2-7-18 Audio Storytelling

Week 4 2/7/18

Class observations…

Peter Laufer is a master of the room. This class has already offered an invaluable perspective from graduates of the J-school. Having a theatrical old-time radio man just broadens the panorama from which to survey the soundscape.

Learned about the stinger—da-da-daht, da-da-daht—and explored pacing via Paul Harvey.

“The Rest of the Story” is, according to Laufer, “one big carnival trick.” The storytelling is so good, however, is doesn’t matter if the end is a flop.

Further thoughts on the “Better off Dead” podcast…

This was extremely difficult to listen to. Especially considering I have someone close to me receiving a bone marrow transplant for leukemia as I type.

That being said, I am very curious how Denton was able to so intimately access this dying woman. His sensitivity without being pitying and his ability to inject (often gallows) humor without hesitation helped to ease tension and to break any barriers that lay between the interviewer and the interviewee, either of which might hold back for propriety’s sake.

Liz was a very strong woman and more interesting to me because I cannot relate to her situation. She faced death with grace and in a manner that I could not imagine.

Aubrey Bulkeley, “The Rest of the Story”

I never noticed how quickly Paul Harvey speaks while maintaining excellent pronunciation. And he still holds the gold standard for the pregnant pause. He really was a master at pacing.

I’m listening to these podcasts with a sense of nostalgia. My dad and I would listen to Paul Harvey on the way to his house when he’d pick me up for the weekend.

Paul Harvey’s point of view as the omniscient narrator, providing the perspective of each character, helps to build suspense.

I am curious who did the research on these stories. Heck, who even found these stories in the first place. Before the internet and before the Google machine at that!

Anna Glavash, “Heroin Stories”

Again, I am curious how host Jack Rodolico was able to get such uninhibited access to this woman with such a harrowing story.

Jennifer Couzins must be at least a year or two removed from this because she is able to maintain so much calm telling this story. Or maybe the emotional moments were edited out.

I understand Daniel Couzins’ desire to turn it off. This is why people drink, smoke, snort as well as meditate, run marathons and dive into freezing rivers: life’s tough.

This podcast hits close to home. When I left for college, many of my friends who stayed behind were beginning to experiment with harder drugs in order to escape the monotony of suburban life. Some began dealing cocaine, others heavily using and some turned to Xanax and Oxycontin, which led them to heroine.

21-years-old and home for Christmas, I got the call that one of them was dead. He left behind a loving wife and a baby girl. It still kills me that there was not enough in our world to provide him with definition and purpose.

Becky Hoag, “Not My Job” from “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”

In the segment, one of my favorite guest hosts, Paula Poundstone, gets to be a little too much.

Sagel always has excellent questions for guests. I’m curious who and how many people write those. They let the guest brag a bit, they needle the guest just enough and finally let them off the hook with an easy game. I am sure that people enjoy appearing on Wait, Wait because they usually end up sounding cool.

“Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” is one of my favorite shows. I actually went to a taping in Chicago at the Chase Bank Auditorium with my then girlfriend. The live, in studio guest was Senator Mark Warner from Virginia.

The show did not really deviate much from how it appears on the radio except that it ran a good deal longer and there was quite a bit of profanity from the guest hosts.

Peter Sagel is a master of moving the audience, goading us to let loose and moving on from topic to topic and piece to piece with enough speed to keep our attention.

At the end of the show, we were dismissed, but invited to stick around for a couple of retakes and some bonus material. Most people, including ourselves, stuck around.


Carolyn, “The Conversation with Jason Campbell and Henrietta Gilland”

(Not everybody has iTunes access at home, especially those of us with Chromebooks. There’s other places that this story is linked. Let’s try to provide a universal URL next time.)

I couldn’t care less about this topic. Not putting anybody’s interests down as sports are my frivolous pursuit, but I don’t care to consider what defines beauty. (This brings up an interesting point, which I’ll address later.)

While I am on a critical track, I’m not sure if it’s the aesthetic that the hosts are going for, but it seems like they could try harder to make the production value better. It doesn’t take much to staple a foam sheet to the wall.

