Blog post 3: Analyze an audio-only interview

There are 9 edited interviews here: http://transom.org/?p=35965 

Choose ONE of those interviews, and do two things before you start writing the blog post:

  • Read everything on the story page (some of the reporters had an interesting experience in finding their interview subject).
  • Listen attentively to the complete interview without stopping the audio. Most of the interviews are 6–8 minutes long.  I strongly recommend using headphones. If you use headphones, you will probably pay more attention.

After that, analyze the story you heard in the interview, and write a blog post containing your analysis.

The idea is that we learn how to tell good stories by listening to good stories.

Please read about grading criteria for blog posts in this course. Those criteria apply to all blog post assignments.

In your analysis, be specific about:

  1. Audio quality. Is it clear and crisp? Is there any background noise? Is there any nat sound? Anything wrong with it, from a professional standpoint?
  2. Sense of the story. Is it easy to follow, or confusing? Is it interesting? Why or why not?
  3. Editing decisions — such as use of reporter’s voice, narration, natural sound, and/or music. Are these things present or not present? If absent, would their inclusion improve the story? If present, might the story be better without them? I want to see evidence that you’re thinking about how someone creates this edited final product from a longer (often much longer) interview.
  4. Was this person (and this story) a good one to choose for an audio story? Why or why not?

You might find you need to listen to the story several times to crystallize your thoughts about the story. I encourage you to do so. Really. You will learn more.

If you really don’t like the story, maybe you should choose a different one. It depends on you. Sometimes we can learn a lot from a story we dislike. But sometimes we are so stuck on how much we dislike it, we can’t really do a good analysis.

Requirements for your blog post

  1. The length must be (minimum) 300 to (maximum) 500 words.
  2. In the first paragraph, include the TITLE of the story you analyzed, and LINK that title to the story’s individual Web page. (I should not see the URL.)
  3. Include everything in the analysis list above this. (You can include other things too.)
  4. Write intelligently so that a prospective employer, reading your post, will think you are smart and a good judge of storytelling.*
  5. Write an appropriate and interesting headline for your blog post. HINT: Refer to the story you are critiquing.
  6. After you publish your blog post ON YOUR OWN BLOG, copy the URL of your post page and paste it in a REPLY to this post, here, on this blog. If you paste a complete URL on a line by itself, it will automatically become a working link. That is what I want.

* Compose a first sentence that would make a total stranger want to read your blog post. Don’t forget to include context so it’s clear what you’re writing about. There is NO need to mention this course or the assignment in your post.

Deadline

Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 9 a.m.

Your reply posted here must be submitted before 09:00:00 in order to receive credit.

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About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

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