Audio Storytelling and Journalism

Journalism oftentimes gives a voice to the voiceless. With audio journalism, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio journalism. Here are some examples.

One in 8 Million – A New York Times audio slideshow about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Let’s listen to one teenager mother’s story. After we complete a few audio journalism assignments, you will put together an audio slideshow, like this one, using the software Soundslides. Let’s listen to the audio profile and discussion what you like and dislike about the story. Could this story be told better with any other style or method?

NPR provides the best audio journalism in the United States. Here’s an example of their reporting; it’s a story about the need to increase vaccinations among teens and tweens. Notice the journalist’s narration, the sources’ quotes, and the audio of specific examples relevant to the story. First though, let’s read the print story. Then, we’ll listen to the audio story. We’ll compare the stories and discuss the differences as well as the similarities.

This American Life provides great long-format audio stories, usually about feature stories.

And, due to our guest speaker during the last class, you now know about Wyoming Public Media and what types of jobs you can do there.

Audio Profile Project

Please download the instructions for the audio profile project and we’ll review what you’ll be accomplishing with audio!

Practice with Recording and Editing Audio

This is not a graded assignment, rather, these assignments are in-class assignments that are designed to help you practice and familiarize yourself with your digital audio recorder and with Audacity (the free audio-editing program).

About The Author

I'm a faculty member in Communication & Journalism at the University of Wyoming. At UW, I have taught online journalism, advanced new media, introduction to mass media, politics and media, and alternative media. At Ohio State, where I got my PhD, I taught research methods, news reporting and writing, visual communication, and persuasion. My reserach focuses on political communication, emerging media platforms, and entertainment media. In my spare time, I love to play with my daughters, hang out with my family, cook, hike, jog, read, and blog.