code button would’ve have been extremely helpful, I’m still a little bit unclear about how that’s going to work…. Otherwise the program responded snappily and to expectations, with the other exception being the weird over-type feature in the captions. To be honest I ended up remembering why I liked SoundSlides last time I used it to create a slide show.

If I could do this project again I would’ve set up better photo opportunities for myself, a lot of the time we were running or driving to the next spot to get set-up. I also would’ve picked an event that was occuring sooner, which is tough to say because this event was a ton of fun. Zac was a good partner with good ideas and suggestions, this prject would’ve been far more difficult without him. All in all we got some good photos combined with some great audio to create a pretty interesting SoundSlide in my opinion.

3 Stories (BP #11)

Posted: October 17, 2011 in Blog Posts


Derby saves lives.

I keep thinking about doing a derby piece, something focused in on one girl and how derby changed her life. It could have a lot of interesting ambient noise, especially if I could catch a bout. I think this story could appeal to a fairly wide array of women, and even men! Most of the girls have epic stories of overcoming adversity and struggle. Derby seems to have a part in that for some. I would probably talk to the derby girls, look into Blood & Thunder (a derby magazine), and check out WFTD.


Ira Glass vs. the world

Ira Glass (NPR host “This American Life”) is coming to UW and it would be interesting to do a story on Ira Glass and his work with NPR. I would probably focus on how Ira Glass views radio communication and where he thinks the media will go. It would be interesting for fans of NPR or people interested in mass communication. I would use NPR’s website, along with (hopefully) an interview with Glass. “This American Life” also has its own website with tons of content.


LGBT and the law

On the19th UW’s LGBT community will hold a Wyo panel for Wyoming equality. I would interview members of community and see what laws have affected them and how. The session, the LGBT communities Facebook, and the interviews would be my main sources of information for this story.

Audio critiques (BP#10)

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Blog Posts

First of we have a critique of Andrew Joannides’ audio interview. It seemed like the interview was cut very well, garage band obviously was the right choice for Andrew.The interview seemed to have a coherant start, middle, and finish; I wasn’t ever confused during the story which is a plus.

There was about 8-9 seconds of dead space at the end. I think he still would’ve fallen into the 1:50 or over club so cutting this wouldn’t have changed anything. Also, and it might be a problem on my end, there is a constant high end buzz when I listen. I can’t blame this on Andrew, it could be my headphones, but it could be an ambient noise from the interview. It was a little bit distracting.

Honestly listening to Andrew’s interview makes me want to try Garageband again, I haven’t had the chance since high school. His cuts are really smooth and the story was consistent. Overall its a well-done cut with a few minor quirks.


Now we have Zach Gruebel’s final audio cut. This one is also cut very well, the pauses are few and far between. I’m not really a sports fan, but the story was consistent and funny at moments. It seems like Zach’s biggest strength was his choice in interview partners. There is an obvious love of anything sports between them.

There was dead space at both the beginning and the end, altogther maybe 7-8 seconds. Like Andrew, Zach would’ve fallen into the above 1:50 club so cutting this excess audio would be beneficial. There was also a fairly large issue with the overall sound quality and echo. I had trouble hearing what was happening in sections, I don’t know if this is an interview space or recording equipment issue.

Now I get the opportunity to critique myself. (<this link is required but un-needed, scroll down for my final cut)

I wish I had nailed down an outline with my partner, I felt like I had to lead him with my questioning. I also wish I had jumped in and cut him off in some sections, there are a couple ramblings. This assignment made me wanna try Garageband, or any programs that’s not Audacity. Overall an intriguing assignment, I wish I could’ve had more time with it.

More Audio Editing (BP#9)

Posted: October 5, 2011 in Blog Posts

Allow me to be frank, I don’t like audio editing. Maybe it’s just that audacity and I are better as just friends. For whatever reason it still won’t allow me to cut below a second and only through using time shift was I able to cobble together this edited version.

This project has proved to be kinda difficult from the start, it can be hard to count on other people for things like this. I had trouble listening to the tracks over and over again to kill “ums” and pauses, the content gets really old after awhile. If I could go back and do this assignment again I would’ve tried to do several interviews, which we didn’t have time for, and get a idea of what my partner is doing before interviewing so I can prepare some questions. It was also hard to keep the content from dragging, I still think this final version is a little bit dry.

I learned that pausing can be helpful, both for editing and listen-ability (not a word, I know). I also learned how to time shift for this section. Not that I didn’t understand it before I just thought the changes were permanent. I messed with some of the ambient noise, though I didn’t include any in the assignment, and got a feel for adding effects. Probably Audacity’s coolest feature is the fader button (or whatever it’s called) that allows you to raise or lower a sections volume over a length of time. Kinda neat.