Jason and Henrietta are right to point out that the definition of beauty in the fashion world has expanded to include a variety of body types and skin colors and backgrounds. That’s nice because that’s how the whole human race already works.

Kind of funny that the Kardashians might have had a positive effect on culture by making big butts and full bodies more in vogue. I don’t mind that heroine chic has taken a back seat. I don’t find twigs attractive and I always felt for young women who felt like they had to starve themselves to be attractive.

It’s interesting that makeup, hair extensions, etc. are such an ingrained part of black femininity. I never observed this, but it’s obvious after the hosts point it out. And it’s cool that that sense of having to doll up so much as a black woman is receding with women like Alicia Keys who embrace their natural beauty.

As a man, I prefer women who wear little to no makeup as it is. It is curious how much popular culture and other women define what women should look like and what beauty is. Why does everyone have to get waxed, for example? Who decided that? Most guys I know, myself included, prefer that women present themselves as women, not trimmed, waxed, dolled up augmented beings…


1-31-18 Audio Storytelling

Week 3 2-1-18

Audio Storytelling Week 3 2-1-18

Laufer great suggestions and workshop for questions for Terry Gildea at KLCC. It’s always a blast with him leading a class. The sort of shocked and sort of amused and sort of reluctant, not quite knowing what to think looks on student’s faces are always priceless in Laufer’s theater.

Laufer Questions and Gildea Answers:

How do you establish yourself when competing against other NPR stations have similar programming?

They don’t really need to compete. And much of their programming is one, presented nationally and two, run through and via the NPR regional affiliate in Portland.

What brought you to such a small market in Eugene?

Really enjoyed his time in Utah, but saw a great opportunity in Eugene not only for him to advance, but to build a great station at KLCC.

Radio in self-driving car in five years?

Forgot to ask this, but I’d still like to know the answer.

Do you think that your station could/should still focus on music?

Well, the primary content and focus for KLCC is engaging local listeners.

What are some of your revenue streams?

Primarily donations. Fund drives are kind of subtle, though. They don’t shut down or constantly interrupt programming for them. Lots of room for growth, according to Terry.

They also have the Brew City Fest where they’ll earn some money hosting local breweries and selling used records.


My POV is that could do a lot more community events, but that doesn’t seem to be Terry’s focus right now.

Additionally, this visit to KLCC was priceless for me. I am trying to get in as much experience as I can in the very short time I have at UO J-school so any authentic visit to a working station with someone who is willing to give as much as Terry (as who knows as much with as much experience), I will take any day.

KLCC is a last bastion of not corporate run news (phrasing?) so it’s so, so important that they are building bridges with UO and that students are aware of their presence, for both news and for occupational options.

Terry Gildea’s the shit. And he is a smart, engaging leader. KLCC’s work with the University of Oregon supplies a bridge that is too often not crossed in this community. (This is pointing fingers pointed whatsoever.) Almost all people who I have spoken to from local organizations, communications firms, media members and University of Oregon employees express the urge to work with more cross-organizational cooperation. Because people are busy, places need to protect their interests, ideas don’t always align and etc., these bonds too often don’t get forged. In being at the station for less than a year, Terry’s already hosting tours of the station to audio students and working with the UNESCO Crossings Institute to post student-produced podcasts documenting cross-cultural interaction to be posted simultaneously on KLCC’s site.

Humans are very good at snap judgement, no matter what the stigma of making that snap judgement may be. After interacting with Terry in action for just a couple of hours, I can tell that he is going to be successful at that station, that station is going to be more successful because of him and that additional organizations institutions, beginning with the University of Oregon, are going to thrive because of his presence.

As to our Op-Ed, it was a difficult assignment hidden cleverly simple, yet complex Chinese box. There’s so many choices, but how could we deliver a punchy one-minute that mattered, but wasn’t too serious to be taken seriously? Many people, including myself, waiting for serendipity on op-ed. And serendipitously, that serendipity came. It teaches you to be observant of situations.

1-31-18 Demystifying Media

Reporting Coverage.

Stratechery: Facebook’s Motivations. Ben Thompson takes a look at what’s motivated Facebook to alter the Facebook News algorithm. Is it altruism or business sense? Short term cover orlong-term strategy? It sounds, as most things, like a bit of both.

