Over the course of the fall semester, there is no doubt that I learned so much information that will be immeasurable to me in my future. My favorite projects were the web-reporting ones. I really enjoyed learning more about Dreamweaver and HTML and I look forward to furthering my knowledge in the future.

I also really enjoyed the photography elements of the course. So far, all of my journalism classes have been focused around writing so it was refreshing to exercise my writing capabilities while also working on my creative side with photography. I learned a lot and I enjoyed incorporating that element into my projects.

In the future, I would love to go into magazine publishing. I think that the evolution from print to online media is inevitable in my future as a journalist and because of this, having these online journalism skills has made me feel more prepared for a career in this field.

In the spring, I will be applying for a summer internship with, 5280 magazine in Denver. This editorial internship would provide me with an inside glimpse, not only into my favorite publication, but also into the complex and competitive world of journalism. I think that completing this course was an asset to me in terms of my future, as I will be able to use these skills outside of class.

I would have liked to continue learning more about Dreamweaver in this course, but with the time constraints, it is understandable that we only touched on it. I am looking forward to the New Media course in the spring. I would have also liked to learn more about Creative Suite in general such as InDesign and Bridge. It would be interesting to see how all of the Creative Suite programs link together.

Overall, I think that this course is essential for any inspiring journalist or any person hoping to break into a field that would require web work. This is without a doubt, the future of our society and I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to learn these concepts while I am still in college, as I feel it will be beneficial when I am pursuing a career path.

The material has been fascinating and I look forward to the New Media course this spring so I can further enhance my knowledge and become more prepared for what is ahead.

Individual Soundslides Project

In light of the upcoming holiday season, I chose to do my individual Soundslides project on the Laramie Christmas Bazaar that was held on Saturday at the Albany County Fairgrounds. The purpose of this project was to utilize my newly acquired skills to combine audio interviews with photos to create an engaging piece about the Laramie community. The Christmas bazaar featured a variety of vendors who were selling their handmade items. Anything from hand sewn quilts to candles or crocheted water bottle holders, the bazaar was a haven from Christmas Shoppers. I have always enjoyed bazaars such as this one because the products are made by people in the community and it is nice to support their work rather than a commercial store, especially during the holidays.

Balancing the amount of work for this project compared to the group project did not affect me. I realized with the group project how much work this would be and I planned accordingly. In this case, I did enjoy working alone because there were various possiblities to present this story and I had to make quick decision, which I find easier to do on my own, rather than consult a partner. The vendors at the show as well as patrons and all of my sources were really helpful and flexible. I was able to conduct interviews with vendors when their tables were not as busy and then I took advantage of the rushes by taking photos of them interacting with customers. The result is a feel-good community piece about local merchants in the holiday spirit.

I was particularly impressed with Grace Marie’s story as she sells scarves and pashminas that we given to her by her students in Peru to sell in order to support her travels and expenses to teach universal dance. She was more than willing to tell me her story and unfortunately, provided me with so much information that I had to take out a substantial amount in order to include other merchants.

After I collected all of my information, I really enjoyed editing the audio. I feel that the story runs smoothly and is presented in an organized manner. However, when I converted the file to an mp3, a portion of the audio was silent and I had no idea why. The original track was then corrupted and I could not use it so I had to re-edit the audio. I am unsure of what I did but eventually, it was successfully converted. Using Soundslides was manageable for the most part but I feel like Soundslides and Audacity are not compatible with Macs which makes it difficult to work from home. Regardless, it all worked out and I am really happy with the final product. I would like to use these tools that I have acquired with Audacity and Soundslides to build a resume for future employment.

Group Soundslides Critique

For the group Soundslides project, students in our class composed a series of stories about people and events in Laramie.  Zach Greubel and Peter Stevens chose to do their story on Mitch Kunce, the brew master of local restaurant, The Library. I really loved their idea to do a profile on a local restaurant that has a great following of the people in Laramie and especially students of the university.

When I began to view their project, the photos immediately drew me in, they were really well done and interesting. The content of the interviews was well done, however, the voices were hard to hear. I originally thought that it was the quality of the recorder they used but towards the middle, Kunce, mentions the pumps running in the background, so I would assume that is where the noise was coming from. Ambient noise would have been okay to use over the interview, but I think in this case, it really drowned out the voice of the subjects.

Regardless of this, they did an excellent job of organizing their photos to match the audio. I especially liked the part that Kunce was going over the process of the brewing beer and he ended with saying that the beer is ready to poor. The next photo was of the beer taps and ambient noise of a beer filling a glass.  Their transition from speaker to speaker was really smooth and I could not hear any rough cuts.