Overall audio recording and editing has come back to haunt my life again, I just can’t seem to get into the swing of keeping interviews interesting along with cutting viable story in audio.It would be a massive help if I could get Audacity to cut less than a second sections, nothing I’ve looked at online in the help manuals has any suggestions.

Audio Interviewing (BP#8)

Posted: October 3, 2011 in Blog Posts
Audio interviewing is difficult. Not last boss on Mario difficult, but definitely a challenge. I kinda liked being interviewed, I don’t know how good I was at it but it was fun. Keeping it short and concise while I was speaking was tough.  I wish it could have gone smoother, my partner and I had some mis-communication about the meeting time. I probably should have prepared some questions for the interview but, not knowing what subject my interviewee would pick, I decided to come up with questions at the interview. This was my biggest mistake, I wish we had nailed down subjects before meeting.  
We also had a hard time pinning down a subject for Jaron, it made it hard to ask questions for a compelling interview. My interview sounded a little canned, I had to lead with questions in a couple sections with was a whole different bag of tricks. The prevalent thing I learned is be prepared to go in a different direction with your interview quickly, sometimes your subject needs some direction to get what you need. I do enjoy interviewing, despite all of the issues it was definitely a learning experience and helped me realize some things not to do in the future. 

Three Stories (BP#7)

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Blog Posts

The New York Times

John Keegan Ladies’ Man

“Ladies Man” is great, it’s the only story present that uses ambient noise. John helps men who want to meet women by giving them advice on human interactions. The ambient noise, or John hitting on women, is hilarious. It also helps make this story more real for me, it gives the listener the chance to actually hear John at work. If I could change anything I would’ve tried to mix the women voices so they are just a hair louder.

Andrew Baum “Rookie Detective”

“Rookie Detective” is an awesome audio story. Essentially it’s the story of Andrew Baum, a former member of the Israeli army’s counterintelligence unit. “Rookie Detective” is his story of finishing the apprenticeship required to open a private investigation firm.  While there isn’t a whole lot of ambient noise, the journalist catches some great quotes. I can definitely identify with the learning curve associated with a new job, and the story was fairly funny in sections. I also liked that it ended with a laugh, making this a fun and interesting listening. My complaint, while minor, is that a lot of the included pictures are somewhat boring. I know that isn’t the point of this posting but it’s my biggest complaint.





Texas turns down cook’s offer for free “last meals”

This story is pretty nuts, it’s a subject you don’t really hear about that often. Apparently Texas is trying to move away from the practice of a last meal for death row inmates. The interesting part is the interview with a prison cook.  The journalist did a good job with the interview; she also set the story up extremely well, which caught my attention. The journalist also does a good job of filling the interview space while letting her guest talk, even though it’s “live” or something close it has smooth transitions.

Ugh sound editing (BP#6)

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Blog Posts

For this weeks blog I have to put up some tracks of ambient noise, a track of myself counting to ten out of order, and an edited version where I count to ten normally. This project was without a doubt the most aggravating so far, Audacity only cuts for full seconds on the beta I have so it sounds like I can’t count to ten.

My ambient noises

The first track, “Unlucky Lighter”, is a little hard to hear but that’s my favorite part. I could hear this one with a news story on cancer (yes, I know smoking causes cancer).I got this one at UW outside.

The second track, “Spit and Rinse” is me brushing my teeth. It would work for a story on dental care, or maybe a product recall for toothpaste. This is, of course, at my apartment.

The third track,  “Hot shower”, is exactly what it sounds like. The best part about recording this one was the awesome shower I took afterward. This could be for a water conservation piece.

The fourth track, “Paranoid” is the sound of my deadbolt, chain, and handle locks being opened on my appartment door. I could see it being used for a piece on breaking and entering.

The fifth track, “Last Sip” I got while I was in class at UW, I like it because everyone knows it as the world’s most annoying sound. I hear this one and think of all the news stories about people drinking to much soda, it could also work for a water consumption article.

The sixth and last track, “Door’s Open”, is another one where it’s fairly easy to tell whats going on. I like that the sound of the car starting is low in the mix but audible. I see this one being used for a rising gas prices piece.

I struggled with editing this (not counting to ten wiseacre). I couldn’t seem to get Audacity to cut below one second increments. I wish I would’ve had time to research some better sound editing programs because that made this assignment twice as hard as it needed to be. Overall I learned that ambient noise is hard to capture because sometimes there is to much sound to record. With the counting set I learned that editing sound can be a real chore without the right equipment and software.