When is a story right for an audio slideshow?


How do you know a story will make a good audio slideshow? Matching the story to the storytelling tool is key, explained Mike Reilley in a chat with Soundslides recently. Reilley is an instructor in DePaul University’s College of Communications. The hyperlocal news site redlineproject.org that he and his students started two years ago has won awards from the Associated Collegiate Press and the Online News Association. (See more about The Red Line Project in our last post.)

How do you know when a story is right for an audio slideshow. Tell us, below.

When is a story right for audio slideshows?

One big lesson students need to learn right away in Reilley’s classes is how to know when something is a story worthy of an audio slideshow?

  • “It has to be a visual story, something interesting to look at for a minimum of 20 really good slides,” Reilley said. ”You need action, emotion, a sequence that delivers a story visually. It may be a process; it might be something told chronologically. It needs to take the user there and give them a perspective unlike any other way of communicating it — written, video, whatever.”
  • “You need to have a good natural background in sounds,” he said. “Ambient sound really helps advance the piece. I think that’s something we did pretty well with our street Musicians package. The music provided the main theme for the piece, but there were also the sounds from the subways — trains, alarms, people yelling — that gave the piece an urban feel.” (See more on the street musicians in next week’s post.)
  • You need a great interview recording. “Hold the microphone up, ask the question, and get out of the way so you have good, clean sound that you can edit down,” Reilley said.

In the classroom, before launching Soundslides, the students create storyboards for their audio slideshow projects, sketching or outlining the sequences of images and sounds. Once they learn how to use Soundslides, they create the audio slideshow pretty quickly.

“Students take to it,” Reilley said. “They’re excited about it.”

Connect to the The Red Line Project

Check back next week to learn about finding a topic for your own student-run aggregate news site.

See the Red Line Project online.

Follow Reilley and the Red Line Project journalists at @journtoolbox and @redlineproject

- by Laura Read

How do you know when you have what it takes for a great audio slideshow? Tell us here:


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