The important thing about this, I argue, is that this is being covered. We need to havewatchdogs to keep an eye on the motivations of the corporation with maybe the mostreach in the world.

Second, Niemann Lab reported on another algorithm change for Facebook: them going local. Facebook will now make local coverage more prominent because, according to Zuck, national news is making people angry. Go figure.

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic:

Thompson outlines three reasons why Toys R’ Us bit the dust, making the obvious demise of the brick n’mortar store a bit more complex. Kids n’ screens, e-retailers and terrible management byprivate equity firms were three more strikes against the organization. It reads like an analogy andan obituary of entire American industries over the last 20-30 years.

It gets depressing hearing the death pell of almost everything around you-society, culture, police,animals, plants, your planet.

I’ll say it a thousand times in this blog, but this is why I need to report on positive community solutions. Like Zuck’s Patient X, I am angered by national news and overwhelmed by hearing the same story over and over.

Reading: Jason Wambsgans Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune since 2002. Pulitzer in 2017 for portrayal of 10-year-old boy and mother struggling to put the boy’s life back together post the shooting in Chicago.

Began career at the Niles Daily Star. Graduated from Central Mich. Grew up in Trenton, MI.

Wambsgans’ Assigned Reading

Concise Reading of 60 years of murder in the city of Chicago. 39,000 homicides. (Good god.)

The number jumps out. Spike in 2016 takes on even more gravity in the light of these. (partial quote.)The bar graph, in this case, does an incredible job making these terrible numbers easy to read, digest and comprehend.

The chronology of the rise in violence in Chicago make it easy to see the historical progression of violence hand in hand with cultural, political and socioeconomic change and degradation the hardest hit parts of the city endured and endure through to today.

Three Years of Nights. Peter Nickeas. Reporting Partner. 5/9/17

Reporting on this violence leaves scars that you might not and cannot still even see.

This is reminiscent of Bang Bang Club, the story of the group of South African photojournalists covering the emergence of a post-Apartheid South Africa amid a horrible tribal conflict between the Zulu and Mandela’s A.N.C.

I would like to know how reporters get partners at The Tribune.

“A murder almost too petty to be believed.”

Reminds me of a book I used to give my students to read, Gary Soto’s The Afterlife, narrated by a young teen after he’s murder for his shiny yellow shoes.

This article is almost too heartbreaking to read, I can’t imagine living it for three years.

Akil Parta’s death is a too tragic story I’ve heard in too many schools. These young men who die tragic deaths are too many to count, too many to recount, too many to digest.

How does they men not fall into hopelessness?

Crisis in Chicago. NY Times Panel. Jake Rittle.

Failings in reporting. Interesting perspective. I would add an analysis of how do we reach people to make this prominent in their lives. How can we build bridges?

Benny & Jorge. Heroic story. Great positive, engaged, healing reporting.

Additional Reading

What Bullets Do to Bodies, Jason Fagone, Highline

Dr. Amy Goldberg, Chair Department of Surgery, Temple U Hospital, North Philadelphia.

More gunshot victims here than any other state. Goldberg believes that if we were only exposed to what gunshots to bodies, gun control would immediately follow.

*Opinion: The public is not exposed to this stuff because we are not led by honest people with a connected sense of community. We are led instead by financial and corporate interests. This is why my reporting is locally focused.

Zuckerberg: “National politics make people angry.” Yep.

I 100% agree that we lost our teachable moment with Sandy Hook. Same with Columbine. And with Thurston. And with so many preventable, horrible tragedies that nothing gets done about.

Fagone does an incredible job of bringing Goldberg’s humanity through. A poignant instance is in the description of her background in Broomwall, a Philly suburb. The woman’s awe at the workings of the human body reveals that she was made to be a surgeon.

What Really Happens When You Get Shot. Connor Narciso. Wired.

(Wired’s a great publication.)

Staff Sergeant Nick Lavery. 6’5″, 280 lbs. LB at UMass, Lowell. If DARPA created a model soldiers body, this would be it. But one bullet to the leg still almost killed him.

