The End: Reflections on Multimedia Production

Audio, Multimedia Productions Posts, Photojournalism, Social Media, Videography, Visualization, Writing Samples

Expectations: Production Skills

Looking back at my initial blog post from the beginning of Multimedia Productions, I expected to learn about audio and video editing and storytelling, which were completely new mediums to me, and to learn more about areas that I had already had some experience in like photography, writing copy and graphics.

How did my expectations measure up?

I can safely say I learned about the process of getting audio and video footage as well as editing that material into a cohesive narrative. I learned how to plan for and create an audio clip or a video to tell a story.

I also got the chance to try out more photojournalistic skills. Getting the opportunity to write and discuss each of my assignments allowed me to not only hone my “journalistic voice,” but also to find a more “conversational/blogger voice.”

“Soft Skills” Learned

In addition to these production skills, taking Multimedia Productions honed a lot of other “soft skills.” I had to use interpersonal communication to talk to my instructor, Kristen Landreville, and other students like Mariana, my partner on the videography assignment. Since audio and video were such new mediums for me, I had to use critical thinking and problem solving a lot while working through the planning and editing processes of those assignments.

In the Future…

During my junior year–fall 2018 to spring 2019–I am going to have the tremendous opportunity to work as in intern in The Corral (that’s an old link, but bear with me; it get’s my point across about what The Corral is), the social media “coordinators” for the University of Wyoming’s athletic programs.

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Josh Allen put UW’s athletics into the spotlight during the past year and the social media department (especially @wyo_football) worked a lot to capitalize on the press and promote the university. Source: Darrel Johnson, KFBC.

I see all of the skills I have learned in this course being really great to have experience with in my back pocket. The social media critique and the guest speakers we had in class will be especially helpful to me when I am running athletic social media accounts representing the University of Wyoming. I also see the photography and video skills coming in handy, in helping me recognize quality work even if I am not directly involved in creating it.

The communication, critical thinking, problem solving and perspective-taking “soft skills” I have learned and used in this course will also come in handy when working with my boss, the head of the Social Media Department, and the coaches of our athletic teams.

All of these skills will be a big boost, helping me succeed in the my job as a social media intern and making me a strong candidate for any job I apply for later, and I foresee using them every single day in the future.

Most & Least Enjoyable 

My favorite assignment has to be the visualization assignment because I got to write about baseball and show something I am passionate about. Every picture but the final two (credited to the original photographer, of course) in that post were also my own photographs; I liked being able to showcase more of my photography skills.

My least favorite assignment was probably the audio profile or, rather ironically, the photojournalism assignment. While I did not dislike the audio profile and loved getting to interview Taitlyn, a great friend of mine, I enjoyed the video storytelling assignment much more. I disliked the photojournalism assignment only because I felt that I didn’t present my very best work and I don’t think it showcases my ability as well as it could have. I was glad to have another opportunity to show some of my work in my Spring Training blog post.

Advice to Myself

If my May self could go back and give my January self any advice about taking this course, I would say to take advantage of the time given throughout the class to get the assignments done because in true “Priscilla fashion,” I managed to procrastinate a lot of my assignments, which only makes everything more stressful. I would also tell myself to keep an open mind because while I knew all of these assignments would be beneficial and teach me new things, in the moment I wasn’t always enthusiastic about them and didn’t realize the benefits of them until afterwards.

Final Reflections

The best thing about looking back and reflecting on this past semester is that in addition to seeing growth, I can also measure if I did the things I envisioned I would.  In the beginning of the course, I talked about wanted to report on baseball and maybe the performing or fine arts and I also mentioned the Cleveland Indians’ social media accounts.

I got to write about baseball in my visualizations post and incorporated my love of the Indians’ social media in my social media critique of the Colorado Rockies and Denver Broncos. Though I never wrote about ballet, I did write about the performing arts in my journalistic web story post about classical music. I think that I definitely fulfilled a lot of my expectations and hopes for the course, though not exactly as I initially imagined.

