My Reporting: What did I learn from the Audio Postcard?

I did post this audio postcard here earlier this week. It is an interview with a local chef and how he feels about his food. He was very excited to talk to me and in terms of an interview, he did well. But, if I could do it over, there are some things I would change about this.

In the editing room, there are some obvious things I’d like to change. At the very beginning after the introduction of my interviewee, there’s an awkward pause in my interview tracks. There’s still ambient sound going on, but as a listener, it feels as if I’d just been taken completely out of the interview. I bring it back a little bit, but the beginning is a very bad time to have a mistake like that. In terms of editing, that’s a mistake I’d fix. If that pause weren’t there, I think it’d make the entire thing better.

In terms of recording the interview, there are a few things I could’ve done differently. First thing I’d do is lower the mic intake volume. You can definitely hear that soft “pfft” sound throughout the interview. That’s an easy fix and a lesson I’ve learned while doing audio interviews. I think I’ve also learned how to become a better interviewer during this stretch in audio. Working with a high powered microphone that catches a lot of sound, I’ve learned to speak without speaking and allow the interviewee to run the interview themselves. With making the right facial expressions, the person can read me and they can continue talking about what they believe is interesting. It makes for a great interview.

I’ve really enjoyed my experience in audio reporting. I’ve already learned how to be a better reporter and how to ask the right questions. Audio is a key piece in reporting. It must be taken seriously. It has the potential to make or break an entire story. From what I’ve learned, audio can put people places. If you let people know that they are listening to an interview, the magic of audio is lost. The listener must not know they are listening to an interview and that is the point to audio interviews. I’m very glad I had the chance to learn the basic ways of audio interviews. I’m excited to take what I’ve learned out into the field with me.

NPR Style Audio Piece

06/22/2016                           LOCALPIZZA0622               Stewart


Local Food Staple: Shakespeare’s Business is Booming



Fresh and Local ingredients have kept business booming for Shakespeare’s Pizza. Employees and customers alike believe that the pizza joint is a food staple in Columbia. Danny Stewart tells us why this pie is popping.


LOCALPIZZA0622                              TRT: 2:30    SOC: Danny Stewart


Location Super: Columbia, MO



College students and regular pizza goers have high-praises for Shakespeare’s Pizza temporarily on Eighth Street.

Manager Toby Epstein believes that their recipes have kept customers coming back for all these years.


TOBY                         TRT :08                                   OC: “recipe pretty religiously.”


Super: Toby Epstein, Shakespeare’s Downtown Manager


“We established a recipe early on in our business and we’ve stuck to that recipe pretty religiously.”
Since 1973, Shakespeare’s has stuck to their great recipes and it has been dishing out what some call Columbia’s best pizza.

The recipes have been kept consistent and Epstein is a great advocate for them.

TOBY                          TRT :14                                               OC: “in our product.”


“The central part of the recipes has been the same. So, at all of our locations and in our frozen pizza department, everything is made the exact same way and so that’s how we keep a consistency in our product.”

Of course it is the ingredients in these recipes that make the pizza so delicious.

Epstein advertises that Shakespeare’s only includes local and fresh ingredients in their pizzas.

TOBY                          TRT :15                                               OC: “made by us.”


“What does make our pizza good is the quality of the ingredients. The fact that we don’t have anything frozen, we prep everything ourselves. We shred our own cheese, we make our own sauce, everything is made by us.”


Shakespeare’s must cater to a large audience in Columbia.

Student Todd Rogers believes Shakespeare’s fits into his appetite.

TODD              TRT :11                                               OC: “resonate with me.”


Super: Todd Rogers, Shakespeare’s Customer


“When I first moved to Columbia, I’m originally from Chicago, I wanted a place that was good, that was tasty, that was cheap and Shakespeare’s does resonate with me.”


Speaking of Chicago: Epstein has an answer about his competitors in relation to “the best pizza”.

TOBY              TRT :10                                               OC: “competition with ourselves.”

“We don’t really try to make that argument. But, there’s lots of great pizzas out there, there’s lots of great businesses out there and we firmly believe we’re only in competition with ourselves.”



Shakespeare’s may be a college town pizza place but it has left its mark in the hearts of many.


Reporting for J2150, this is Danny Stewart.



The employees and the customers sure do keep the restaurant going strong. To find out more or order a pizza, you can go to

Thoughts on Reporting: What is the Hardest Part About Audio?

Audio is probably one of the more under-rated aspects when it comes to news reporting. It really shouldn’t be. Sound can take us to another place. Sounds are just like photographs within reporting, but instead of seeing the beach and the waves, you hear birds chirping, water crashing against the sand, and laughter. When you open your eyes, you’re not at the beach but your mind took you there with sound.

Thinking of sound, I and many others probably first think of music. Music is a great example when discussing the importance of audio. Now, just like the beach example above, everybody can think of a time where music took them elsewhere. Currently while writing this, I’m listening to the Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep video game soundtrack. I’m being transported back to the first time I ever played the game. When I close my eyes, I can see the environments, the characters, but most importantly, I can hear it all.