Finally, the flow of the story was easy to follow and effective for the purpose of this piece. They ended with an interview from a frequent Library patron and it was a good way to end on a positive note. It was also beneficial for them to include on the last slide, the hours that the establishment is open.

Jaron Jenkins and Bridget Wilson did their Soundslides project on Domestic Violence Awareness. I thought that their story idea was interesting and relevant because October was Domestic Violence Awareness month. The sources used in their story were prominent figures that are advocates against domestic violence, which made the story really strong.

The photos were interesting and well done. They did a good job of capturing the essence of the story. They chose to include photos of advertisements and signs about domestic violence, as well as some of their own photos, which worked in this situation. The photos also matched with the audio well, which made the story run smoothly.  I also like that they included a song as ambient noise. Finally, their cuts in between speakers were smooth and I did not hear any rough spots. Overall, their story topic was interesting and very informative and they did a good job of presenting the material

Jordan Dixon and Megan Tanaka did a piece about student workers at the University of Wyoming. The idea of this story was really interesting and something that all of us in the class can relate to. I personally have had a job throughout my entire college career so it is interesting to see how others balance their time.

One of my favorite elements to this story was their decision to use black and white photos instead of color. It was unique and I think effective for their purpose. The quality of the photos was strong and they did a good job of capturing artistic value in each shot. I like that they shot from a variety of angles and perspectives as well.

Their audio interviews were interesting and I think that they collected a lot of relevant information. However, the quality of the audio was poor and I could not tell if it was ambient noise in the background or if the recorder that they used was just scratchy. I had to listen closely in order to hear what each interviewee was saying.

Aside from that, their transitions were strong and I did not hear any significant rough cuts. They also organized the story well so that the audio and photos were in sync and the flow of the story worked well. It was good that they interviewed a variety of students with different situations.

Overall, I think that the group Soundslides went well, other than a few kinks in working out the programs. I am excited for the individual Soundslides project because I think that we have seen the right and wrong way to go about the project and we can see what elements make a story stronger. I thought the use of black and white photos was ascetically pleasing, so I am hoping to do the same in my individual piece.


Group Soundslides Project

For our group Soundslides project, my partner, Jessie Peck and I did a story on Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Haunted House, “Master’s of Misery.” In light of the Halloween holiday, we thought that it would be fitting to do our story in a festive manner. The result is a spooky and corky profile piece about a group of gentleman who were passionate about causing a fright as well as raising money for Albany County SAFE project.

Jessie and I had a lot of fun experiencing their event. The gentleman were extremely helpful and allowed us to preview the house in the early stages of its preparation. Jessie also attended the house on Sunday night and was able to capture people’s reactions. It was interesting to see the house in its early stages as well as the final project. There is no doubt that the gentlemen went above and beyond to make this haunted house, the scariest in Wyoming.

I really enjoyed using Soundslides. It is an easy program to navigate and organize, which allowed us extra time to focus on perfecting our audio instead. However, I did run into trouble with my personal computer as I own a Mac. I found that Soundslides only allows uploads from a Mac when the files are in a specific folder and I did not realize this until after several, frustrating attempts.

Unfortunatley, time became an issue for us because our event was this past weekend. The result was meeting together early in the morning on the day it was due to finish last minute touches. In the process of transferring audio and photos between a Mac computer and Windows, we lost our edited audio track. We had to edit the interviews again and with the limited time, they did not meet my expectations. Regardless, the photos turned out great and with the overlap of the audio, the story is interesting and engaging.

For my individual Soundslides project, I will be doing a human interest profile piece about the Laramie Fire Department. Given the fact that we will have two weeks to put the project together, I am expecting the end result to be polished and as perfect as possible. I have a vision of how this story will turn out and that may or may not be a positive approach. My goal is to expect the unexpected, but to stay on track with what I am hoping to provide the viewer with. There is something very comforting about civil servants and they attract a form of respect that is practically inevitable, especially in a small town. They are the essence of “good deeds,” and dedicate their life to helping others. For most people, what they know about firefighters is that they typically wear their yellow suits, they teach young children fire safety and even demonstrate using a firehose, they are the iconic heros of a community. With that mindset, I want to explore thier lives and provide the viewer with a perspective into their daily lives as well as the lives of their families.

I think that I will be able to accomplish my goals as long as I give myself plenty of time for interviews and photos and perhaps even spread my visits out, (go to the firehouse more than once) to acquire an abundance of material.

