Basic Audio for Journalists

“Audio is the basis of multimedia journalism.”

Examples of simple audio and photos:
Julio Diaz remembers being robbed. (StoryCorps)
High-School Seniors Predict Their Future (NYTimes.com)
Running Voices (NYTimes.com)

Basic Equipment:

Digital Recorder
If you are using a digital recorder make sure:

  • It saves files in .wav, .wma. or .mp3 format
  • It is capable of uploading files to a computer via USB or connector without installing additional software
  • Has a MIC jack
  • Has a headphone jack

I recommend Olympus (VN-500 – VN 800 models start around $45). However, make sure it meets all of the requirements; some of the cheaper models do not. Also, be wary of Sony and RCA digital recorders. Some of them use their own file formats and are not compatible with editing software.

Cell Phone
If you are using a cell phone, make sure:

  • You know where the microphone is located
  • You know the file type (common types include .m4a, .aiff. .wav)
  • Set to “Airplane” mode before you start recording. A call or text and interrupt your recording.
  • You know how to get file off of phone by email, connecting to computer, or program like iTunes.
  • If you are using an app, understand how it works and its limitations.

Audio Apps for Cell Phone
I have tried and recommend:

  1. iPhone Voice Memos (located in Utilities)
  2. iTalk (Free app)
  3. Vericorder Audio Pro ($6.99) with adapter (available for check out in Journalism office) you can use microphone and headphone and edit it on your phone.

Audio Converter Software
I recommend Switch, a free audio converter for PC and Mac. It is installed in Bozorth 134.

Headphones 
Headphones or ear buds are required when we are working with audio and video. Over-the-ear headphones work best, but any will do.

Microphones
Can be checked out in Journalism Office (Bozorth 105O).

Audio Editing Software
Garage Band (Mac Only)
Garage Band Basics for Journalists Tutorial

Audacity (PC and Mac)
Watch video overview Audacity Basics for Journalists (11:24)
Setting up preferences in Audacity (pdf) – these preferences must be set BEFORE you open your first audio file in Audacity
Superfast Guide to Audio Editing (pdf) – includes instructions for installing Audacity on your home computer. (Mindy McAdams)
Editing Audio with Audacity (Part 2) (pdf) – more detailed instructions (Mindy McAdams)
How to Use Audacity (Knight Digital Media Center)

SoundCloud
Unfortunately the free version of WordPress.com will not let you upload an audio file directly to your blog. But you can put your audio file on another Web site and then embed the link into your blog. I recommend SoundCloud.com.

Recording and Editing Overview

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About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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2 Responses to Basic Audio for Journalists

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