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Video Storytelling: Union Fest

Audio, Multimedia Productions Posts, Videography, Visualization

The Video:

The Assignment:

Our final Multimedia Productions assignment was creating a video story with a partner in order to gain experience in creating and editing a video story. Mariana Ruiz was my partner (check out her blog where she’s been posting her class assignments as well and will also post our video!). We decided to do  a journalistic feature style on Union Fest, an event put on by 7220 Entertainment (UW’s student fee-funded entertainment programming organization for students) on the last Friday of the school year. Festivities of the event include free food, games, music and other “de-stressors.”

I met up with Mariana on Friday morning when Union Fest was just kicking off. We walked around to get a feel for what was happening and started getting footage of students walking around, hanging out and playing games.

Part of our assignment was to get two interviews from people at the event. Mariana’s roommate Julie Curtis is a large event coordinator for 7220 Entertainment so we talked to her to get the “inside scoop” on what Union Fest is and the events that happen as a part of it. To get another perspective on Union Fest we conducted our second interview with Jared Dean, an engineering student who didn’t actually know about the event until he left his 10 a.m. class and saw the activities on Prexy’s Pasture, but was excited to join in the food and the fun.

What I Did and Did Not Enjoy

Similar to our earlier photojournalism assignment, it was a little bit weird walking around videoing what was happening. Fortunately, other people were also capturing video and taking pictures for their own social media so we weren’t the biggest sore thumbs and it made it easier to relax. It was fun getting to go to an event and think of the ways that we could retell the story even while we were initially experiencing it. It was also interesting because we had a vague idea of what would be going on, but we didn’t know for sure until we got to Prexy’s and saw everything happening.

Surprises & Reflections in Hindsight

One of the things I wish we had done differently was going back at 5 p.m. on Friday night not only to experience the concert (I love live music no matter the genre) but also to have captured it for our story. I like the fun cotton candy clip that our video ends with, but I think it would have had a stronger narrative arc if we had ended or at least included events from that night. Unfortunately both Mariana and I were unable to go back that night and get that footage. I also wish we had added more fade between transitions in between different scene changes, but the thought only crossed my mind after we already had made the audio and video work together. It became a really big hassle to fix all of the audio after adding even just one extra second in between each clip, so it stayed as it was. The video and audio quality overall is also not the best, but I am happy with how it turned out considering we filmed on our iPhones.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the editing process. We used iMovie because it seemed simpler to use than Adobe Premiere, and I think the end product still turned out really great. Just like my audio profile, I liked piecing together a story from multiple clips and working to make it a cohesive narrative. This was even more interesting because video encompasses visuals in addition to audio and not only would our video include audio interviews, but it would have music as well. It was kind a challenge to keep the video cohesive and make it feel natural between all of the cuts and audio changes. I wanted our video to not seem too amateur-ish (though we obviously are amateurs) and to be appealing and fun to watch, and overall I really think we accomplished that goal.

Using Video in a Future Career

You never know where your career will take you, especially in our increasingly digital world. Having some videography and editing skills will definitely give me an edge and make me a more marketable candidate for lots of jobs.

In addition, next fall and spring, I have the exciting opportunity to be an intern with the social media department of UW Athletics. The Corral is made up of students who help run and monitor all of the social media accounts associated with UW’s athletic teams. I think that having video storytelling experience will help me tremendously next year as I get to tell the story of our school’s athletic programs.

Denver Broncos vs. Colorado Rockies: A Social Media Critique

Multimedia Productions Posts, Social Media

Battle of the Mile High Teams

In this post, I will be comparing the social media presence of two organizations across multiple platforms – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn – to observe effective use of social media as well as to recognize and find solutions for ineffective uses of social media.

The organizations I am going to compare are the Denver Broncos and the Colorado Rockies. I am both an avid baseball fan and social media user, and because I enjoy following my favorite team, the Cleveland Indians, on their social platforms, I liked the idea of watching and learning from other professional sports organizations.

 

My Critique

Social Media Content

The social platforms that the Broncos have provided links to on their website are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and LinkedIn. The Rockies are more established on several different platforms, consisting of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.