Why this matters: TV and Hollywood depictions of gun violence distort our view of what bullets do to the human body.

*Opinion: Narciso provides sharp narrative lede that hooks the reader to this story.

Lavery received a Silver Star for his bravery in battle and lost his leg for the privilege. My grandfather received a Bronze Star for his bravery in the Korean War and lost his leg to a battle wound, but his was post war: alcoholic neuropathy.

The point: War sucks for everyone except those making money off of it.

J508 Demystifying Media, Week 2. James Hamilton Reflection and Industry Analysis.

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

In “Beginning of the End of Bitcoin’s Bubble?,” Thompson outlines the three primary difficulties for Bitcoin going forward.

For one, the ownership of Bitcoin is consolidated, according to Thompson. 40% of Bitcoins are owned by only a thousand users. This means that major investors wield incredible power to move the price of Bitcoins up or down. This fact, obviously, does not equate to a stable currency which users can be confident that will hold up in value.

Second, Thompson points out that all Bitcoin exchanges are potential points of failure. This malfunction can come in the form of hackers who break into exchanges, which has already happened in both Tokyo and Hong Kong. Collapse can also come in the form of government intrusion as is the case in South Korea, who is planning on shutting down its Bitcoin exchanges and outlawing cryptocurrency.

Third, relates to reason number two in that even though Bitcoin is unregulated exchange, its fate is still tied to central banks and government regulators. Thompson shows both sides of this coin, citing Bitcoin’s price jump to $900 in 2013 when US senators advocated for the cryptocurrency in addition to its current massive hit after South Korea’s announcement and China’s central bank advocating for the outlaw of cryptocurrencies in the world’s most populous nation.

Ben Thompson, Stratechery

In “Amazon Go and the Future,” Thompson addresses the inaugural launch of the first Amazon Go grocery store, highlighted by a line of people queing down a Seattle sidewalk.

At Amazon Go grocery stores, customers pay for groceries not at register, but via sensors at the door through their Amazon accounts.

Thompson notes how the research and development that Amazon lays out for their technology to accomplish this is unique because it is a fixed that, while massive at the start, does not repeat and can be infinitely replicated with no additional cost to Amazon. Apple’s iOs system and Google’s search tech are also both examples of this tech.

Thompson also describes how Amazon’s distinctive market niche (and domination) allows it to expand both vertically and horizontally. The more users that Amazon earns, the more people who work for and are exposed to Amazon’s service (horizontal). In addition, the more products that Amazon offers and the greater range of sectors that Amazon enters, the more diverse their offerings and potential revenue becomes (vertical).

In five to ten years, Thompson predicts, Amazon Go stores will be nationally ubiquitous with primarily proprietary products sold at Amazon stores, made in Amazon factories and delivered by Amazon service.

This mastery over multiple commercial sectors has some people understandably worried. If there’s no need for cashiers or humans inside of Amazon’s grocery stores, where will people work in that industry?

While Thompson acknowledges these concerns as legitimate, he also replies that change is not static. The workforce that’s been replaced by industrial revolution, has, by and large found new places to work as well as have enjoyed much improved lives because of automation.

James Hamilton

I enjoyed Hamilton’s visit and his talk. It was also great to see quite a few people in the J school attend. I was both anticipating and intimidated by Hamilton’s visit and our subsequent intimate audience with the man. He is an intense intellectual figure and these can be hard to approach with little personal foreknowledge. Although his position on the value of investigative reporting is easy to understand and to support, how Hamilton reached these conclusions through computational journalism was daunting to try and converse with on a one to one level. I am glad that I asked him about reading two books a week so that the conversation could proceed on a bit more of a personal level, humanizing the man.

As to Hamilton’s belief in the power of computational journalism, I commiserate with his assertion on its importance and how algorithms and computer assistance can help us to interpret big data sets, but I am still not sure how this can translate to an institutional or even an organizational level. The Washington Post in determining the scale and the reason behind the D.C. police department homicidal tendencies still cost the paper several hundred thousand dollars and the time of several reporters.

For local papers, this type of investigative journalism will require partnership with other news organizations, the public, private grants, media nonprofits such as IRE and the like. This will only be accomplished in special circumstances with massive effort.

