Sound on!

Friday, October 25, 2013
(Originally posted Oct. 26, 2012)

3 steps to adding sound -- and authenticity -- to your multimedia reporting.

1. Download Audacity. It's free software, open-source and continually updated; it works the same on a Mac or a PC; help is widely available, within the program or just by Googling "Audacity" and "(whatever your question is)"; and you can download it from the Web to almost any computer on which you may need it.

2. In Audacity, edit your audio and save it as an MP3. For interview audio, as a rule, let your subject have the first and last word. Remove everything up until the beginning of the first answer, and everything after the last we hear from your subject. Your recorded intro and your thank-yous are better incorporated into the text that introduces and follows your audio.
* Tip: After making your edits, make sure your audio fades in at the beginning and fades out at the end. In other words: Every cut should begin and end in silence. That small technique separates professional editing from amateur.

3. Log in at SoundCloud.com and upload your edited MP3. When complete, click on the Share button, copy the "Embed Code" and paste it into your text piece at the most appropriate point. (Note you can press the "Edit your widget" button to change the color, shape and size of your player.) Copy the URL ("Get the link") and use it to hyperlink the most relevant quote in the text.

Add a photo as appropriate (with credit if not your work) and you have a multimedia report.
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