What to do about audio?

In the modern age of instant, mobile and video technology it may seem suprising that audio is still used in the news, which was touched upon in the last post regarding audio slide shows.

Notorious online blogger Paul Bradshaw has highlighted reasons to include audio in journalism, highlighting that it isn’t an outdated medium.

I’ll use one example of the audio tapes released of London Underground staff responding to the 7/7 attacks. Paul Bradshaw would label this audio ‘actuality’, that you have the feeling of being there in the underground or police office trying to deal with the situation.

By using audio, Bradshaw would also indicate that you can pick up on the emotions communicated by people instead of just words. Numerous audio clips of Underground staff, members of the public and police officers from 7/7 have been used to express the horrific events unfolding that day and this audio builds a sense of the environment that day. Due to the nature of the incident, pictures and video close to the bombed carriages would not be appropriate but the audio footage enables us to obtain an incredible insight and enables us to realise the severity of these awful moments.

Another point Paul Bradshaw has mentionned is that audio clips can add an extra angle or background to a story. Today most news on the internet is displayed in video or text however an audio clip can add authenticity, a new angle or they can break up text. In addition the journalist can post the a full interview beside some copy much more quickly than if they were to transcribe the whole thing.

Take Lee Westwood becoming number one in the world at golf. The video interview at the top questions Lee Westwood about his achievement of becoming the best golfer on the planet, his injury and upcoming majors. However the text starts with ‘Don’t write off Tiger,’ which refers to his radio interview with radio 5 about replacing Tiger Woods as number one. Consequnetly the audio, providing a snippet of the radio interview, gives the piece another angle and enables the BBC to cover the story without repeating certain quotes.

Therefore audio can be useful in journalism, providing an alternative angle whilst adding emotion and authenticity.

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