I do agree that there are many unspoken and unrealized stories in low-income communities because I spent most of my teaching career those neighborhoods. Talking to people, showing them their importance, digging in and engaging on a personal level is where the future of a particular sector of journalism lies.

As to unexpected changes in the market, I think that we will continue to experience upheaval from hostile adversaries in the public, riled up by party propaganda and political opportunists. This upheaval, though, will result in the local journalist cadre, the people on the ground, who can weave creative narratives from the fabric of the people, become more celebrated as their writing advocates for an eroding humanity and dissipated bond between people caused by financial struggle and the isolation of social media.

J563 Audio Storytelling Week 2-Building Blocks, Franziska and Poetry and Revisionist Podcasts

Class Notes

The first three building blocks of storytelling, sound/atmosphere, descriptive storytelling and narrative style, I noted in the last blog entry.

To rehash, sound creates an atmosphere that drives the story along. Descriptive storytelling provides a clear setting (time and place) in concert with sensory detail for the listener. And narrative style relies on a diction of short, punchy words with a syntax usually primarily made up of short, declarative sentences that make the piece easy to follow. One of the more important parts about narrative style is opening an audio (or any) piece with an immediate catchy hook.

Building on this foundation, on Thursday we heard from Torsten Kjellstrand who told the class about a new feature at the SOJC, the Epidemic Sound Music Library. While it can be an interesting challenge learning how to search for particular sounds, this database provides thousands of soundbytes available to UO students working on UO projects. These can’t be used for commercial projects, but this is an epic resource for J-school students.

Considering commercial work, freesound.org is also an excellent resource for sound samples.

As to technique in descriptive storytelling, when we creating a podcast, it helps to envision the audience you are talking to, even when you are alone in the podcast studio. As to interviewing, ask participants how this thing makes the person feel. Even though the podcast producer should you know a lot about the subject, try to ask questions that the listener might ask or be curious about.

The fourth building block which we talked about on Thursday is the anecdote. Anecdote is an ancient art form, using clever, engaging storytelling to make a point. We see it in the rhetoric of the ancient Greeks, in Biblical parables, in Aesop’s fables, in Eastern myth and in Quentin Tarantino’s peerless dialogue (ahso…the point emerges).

In Class Building Blocks Exercise

In our in-class building blocks exercise, I partnered up with two radio veterans-Connor and Matt. They did much of the work on the story, but I was able to watch them as they worked expertly through Audible to change audio levels, introduce sound, merge the two and bring the sound in and out.

I really enjoy creating audio. The technical prowess that I need to build is a bit intimidating considering the variety of my other obligations in grad school right now, but delivering a story via sound and hearing it back is an incredibly affirming exercise.

Franziska Monahan

Franny, as she prefers to be informally called, just assumed a temporary (probationary?) position as a producer with NPR’s Morning Edition. She began her work with NPR an intern with Story Lab. It was here that she observed the diversity of roles that keep the station rolling. Daily reporters go out and get stories. Producers put all of the story elements together for audio presentation. Producers also facilitate the production of shows, mixing and making sure levels are correct. Producers also search for guests, prepare guests for hosts, hosts for guests and oversee various things to make sure the show runs smoothly.

Story Lab is a recent addition to NPR, having only been around for a couple of years. The format plays with traditional news mediums. The show played with framing, for example, for a segment called “Been There” where newbies would talk to someone who’s ‘been there.’ This required Franny to find someone who was heading to prison and someone who’d already done time.

Working at NPR in Portland is a much different experience than working at a local station, explains Franny. There are at least 500 people in the newsroom and many more working in affiliate bureaus across the region. This allows the station to often find new and diverse people to work on assignments as the format cycles through.

NPR has three waves of internships: fall, winter and spring. Franny applied for this position from her summer internship for the fall. Now, she’s reviewing cover letters for internships coming up in the spring. Her cover letter advice is as follows:

Introduce yourself with an excellent hook. Not ‘I’m so and so who’s appying for the etc position’ or ‘I’m so excited to be applying.’ No. Make yourself visible with the first few words on the page.

