What I Learned In: Multi-Platform Storytelling in the Digital Age

12 01 2011

By Tom Hanaway (@tomhanaway)

Up to this point, I have been mostly a print journalist. I have written for newspapers and websites, but I have never edited a video or recorded a podcast.

That all changed when I took Journalism instructor Grace Lim‘s course, Multi-Platform Storytelling in the Digital Age. We jumped into the future of journalism, learning how to tell stories using today’s most advanced equipment and technology.

Our class started off learning how to create and edit audio podcasts. I quickly learned that being a writer and being a podcaster are two completely different positions. While my words may have sounded nice on paper, saying them aloud was a challenge. I had to adapt and understand how to slowly read my story, but not at a glacial pace, and to enunciate my words without sounding like I was reciting words at a spelling bee.

 

Journalism instructor Grace Lim's Multi-platform Storytelling in the Digital Age class. Photo by Amber Patrick.

 

We then moved on from reading our stories to interviewing a subject for a podcast. I tried to channel my inner Terry Gross to make my podcast give “Fresh Air” a run for its money. It was unlike any other interview I have done before. You not only have to pay attention to the conversation and keep track of questions, but also make sure your subject is speaking close enough to the microphone, that they aren’t making their chair squeak, and sometimes asking them to repeat answers for clarity.

After podcasting, we went on to video, which had a lot more variables that could wrong. Make sure the mics are on? Check. Is the framing OK? Check. Do we need to fix the lighting? Check.  By the end it became second nature, as did video editing. When I first opened iMovie, I stared blankly wondering how long it would take to master the electronic beast. Turns out, it didn’t take long at all.

Throughout our time with Lim, we interviewed a variety of students and professors for the College of Letters and Science Special Reports site. It was basically our job to report on some of the many interesting and talented members of our university through podcasts and video.

 

One of the videos students in Multi-Platform Storytelling in the Digital Age produced.

 

We also spent time promoting and covering “Beyond Classroom Walls,” an event that showcased student projects done outside of the traditional classroom setting. We took video, pictures and even live-Tweeted from “Beyond Classroom Walls” to capture the excitement people experienced learning about these interesting and unique projects.

Lim’s class is one that I will never forget, both from an educational and an emotional aspect. I now have a new set of tools at my disposal as well as some new memories too. I’ll never forget sitting in that freezing recording studio, our sometimes heated debates about current events in class, and Lim constantly asking if it was lunch time yet. Hopefully students will be as lucky as I am and have the chance to take this class in the future.

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