Radio interviews challenge adviser


In my last post related to podcasting, I wrote of unfounded fears. This week I’m eating my words.

To be fair however, most of what made made this assignment challenging was a result of my actions and not some fault of the instruction or assignment. Just like my some of my students, I had good intentions but I let procrastination and other responsibilities take over.

The biggest issue I had with the interview itself. Because I waited till the end of the two week time span allotted for the assignment,  I had to record my interview in one shot. As I was listening to myself, I noticed I filler words such as “um” frequently in my questions. I didn’t want to write my specific questions out as in my last podcast I felt I did not sound natural; however, I think I should have done one or two trial runs prior to recording to work on any kinks getting thoughts from my brain to my mouth.

I did tell my guests the general outline of the questions in advance in hopes they could provide more thoughtful answers. I feel this went well; however, they too did not speak as smoothly as I would have liked and editing out stumbles in the middle of sentences proved cumbersome. I ultimately decided – in most cases as at least – to leave the full responses rather than have choppy cuts.

The last issue that I had was recording my intro and conclusion in a separate environment than the actual interview. The ambient sound and volume of my voice was different than the interview itself. If I was to do it over I would ensure I recorded the entirety of the speaking sections in the same manner.

Though this assignment proved more challenging that I had anticipated, it also opened my eyes to the idea that using multimedia – or more specifically teaching it to my students – is not unattainable. This type of assignment could be easily incorporated in my introduction course as students already record they’re interviews for accuracy purposes.

In the future I would like to encourage my newspaper students to try creating podcasts that profile students, teachers, community members, etc. in the manner such as StoryCorp. and I think a Q & A style podcast such as the one I did could be an easy stepping stone for them on the journey to incorporating more than text on our website.

Podcasting fears unfounded


Check out my first podcast above but before you do, let’s get one thing straight from the start… I do not have a voice meant for radio.

With that being said my concerns about this assignment turned out to be largely insignificant.

To be honest, I have not had my students do anything with audio other than record and transcribe interviews – in large part because it wasn’t something I was comfortable with myself.

However as it turned out, the hardest part of this assignment was truly determining what to write about, because many of my own students do, I procrastinated making that determination as long as possible. Once the script was written the actual recording process was pretty easy.

I had set up and Audioboom account earlier in the week and downloaded the app to my phone this weekend so I could play around with the recording and text the levels. Since this assignment asked us to abstain from editing,  I had to restart about three times before I got a solid take all the way through.

Listening to myself is not something I enjoy (as I noted above) and I definitely noticed some areas that need work. For example still sound a too scripted for my taste and I need to slow my rate of speaking.

However, this experience showed me how relatively easy it would be to incorporate a lesson on producing audio/podcasts in to my 21st Century Journalism class as well as the value of having students use audio packages for the newspaper’s website and even perhaps to accompany the photo slides shows (and maybe one day videos) that yearbook staff have produced using the Aurasma app.

While I know there may be some backlash from students who like me are often afraid of the unknown, in the spirit of my podcast and the video that partially inspired it I will remember that it only takes one follower to transform the lone nut into a leader.

Video courtesy of  Derek Sivers