Explain what you bring to the table. Why should NPR hire you? What are they getting in return?

Show how you have experience and interest in this particular area to which you are applying.

End with a strong conclusion. Wrap up the letter with the conclusion.

Don’t start without a hook. Don’t say you’re excited about internship possibility. Don’t spread your applications too thin. People can see if you’re sending out mass letters. And don’t use a form cover letter. Make it unique for the job.

Our most valuable resource at UO are our professors and the people around us. Push to do more.But, don’t do too much. Try to do the best that you can on what you are doing instead of doing everything.

KLCC Content

Eric Allen seems to be doing much of the video production at the station.

The first content I listened to introduced and welcomed Lady Black Mambazo to the country. The host did an excellent job describing their music and coming in with relevant content: the death of one of their heroes Haile Hazecute Passe.

Eric definitely did the asking of ‘how did this make you feel?’ and ‘What does this mean to you?’

Their sweet, subtle iscicathamiya Zulu acapella is unmatched in the world. And they look like cool guys in the photo.

Allen also interviewed George Packer, who is in town for a speech at the University of Oregon. His book, The Unwinding, chronicles the loss of American community through three particular divergent but connected narratives as the deregulation of the banking industry and virulent talk radio disintegrate long-forged neighborhoods.

Packer calls a tolerant effort by American citizens. We should not be bringing our brother and sister fellows down.

He feels that this steady disintegration is a sort of cancer that’s been eating away at American life. Packer asserts, though, that we are resilient as a culture so this provides hope that we can return to better times.

KLCC’s audio content seems to focus on cultural artifacts like books, plays and artists either relevant or traveling through Eugene, Portland or Oregon.

Podcasting Basics

I took extensive notes on these articles, but I don’t tangibly feel their importance yet.

It’s interesting to note that in searching for quality mic, consumers need to make sure their p’s don’t pop too profusely, their s’s don’t sss too sharp and their b’s don’t boom too low.

Poetry Foundation Presents Drinking in Poetry. 12/31/2011.

This was an excellent start to my morning. I love poetry and this episode sent me down a rabbit hole, digging for more Yeats, Carver, O’Hare and other sweet melancholy.

I do want to note how difficult it is to pull off poetry podcast. I did not find myself very engaged with the host discussion. I did find myself outright annoyed with them at times, especially Rosie Schemp’s too academic analysis of the work.

Revisionist History. Season 1 Episode 4.

As I’ve probably noted in this blog, I was an educator for ten years. This episode was interesting, but it hit a bit too close to home. It isn’t surprising that there’s a huge underserved population and lost human capitalization of kids who come from low income communities. Nor isn’t it surprising that we lose these kids to gangs and other delinquent activities in middle school. I’ve personally watched some of the more promising students that I’ve ever met flip in a day. Tired of unending personal struggle, young men especially turn to the brotherhood, safety and financial gain offered in gang life.

I did value the honesty of this story at the end that the story of America’s schools, even with people plucking out the occasional exceptional child, is not inspirational. It is instead one of the great tragedies of Western civilization that we let many of the best and the brightest go dim with drugs and extinguish in maw hyper-masculine expression, proving only that they can face death and destruction because their only option is either the shame of selling out or the silence of the cell.


J508 Demystifying Media Entry 1-James T. Hamilton

The Harvard-educated Director of Journalism and Hearst Professor of Communications at Stanford presents a creative and cogent argument for media organizations, especially local ones, to continue to invest money in deep-dive investigative journalism.

The first article we read, a review of Hamilton’s Democracy’s Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism by Philip Napoli. Napoli notes that Hamilton is the rare economist who recognizes the media sector as worthy of study for funding.

According to Napoli, Hamilton shows incredible creativity and resourcefulness on locating and creating databases and analyzing theses in ingenious ways.

Hamilton’s previous book, All the News That’s Fit to Sell, investigates how journalism produces and supports its impact and how technology and economics are undermining this products and show introduces strategies to present investigative journalism in  these difficult conditions.

Democracy’s Detectives provides an overview of the public good that the news and the range of positive extension that go uncaptured in the marketplace.  The result is that less than a socially optimal amount of journalism is produced which is the definition of market failure.  Thus, investigative journalism, the most valuable journalism to society, is the most vulnerable to diminished resources.

