Multimedia Storytelling—Radio (JOUR71002)

Class description: The Intro Audio Class is part of the Multimedia Storytelling course. This class covers writing, reporting, and interviewing for the ear. The class emphasizes short form radio news and is taught in a hands-on workshop style. All assignments are designed to meet the following learning objectives:

  • Clear, concise, creative broadcast writing
  • Reporting and interviewing for the ear
  • Understanding and identifying creative use of sound in audio news
  • Understanding radio as a news medium
  • Proficient use of the Marantz recorder and basic digital editing in ProTools software
  • Understanding how to package radio/audio news online
  • Assignments: Voicer, Wrap, Vox Pop, Newscast

Additional learning experiences include:

  • Experience voicing
  • Basic studio skills and protocols
  • Experience working in teams on a LIVE broadcast

Instructor: Amanda Aronczyk // // @aronczyk

Office hours: Please email for an appointment

CUNY file naming convention is always: yearmonthday_projectname_yourlastname_version (example: 20150907_VoxPop_LastName.wav)

Classes, 5:30pm-9:20pm // Room 438

  • Week 1: Monday, September 21st, 2015
  • Week 2: Monday, September 28th, 2015
  • Week 3: Monday, October 5th, 2015
  • Week 4: Monday, October 19th, 2015
  • Week 5: Monday, October 26th, 2015
  • Week 6: Monday, November 2nd, 2015 (half audio/half video)

Important note: Please make sure you always bring extra AA batteries with you for recordings. The Marantz quickly depletes power and you will likely lose your audio if your batteries die while recording. Don’t trust the display that says your batteries are fully charged! Always bring extra AA batteries! REMINDER: if you book a 620, you should also book a mic.


 Week 1: Reporting in Sound // September 21st, 2015

  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – Photo class follow up – John Smock
  • Instructor, student and class introduction
  • What will happen in this class?
  • Gear Discussion and demonstration
  • Sound Scavenger Hunt

It’s important to have the settings right and to get clear sound. Don’t forget:

  • 44.1 khz
  • 16 bit
  • WAV file
  • Mono or stereo (mono for voice recording)
  • Recording tone should stay around -12 db.
  • Renaming sound files on computer or other hard drive

Assignments due Monday, September 28th, 2015:

  1. Please find WNYC 93.9FM on the radio or online – listen to at least one story in its entirety. If you don’t have a radio, you can stream it online. What did you hear? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What got your attention?
  2. This I Believe: Students should write their own “This I Believe” essay. It should be between 60-90 seconds, approximately 150-250 words. Write the essay, then take out the equipment and record yourself reading it. Make sure the sound is okay on the file, if not, record it again. Put the final file on Network Share under “Fall 2015 // Courses // Fundamentals in Multimedia // Aronczyk” folder. Please label your file like this: 20150928_ThisIBelieve_LastName.wav
  3. Please read the Scott Simon article, “Writing for the Ear”


 Week 2: Editing // September 28th, 2015

  • 5:30pm-7:30pm – Learning ProTools with Chad
  • Discuss “Writing for the Ear”
  • Listen to This I Believe essays
  • Discuss Vox

Assignments due on Monday, October 5th, 2015:

  1. Record at least 10 people responding to one of the following questions: What did you think of the lunar eclipse? or What did you think of the Pope’s visit to NYC? or What kind of president do you think Donald Trump would be? Just PICK ONE QUESTION. Edit a vox together using your favorite responses to the question. Your final vox should be about 30 seconds to 90 seconds MAX. Please put the final vox on Network Share and label it like this: 20151002_Vox_Aronczyk.wav
  2. Please read the This American Life comic book – I will email this to you.


Week 3: Vox Pop & Interviewing // October 5th, 2015

  • Vox Pop
  • Intro to interviewing

Assignments due on Monday, October 19th, 2015:

  1. Reading. “Sound and Stories” and “Writing for Broadcast” from the Jonathan Kern book, “Sound Reporting”.
  2. Finish editing the vox pop. Please highlight what you consider the best tape and be prepared to explain your choices. The log is to be handed in to the instructor.
  3. Complete a one-on-one interview. Find someone you don’t already know and interview them about their work. Try to find some compelling and surprising stories and details about their job. The interview should last between least 15-25 minutes. Be sure to ask: what does the future hold for their profession? We will use their response for a short news story. Please also take a few photos.


