Do you edit for content or edit for comprehension? Are you worried that adding extra sound effects to a news feature or documentary instead of capturing the truth as recorded is a misrepresentation of reality? How much audio ‘enhancement’ is too much?
Do not reconstitute the truth. Don’t add sounds that did not exist unless it is clear to the audience that they have been added in the edit room. A good question to ask in such circumstances is, “What would audiences say if they knew the truth about how this story was gathered and edited?” Would viewers feel deceived or tricked? When adding any sound or effect, it should be obvious and apparent to the viewer that the journalist has chosen to alter the scene or sound. Ask yourself, “Is this what I heard when I was on the scene?”
Be judicious in your use of music and special sound effects. When you add music to a story, the audience must understand you have added the sounds. Music, especially, has the ability to send complex and profound editorial messages.
Apply the same careful editing ethics standards to your newscast teases, promotions and headlines that you do for your news stories. If it is unethical to add sounds or production techniques to a news story than it is just as harmful to use those techniques during a promotion for that news story.
It’s okay, even expected, that you will cut out ums, ers, long pauses, and other examples of verbal stalling - unless their verbal stalling is key part of the story, as in the case of a politician ducking tough questions.
It’s okay, even recommended, that you will cut out extraneous words.
It’s okay to cut out reiterations, if you can do it skillfully enough to avoid a jumpy cut that sounds either unnatural or like an obvious, audible edit.
In other words, it’s okay to make edits that help someone sound sharper, tighter, clearer. It’s also okay to use excerpts or clips from an interview in a different order in your story than they appeared in the original interview. Similarly, it’s okay to ask someone to identify themselves at the end of the interview, and use that at the beginning of the interview on the air.
It’s not okay to tell someone what to say. It is okay to re-ask or, better still, rephrase a question to allow someone another chance to collect his or her thoughts and answer it again. Often, they are clearer and more succinct the second time around.
It is not okay for you, as the interviewer, to record different questions and dub them in or substitute them for the ones you asked during the interview.
Truth is the paramount yardstick against which you must measure your work. Ask yourself: Is it true? Or have I distorted the truth?
If you have a sound bite at the end where, for example, the person states her name and occupation, it is okay to cut that from the end and move it to the beginning. (It does not distort the truth.)
It is NEVER okay to use canned sound effects that did not come from the scene. For example, you would NEVER take a clip of some cows mooing and add it to your interview with a farmer in his cornfield. If you didn’t get that farmer’s own cows, from where you were standing in that field, then you can’t use any cows.
They will fund individuals who have original ideas to create new Web sites, mobile news services or other entrepreneurial initiatives that offer interactive opportunities to engage, inspire and improve news and information in a geographic community or a community of interest.
What is your juicy idea? What’s been stirring in your mind? What work do you feel compelled to do? How can you improve or redefine journalism? What new project would give people the information they need to make decisions or help make the world a better place? Whose voice isn’t being heard?
Uganda may be struggling to set up its own matchbox factories, fighting to provide essential drugs at all government hospitals and securing quality education for her children, but at least the 3G phone revolution is really and truly here.
A significantly large percentage of Ugandan journalists now own their own smart phones. By and large these phones are just status symbols -”I have arrived. Check out my new phone that is like my own phone, but is new and I like it, but I don’t know what to do with it, but check it! It’s new. It’s modern. I have arrived … haven’t I?”
Eish, who am I to speak? I was gifted a smart phone recently. No, it wasn’t a freebie from a mobile phone company- although I’m not sure I would turn one down if MTNOrangeUTLAirtel offered me one Now, what to do with this new piece of equipment? What to do?
Here are some essential journalist apps for iPhone, androids or smart phones according to a blogger at Mediactive.com.
For photo, audio and video recording:
Instagram is a crowd favorite for taking photos and publishing them quickly. (iPhone)
Picplz offers some of the same functionality as Instagram, but is available on Android. (iPhone, Android)
For audio, both CinchCast and AudioBoo are worth checking out. Each allow for quickly capturing and then publishing audio, integrating with many social sites. (Both on iPhone and Android)
Soundcloud allows other users to comment on the timeline of published audio files. This is a great feature for discussing long files of breaking news that haven’t yet been edited as users can quickly see the places creating the most discussion and jump right to that point. (iPhone, Android)
WordPress, Posterous and Tumblr all have mobile applications that allow you to publish to your blog from your phone. (All on iPhone and Android)
Disqus offers an application that allows you to curate and respond to comments on your blog as well as comment elsewhere. It integrates with WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and other publishing platforms. (iPhone, Android)
For news consumption:
Reeder is an iPhone RSS app that connects with a user’s Google Reader Account.
Many journalists in Uganda started their careers on the court beat. Misguided editors, believing that the best way to break into the business is by listening to long, boring court sessions, send youth reporters off to the courts in the droves.
It is a great way to start any journalist’s career, but also a brilliant way to end it. Why? Many journalists are stuck in a rut, reporting the events of a case unfolding before them and being spoon-fed by court clerks. This results into incidental, anecdotal, forgettable reports.
