Take-home audio gathering exercise


The ultimate goal of our two-part audio gathering/editing lab exercise is to produce a short audio clip of 30 to 45 seconds that tells a coherent story. Here’s an example from Digital Journalism alum Laura Rowe, who visited an SMU isotope lab:

And just to show y’all that even old fogies can do this, here are two more example audio labs completed by two of your favorite professors:

Batsell — The Fountain on a Late Winter Day

Suhler — E-mailing: The Scourge of the 21st Century


From these examples, you can see that you will need 1) NAT SOUND; 2) VO and 3) a short INTERVIEW describing the sound (preferably with someone you don’t know).

Save your three (SHORT) raw audio files on your computer or an external drive and post them individually to SoundCloud. Email them to me by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. On Thursday, bring your raw files to class, along with your laptop and some earbuds or headphones. You’ll use GarageBand to edit your three clips into an NPR-worthy masterpiece!

P.S. Looking for some tips on voiceovers? Here’s a great tutorial from the Knight Digital Media Center.

The Power of Multimedia Storytelling


For class on Thursday, Oct. 13, read the “Drilling Down” boxes in the Briggs book on pages 164-5 and 178. Then watch this four-minute audio slideshow by The Washington Post, “No Greater Love.”

In a previous edition of Journalism Next, NBC News Vice President Stokes Young says the promise of multimedia storytelling is to provide what he calls an “immersive experience: bringing the story to viewers through multiple senses and, hopefully, bringing viewers into stories — the experiences of other folks — in ways that increase understanding.”

By 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, leave a comment on this post (worth 5 class participation points) answering one of these questions:

  • Did “No Greater Love” deliver an “immersive experience” and, if so, how?
  • Would this story have been more or less powerful if told through video rather than through sound and still images?
  • Would this story have been more or less powerful if it used voiceover from the journalist, rather than relying entirely on sources for narration?

Talking Data Journalism on #NewsEngagementDay

As we’ll hear today from SMU alum and Fox 4 weekend sports anchor Edward Egros, more news organizations (and even major sports leagues!) are using data to engage their audiences and to help people explore things for themselves.

During class today, we’ll dive into data ourselves, splitting into small groups for a short exercise:

Which playoff matchup favors the Texas Rangers? The Toronto Blue Jays host the Baltimore Orioles in tonight’s American League Wild Card game. The Wild Card winner travels to Texas to face the Rangers on Thursday and Friday. For the next 10-15 minutes, your group’s mission is to research statistical trends for the Rangers, Blue Jays and Orioles and then agree as a group on your best educated answer: Which team should the Rangers want to play on Thursday, and why? Is one team more prone to strikeouts than the other? How did each team fare on the road during the regular season? Which team plays better during the day compared to at night, on grass versus turf, etc.? A few resources you may want to consult:

Once you’ve settled on your answer, discuss how you could visualize the data in a way that other sports fans can understand. Pick a spokesperson to share your group’s pick, rationale and ideas for visual presentation.

Live blogging: A staple of 21st-century journalism

Live blogging is an important journalistic tool that can deliver context to readers as they are processing the news in real time. Live blogging often is absorbed a “second-screen” experience during which people simultaneously view live events such as political debates, sports events and even entertainment awards shows.

During today’s live blog exercise, you will bring context to Monday night’s presidential debate by carefully searching for — and evaluating the credibility of — news reports and other resources that provide your readers with critical background and perspective. We will use CoverItLive, which is used by many journalism organizations to provide running coverage of live events. In the past, SMU J-students have even used CoverItLive to live blog about the SMU Student Senate, college lacrosse and SMU’s Celebration of Lights.

We will live blog the speech for about 25 minutes. For your live-blog entries, you can paraphrase the candidates’ comments, use direct quotes, provide links or share your own journalistic observations. (Whether you personally agree with the candidates doesn’t matter … you are simply trying to bring context to your readers who are following the speech.)

When the speech goes live, it’s going to seem a little chaotic. That’s OK. There are no points at stake here. It’s a practice exercise.

Personal Branding and the Job Hunt

On Thursday, we’ll start talking about jobs, personal branding and how to land that first gig. Skim/read this “Superpowers” report about the expectations of modern media employers. Peruse the Journo Salary Sharer to see how much reporters make around the country. Check out this Dallas Morning News graphic about the social résumé and Poynter’s 10 Ways to Make Your Journalism Job Application Better Than Anyone Else’s. And if this class has intrigued you about job opportunities related to audience engagement, read this Digiday piece about the evolving job duties of social media editors and/or this recent Columbia Journalism Review piece — you may recognize one of the sources.🙂

Your homework (5 points) is to comment (not tweet — this time, at least) on this post, answering/reacting to one of the following questions by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday:

  • What was the most memorable advice you took away from any of these readings? (DO NOT DUPLICATE anything your classmates already have written.)
  • Browse through some of Batsell’s favorite journalism job listings below. What trends/patterns do you see in what employers are looking for?

Poynter.org’s searchable job database
Mashable jobs
MediaBistro jobs
DFW Communicators Job Bank
Negotiating tips

The Facebook Conundrum: The New Haven Independent and the Annie Le Murder

During class on Tuesday, Sept. 20, we will debate a case study: The Facebook Conundrum: The New Haven Independent and the Annie Le Murder. The case, which is free, is part of the Knight Case Studies Initiative at Columbia University‘s Graduate School of Journalism.

The case study assignment is worth 10 points. The first part, worth 5 points, is to post a brief response (250 words or less) as a comment to this blog entry addressing one of these two questions:

1. What are Bailey’s responsibilities to Del Rocco when reporting on her Facebook page?

2. What factors should Bass weigh to determine whether to run Del Rocco’s posts?

Your response must be posted by 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, for full credit. In your response, cite specific facts from your own reading of the case. It’s not acceptable to piggy-back on your classmates’ answers without reading the case yourself.

The second 5 points will be awarded on the basis of your contributions to the case study discussion in class.

Enjoy the case! (And bring your ‘A’ game on Tuesday.)

News as conversation

My book, Engaged Journalism: Connecting With Digitally Empowered News Audiences (Columbia University Press, 2015) examines the changing relationship between journalists and the audiences they serve. I’m eager to hear your reactions. For Tuesday’s class, please read Chapter 2: News As Conversation (the PDF is on Canvas under “Files”). By 5 p.m. (note earlier deadline than usual) on Monday, Sept. 12, post a reaction of 100 to 200 words as a comment on this post addressing the following question: How (if at all) did the chapter change the way you think about the role the audience plays in the journalistic process? For full credit, cite specific examples from your own reading of the chapter, as well as your own observations and experience. It’s not acceptable to piggy-back on your classmates’ answers without reading the chapter yourself. This assignment is worth 10 class participation points.

Twitter as a (mandatory) journalistic tool

Twitter as a Journalistic Tool For class on Tuesday, Aug. 30: After reading the assigned portions of Briggs in Ch. 2, post a 100-to-150-word comment on this post answering this question: How did the reading change the way you think about how you use (or don’t use) Twitter as a professional journalistic tool? Be honest and specific. This is worth 5 class participation points and is due no later than 11:59 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29.