Week 4: Newscast // October 19th, 2015

** Make sure you have your cellphone charged and with you for the newscast class, as well as a notebook**

This class will take place in the classroom as well as the Radio Studio. Students will be assigned roles: Producer, host, editor, and reporters. We will produce a live newscast that includes live call-ins to the studio, wraps, vox pops and some spots.

Assignments due on Monday, November 2nd, 2015:

  1. Reading. Section 2 of the Knight Fellowship Program “Handbook for radio news broadcasters”
  2. Reading. “Ask the Expert, Pitches that Work”


Week 5: Writing for Sound // October 26th, 2015

  • Introduction to different kinds of radio news pieces: Spots, wraps, features, vox pops.
  • Discussion & Quiz: Chapters from the Jonathan Kern book, “Sound Reporting
  • Preparing for Newscast

Assignments due on Monday, October 26th, 2015:

  1. Finish writing your 60 to 90-sec Wrap. Select the best 1-3 cuts from your interview (cut should be approx 8-20 seconds). Be sure to transcribe the cuts word for word. Write your 60 to 90 second story based on the AX.
  2. Reading. Please read online: Nancy Updike’s “Better Writing Through Radio” Part 1 and Part 2 on Transom (


 Week 6: Reviewing Newscast // November 2nd, 2015

  • Review Newscast
  • Finish Wraps
  • Now what?


 Class Policies

Attendance / Participation

Students are required to attend all classes. In the event of a missed class, students are responsible for course material covered during the missed class and should make every effort to obtain notes and schedule changes from classmates. Absences due to illness or unforeseen circumstances must be officially excused by the school’s student affairs office. Unexcused absences will affect the student’s final grade. Lateness beyond 15 minutes is considered an unexcused absence.


Your grade from the audio section of the Multimedia Storytelling class will account for 40% of your final grade (10% Photo, 40% Audio, 50% Video). Below is the breakdown of that 40%:

35%   In-class exercises, participation and attendance
45%   Spot, vox pop, wraps, newscast
20%   Technical skills: digital recording and audio editing skills

97—100 A+
93—96 A
90—92 A-
87—89 B+
84—86 B
81—83 B-
77—80 C+
74—76 C
70—73 C-
69 Below F

 Journalistic Integrity

Any evidence of unethical behavior, dishonesty, plagiarism, etc will be reported to the appropriate university offices. Students are not permitted to interview friends and relatives due to obvious conflicts of interest. If a situation arises in which the story calls for an interview with a mother, friend, etc… the student MUST have faculty permission. Failure to notify the instructor before turning in the assignment will result in a lowered grade.


It is a serious ethical violation to take any material created by another person and represent it as your own original work.  Any such plagiarism will result in serious disciplinary action, including possible dismissal from the CUNY J-School.  Plagiarism may involve copying text from a book or magazine without attributing the source,
or lifting words, photographs, videos, or other materials from the Internet and attempting to pass them off as your own.  Student work may be analyzed electronically for plagiarized content.  Please ask the instructor if you have any questions about how to distinguish between acceptable research and plagiarism.


As a journalist, it is important to adhere to the deadlines set by your newsroom. The ability to work well quickly and under pressure is an indispensable skill. Missed deadlines will affect your grade for individual assignments and your overall final grade. Please take time to review the class calendar in its entirety and plan your semester accordingly.

Data Loss and Working with the Marantz, Computer, and Software

This course requires the use of digital media for storing and transmitting required coursework. Learning good data management practices constitutes a portion of the class agenda. As such, computer failure or other forms of computer data loss will NOT be accepted as a legitimate excuse for late work.

Working with computers is risky business. Some computers and software can behave unpredictably. Each student must act responsibly and make back-up copies of data at every convenient opportunity. The safest way to do this is to copy data to a portable drive that can be stored in a secure location. Simply making extra copies of files and storing them on the same hard drive is not enough. There is a ‘zero-tolerance’ position on this matter due to the fact that lenience on this issue is far too easily abused.

Cell phone calls, emailing, texting, internet surfing, etc…

Do not engage in these activities while in class. Taking notes on laptops is permissible. Emailing and surfing the internet is NOT.

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