Ideas for Group Soundslides Project

Breast Cancer Awareness at UW

As October is Breast Cancer awareness month, I think it would be interesting to talk to Registered Student Organizations that focus on cancer awareness and fundraising such as Up ’till Dawn and Colleges Against Cancer, to see what they are doing this month in support of it. I know that Colleges Against Cancer is doing a fundraiser in which people are encouraged to decorate bras, which will be hung up in the Union and passerby’s can attach money to the bra they like the most. Also, Biojewelry has an event planned on October 24 and that could provide the story with more information as well.

I think that this story would be interesting if we were able to interview people who participate in fundraising as well as cancer patients or people directly affected by Breast Cancer through family or friends and the students and faculty who organize drives to fund research.

A Profile of the UW Art Department

When I was a Sophmore at UW, I took Drawing 1000 and went in knowing very little about the composition of Art. What I learned, very shortly after the class began, is that I had the ability to produce interesting and engaging pieces. This is the situation for most every student who takes introduction level art classes at UW. The teachers are patient and extremely talented which make them ideal educators for this seemingly subjective course.

I think that this story would be valuable because it would expose the polished talent of the Art Department Faculty as well as the raw talent of its students. Whether or not people are interested in the study of art, it is undeniable that there is a certain demeanor of watching someone produce art work that is calming and fascinating.

Possible sources for this story would be the faculty of the department, students who are majoring in art and those who are taking it for fun or to fulfill their art credit and also to choose a student that is a senior who has evolved as an artist based off of the department’s teachings.

Laramie Fire Department

I think that Soundslides projects are effective for feature stories and that it would be interesting to do a story about the Laramie Fire Department. Getting a glimpse into the life of another person is always fascinating if done well and firefighters live such a different lifestyle that it would be interesting to learn about.

We would start by contacting the Chief to see if we could spend a few hours at the firehouse just observing and taking photos and then as we develop an angle for the story, we could begin our interviews. It would also be insightful to attend one of their training sessions if there was one scheduled in our time frame.

Possible sources would be the firefighters of course, both younger rookies as well as seasoned veterans. It would be interesting to talk with their families about their experience of having a firefighter in the family. And finally, I would like to interview the Chief, specifically, as he would have the most experience, to gather insight about what it is like to lead a group of men as he does.




Audio Profile Critique

Audio Profiles have a lot of potential to produce interesting, provoking and captivating stories. I think they provide a person with an opportunity to impact others. I keep referring to “One in 8 Million,” but I think about that piece all of the time and my personal goal is to produce audio profiles, especially with the upcoming Sound Slides project, that somewhat reflect that idea.

However, in order to achieve that, a significant amount of practice and patience must be given to audio editing. It is necessary to not only interview the subject in a manner that leads into an interesting story, but also to edit the track so that the most pertinent and moving information is included.

Justin Trygg interviewed fellow classmate Jaron Jenkins about growing up in Wyoming. The quality of the audio track is strong. Jaron’s voice is distinct and sharp. There were no noise distractions and there also was not any use of ambient noise. However, I agree with his decision to eliminate the other noises because the subject of the interview does not directly correlate to distinct sounds.

I noticed in his blog post that he made it clear that audio editing does not interest him and he had a difficult time piecing together the track. I did notice a couple of seconds throughout the track that didn’t have a smooth transistion however, since this was our first assignment editing an audio track, I think it was inevitable. One suggestion I would make would be to have a better concluding sentence. I felt that the interview did not end with closure, it just stopped. Overall, I think that the quality of the post was strong and he executed the editing well, despite his concerns.

Similarly, Caleb Tillapaugh did an equally strong job of capturing audio from his classmate Marie Smith. I think that this story really captured the essence of her trip to Vietnam. It tied into her heritage which was effective. Much like Justin, Caleb did not include any ambient noise. I agree with this decision as well because the setting was in another country so any ambient noise would not have accuratley reflected the story. The interviewee’s voice was extremely clear and distinct. This made the audio profile compelling because their were no distractions. All of the transitions were smooth and overall this audio profile is very well done.

I think that the quality of both of these audio profiles is much stronger than my own, (Andie Knous) because my recorder is extremely outdated and the quality of the recording is not up to par. For my next project with audio interviews, I am hoping to acquire a better device to avoid this problem. I also want to be more prepared than I was for this assignment, by devloping a distinct purpose for the interview and having a variety of questions so that it will be smooth and continuous. I was suprised at how tedious and tricky audio editing is, but in the future, knowing what to expect, I think the Sound Slides project will be much stronger.

