Completing the emotional histories audio report really pushed me into unfamiliar territory but was overall an enjoyable and worthwhile task to complete. Having never used proper audio recording equipment before, I was initially apprehensive about whether I’d be able to achieve a completed interview of worthy quality. I’d never even taken a multimedia class in school; simply put, I had no understanding about how you take a source’s words and turn it into something you hear on the radio.
As it turned out my worries were unfounded as I quickly learnt the ins and outs of the Zoom recorders and Hindenburg editing software. Like most skills, I found the best way to get better was to practice. So before I went to interview my source, I recorded myself and played around with the recording on Hindenburg. I can’t stress enough how much this helped. Recording myself first allowed me to better understand the Zoom recorder’s settings; just simple things that make a big difference like when to turn incoming volume up or down and the distance from which to record a voice. Learning to use Hindenburg felt like a big ask at the start of the assignment but the program was surprisingly easy to learn the basics of. Knowing how to use this sort of editing software, even if it is just a basic understanding, I feel is a great skill to have as a journalist.
That’s not to say that I didn’t experience any difficulties with the technical processes. Without any former audio recording experience, it’s easy to forget that even small movements (like slightly shifting a headphone wire) can be audible in a recording. Working digitally is also foreign territory to me and this proved challenging at times. As a student studying visual art as well as journalism, my work almost entirely focuses on the tangible; I like being able to physically touch and alter my work. Working with audio this is of course not possible and on a few occasions I lost audio because I misplaced it or deleted it by accident. The upside to working digitally however is that in most cases you can easily reverse a mistake, quite unlike working with physical materials.
As well as learning a whole new set of technical skills, I also developed my skills as a journalist in general. I prepared for my interview with some basic questions but found myself improvising as the interview progressed in a different direction. I was aware before interviewing my source that the subject may be a highly emotional topic for them and therefore to be sensitive and respectful. However once they began speaking I saw that whilst they were upset and angered by the subject, they were happy to talk freely and this made me bolder in my questioning.
What I really enjoyed about this audio report was the different kind of creativity that it taught. As aforementioned, I’m quite used to being creative, just not with sound. As I became more confident with editing the audio I found I actually liked the ‘cut and paste’ technique of sound editing, the way you can emphasise parts, and ability to layer music and effects. The process reminded me a lot of collage, the visual arts practice of cutting and pasting existing images together to make an entirely new artwork. When I thought about audio editing this way, the task became much easier to complete.