Social media presence:

The Rockies have a large number of followers on all of their platforms, from 920,000 on Facebook, 525,000 on Twitter and 294,000 on Instagram to 3,000 subscribers on YouTube and Pinterest, as well as 26,292 followers on Google+. These numbers pale however to the Broncos’: 4.3 million likes on Facebook, 2.65 million followers on twitter, 1.1 million on Instagram and 11,464 subscribers on YouTube.

On Twitter, the Rockies have branded themselves simply in their bio:

“We are a Major League Baseball team.”

This is short, sweet and to the point about who they are as well as a clever way to preview their brand of tweets as kind of witty, funny and kind of cheeky.

The Broncos’ Twitter bio reads:

“Twitter home of the three-time Super Bowl champions: XXXII, XXXIII and #SB50.”

On Instagram, both organizations simply have their name, a website linked, and a hashtag they track in their bios.

Consistency:

Both teams use the logos pictured above for their user icons on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, the Rockies use a different “classic” logo on YouTube, Google+ and Tumblr and a Spring Training themed logo on Pinterest. The Broncos also use their above-pictured classic logo as the icon on their YouTube page.

The Rockies are currently using a different header on Facebook than on Twitter (the former is a photo of third baseman Nolan Arenado and the latter is an aerial photo of the city of Denver), while the Broncos are keeping their “Tradition” header consistent between both of the platforms.

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Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado is pictured in the Rockies’ Facebook header. Source: Facebook.

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An aerial view of Denver, Colorado is used as the Rockies’ Twitter header. Source: Twitter.

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This “Tradition” header is used on both the Broncos’ Facebook and Twitter pages. Source: Facebook.

Purpose for each platform:

On Facebook, the Rockies post videos, game recaps and news. Twitter is often used to post the same videos, but is also used primarily to give updates about scoring and game plays. The Rockies post at least once a day on Instagram; their posts are normally a photo from their MLB Photo Blog or other photos from games and of players. Instagram is not used for constant game updates and the captions are kept short, tagging players and often using emojis and hashtags.

The Rockies’ YouTube appears to not have any posts more recent than a year ago; Tumblr has posts with gifs of great plays and noteworthy achievements, but doesn’t boast as many notes (the Tumblr version of likes or retweets) as their other social platforms and the posting seems to be sporadic. On Google+, the Rockies’ most recent posts talk about Spring Training, not too outdated compared to the YouTube, but still outdated by about a month.

The Broncos utilize their Facebook and Twitter in much the same way as the Rockies. Yet, as it currently baseball season, the Rockies have much more to post about every day (the Broncos are not posting game updates in their off-season). Instead, the Broncos are posting about the NFL Draft as well as off-season updates about the team and peeks into players’ and team activities.

Similarly, on Instagram, the Broncos are posting pictures to hype up a new season, showing babies and dogs in Broncos gear and advertising merchandise; these posts keep user engagement up while there are no games being played.

They also appear to upload videos to their YouTube account regularly.

The Rockies use their LinkedIn account to post about job openings and even game tickets, while the Broncos seem to have taken an approach which includes posting news stories about the team.

Over the time I reviewed the teams’ presence on social media platforms, I added them on Snapchat, but did not see very much in the way of updates to the team’s Snapchat stories. Instead, I saw them using their Instagram stories more.

Advice & Inspiration

After reviewing these teams’ use of social media, I think that each organization has some effective uses of social media platforms, as well as some areas where they could improve their use.

Rockies:

Positives

  • The Rockies have a well-established voice on Twitter, advice given in this class blog post about Twitter; their tweets all fall within a certain tone (matching the one set in their bio) and tweet everything from give game updates to daily news and fun videos. Additionally, they use the app as a PR channel to respond to fans.
  • In this BBC article, Mark Frankel, social media editor for BBC News, says that brevity, clear language, humor/light touch, judicious hashtag and a good pic and link are what make a good tweet. I see the Rockies using all of these in their tweets, especially humor and photographs, which keeps not only their following fans engaged, but even attracts followers who are not actually Rockies fans (like me…).
  • On their most popular platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), the Rockies certainly create a cohesive brand image and post regularly to keep their audience engaged, as this Forbes article talks about.

