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Tool of the week for journalists: Story Wheel, for easy audio slideshows

Tool of the week: Story Wheel

What is it? An easy audio slideshow tool using Instagram and SoundCloud

How is it of use to journalists? If you are a journalist who regularly uses Instagram to share photos, here is a tool that will allow you turn the images into a story.

Go to the Story Wheel site, connect your Instagram account, click the pictures you want to use and then record audio, hitting the space bar every time you want the picture to change to the next in your selection.

An audio slideshow takes just minutes to make and is a quicker option than using tools such as Soundslides.

Although you can’t embed the audio slideshow, it does offer journalists a great way of telling a story around their images and sharing via social media.

You can see examples of Instagram audio slideshows on the Story Wheel site.

According to the Story Wheel site, the tool come out of a hack day. It was built using the SoundCloud api for the audio part and is now part of SoundCloud Labs.

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SoundCloud adds trim and edit features to its apps

September 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

SoundCloud has updated its iPhone, iPad and Android apps adding some really useful features for journalists.

Users can now trim and edit a recording, deleting any mistakes before uploading the audio. The app also now allows pause and resume during recording and has a fade in and fade out option.

 

Third-party recording apps are also available that work with SoundCloud.

In a release, the audio recording and sharing platform said it now has 20 million registered users.

Released reading:

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#Podcast – Lessons in podcasting from The Times, Economist and SoundCloud

August 3rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast
Image by M. Keefe on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkeefe/2349283746/sizes/l/

Image by M. Keefe on Flickr. Some rights reserved

News outlets may have been creating podcasts for a number of years but they continue to evolve and innovate in their audio offerings and the platforms on which they distribute.

This podcast examines different styles of podcasting, and includes tips for news outlets thinking of experimenting in audio.

Journalism.co.uk technology editor Sarah Marshall speaks to:

  • Chris Skinner, producer and presenter of the Olympic Games podcast from The Times
  • Tom Standage, digital editor at the Economist
  • Ben Fawkes, audio content manager as SoundCloud

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

For more on podcasting here is a guide on how to become a podcaster. It may be from 2006 but much of it is still relevant.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – ‘unmute’ your Pinterest boards by adding SoundCloud audio

June 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

SoundCloud last night announced on its blog that sounds from the audio platform can be pinned on Pinterest.

News outlets are both using Pinterest to engage with users for the bookmarking platform and others are encouraging readers to “pin” their content by adding “pin it” buttons.

Here are 10 ideas for news outlets using Pinterest. Pinning SoundCloud audio is idea number 11.

Tipster: Sarah Marshall

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

 

 

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Social magazine app Flipboard adds audio

May 16th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Multimedia

Social magazine app Flipboard has added audio, allowing users to listen to a podcast, an interview or music while flipping through the pages of the app.

Flipboard is an iPhone and iPad app (soon to be on Android) that allows users to sync with their Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook and other accounts to receive personalised news content.

Flipboard has partnered with SoundCloud for audio (which provides content including Journalism.co.uk’s podcasts), National Public Radio and Public Radio International (PRI).

As The Next Web reports:

It’s a marvellous new way to distribute and listen to audio content, one I might just use specifically for podcasts. The user experience is unquestionably superior to iTunes.

And how long before we see Flipboard dive into video? It’s somewhat surprising it hasn’t decided to explore the video space first. The social magazine already includes a video category but is limited in sources and isn’t ideal for video browsing. With no clear winner in the video magazine space (see ShowYou and TNW Startup Rally winner Shelby.tv), Flipboard can still make it its own.

BBC News and TechCrunch both have details on the Flipboard development.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – using online audio platforms

January 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

In a Poynter how-to Jim Colgan gives a useful run through of three tools being used by journalists working with audio online – SoundCloud, AudioBoo and Broadcastr – and as well as giving pointers on the different ways these can be used for reporting, Colgan also offers plenty of links to examples of how news sites have used each to produce content. Poynter’s post can be found here.

Journalism.co.uk also has more on SoundCloud and AudioBoo at these links.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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App of the week for journalists – iRig Recorder, for recording, trimming and sharing audio

App of the week: iRig Recorder

Operating systems: Apple (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)

Cost: £2.99 (there is also a free version)

What is it and how is it of use to journalists? iRig Recorder is a fantastic audio app, an essential for broadcast journalists, podcasters and anyone wanting to turn their iPhone into a high quality recording device.

The huge benefit of this app is the ease with which it enables you to trim audio and upload it, making it easy to edit out a fluffed introduction or an interruption at the end of an interview.

You can also clean the sound before exporting to SoundCloud, uploading to FTP, transferring to iTunes, by email or over a wireless network.

At Journalism.co.uk we use this app to record face-to-face interviews, immediately uploading the audio to our SoundCloud account (where we have acquired almost 4,000 followers).

Reviews: It gets three stars in iTunes App Store.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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Ten ways journalists can use SoundCloud

Audio platform SoundCloud has been around since 2007 but it is only this year that it has really taken off as a space for the spoken word as well as music.

Here are 10 ways it can be used by broadcast and digital journalists:

1. Record and share audio. You can do this from a computer or your smartphone or tablet. SoundCloud has apps for iPhone/iPad and Android but consider using one of the third-party iPhone apps that allow you to edit or trim before uploading directly to SoundCloud.

VC Audio Pro (£3.99) (a previous Journalism.co.uk app of the week) allows you to do a full multitrack edit before uploading to SoundCloud.

Try iRig Recorder (free for the basic app, £2.99 for the one with full functionality) and FiRe Studio (£2.99). Both allow you to trim and alter levels before uploading.

At Journalism.co.uk we’ve been uploading audio interviews and podcasts to our SoundCloud account, gathering over 2,800 followers and engaging with a new audience.

