Audio Report Reflection: A New Beginning

by maddicook

Leah Rose

New mum and mum to be – Leah Rose

I went into this task with a fairly good idea of how I wanted my project to sound. However, after the first half of my interview I knew that I would have to change these plans in order to deliver a quality piece of work. 

My initial plan was for the audio report to direct itself through the talent telling her story. However after listening to a playback of the interview I knew that my material wouldn’t allow me to successfully pull off my initial plan. My talent answered the questions in a different style to what I had originally expected; a style that when put together had very little direction.

This was a challenge because, although I had great content, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. 

I then decided to include questions from the interview to try and direct the story and keep the audience informed. However, this too made the project sound stilted.

In order to overcome these challenges, I decided to do something that I had originally not wanted to do, and that was to structure the project with a narration-type voiceover.

As we learnt in our lecture with journalist, Geoff Thompson, a key thing to remember when being involved in the interview is that you don’t overshadow the talent and their story. To make sure that I didn’t do this, I carefully crafted a few lines that I could add into the audio report to ensure that the audience could follow the story succinctly and make sense of it without too much distraction from the story being told.

Once I had recorded my voice-over I put a rough copy together and was happy with the sound, composition and the ultimate story that was conveyed.

I then began my editing process, which I expected to take a day at the most. I soon found out was this was an unrealistic timeframe. My editing process not only included cutting, snipping and organizing the interview material, but I also had to do the same to the voiceover. While working on both sections, I found many spots where the voiceover was too loud or just didn’t quite sound right. This then began the recording process again so that I could correctly fit the voiceovers with the composition of the story. Going back and forth between recording and editing was a step in the process that I had not comprehended.

The next step that was tricky was finding background sounds that would fit in with the narrative, and more so, enhance the narrative. My project was more of an experience than a story; therefore it was hard for me to find things that I could put in the background to add to the atmosphere boost the narrative. I settled for a few recordings of Leah’s 17-month-old daughter, Mahani. I found that these recordings enhanced the emotion Leah was conveying and enriched the picture that the story created in people’s mind without adding unnecessary sound that overwhelmed the audience.

Once I had my talent’s story, narrative voice over and simple, yet effective, background sounds complete and in order, I then went on search for some music that would complement all three components. With my music selected, the final step was to put it all together.

I was really happy with the outcome. I think that I have successfully (and graciously) conveyed Leah’s struggles, and ultimate happiness, through the growth of her family. I was intensely happy with the ending of my audio report as I thought it was not only unique, but also a special moment conveyed between a mother and her daughter that an audience would be able to connect with.

I have learnt many skills throughout this experience that I believe will help me in my future career as a journalist, however I am most grateful for uncovering a passion I did not know that I had for audio reporting. I had never really considered radio journalism or the likes of it, but I am happy that I have had my eyes opened to this new opportunity.