Edited Audio Profile

My audio editing experience was really interesting. I interviewed my classmate, Jessica Peck. I enjoyed working with her and capturing her passion for photography. She was easy to interview and was very animated and lively with her answers which made it easy and comfortable to continue the conversation.

I learned that it is really important to have a wide variety of questions prepared. I found that as Jessi was answering one question, it correlated with two or three others and I was having to come up with other questions as we continued. This situation though is dependent upon the interviewee and their comfort and personality. She was elaborate enough for me to only be prepared with general questions, but people who are more reserved would require more specific questions. For this reason, I found that I would  prefer to establish a relationship with the person prior to the interview so I can learn more about them in order to prepare. I realize that this is an ideal situation and that I will usually just have to adapt.

I enjoyed the challenge of my first audio interview, which required that I monitor a variety of elements including the questions and were the interview was headed, the time the interview was running and that quality of the recording. My audio recorded is outdated and of low quality so I had to constantly make sure that it was still on. This definitely took my focus away from Jessi at times so I want to make sure that in the future, I can avoid this situation.

For my next audio interview, I am going to do several things differently. I want to acquire an audio recorder that has a better quality than the one I am currently using. Also, I realized the importance of preparing more for the subject and having a wide variety of questions even if I end up not using many of them. Aside from the interview itself, I found the editing portion to be really fun. I listened to the audio track so many times that I could practically recite it, but this allowed me to make informed decisions about which areas to cut or move. Next time, I want to be more adventurous and try different tools on Audacity. Hopefully, this will produce more interesting and entertaining audio interviews.

I am really excited about the potential that audio interviewing can hold and I think that as I move forward, I will become more confident with this new concept and my interviews and their quality, not only in sound but with content as well, will steadily improve.

Raw Audio Profile

Audio interviews have the potential to convey strong human emotion and other aspects of a person that would otherwise be difficult to achieve through a written story alone. During my interview experience, I found myself somewhat nervous. I have always found it awkward to hear my own voice but I realized that the purpose of interviews is to capture the interviewee, not the interviewer. Realizing that I was not the focal point, and rather my goal was to capture the essence of another person, it was easier for me to conduct the interview.

I found comfort in know that I could restart at any time, but that is only a possibility in this specific exercise. I think that when we begin interviews with people outside of our class, I will need to prepare more and become more knowledgeable about audio interviews. I found that my audio recorded consistently pauses itself when it does not detect noise. If this happens in an interview with a person outside of the classroom, I would have lost valuable information and that part of the track would have to be excluded.

As the interviewee, I found myself trying to assist the interviewer by making sure that I am answering in complete sentences so that all of the audio is helpful. However, by doing this, I would get distracted and loose my train of thought. As I move forward and begin to interview more people, I think it is imperative to make them feel at ease. I was excited to talk about my love for Colorado and I think that most people will be more open to an interview when they are passionate about what the topic is.

I am a firm believe that  every person, despite how ordinary they might seem, has an extraordinary story and audio recording has the power to capture the essence of a person. Pieces like “One in 8 Million” fully achieve this idea and I love that I have the capability of producing similar work through the us of audio recording.

Audio Stories

As I move forward in my education of online media, the outlet that consistently impresses me is audio journalism. I had never considered this concept in the past, other than talk radio, which I find to be uninteresting and boring. However, in this ever-changing world of news media, audio tracks have made their comeback.

The follow stories are examples of audio journalism at its finest. The series “One in 8 Million,” from the New York Times is a series of 54 profiles of ordinary people with extraordinary stories. I am drawn to this series due to its undeniable impact upon the viewer. I am biased because I am more interested in feature stories that encompass the human struggle, and this story is the epitome of that.

Featured in “One in 8 Million” is Ms. Mary Elizabeth O’Donnell-Moore, “The Medical Tourist,” a young woman, whose battle with cancer brought her from her Kentucky home, to New York City to receive treatment. I was immediately touched by her struggle as I recognize that cancer is perhaps the most horrific disease a person can endure. The audio perspective of this piece enhanced the story’s impact as I was able to hear her soft-spoken voice that is the result of the tumors on her throat. This element of the story would be less meaningful if described in words. There was not any noticeable ambient noise in the profile. However this could be because her voice is so low and soft already that any other noises could take the focus away from her. However, there is one instance that she acknowledges that New York City is too loud for her, as her voice is often lost among the hustle bustle of the city. It could have been interesting for the journalist to include ambient noise from a subway train that she was on, to further illustrate the point. My favorite part of the story was the last few seconds, as she is telling the story about the blue costume wig she wore. There is a comedic undertone that further enhances the human interest and impact of this strong and brave individual.

