Journalism 2.0
How to survive and thrive in the digital age

This blog is a companion to the book I have written. It will teach current (and future) journalists the skills they need to do better journalism with the help of digital technology. More information about the book.


What about recording phone calls, editing and converting audio?

I was pleased to see some action on the blog today after J-Lab sent a notice to its email listserv. There appears to be a lot of interest in digital audio tools, so we’ll continue with that theme. In addition to comments on the previous post, I received a handful of emails with questions and recommendations that Iíll repurpose here for the benefit of others.

Gina Falcone-Rupp reports that her team at McClatchy Interactive has been using an Olympus DS 2 with success. ďSound quality is decent and we’ve been able to easily convert the WMA files to RA (using Real Producer Basic) and MP3 (using iTunes).Ē

Another emailer asked: what about recording phone calls? You can use any portable recording device or directly into your computer if you pick up a relatively cheap gadget from Radio Shack. (So often, the Shack has the answer.) The full scoop is outlined in this OJR article from a couple years ago. If you donít have a microphone jack on your computer, you can plug the device into your digital recorder, and then download it to your computer.

For info on the Radio Shack gadget, go here.

So letís discuss some more recommendations. What about recording phone calls? Does the Radio Shack gadget work for you or have you found something better.

What about editing audio Ė is everyone using Audacity? Itís free and easy to use, but maybe someoneís found something better. Reid Magney mentioned Goldwave in the comments, but I haven’t used it before.

And how about converting audio from WAV to MP3 or WMA to WAV? My favorite free program is Jet Audio, but it doesnít work on the Mac. Bryan Murley uses EasyWMA on the Mac. Do you like something better?


Posted by MarkBriggs on Monday, October 23, 2006
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Best digital recorder for reporters

A common question on new media listservs and within newsrooms centers on which digital audio recorder is the best one to buy (if you’re in the market). As with most purchasing decisions, the answer depends on how much you can afford to spend and, naturally, the more expensive options are generally better than the cheaper ones. That said, here is a list of my recommendations at different pricing levels. I only have experience with the Olympus and the M-Audio machines, but thought I’d find a couple mid-range options to include in the book.

Do you have a favorite? Or know of one to avoid? If so, or if you have any experience with any of these models please post a comment or {encode="" title="send me a note"}.

$100 range: Olympus WS-100

$200 range: Diasonic DR-51128

$400 range: Edirol R-1

$500 range: M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96


Posted by MarkBriggs on Monday, October 23, 2006
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J-Learning is an initiative of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism. J-LabTM is an incubator for innovative, participatory news experiments and is a center of American University's School of Communication in Washington, D.C.
J-Learning was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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