The past few weeks our task was to make a three-ish minute podcast within the theme "uprooted", with the choice to either take "uprooted" literally or metaphorically. We decided to do our project on the Syrian refugee crisis. We began by researching the war and identifying organizations that help refugees. One of our biggest challenges was locating refugees to interview because not many come relocate to Boston and many of the refugees that find asylum are concerned about privacy.
In the beginning out team had trouble coordinating and working together. However, Adam helped us get back on track and thanks to Hasit (a.k.a. God), we were able to interview both a Syrian refugee and a Syrian reporter from the BBC. With two successful interviews, we were now ready to begin editing.
The process of downloading the audio and splitting the interviews took countless hours and was very frustrating. But, we were finally able to import our favorite parts which would become our final output. Once the files were imported and mixed, we were ready to record the voiceover.
After writing the script, Jack sat in the elevator with a jacket over his head (to reduce background noise) to record the voiceover track. Success eventually came but only after multiple attempts with tracks ending when the elevator was called to another floor or when lines were misspoken. Luckily, lining up the tracks, our next task, only took a few minutes.
Next, it was time for the wild track. For those who don’t know, a wild track is the background sound effects (people, music, ambience, etc.) We had our sound files, we just needed to select the best. The wild track sounds included: gunfire, alarms, yelling, a Syrian market place, and some traditional Syrian Music. After making the last edits we could proudly look at – more or less “hear” – our project.
We started the studio by doing a “one minute project” we decided to do it on spray painting and graffiti. This project gave us the chance to learn the basics of making a radio pice. Once we were done with that we started on the main project. The task was to make a three minute podcast with the theme uprooted. You could either take it literally or metaphorically. We decided to do our project on Syrian refugees. The project started with us doing research on the war and trying to find organizations that help refugees. Trying to find refugees to talk to was a challenge because not many come to Boston. in the beginning out team had trouble coordinating and working together. Once Adam helped us work out our issues we were back on track. We finally found a Syrian refugee and a Syrian reporter to talk to. Both interviews went smoothly, now it was time to edit. We spent countless frustrating hours downloading the audio and splitting the interviews. After all that we imported our favorite parts into the file that would soon become our final output. Once imported and mixed we needed to create a voiceover. We first needed to write the parts and once that was done, Jack sat in the elevator with a jacket over his head and recorded the track. After multiple tracks ending in the elevator being called or misspoken lines, we had our voice over tracks.
In the duration of this project we learned a lot, from whats going on in Syria to how to use a audio editing program called Audacity. Originally we were going to do out radio pice on the Pakistani refugees but we quickly learned that there is bigger story was in Syria. Once we started researching the war in Syria learned a lot of new information that we used for out story. Our second interviewee Omar had an extremely impacting story, he was taken from his family with half an hour notice. After editing our podcast our knowledge of the Syrian war was a lot greater the it was before.
40% of homeless youth today are LGBTQ, most of which have become homeless due to familial rejection. Our goal was to address this disproportionate statistic in response to the lack of awareness and knowledge about the experiences of homeless youth. For our radio piece, we addressed the issue of LGBTQ homeless youth by conducting interviews with two LGBTQ shelter directors, who helped us better understand the struggles these teens face and how the shelters plan for protecting and helping them. Our interviews with program directors of LGBT youth shelters gave us great insight into the structure of the shelters and how they proceed to help homeless youth once they arrive in the shelter, as well as the risks youth face while on the streets and how street-based outreach helps to tend to their physical and mental health problems.
40% of homeless youth today are LGBTQ, most of which have become homeless due to familial rejection. We addressed this disproportionate statistic in response to the lack of awareness and knowledge about the experiences of homeless youth. For our radio piece, we addressed the issue of LGBTQ homeless youth by conducting interviews with two LGBTQ shelter directors, who helped us better understand the struggles these teens face and how the shelters plan for protecting and helping them. Our interviews with program directors of LGBT youth shelters gave us great insight into the structure of the shelters and how they proceed to help homeless youth once they arrive in the shelter, as well as the risks youth face while on the streets and how street-based outreach helps to tend to their physical and mental health problems.
We started by doing extensive research—reading articles in newspapers, peer-reviewed journals, listening to stories of homeless youth on YouTube, etc. From there, we condensed our information and made a list of shelters and organizations across the country to contact via email and phone. Two directors—Rick Westbrook of Lost-N-Found and Rebecca Reed of the Ali Forney Center—accepted our request for a FaceTime interview. After interviewing, we used Audacity, a sound-editor program, to distill the responses, arrange the clips of the interviews, and compile the script that we wrote while in the interview process. (The script was tweaked and re-recorded countless times in order to get the best possible sound.) We used audio from a video of a teenage boy, Daniel Pierce, being kicked out of his own home by his parents, to introduce the piece and illustrate the situation. We were directed to this video while interviewing Rick Westbrook, because Daniel ended up receiving nationwide support and currently serves on Lost-N-Found’s Board of Directors. We used the audio of his family screaming at him (with permission) as a powerful, confrontational exemplification of what some of these teens have to face while coming out to their parents. Because we couldn’t get an on-site interview at Lost-N-Found, we found replacement ambient audio of people moving around and working to play underneath Rick’s clips.
