Audio story

Use audio editing software to produce a 90-second to 2-minute audio story on your topic (5 seconds of wiggle room – but anything beyond that is -5 points per second over/under time). The piece is an audio sidebar, fleshing out some angle of the piece you find interesting but are not fully addressing in the text version. You must also provide a transcript of your audio story to your TA.

We ask that you use Audacity to edit your audio pieces. To get this piece on your final site, you’ll want to upload to Soundcloud. You can embed that Soundcloud link directly onto your site (for free).

Do not fall into the trap of simply retelling your text story in audio. Think about a distinct angle and how audio can bring to life something that might not have come through in text. Use the medium for all it is worth.

To submit: Upload the mp3 file and a transcript of your story to Learn@UW. You’ll eventually upload your story to Soundcloud and add that link to the IS site URL spreadsheet. That link doesn’t have to be live by Lecture Week 11 — just the mp3 and transcript are due on Learn@UW by that deadline. The Soundcloud link is due when the final IS sites are due (Week 12 lecture).


How should I format my audio story? In other words, what should it sound like?

The audio story should be reporter narration and source sound edited together to make a story. It should NOT be 90 seconds of a raw interview, or 90 seconds of different interviews strung together with no real storytelling factor. While it’s possible to create an audio story solely from interviews and natural sound, we ask that you incorporate reporter narration into this audio piece. The audio stories work best as “radio news” pieces (think back to the audio story you put together as a group about the train crash). Here are some examples of what your audio story might sound like:

Can I use interviews for the audio story that I used for my other stories?

Sure. You just can’t use the same quotes. The reason is that you should have a different focus for the audio story. This focus will be narrower than the focus in your main story. For example, if my topic is Slow Food, then my main IS story outlines what the movement is, how it works on campus — and probably includes personal accounts from those involved in the organization. My audio story might focus directly on the Friday night dinners that Slow Food does on campus, with a lot of natural sound from the event itself and soundbites from maybe one person who attended the dinner and one person who helped organize it. Your main story probably mentioned the fact that these dinners take place, but your audio story focuses entirely on the event.

Do I have to have source soundbites in my audio story?

Yes. It can’t just be an audio file of you telling a story.

My source feels uncomfortable being recorded. Can they write down their answers to the questions and then read them while I record, so they don’t feel self-conscious about screwing up the wording?

No. You need to find a way to make your source feel comfortable. Having your source read from a script, beyond being awkward and obvious on the recording, is unethical. There is no way for the listener to know that you or someone else didn’t write the script for the source to read. It’s important for the listener to know sources are providing their own perspective, in their own words.

I don’t have the natural sound I need for my story. Can I just use some pre-made sound effects?

No, any natural sound you use should be just that, natural. Here’s why.