Conduct interviews using your iPad

Summary: A new iPod touch/ iPhone/ iPad application and accompanying microphone released today by IK Multimedia will allow you to become a mobile audio journalist.

Read the TechCrunch review here.

Google changes algorithm to fight content-farms

Summary: With the rise of low-value Web sites who sell links to raise the search rankings of other Web sites, Google changes its algorithm to preserve their reputation as a search engine.

Reputation is everything, and Google is adjusting its search algorithm against sites that sell their links to firms seeking to raise their search ranking, according to a Silicon Valley Mercury News article.

Google’s action comes as a response to outside observers, one of which is Michael Arrington, the founder of the blog Tech Crunch.

Google is not the only search engine company facing this problem, as Microsoft’s corporate vice president of search product development Michael Shum adds “We really need to take search quality very seriously; otherwise, we are all going down the toilet.”

Vanessa Fox of Nine by Blue adds, ” I think the spammers are getting smarter.”

Why paid links will become a waste of money

Summary: Search engines are introducing new tools to help users get exactly what they are looking for while offering options that can blacklist sites that users find irrelevant.

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In Vanessa Fox’s article “Paid links don’t pay off” the SEO expert reports:

Chapter 7: Making audio journalism visible

Summary: Audio can just be as compelling as video or photos in online journalism. Tone can convey emotions, and sound can be layered on top of a visual medium to effectively tell a story. Being able to capture, edit and broadcast an audio file should be in the tool box of any online journalist. If it isn’t, then one should learn how.

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What audio journalism is important

  • Presence: A journalist can bring a listener to the location by capturing the right sound.
  • Emotions: Tone, intonation and pauses can enhance the message, or can say more than what is being said.
  • Atmosphere: Natural sound or ambient noise can paint an audio picture for the listener.

How news organizations use audio

NPR has set the standard when it comes to audio journalism. Seeking that “driveway moment” the intimacy  and engagement their reporters form with their interviewees can compel a person to sit in their car after they arrive to their destination to hear the rest of the segment. For the online journalists who are not able to broadcast their own stories over the radio, other options are available.

  • Reporter overview: A quick, simple audio overview of a story
  • Podcasts: An episodic medium comprised of numerous recorded segments that can be downloaded and heard.
  • Audio slideshow: Make your slideshow richer by accompanying it with an audio track.
  • Breaking news: offers reporters a forum to publish a quick audio report through their mobile phones.

Gearing up, choose a digital recorder

A digital recorder is a convenient and necessary tool for audio journalism. You can also make audio segments with your computer if you have the write program and an external microphone. Just remember:

  • Formats: Audio files can be recorded in .mp3, .wav or .wma formats. Mp3s are the most common and can be read by virtually all media players, but are compressed files which may affect quality. WAV files are uncompressed and have better quality, but the files may become too large which may make it difficult to upload.
  • Input/microphone level: The best setting is 70 percent of the total audio level.
  • File name: Keep yourself organized by properly labeling your audio files.

Editing audio files

There are a variety of programs that offer the ability to edit audio files. Audacity is a free download-able software for audio-editing. Learn how to edit sound files with audacity.

Former Virginia Governer George Allen talks sports, politics

A re-evaluation of U.S. energy policy will help create more jobs according to former Virginia governor George Allen during a February 17 C-SPAN interview hosted by Steve Scully. Relaxing current regulations on mineral extraction will reduce energy costs, increase jobs and attract more investments in the U.S., Allen said.

George Allen

“The two cheapest sources for energy is coal and hydroelectric” Allen said, “that helps attract jobs.” Allen suggested that the states should allow private companies to extract natural energy resources for a percentage the royalties. He also criticized the EPA for proposing regulations on carbon dioxide,which Allen says that “no other country in the world is imposing on their citizens.”

Allen, a former Governor of Virginia who also served as its U.S. Senator from  1991-1993 and again from 2001-2007, attended the interview to discuss the release of his new book “The Triumph of Character: What Washington Can Learn from the World of Sports,” where Allen provides his insights on politics as the son of the famous Washington redskins coach George Allen. He was joined by students from George Mason University and the University of Denver.

Allen is  running for the the  seat held by outgoing Senator Jim Webb. Allen lost the 2008 race against Webb, and became infamous when he was recorded using a pejorative term against an Indian-American opposition researcher during a campaign rally and the video went viral.

With Webb announcing that he will not seek re-election, Allen appears to be the only candidate with state-wide name recognition. The Virginia primary race for the U.S. Senate, which are open, will be held June 12 of 2012. However, there are questions if Webb can carry Tea Party voters, and fight the image of being an  establishment candidate.