Overall, we fostered a sense of tenacity, due to difficulty connecting with organizations willing to speak with us about the issue. We received minimal responses, and ultimately we were not being able to interview actual homeless youth to interview due to confidentiality laws. We also faced technical challenges such as the sometimes-lacking audio quality and problems with editing due to the somewhat-overwhelming multitude of tracks. Despite this, the process of researching, interviewing, and storytelling illuminated much about the lives of homeless youth and the real, day-to-day hardships they face.
For this studio, we were tasked with developing a story on the theme of being uprooted. We associated uprooting with being taken from one's house without fair warning. While a common association with the word "uprooting" is refugees fleeing their homeland, we decided to tell the story on the California wild fires. We felt that homes being burned down and being destroyed are perfect examples of the true meaning of “uprooting”. Hence, we set out to tell a story about victims of the California wildfire. Our goal was to have numerous perspective of victims with many different roles in the wild fires. We interviewed firemen who fought the fires and risked their lives for their community, we interviewed weathermen who gave perspective as to what initiated the fires and why they were so severe this year, and of course, we interviewed the victims themselves who lost their homes and belongings from this tragic event. Indeed, to us, the California Wildfires resonated with being uprooted.
Over the course of the studio, we made varying improvements and enhancements to our radio broadcast, but we never changed the theme or message of our project. Our changes were mostly minor and were mainly technical. In our first “iteration”, we delivered a simple skeletal structure that included the meat of the story. As we moved along and made “more iterations” we added sound fx, fixed technical issues, and added voiceovers to further connect the interviews. By the final “iteration” we had a thoughtfully thought out, concise, and to the point radio podcast that we believe represents our best work.
A major component of our project was the organization of the process. We spent the first days doing research on the topic. We drafted potential questions and decided who we wanted to interview. Then we reached out to multiple sources and asked for interviews. However, many people declined our “invitation”. By the beginning of the second week, we gathered 5 solid interviews from victims that could potentially be used in our podcast. On the remaining days, we combined and edited the audio clips to deliver the message. We spent the final days adding technical effects and seeking critique and reviewal.
My project was about the musical scene in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina. I chose to focus my piece on a very active member of the current New Orleans music scene, Paul Sanchez. Paul was the lead singer of Cowboy Mouth and wrote the music for the play "Nine Lives", about Katrina and the following flood. I asked him questions about his decision to come back to New Orleans and how his music changed. Once I edited my audio down to the appropriate timeframe I added music from both past New Orleans and current New Orleans. I hope that this piece shows the listener that although New Orleans has changed drastically, it still has the same draw as it had previously, a hotbed of musical innovation and culture.
In this studio, we were tasked with creating a three-minute radio piece. I began by trying to brainstorm many different ideas to give myself some options. I ended up deciding to focus on the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Many people don't realize that a disaster like this doesn't just have an immediate impact. I started doing some research into some exact stats to get a feel for the magnitude. I also looked for music to match the theme of my piece.
I soon realized that an even more interesting topic would be to focus on the impact Katrina had on the music scene in New Orleans. After reaching out to many different people, I finally landed an interview with Paul Sanchez. Paul was the lead singer of Cowboy Mouth and wrote the music for the play "Nine Lives", about Katrina and the following flood. I asked him many questions, ranging from if he contemplated leaving New Orleans for good, to how is personal music style changed following Katrina.
One of the most difficult processes was the editing. I had to take nineteen minutes of great answers from Paul, down to a minute and a half. There were a lot of great things that he said that I had to cut because of time. The most enjoyable aspect for me was picking the music and sounds in the background. This is where I allowed myself to get creative. I added a news montage at the beginning and scattered music from Jay Electronica, Luke James and King Oliver. I also had to fade in and out the audio to make the transitions smooth. I made the decision to "sandwich" my piece between to pieces of the Kanye West song, "Can't tell me nothing." It fit because I had a quote of his in the montage and also the attitude of many of the New Orleans residents when dealing with the government that abandoned them.
I learned a lot about New Orleans culture. I assumed that after Katrina hit, New Orleans went back to its original state. I learned that New Orleans had to adapt after Katrina hit. That was especially true with the music scene. Artists had to "band" together if they had any choice of surviving in the New Orleans culture.