2. Search for sources. If you are looking for quotes or audio from a news event, search SoundCloud much in the way you would hunt down videos on YouTube. You will then be tasked with verifying the recordings, facing the same challenges as checking reports posted on Twitter and YouTube.

SoundCloud has an advanced search function which allows you to search the “spoken” category for a keyword. There is also an option of searching for content under a creative commons licence. Try searching for Japan earthquake, Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street to see the type of content available.

3. Discoverability. As with other platforms, SoundCloud hosts content that goes viral and has an embed option so you can post it to your site. Take this interview with US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It is a message to her South Arizona constituents, her first since being shot in the head in January. It’s clocked up over 21,000 plays, and demonstrates the benefits of SoundCloud’s commenting system.

4. Create maps. You’ll need to get some help from SoundCloud, but the team can create a bespoke map to allow you to crowdsource audio or plot recordings from in-house reporters. Ben Fawkes from Soundcloud told Journalism.co.uk how you do this, explaining that all you will need to do is define a location and define a hashtag and audio will then be automatically plotted. Take a look at this example of a map created with audio from Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival.

5. Use the new HTML5 player. If you embed SoundCloud audio in blog posts you should be aware of the new HTML5 player. The standard player is Flash meaning it won’t work on iPhones and iPads. Instead, when copying the embed code click on the “customise player” and toggle through the tags to the HTML5 option.

6. Consider a customised player. There are options to customise the player, including adding photos, such as this example used on the London Literature Festival site.

7. Invite user-generated audio content. Encourage your audience to submit audio into a drop box. You can embed the SoundCloud drop box widget on your site and ask readers to upload their own audio. Here’s an example of NPR adding a widget to encourage listeners to share their summer music memories.

Another option is to consider an embeddable record button on your site. At present this will require some developer assistance but SoundCloud is now working on making an easy option so sites can add a button and encourage user-generated audio content to be submitted directly. Here is an example of a record button being used on a musician’s site. This is a different option, of a mapped audio tour guide of Dorchester, Boston, where readers can submit audio via a record button on the site.

There’s also the option of gathering audio via phone calls, as Chatter.fm has done by using Twilio technology.

Another option for user-generated content (UGC) is to use SoundCloud’s importer tool to allow readers/listeners (or your reporters) to submit audio via email or smartphone.

8. Prepare to add SoundCloud sharing to your news organisation’s app. SoundCloud is working on an iOS and Android sharing kit, which will mean you can submit audio to SoundCloud via your own app. You could encourage readers or reporters to submit stories/field recordings to your app and have the audio uploaded to SoundCloud so that it’s shareable, streamable and has all the relevant meta data.

9. Record a phone interview using SoundCloud. There are easier ways but this is a good option for when you need to record an interview and are armed only with a mobile phone. Make a three-way phonecall by calling this number, dial your interviewee and the SoundCloud line will then record your account. You can then upload the audio publicly or privately.

10. Get your audio transcribed. Speaker Text is a transcription company that is integrated with SoundCloud. It takes 48-72 hours to be transcribed and costs 99 cents a minute.  It’s a way of making audio search engine optimised but you can also link to a certain sentence within the audio, for example referencing a quote or comment.

Related posts: News organisations are increasingly using SoundCloud, says founder

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SoundCloud launches HTML5 widget viewable on iPhone and iPad

November 3rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

SoundCloud has today released an HTML5 player enabling audio recordings embedded in news stories to be viewed on an iPhone or iPad.

The move will no doubt be welcomed by news organisations and podcasters, keen to embed audio in posts but aware that the iPad and iPhone audience cannot view them as Apple devices do not support Flash.

In an announcement SoundCloud lists the features of the public beta version of its widget and named those who have been using the first test version.

  • iPad/iPhone mobile support
  • Attractive new waveform design encourages more interactivity with the sound
  • Timed comments now are more usable on the widget (at the request of users)
  • Easier to view information about the sound (e.g. title, person)
  • Easier sharing (e.g. Facebook Like, Google+ and Twitter sharing options)

In addition, this HTML5 widget is the first move to provide creators with clearer indicators of possible sharing actions and further transitions SoundCloud away from a pure music player to more robust, interactive sound object. Thus far, Britney Spears, Big Time Rush, Wattpad, Intelligence Squared (a global forum for live debate), Future Human Podcast and West African Democracy Radio have been using SoundCloud’s HTML5 widget and as this beta test is the first iteration, subsequent versions will include even more social elements.  The public beta is built on a new HTML5 technology platform that will allow SoundCloud to add new features to the widgets at a faster pace from now on.

Last month, SoundCloud announced a partnership with Storify, allowing users to add SounCloud recordings to the curation site.

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You can now add SoundCloud recordings to Storify

Storify and SoundCloud have joined forces, enabling those curating social media to add recordings posted on the audio platform.

Users of Storify, which allows you to drag and drop content from social media, including Twitter, Flickr and YouTube into stories, were already able to add AudioBoo recordings.

The addition of SoundCloud adds possibilities for journalists and those curating stories using Storify. Although the audio platform started out as a music sharing and commenting site, SoundCloud is increasingly used for spoken word.

The integration of SoundCloud in Storify provides a tactile experience in digital news consumption, particularly when using a tablet, and allows users to read and listen to stories, utilising SoundCloud’s visual commenting system to jump to a particular point in the interview or audio.

Journalism.co.uk added SoundCloud recordings in this Storify of news:rewired created on the day the audio platform was first enabled as a source. Both platforms were present at the conference, where Storify co-founder Xavier Damman (pictured above) suggested “journalists should be re-branded as information engineers” as they make sense of the noise of social media by filtering it into stories.

In order to add SoundCloud go to Storify / Settings (below your name icon in the top right hand corner) / Sources.

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