Negatives

  • Even though it is currently the NFL’s off-season, the Broncos are keeping up with their social platforms. In just the past day, they have tweeted and retweeted seven tweets on Twitter. Mark Frankel, in the same previous BBC article, encourages journalists to tweet as often as they can and as much as “is sustainable.” Even though the Broncos are a sports team and not a journalist, the concept applies well to them as well.
  • The Broncos only really have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and LinkedIn; each is used for a specific purpose and caters to a different need relating to their public, as this article talks about.
  • With these major platforms, with the exception of not seeing any Snapchat stories, the Broncos keep their platforms up to date and do not bother with extra things like Pinterest and Google+, which they do not necessarily have need for when connecting with their audience.

Broncos:

Positives

  • My criticism for the Rockies is mostly all about the platforms they are present on, but are not using, especially when the branding does not fit the rest of their image. For Pinterest, Youtube and Tumblr, the Rockies should use the same logo and should post more often, or get rid of their presence on the platform completely. I think they could benefit from keeping all their social media presence small but powerful on the few they are one, similarly to the Broncos.
  • We have debated in class about how influential Snapchat really is and whether it will survive, but while the Rockies have a Snapchat account and while the app is still being used, I think they should update their story more often, even if they only post the same thing they are putting on their Instagram story, along the same lines as Mark Frankel’s “tweet as often as you can” concept.
  • On Pinterest, I like the theme the Rockies have going, with boards related to their mascot Dinger, Rockies gear, Coors Field, eating venues within their park, and Rockies players, but none of the boards have been saved to more recently than  a year ago, which makes the account less appealing to anyone who might want to follow it. If it is not being updated, followers have no real need for it. As an active Pinterest user myself, I know that I would be much more interested in an active account (again, the “tweet as often as you can” concept).

Negatives

  • Although it is interesting to see LinkedIn used as more of a social networking and news sharing site as we started talking about in class, I think that it still has a lot to offer as a networking site when it comes to searching for jobs. I like that the Rockies do post about job openings and encourage applicants on their LinkedIn and think that the Broncos could do the same, even if they want to retain the news-sharing aspect.
  • In this Poynter article, it is pointed out that Instagram truly is an ideal platform for showing off stunning photography (though it is a bit of a no-brainer). However, I think that this is something the Rockies do quite well that the Broncos could do a bit more of, like utilizing Instagram’s multiple picture feature and showcasing more photography of games, players, fans, etc.
  • Just as ads on Snapchat are currently outperforming ads on other platforms, like the Rockies, I think the Broncos could use a stronger presence on Snapchat, because it is at the moment still a very powerful platform that could be capitalized on better for as long as Snapchat remains so.

Social Media Presenters

In class, we had the opportunity to listen to some different social media managers present on how they manage the social media of the organizations they work for. It was really interesting to hear about the job from someone who does it every day, and even to see the concepts they talked about pop up on the social media pages of these professional sports organizations.

Anna Rader, Digital Media Coordinator of Wyoming Public Radio, talked about how often she posts on the WPR Facebook page – approximately once every two hours – compared to how often NPR posts on theirs – closer to once every 30 minutes.

I see the Broncos currently posting every few hours on both Facebook and Twitter, but the Rockies posting every few hours on Facebook, but even more often as needed on Twitter since they are in the middle of their season.

Jessica Romero, from Laramie Main Street Alliance, talked about how they bring in new guests every week to run the keep the Downtown Laramie Instagram fresh and updated with great photography of Laramie . This is not the exact same concept used by professional sports organizations who can afford to have photographers on staff, but the concept of keeping a feed fresh and filled with photos is obviously utilized by both organizations on their Instagrams.

Both teams also post videos on Facebook and Twitter to bring an extra layer of interest to their accounts, reminding me of how Jessica talked about the video profiles done on downtown Laramie businesses.

