Megan Elliott

Online Blog

Edited Interview – Sara Whittle October 6, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 12:27 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Editing a 5 minute audio clip into a 2 minute interview is more challenging than you might think.  I had a lot of good quotes and sound bites in my interview with Sara Whittle, so it was hard to exclude some of them. My ultimate goal in editing this material was to really convey how holiday decorating has grown into a big part of her family’s life as well as an integral part of the Laramie community.

One thing that I really took away from this assignment was how much effort goes into editing audio.  I spent several hours editing this interview and,  it was quite a challenge since not only is this my first time working with Audacity (the editing software) but it is also my first time editing audio period.

It took a lot of patience to edit this down to 2 minutes.  Sara had some really great stories during the interview but I couldn’t include all of them without sacrificing some vital background information.  I really wanted to include the story she had about the college students drunkenly destroying her christmas decorations but I just didn’t have enough space for it and I felt like adding that might not allow me to include other aspects.

In talking with Sara, I really began to understanding her love of her family as well as community involvement. Having learned that, I ultimately decided it would be best to focus the interview on how her decorations tie into the community as well as how much her family, especially her young daughters, enjoy the decorating.

I enjoyed learning about audio editing and challenging myself in a new way.  As I said before, this is my first experience with audio interviewing and editing so I enjoyed learning something new which could prove to be helpful in the future, whether it be for school or for work.  I however did not enjoy messing with the Audacity software.  It was hard to pick up on it at first, and I still have a lot more to learn.

In terms of what I would have done differently, I probably could have spent more time learning about Audacity.  I’m sure that the way I went about editing things could have been much easier and less of a hassle, but as I said before, I love a challenge.  There were also tiny bits in the interview where the recorder moved, and that noise was picked up on.  Trying to edit all of that out without messing with Sara’s voice was very difficult, but not impossible.  It just took a lot of patience and time.

I really enjoyed this assignment overall.  I liked learning about audio editing and interviewing with an audio recorder.  I also enjoyed getting to know a fellow classmate and learning about something that makes them unique.


Three Audio Stories September 28, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 10:43 pm
Tags: , , , ,

The Teenage Mother is part of the New York Times multimedia news story, One in 8 Million.  This audio story depicts the life of a teenage mom living in Brooklyn, New York.  Elizabeth Cousins, 16, is the mother to 19-month-old Mahniya.  Cousins talks about the importance of education and how quickly she had to grow up after discovering she was pregnant.  She discusses how becoming pregnant, and a teenage mother, made her focus more on school and her future.  Listening to this audio story reminded me of the popularity of the MTV show “Teen Mom”.  However, unlike that show, Cousins shows that she is fully aware that life as a teenage

One in 8 Million: NY Times

mother is difficult, and she mentions some of the sacrafices she was made for her young daughter. Cousins also makes a point of stating how important an education is.  Reality shows, depicting teen moms, have a knack of making their lives seem slightly glamorous in a way, and do a terrible job (in my opinion at least) of showing the difficulties of raising a child, when they themselves are still children.  This New York times piece did a good job of shining a light on the reality of being a teenage mother.  The journalist did a great job of sticking to one main topic which was education, as well as asking questions about how Cousins’ life has changed and whether or not she is still with her baby’s father.  I felt like it was a good piece and covered a lot in a short segment.  The transitions were good, and she did a good job of capturing Cousins’ personality.  There wasn’t a lot of ambient noise.  At one point during the interview you hear Cousins’ daughter in the background, but it’s such a quick sound that I wasn’t sure if it was part of the story or not; in fact I had to play that part a few times to realize what it was.  I feel like there could have been more ambient noise or at least more obvious ambient noise.


As I was browsing NPR‘s site looking for another great audio story, I stumbled upon a series of audio stories highlighting rape on college campuses.  The audio story “Failed Justice Leaves Rape Victim No Where To Turn” discusses the rape of an Indiana University student, Margaux (no last name was given).  Margaux was raped inside of her dorm room after coming home from a night of heavy drinking with her friends.  She, like many other women, was also a victim of a poor criminal justice system.  Afterreceiving no help from the local police, Margaux was forced to rely on her school to carry out a proper punishment for her rapist.  However, with her school lacking the appropriate resources to conduct a full criminal investigation, it was very hard for Margaux to receive the proper justice.  While listening to this story, I was reminded of several of the sexual assaults that have happened on campus here at UW.  While, it is very unusual for something like this to happen at UW, it does happen, and when it does there is a lot of victim blaming, as well as rumors that persist.  This story just made me think about the actual victim and her family and what they are forced to deal with, and I feel like this story did a good job of highlighting what happens after the rape.  I liked the ambient noise and how it tied into the story, as well as the background given in the first minute or so. It made Margaux and her family relatable and made me empathize with their situation.