Court reporters are rarely challenged to think outside the box. They are turned into fire brigade reporters, responding only to events – never allowed to analyze, to discuss, to breathe, to grow.
At the end of important trials, audiences are not more knowledgeable about the court system, they don’t understand the merits of the case and the days reporters spent seated on the hard court benches are turned into pub tales, that disappear as quickly as they came.
What to do? What to do?!!
My suggestion is that Ugandan journalists on the court beat recognize the fact that court cases are merely one part of a lengthy judicial system. Trials, civil or criminal, cannot be reported in isolation. Rulings are not the end of the matter.
Profile of judges, magistrates, lawyers, and other players in the courts, particularly if these individuals are going to be or have been playing a high-profile role in newsworthy cases.
Compare sentencing practices of individual judges to determine if some judges impose harsher sentences than others.
Expand a story about a particular civil case to discuss broader issues, such as freedom of speech by government employees, housing discrimination, job discrimination. For example, have lawsuits changed the law under which companies hire and fire employees?
Compare reversal rates for judges by examining appellate opinions.
Examine how the Directorate of Public Prosecution operates. Are the staff qualified? Underpaid?
Profile a victims’ rights advocacy group.
Have changes in sentencing laws contributed to a drop/rise in the crime rate?
Law enforcement records regarding payments to informants are public record.
Are there laws on the books that are simply being ignored? If so, why? Are these laws so old and outdated that they are unenforceable? Do police ever charge people under these statutes?
We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigative team. Every serious candidate should have a proven track record of conceiving, reporting and writing stellar investigative pieces that provoke change. However, our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.
We do a mix of quick hit investigative work when events call for it and mini-projects that might run for a few days. But every year we like to put together a project way too ambitious for a paper our size because we dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: “I can’t believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer.”
As many of you already know, those kinds of projects can be hellish, soul-sucking, doubt-inducing affairs. But if you’re the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents to take on powerful people and institutions that wish you were dead, all for the glorious reward of having readers pick up the paper and glance at your potential prize-winning epic as they flip their way to the Jumble… well, if that sounds like journalism Heaven, then you’re our kind of sicko.
For those unaware of Florida’s reputation, it’s arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.
Send questions, or a resume/cover letter/links to clips to my email address below. If you already have your dream job, please pass this along to someone whose skills you covet. Thanks.
1741 Main St.
Sarasota FL, 34236
(941) 361-4903 [email protected]
It isn’t easy coming up with story ideas and tips everyday; and it doesn’t help if you have a short-tempered editor like me calling down fire and brimstone when you come up short.
Why not use a mind map?
Mind mapping is basically a skill that uses diagrams to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key issue.
Blogger Ernesto Aguilar suggests that you start with an issue not related to your job like happiness.
Draw a circle and draw spokes from it. Put happiness in the middle of your circle. Now go around the circle, without thinking, and place associations with each spoke. Have a friend or colleague or two do the same thing.
Now look at what you have in terms of happiness. Do you and your friends or colleagues have written down one, two, three words others share? Go through and see what words get at least half. Note that everyone is an individual, and the chances of finding half the group with consensus on a word are slim. This will give you a new way of thinking of something. You can even take this a step further by creating spokes on each word/spoke.
Find out how he relates mind mapping to community radio by visiting his blog post here.
The Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC) is offering a broadcast journalism course to reporters from developing countries to study the diversity in the Netherlands.
The program aims to strengthen the capacity of broadcast journalists and organizations to research and report on diversity issues. It will focus on including marginalized groups in broadcast news stories and teaching journalists to discover and report on diversity.
The course, called “Discovering Diversity,” will emphasize hands-on learning and participants will attend sessions, workshops and go on a number of assignments on location. The program is open to media professionals from developing countries and countries in.
Journalists have three options to cover the cost of the program: they or their organization can pay the tuition, they can find a grant here, or they can apply for a fellowship under the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP). For more information about the NFP fellowships, click here.
For more information about the course, click here.
This Water Supply Atlas 2010 was prepared to provide stakeholders with detailed knowledge and information on matters concerning the current safe water supply coverage, functionality and distribution of water.
The Atlas is now online and ready for download here.
Facebook Consider opening a fan page. It will keep readers and your Aunt Mabel separate, letting you post calls for comments or your latest story without interfering with your personal life. (By the way, here’s IJNet’s fan page).
If you don’t want a fan page, remember you can always separate family and friends from work contacts with lists. That way, you can send status updates to specific lists – so your vacation photos don’t go out to sources.
Twitter A great way to keep in touch with readers, find stories and promote your writing. Since you won’t be using it just to broadcast what you ate for breakfast, download a desktop client. (There’s a nice comparison of them here.)
LinkedIn To multiply your sources, join groups for your industry or beat. You can join up to 50 and most people allow other group members to contact them directly – even if they are not connected otherwise.
ProfNet Connect There are numerous ways to find sources online – here’s our rundown of five free services– but ProfNet Connect, launched in March 2011, is a social media platform from the folks at ProfNet.