Another intriguing profile from “One in 8 Million,” is “The Blind Wine Taster,” Ms. Alexandra Elman. This profile follows a woman as she navigates the streets of the New York City with her seeing eye dog and uses her phenomenal senses of taste and smell to be a successful wine connoisseur of the Upper East Side. Unlike the previous story, the journalist chose to include ambient noise in this profile. The audio track captured the sound of wine pouring into a glass and of her tasting wine and rolling it on her lips. I thought that the journalist did an excellent job of capturing her personality. She is lively and confident and this undeniable after hearing this audio clip, and after being combined with the photos, it impossible to ignore.

“The Hard Economics of Holy Days” found on NPR, is a short news story about how the economy is affecting the generosity of members of the Jewish faith. Unlike other religions, the Jewish congregations usually charge membership fees and they are finding that their membership dues are doping due to the recession. As the religion holiday, Rosh Hashanah is approaching, Rabbis are working to encourage members to contribute in other ways. This story has various aspects of ambient noise, including singing during a religious service. While I think that this story is important, and I am not discrediting hard news in general, I think that audio stories are better suited for feature stories. However, the journalist did an excellent job of collecting the facts and including beneficial interview clips.

Aside from stories that are already strong based off of their audio elements, I wanted to include a series of profiles in Real Simple Magazine that would have benefited from being published with audio tracks. Much like “One in 8 Million,” Real Simple’s, “What Makes Me Feel Beautiful,” is a series of stories written by six female writers as they share their most intimate memories and secrets about the roots of their beauty. Contrary to Botox or Anti-wrinkle cream, these women have real stories that women across the country can relate to. I read this story a few years ago, I believe I was 17 and it has not escaped my memory since. Even though it is already a strong piece, adding audio interviews of each woman would enhance its appeal and captivate the reader even more.

Beginning Audio Recording and Editing

Ambient Noises

The presence of ambient noise is essential in an audio story in order to produce a interesting and memorable piece of journalism. Below are six recorded tracks of ambient noise from a variety of places and situations including the outdoors, a work environment as well as a home establishment. The distinct sounds that people can recognize, provide another element to a story that enhances its purpose.

The first recording of ambient noise is whistling. It was recorded in my house while my roommate was studying and whistling to help her focus. This story could be used in a profile about a person who has a whistling talent or perhaps in a story that deals with music or local talent.

The second track is a room of voices. It was recorded in my classroom prior to the start of a lecture. There was a lot of side chatter that I thought would be interesting to include. This example could be used in a story that exposes students’ lack of attention or perhaps in a profile about a specific social gathering of various individuals.

The third example of ambient noise is the twisting of a cap, on and off of a plastic bottle. It is not a sound that is easily recognizable but it would be interesting in a story concerning recycling.

The fourth track is another example that would not be easy to recognize. The sound produced is from moving a stick up and down on a tree. It was recorded outside and although it is not particularly easily recognized, it could be interesting and meaningful in a story about the environment.

The fifth track was also recorded outside, next home that was getting a new roof. I was able to record a hammer hitting the side of the house. I think that this track is fairly easy to recognize, especially if you know what you are listening for in a specific context. For example, if this track was used in a story about a dispute against a construction company, the listener would be able to easily recognize the noise.

The sixth and final track that I recorded is running water. It was recorded in my home, at the kitchen sink. I think that this ambient noise could be beneficial in a story about the importance of washing your hands or perhaps a story about flu season.

Counting to Ten

Another exercise that is important in the process of practicing audio journalism is editing sound tracks. In this assignment, the purpose was to record a series of numbers, 1-10, out of numerical order. After posting this track on the blog, the goal was to edit the track so that the numbers (1-10) were put into numerical order. It provided us with the opportunity to practice the audio editing program, Audacity.

I have never had experience with audio editing. However, I do have some experience in video editing on iMovie, used for Macs. I do not have any fears concerning audio journalism however I do think that it will be difficult to take myself out of the interview. I tend to want to encourage people I interview, so it will be a challenge to achieve this without using verbal ques. I was very moved by the New York Times piece, One in 8 Million and my goal is to keep those profiles in the back of my mind while I put together my own audio stories in order to ensure they have an impact on the listener.

Counting to Ten