I have a friend at KU who does a lot with KJHK, the student-run radio station at the University of Kansas. Many of the people he works with have interned with NPR, and hope to have careers in radio journalism, so they take their work pretty seriously.
The other day, I was telling him about how we were starting to do audio work. He suggested that I sent him some of my stuff, because he wanted to see what we were doing at Mizzou.
I wasn’t really thrilled with his response. His comments were constructive, but I heard: You edited your audio together poorly so there is too much popping, you have too much background noise and your fades suck.
In other words, there were a lot of corrections on a 45-second piece of audio that I didn’t think was too horrible. It was hard to take, but it was also a good reminder of how much I have left to learn. Even if I follow all the instructions in the help files, I will only become better through practice and experience.
There is no substitute for learning how to ask questions in such a way that sources will respond in a way that will yield usable soundbites. There is no way to learn how to combine natural sounds, source quotes and voice narration into a coherent story without doing it multiple times.
It’s ok when your work is being criticized by a teacher, but it’s hard to take when it comes from a peer. But that’s journalism. Co-workers, editors, listeners, advertisers are all going to give their opinion whether warranted or not.
I also learned that Giselle is the best classmate ever, for staying an additional two hours to help me upload my story. Even though we appeared to be taking all the correct steps, it was not appearing on the web as it should. However, the following morning, it worked just fine.