A sample interactive audio story and some thoughts on journalism curriculum

I came across an interactive audio story by New York Times titled “The New Generation of Pizzerias.” Whenever I see something of interest, such as this one, I always try to figure out how my students can create something similar.

For a student interactive audio assignment similar to this one, students need to take photos, record audio clips, write captions, edit photos, and create a flash (interactive) interface.

In our department, we have cameras and digital recorders,  and students have been trained in video production and graphic production, so photos and audio will not be a challenge. What may pose as an obstacle, though, is the flash interface. Without having to learn the intimidating Flash animation, students can make use of the free Wix online tool to create something similar to this sample project. One feature Wix cannot replicate is where in the pop-up window, a visitor can click to playback the audio clip, and click to view a photo slideshow in the same window.

An interesting point of discussion for journalism educators, though, is what courses a student needs to take so as to produce a seemingly simple project like this one.

In a conventional curriculum, a student needs to take separate courses in video production and graphic production (for photo editing). However, digital audio recording and editing is not commonly taught in a regular “production” course; not to mention that “intimidating” flash interface – Flash animation is not typical of a journalism curriculum.

About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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