The Walker, is another audio story from the One in 8 Million multimedia feature.  Maggie Nesciur talks about her love of walking around New York City.  She up to 90 miles a week, and can sometimes cover over 40 miles in a day.  She says she loves walking, and just enjoying the different aspects of New York City.  She talks about how in the city she doesn’t notice how much she has walked,The Walker: One in 8 Million and how she doesn’t even get tired while walking; however in the country, she says she can feel boredom essentially and just doesn’t have the same feeling as being in New York.  I really enjoyed this audio story.  It showed her love of New York City, as well as discussing the variety within New York.  The journalist did a great job of collecting really great quotes, as well as showing how New York can be a calming place.  Many people associate New York with a lot of hustle and bustle, and the journalist did a good job of showing a different side of this famous city.  I wish there had been more ambient noise.  The sound of traffic rushing by or foot steps would have really enhanced this story.


Multimedia Stories August 30, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 4:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As technology is rapidly growing, journalism and media need to grow too. It is not uncommon for there to be multimedia such as photos, video, audio, and interactive maps attached to an article.  These things allow the reader the chance to get a more in-depth understanding of the story, and allow the journalist to report at a new, much more advanced and intriguing level.

One great example of a multimedia piece was a story done by the LA Times.  An audio slide show entitled “A Boy’s Struggle”.  It was part of an LA Times investigation, “Times Investigation: Failure Gets a Pass”.  The audio slide show features a story about a young

Image courtesy of Liz O. Baylen

boy who was sexually molested by a LA county school district employee.  It features audio from both the boy and his mother as well as some very intriguing pictures.  While viewing this slide show, the audio really added to the humanity of this family.  Instead of just reading a story about a child being molested, you got to experience it told in the family’s own words and you got to hear the pain in their voices, which allowed me to empathize with the victim.  The pictures were tastefully done and added to the experience.  They really kept me focused on the story.  It was also nice that I could read a little background about the story during the first minute of the slide show, instead of having to read a long article, but it was helpful that at the bottom of the slide show there were links to the full investigation as well as the article.

Another good example of multimedia journalism was another piece done by the LA Times entitled “Mexico Under Siege”.  This piece includes an interactive map, photos, video, and a media gallery.  All the various aspects of this piece add to the story and helped me see what kind of impact the drug war has had on both Mexico and the U.S.  The pictures especially added to the story.

Image courtesy of LA TImes

They made me realize that this is not just another story about drugs, instead it is a story about the affect drug wars have on communities and families. It humanizes the police fighting against organized crime as well as the drug cartels.  The interactive map was also helpful in displaying the death tolls as well as showing the areas where various drug cartels are stationed.  There were also several articles and featured updates on the main site which I thought would be helpful in allowing readers to follow the story continuously.  I felt this piece was extremely well done and did a great job of giving the reader an in-depth look at the drug war.

While there are many great multimedia pieces, there are some that are lacking and could use some development.  One such piece was published online with the Rapid City Journal, entitled “School 101: Surviving Kindergarten”.  While the pictures of the children were cute, I felt that I was just looking at a year book, and the photos did not look very professional.  The text was lacking, and just displayed quotes from the pictured child.  The reporter should have added background to the article to make clear what the primary focus was.

Now that the journalism world is changing, it is important for journalists to become familiar with the new ways of reporting a story. By adapting our various reporting techniques, journalists become more valuable and marketable and help ensure that they are an asset to the journalism world.


News Diet August 26, 2011

Filed under: Online Journalism — mellio10 @ 10:44 pm
Tags: , , ,

As a full-time college student with a demanding job, I find it is difficult to find the time every night to tune into the local evening news or read the daily paper.  One of my main sources for news is my phone.  I am lucky enough to have a smart phone and I depend on my multitude of news apps to keep me informed.  I have the Huffington Post app along with an app for the New York Times.  I identify with the more liberal media and I trust popular publications such as the Times and online news sources like the Huffington Post.

I do try and pick up the New York Times and USA Today on campus, since I feel that you absorb more information when reading the actual paper as opposed to just skimming their website for appealing headlines.  I think that there are great advantages over following papers as large as the New York Times and USA Today.  For one, they cover a large variety of topics, both globally and around the country, and it is a good way of knowing what is going on along the political front in America as well as with other countries.

As for local news, I try to pick up a copy of the Branding Iron whenever I am in the union.  I feel as though the Branding Iron offers a more a accurate news report, and is written better than the Laramie Boomerang, so that is my usual go to publication when it comes to finding out what is going on around the university or Laramie.

I find entertainment news media very informative.  I am a big fan of  The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.  They have a more liberal bias which I identify more with than conservative news media.  I feel as though both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report do a good job at finding flaws within media such as conservative FOX news and liberal CNN; and giving a simple over view of that days’ political news.  Entertainment news programs are very popular among college students who want to be entertained while they are being informed; it is a new way to feed America’s youth information.

I talk to my parents and grandparents a lot about the news.  I find that they are usually more informed than I am and it is an easy to learn something that I may have not known before.  I also debate with my family about politics.  I come from a very liberal family, but since I have been living in predominantly conservative Wyoming, my views on politics have changed and I enjoy voicing my opinion during their political debates.

I feel as though I have a decent news diet for a college student. I do wish that I would take the time to actually dig further into the headlines and try to come to an understanding on certain subjects that I may not be well versed at.  I find that it is important to try and stay up to date especially as I come closer to entering the professional workforce.