September 2009 Archives

Peer Review
  • Get into groups of 3 and read your editorial aloud. 
  • Share the printed copy, and offer feedback and suggestions in small groups.
Technical Practice

  • Download Audacity Portable to a thumb drive or your network space.
  • Add MP3 support (which is not included in the free Audacity download due to copyright restrictions; it can be easily added, however). (Note:  We were required to have administrator privileges to unzip the required export file, so we couldn't complete this assignment in class.  Next week, I'll come around and share with you the files you need to export an MP3. In the meanwhile, just save your work as an Audacity Project.)
During class, practice recording this text (the First Amendment)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
If we have time, practice editing it, normalizing the result, and exporting it as an MP3.

  • Edit.  Remove any false starts or unwanted sound before and after your text.  While it is unethical to edit live sound in order to alter or change the way a source speaks, it is acceptable for you to remove mistakes in your own studio recordings, and it is of course acceptable to isolate parts of what a source says, so long as your editing does not distort the source's meaning.
  • Normalize. When you are happy with your result, select the whole file (CTRL-A), and select Effect -> Normalize. (This will make everyone's selection play at roughly the same volume, which is very important when you are working with an archive of sound from different sources.)
  • Save and Export. Save your project (which includes all the digital information in an uncompressed form), and also File -> Export as MP3. (You will be prompted to point to the file you placed in your AudacityPortable\App\LAME directory, after which you should be able to export MP3s normally.)

Bring a written version to read aloud in class. I'm not asking you to record it yet.
Assigned Text:

This I Believe Sample

Choose two sample "This I Believe" recordings to listen to.  You may choose from the original 1950 series, the contemporary revival, or the SHU summer reading event.

How does the sound of the speaker's voice affect your understanding of the speaker's point?  Note any particularly unusual effect that the speaker accomplishes by making a conscious choice about volume, speed, pitch, timing, etc. 

How can you use your own voice in a creative way, to help you to make your point?
Submit an audio recording of your editorial, as an MP3. (Have access to your file during class, when I will tell you exactly where I want you to put it.)

Please note that next week, for Ex 2c, I'll ask you to write the wrapper -- the text that an announcer will read, to tell the listeners who you are and what you're writing about. (The sample podcasts on include samples of these wrappers.)
Due Today:

Portfolio 1

Submit, in the slot in, a single Word file with all text components of the portfolio.

Portfolio Requirements

1) Lab Report

Write a 400-word news story, in the style of an inverted pyramid news article (with a lead instead of a thesis, short body paragraphs with direct quotes that perform most of the work for you, and no conclusion -- see News Articles vs. English Essays and Invisible Observer) that reports on your contributions to the print edition of The Setonian that was just published. 

As I have mentioned in class, I am very happy if you write an article or take a photograph, but EL200 asks you to perform additional "backstage" work, such as copyediting, layout, advertising, and distribution.  The lab component of the course asks you to be assertive in arranging a lab time that is not only convenient for you, but also for the Setonian staff members who will supervise your work. (The Setonian editors are just as busy as you are, so please give them the time to respond to your requests, and please recognize that if you are only available from 2-2:45 on Tuesday afternoons, there might not be any work for you just then.)  Another option is learning how to upload articles and edit the Setonian Online, which you can do from home (once you learn how to do it).

Introduce all people you use in your story, by giving their full name and identification.  On subsequent references, use just the source's last name.  I'm asking that you include direct quotations from editors, fellow staff members, and anyone else who can help you present a picture of your contributions to the paper.

Please note that if you e-mail someone and say, "I need quotes for my lab report," you are asking that person to do work for you.  Remember, the Setonian editors are just as busy as you are, and I don't expect them to drop everything to help you at the last minute.

If, instead of "asking for quotes," you will get better results if you take a moment or two to formulate a question, such as "Do you have any advice for students who want to get involved in the Setonian?"   You might interview an upper-class student for advice on time-management, if you didn't actually manage to spend much time working on The Setonian this time around.

2) Story Ideas

What ideas do you have for news stories that make creative use of sound?  List three ideas, and develop one or two of them in more detail -- taking care to explain why the sound is especially important to the story.

3) Blogging Questions

If you have blogged before and you are comfortable with the blogging software, just say something like "No questions about the blogging."  Since I realize we didn't have the chance to demonstrate the blog software for either of the first two days the class met, and since we've moved on to Audacity, I want to make sure that if you would like some extra pointers on the weblog software, that you can tell me (in this section) what questions you still have. 

All I ask is that first you watch these two YouTube videos (20 minutes todal) that explain the blogging software.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Bring to class your edited MP3, which should be about 3 minutes.

Also bring a printout of your intro and outro text.

Practice reading your intro/outro aloud, so that it and the audio you provide will end up lasting a grand total of 4 minutes.

At some point in the near future, I will make a master recording, in which I read the intro text, then play the recording of your MP3, and then read the outro text. You'll hear how your recoding functions in the context of the whole collection produced by the class.

Think of the intro like the notes you read in the front of a book, where an editor introduces the work to the reader. 

The outro is mostly for someone who comes into the recording in the middle, and missed what it was about.  You could embed a final example, an ironic twist, a final joke, something the announcer can say to drive home the point you want to make.  But whatever you do, keep it short.

Here's an example.  The audio clip I've included features me interviewing my daughter, but neither I nor my daughter are terribly important to the story -- my daughter just represents one kid's opinion of one of the minor Star Wars movies, so I don't go into much detail about either of us. 

The text I've written below is designed to be read by somebody else, the anchor, whose voice ties together all the segments in the show.

(Intro)  For the generation that saw the original Star Wars movies as kids, the black-cloaked Darth Vader and the barrel-bodied R2-D2 were an inseparable part of childhood.  Dennis Jerz was 10 when he saw the original Star Wars in the 70s. Now, his daughter Carolyn has seen all the films, including a couple of low-budget made-for-TV films that were surprisingly dark.  In fact, Carolyn cried uncontrollably after those movies were over. The only thing that would calm her down was the chance to dictate a letter to the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas.  Here, Carolyn tells George Lucas just where he went wrong.

CMJ_Ewoks.mp3 (2min 10sec, 2.2Mb)

(Outro) That was Carolyn Jerz, a six-year-old film critic from western Pennsylvania. Her father let her review the Ewok Adventures, made-for-TV Star Wars movies, produced by George Lucas in the 1980s.  Incidentally, the next movie Lucas made was Howard the Duck, which "won" Worst Picture, Worst New Star, Worst Visual Effects, and Worst Screenplay in the 1986 "Razzies."

Recent Comments

Dennis G. Jerz on Ex 1C: Edited Audio, Intro/Outro (28 Sep, 16:07h)
Daniella Choynowski on Ex 1C: Edited Audio, Intro/Outro (27 Sep, 07:38h)
Dennis G. Jerz on Portfolio 1 (28 Sep, 16:13h)
Tiffany Gilbert on Portfolio 1 (27 Sep, 20:09h)
Daniella Choynowski on Ex 2b: Audio Recording (about 3 min) (18 Sep, 18:18h)
Chelsea Oliver on This I Believe Sample (20 Sep, 12:58h)
Daniella Choynowski on This I Believe Sample (17 Sep, 17:01h)
Dennis G. Jerz on Small Group Readings & Technical Practice (14 Sep, 13:00h)
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