An Insider’s Guide to Cactus League Baseball in Phoenix, AZ

Multimedia Productions Posts, Visualization, Writing Samples

It can be stereotypical to refer to baseball as the “American pastime,” but for die-hard fans, it truly is just that. To us baseball season is the best season; the long winter stretch without any games is rough, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Every spring, clubhouses migrate to warmer climates for Spring Training and fans flock to be there too. But what do you do if you have never gone before? What games will you see, where will you eat, and what other activities will you do?

It has become a tradition in my family to go to Phoenix, Arizona for spring break to watch Spring Training, so I would like to think I have some of the best insider information. Here are my top suggestions plus tips from a Spring Training veteran of seven years, my mom, for where to go, what to do, what to eat and how to get the most out of games compiled into the following map.

I used my favorite team, the Cleveland Indians, for ballpark locations, but the activities mentioned are easy to do with a substitution of your own team(s) as well.

The Game:

Watch Games and Practices at Your Team’s Training Facility

One of the best things about Spring Training is the ballparks are small, allowing fans to be closer to games and players than ever before. It is an opportunity to see both well-known veteran players and up-and-coming rookies.

Each team has its own training facilities at its ballpark where you can watch players do fielding drills and take batting practice. My mom loves being able to watch what the players do to stay on top of their game.

“Spring training practice is your chance to get close to the players,” said my mom. If you want to snap great pictures of (and sometimes with!) your favorite players, to snag a coveted autograph or just to have the experience of seeing your teams up close, it is a must to go watch practice before games.

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The Indians open their gates at 9 a.m. on home game days; every team has it’s own schedule for practices, so make sure to check out your team’s on MLB.com.

After watching practice, head over to the ballpark and settle in for an exciting, up close and personal game!

To Eat:

While we all love to grab a dog and nachos from concessions in anticipation of watching 27 outs of baseball, we will all inevitably need to eat other stuff too. Here are three places to eat and a fourth desert option for when you just need a break from ballpark concessions.

1. In-N-Out

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The view from an In-N-Out burger booth on March 12 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Animal style fries and burgers for breakfast on March 13.

The second largest highlight of our trips to Phoenix, for me, is eating at In-N-Out Burger. It is a classic and quick place to grab a burger or some fries before or after a game. Luckily there is a joint close to every ballpark in the city. Make sure to check out the not-so-secret menu; my mom’s favorite meal is a cheeseburger and fries, both animal style, with a strawberry shake.

2. Pizzeria Bianco

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Authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza pies from Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix on March 30, 2017.

Pizzeria Bianco is a great place to go in downtown Phoenix for a delicious, artisanal pizza, especially when you need a break from fast food joints.

“Pizzeria Bianco makes some of the best wood-fired pizza I have ever eaten,” my mom said. “You can tell they use really good ingredients. I leave Phoenix thinking about Bianco’s pizza and can’t wait until I’m back next year to have it again.”

3. Abuelo’s

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Abuelo’s has a courtyard-styled interior which makes the dining experience one of a kind.

Rated America’s Number One Mexican Restaurant by Consumer Reports, Abuelo’s is a chain restaurant, but serves up tasty Mexican food and is a great option when you are craving enchiladas, chimichangas or smothered burritos before a game. The plates are big and filling, and taste amazing.

4. Sweet Republic

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A scoop of Irish brown bread ice cream accompanies my scoop of earl grey ice cream from Sweet Republic on March 13.

Both my mom’s and my favorite feature of Sweet Republic is that they have classic flavors in addition to eccentric combinations like honey lavender, basil lime, avocado jalapeño and honey blue cheese. Plus, with items like ice cream sandwiches and bacon brittle, there is sure to be something on the menu for everyone.

“I think the avocado is my favorite since it’s so unique,” my mom said. “Takes me back to my first visit there in 2009.” My favorite, a staple during March, is the Irish brown bread ice cream which has pieces of real Irish brown bread that’s been baked by the shop inside it.

Other Activities:

Baseball is great, but eventually even the most dedicated fan will want to take a break and maybe take a walk when not at a game. Here are two activities to do when you need to stretch your legs.

1. Desert Botanical Garden

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Cacti in late afternoon light from a visit to Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden on March 12, 2017.