This is why audio in reporting is important. It can make or break the story depending on the sounds. Along with a well written story and well taken photos, great audio can completely immerse an audience within the environment of a story. The story tells the audience what’s going on, the photo shows the audience where the story takes place, and the sound allows the story to come to life. In terms of reporting, it is very hard for these three aspects to survive on their own. They must gel together.

The hardest thing about audio is getting good audio. Utilizing sound recording equipment is a fun experience but it can be very tricky. When interviewing someone for an audio piece, you must be in a noise-controlled environment. If not, too many distractions and other noises will interfere with your interview. You have to make sure you can hear this person speak through the microphone. Of course, to do this on the spot, you’ll need headphones. Here’s a free tip: don’t forget your headphones to an audio interview. The interview basically becomes impossible without them due to the fact that you’ll be unsure of what kinds of sounds your recorder is picking up. Headphones allow you to double check what you’re receiving right on the spot.

I digress. Remember to also make sure you’re keeping good posture with your body and your microphone-holding hand. If you have the microphone pointing at a man’s shoes when he confesses to murder, guess what? You don’t have proof that a murderer just confessed to murder. This is the level of stress that has to be placed on the sound-people of America. You are the heroes of the news. Good sound can most definitely make or break a story.

Great sounds aren’t hard to come by, but they are hard to capture. As a journalism beginner, I’ve already had good and bad experiences with audio. It’s easy to be upset because some of your audio clips can be something that you didn’t think you got. It’s just a matter of technique and repetition like everything else. Audio is a field that can be mastered. If you can be calm, find a noise controlled environment, balance your natural sounds, and be a great interviewer, you can be a great audio journalist.

Sound is around us constantly. Reporting the sounds that effect our everyday lives is truly significant to journalism. As I said above, sound can make or break a story. If you miss the sounds of the story, you can ruin an opportunity to immerse the audience in their news experience. Audio must be recognized as one of the key pillars in news reporting. Without it, our imaginations can’t take us to where journalists need us to go.



Thoughts On Reporting: Remembering NPR Photojournalist David Gilkey

When somebody passes away, the thoughts of mourning and sadness tend to be the first emotions thought up. This, of course, is ok. Sadness is ok when we miss somebody. When someone passes, they never really leave us. Their memory and their work lives on post-mortem in the ones that cherish them the most.

This most certainly applies to NPR Photojournalist, David Gilkey. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gilkey, he was tragically killed in Afghanistan this past Sunday while working to display the light within a country shrouded with the darkness of war. Being a photojournalist, Gilkey had an eye for things that are the world’s most precious gifts. Today, I will comment upon his style as well as comment on what a photojournalist can do for the world.

In the link above is a story that NPR published themselves after losing one of their own. It truly is a nice piece. Gilkey explained before his death that photojournalism is “not just reporting. It’s not just taking pictures. It’s, ‘Do those visuals, do the stories, do they change somebody’s mind enough to take action?’So if we’re doing our part, it gets people to do their part. Hopefully.” Gilkey seemed that he wanted people to think for their own and do the right thing. That’s the way he saw his work.

His photos are simply magnificent. Within the article above, we see what NPR calls just “a small selection of David’s remarkable work.” His style is very relevant in each one of the photos we can see of his. There is a character in nearly every single one of the photos we see in the article above. Whether it be a human being or an animal, we are stricken with the wonder of what their deal is. Captions are a great thing in photography. They help push the story forward. But some of the best photos, shouldn’t require a caption.

If one can look at a photograph and truly feel the emotion or the moment that photo was taken place, there’s no need for a caption. The emotions and the thoughts live on within the viewer. The way Gilkey shot, he wanted his characters to not act for the camera, but for the camera to capture them telling their own story. In one of the photos, we see a Syrian refugee in Toledo, Ohio carrying his daughter down the street. I was sent back to a time where my father carried me in his arms when I was young. I looked at this photo not knowing the characters, but knowing the emotion of the scene. Granted, I am no Syrian refugee and those people have probably lived through horrors that I couldn’t imagine in my dizziest daydreams. But, a photo I have no emotional attachment to sent me back to a place in time where I could relate to it in some way. It’s truly remarkable magic.

Another style element Gilkey leaves with us is quite evident in many of the photos you see in the article. The eyes can tell a story more powerful than words when it comes to photography. Gilkey does a wonderful job in capturing the eyes and their radiant storytelling capabilities. In nearly every photo, you can pick out an eye. You can read the eye and sort of feel as if you’re there in that moment. Another magic trick of photography. Making eye contact with a still photograph can take you to a place you’ve never been before. Staring at a photo doesn’t make you crazy; it simply means you’re experiencing the photo the way the photographer wanted you to experience it. It’s just like paintings:


Photographs, like paintings, put us somewhere that we are not. They put us in a moment and make us feel things that we wouldn’t normally feel. The world needs photos. The world needs photojournalism. Without it, we really wouldn’t know what was going on at all. We wouldn’t feel emotion towards peace, war, death, life, etc. It’d just be words on paper.

Thank You David Gilkey. You died doing what you loved to do. You will be remembered through your eye for the art of photojournalism.

In Memoriam:


David Gilkey (1966-2016)


Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)


Gordie Howe (1928-2016)