Photographer & Teacher Tim Broekema on Soundslides

This is the first in a series of interviews with experts about how they use Soundslides in the field and classroom.

Back in 2002, photojournalist-turned-computer whiz Joe Weiss conceived a software program that would turn what was then a lengthy process for making audio slideshows into something rocket fast. That fall he took a working version for testing to the annual multi-media/photography workshop held in Kentucky, Mountain Workshops. The workshop instructors needed a software solution that would let them spend more time on their stories and less time monkeying around with computer programs. They liked the new audio slideshow software a lot. In 2005 the software became Soundslides, and Joe Weiss made it available on the market.

Newsrooms and journalists around the country began using it, and teachers in college-level journalism programs purchased it for their classes.


“Soundslides was, without a doubt, revolutionary,” says Tim Broekema, an associate professor in Western Kentucky University’s photojournalism department, and one of the first users of Soundslides. “I love its interface, and I love how it works.”

Broekema was an instructor at Mountain Workshops when Weiss introduced that first version of Soundslides. Right away he saw how Soundslides would be great for his students.

“When the original Soundslides came out, institutions like ours were using big photo programs,” Broekema says. It took many weeks to teach the students how to use Flash for those programs. That meant that it could be 10 weeks before a student would complete a project for a grade. The learning curve for Soundslides software shortened that gap. 

“Soundslides makes it possible for our students to worry less about the computer and more about the content,” Broekema says. “We’re teaching them to become strong content gatherers.”

Pros Cut Their Teeth

As a consequence of the spread of Soundlides through newsrooms and classrooms, many of today’s pro multi-media storytellers got their starts using Soundslides.

Read Tim Broekema’s blog “What I Learned” at broekemaphotography.com.

Learn about Mountain Workshops and see some amazing Soundslides projects at mountainworkshops.org.

Stay tuned for our next post, an interview with Web developer and journalism educator Mindy McAdams.



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