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A butterfly perched on a flower in DBG’s Butterfly Pavilion on March 12, 2017.

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Saguaro at the Desert Botanical Garden on March 12, 2017.

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A quail runs across the walking paths of the Desert Botanical Garden on March 12, 2017.

The Desert Botanical Garden is beautiful and interactive, and offers a look at the Sonoran desert landscape. Walk around, look and learn about plants native to the area, and be ready to whip out your cameras to take photos of all of the wildlife you will see.

On our first visit to DBG two years ago, we saw quail for the first time. It was a definite highlight of the trip for my mom, an avid bird watcher. You can also pop by the butterfly pavilion to see countless butterfly species up close. It will most likely be sunny, so be sure to pack some sunscreen and have a water bottle with you!

2. Old Town Scottsdale

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The shopping areas of Old Town Scottsdale in Phoenix. Source: Yelp.

Old Town Scottsdale might be a bit of a drive, depending on where you are staying, but it has a multitude of interesting shops and restaurants that you can walk to. There is parking on all of the streets, as well as parking garages. One of the fun, vintage consignment stores or the Irish gift shop might be just the place to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir from your trip. There are also tons of boutique clothing stores and art and furniture galleries. A further walk will take you to more well-known chain retailers like Nordstrom. Cartel Coffee is a must-stop on 5th Avenue to grab some iced cold-brew coffee (another rising trend) for your walk around the area.

 Thoughts and Suggestions?

Any activities catch your eye? Let me know how they went and give any other suggestions for places you have eaten and activities you have enjoyed in Phoenix while visiting for Spring Training in the comments! Happy baseball watching!

Audio Profile: Taitlyn’s Experience as a Wyoming FFA State Officer

Audio, Multimedia Productions Posts

Raw Five-Minute Interview

Edited Two-Minute Clip

Reflections about Audio Storytelling

The Interviewing & Editing Experience

My interviewing experience was really good for it being my first time interviewing someone in this way. I always try to record my interviews when writing a story because I can get much more accurate direct quotes and it helps get me back into an interview if my notes aren’t helping, but this was a completely difference experience. When I’m recording for my own personal use, I don’t have to worry about my interjections of “yeahs” and “mhmms.” However, I had to be much more aware of what I was doing during this interview so that the audio wouldn’t be so hard to edit later.

Taitlyn is one of my best friends, and I had the opportunity last year to watch her throughout her journey as the Vice President for the Wyoming State FFA Association and watched her give her retiring address, so I knew she would be able to talk about this topic easily. Despite being friends, it was still a bit awkward to do the interview, but I was much more comfortable doing it with her than I would have been with a random person.

The audio editing experience was actually really fun. I like being able to use my knowledge of how to write a story and translate it to a new medium; I found the process of putting different clips together to form a cohesive story to be a fun puzzle. I’ve been out of a computer for the last three weeks because my laptop broke and got sent in to be repaired, so I felt like I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get to a computer and to get everything to work on my iPad, but everything turned out well. I was mostly just surprised about how much I actually enjoyed the editing process; I didn’t expect to find it as fun and challenging (in a good way) as I did.

What Could Have Gone Better

One thing that I think could have gone more smoothly was the pace of the interview. My issue here was just that Taitlyn is unavoidably a fast-talker. Sometimes I had to add an extra break in between phrases to make a pause less abrupt, and in taking portions from different segments of the interview some of the cuts were really quick because there wasn’t much time before she went into the next sentence. I think I avoided a lot of potential background noise because we recorded it in my car (another bonus of doing it with a friend), but there is still some background noise from one of us apparently moving in our seats. I also had some issues with adding the ambient noise. It sounds so loud to me in both clips, but I wouldn’t be able to get rid of it without making a all of the cuts more noticeable.

Using Audio in the Future

Now that I’ve gotten the opportunity to try audio interviewing and audio editing, I’m really interested in the medium of audio. I could use audio in a podcast, whether by recording my own personal one or by helping produce another. Since we have Wyoming Public Radio on campus here in Laramie, I’m think it would be interesting to have an internship there, where you would be really surrounded by the medium of audio storytelling.