I’ll be an expert in frustration control by the time I finish J2150. Hokusai, the app we use to edit audio, kept crashing every three minutes, and I kept losing the edits I had made. Creating my first 45 second audio slideshow was a learning experience. I’m certain my next door neighbors could hear my cries of anguish every time something went wrong. (“There she goes…again.”) The moments I crashed and burned–there were many–are now a part of my journalism learning list. I’ve started a Google document to make sure I never lose the moments of wisdom sprinkled throughout the long editing process. Below are a few of those.
What I learned so far from this audio slideshow assignment:
- Save every single time you make a change on Hokusai. No matter what. SAVE. SAVE. SAVE.
- Make a copy of all of your interviews in a separate project, that way you can go back to them when you mess it up.
- Look at pictures from 10,000 feet. (Look at the big picture of the story, and how those moments you capture build up into a line others can understand).
- Look for what you’re not seeing when you’re shooting, and listen for what you’re not hearing when you’re recording.
- Take your time when you’re taking photographs, even if those moments seem like they’re slipping away.
- Take LOTS of photographs. Compose them well. And maybe six will turn out well from 100.
- Always have your stuff complete at least two days in advance of when things are due. The quality will be better.
- Don’t be afraid to be awkward. Embrace the awkward.
- Take a deep breath and enjoy what you’re creating.
- Even if you’re recording take notes, for heaven’s sake!
- Ask yourself every time you go out to interview, shoot or do background research: Are you creating authentic reporting? Have I done the necessary background research?
Journalism is never perfect. Most certainly nothing I produce ever will be. But the more I apply what I’ve learned, the thicker the myelin around those journalism neurons becomes, and the list above will be second nature to me. That’s still quite a ways away though.
For now, I’m working on all aspects of my journalistic abilities. I realized the importance of knowing your sources on Wednesday. I interviewed several students at the ELL class I attended. I had to be very aware of each word I used. Could I convey the same question in a way they would understand?
Knowing and empathizing with the people takes priority over technical skills. But I need both to produce quality work.