The next resource is James Hamilton’s Niemann Report “Accountability Journalism-A Cost-Benefit Analysis.” In this Hamilton analyzes the Washington Post’s eight month investigation into the D.C. police department, which resulted in the five-part “Deadly Force” series and led to changes that saved lives in D.C. area.

The series eventually revealed that the Washington D.C. police department shot and killed more people than any other major metropolitan pd in the nation. The series began when data analysts at the Post found that the FBI specifically did not account for justifiable police homicides in their homicide records.

Because the report found that the surge in police-committed homicides coincided with a surge in new hires and the introduction of the 9mm Glock pistol, swift policy changes in the department after the report included 100,000 additional hours of weapons training and improved tracking of police shootings. After the report, police shootings went from 32 with 12 homicides in 1998 to 11 shot and 4 dead in 1999 to only one fatality in 2000.

Using creative math and accepted numbers, Hamilton found that for every dollar that the Post spent on this article, there was at least $140 in benefit to society, not to mention the emotional toll saved on numerous lives in the area. Hamilton wraps up the article by asking how we can fund more investigative journalism.

The next article, from Saving Community Journalism.com, provides a five-question interview with Hamilton regarding Democracy’s Detectives.  They ask first how Hamilton became interested in this topic.

Hamilton notes that the public’s view of the decline in investigative journalism was simply natural–if a story needed to be told, it would. He had a different point of view: public affairs stories involve positive externalities. The flow of benefits from a story flow not only to its readers, but to the public in general. The dearth of local reporting is probably the biggest market failure right now with news markets. This is often lost in an era of massive variety and choice for information sources.

In his next answer, Hamilton notes the impacts of declining revenue and profit and staff on the receding role of investigative journalism. He found that major prizes are being more concentrated in large news organizations. This as well as FOI requests have dropped over 50 percent at local outlets while niche websites have jumped in requests by 42 percent.

In responding to why news outlets should invest more in investigative reporting (and the financial benefits) Hamilton notes first that news outlets that have larger circulation numbers,  a higher median income and are owned either through a dual stock structure or by a family, end up supporting more investigative reporting.

There is a market advantage to these stories, asserts Hamilton. Distinct stories make your publication stand out in an era where numerous outlets are competing for views to similar breaking news events.  These stories are a differentiated product with no substitute.  In addition, major investigative stories show 48% more overall engagement. Still, newspapers are not able to capture the full economic value that these stories might produce and are therefore underrepresented in the market.

Hamilton is then asked what his advice is for the majority of the newspaper industry, which is primarily small papers with less than 15,000 issues in circulation.

This is an advantage, says Hamilton, because small news have a perspective on stories with local topics. And, these small papers have a few resources to generate further investment. Subsidies from IRE and the Fund for Investigative Journalism, allies in Pro Publica, Reveal and Google News Lab for database source and analysis and seeking new data.

Hamilton finally advises non-journalists to assess the failures in legislation which increase the cost and hassle of investigative reporting.

In the Columbia Journalism Review, much of the similar material is covered.

Industry Source Monitoring

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

In “Silly Season in the Land of Cryptocurrency,” Thompson first lays out a cogent explanation of what “blockchain technology” means: a series of computers who each communicate a unique batch of a bitcoin transaction-blocks. These blocks are then linked to each other in a succession of transactions that can’t be edit-a chain.

This facilitation between computers allows for reliable transactions without a currency backer (like the Fed) or someone who needs to run the program on a giant server (like Amazon).

Thompson bursts the massive Bitcoin bubble by pointing out that its potential is not yet to scale. For one, there are not a lot of people using Bitcoin yet and two, Bitcoin cannot yet handle a massive amount of simultaneous transactions.

Ben Thompson, Stratechery

In “Apple at It’s Best” (11/6/17), Thompson lays out an argument as to why Apple has not peaked and is not at its apex of market reach and technological innovation in its hardware.

While the argument that IphoneX is the height of ascendant technology is reasonable, it also misses the point that has been argued before, specifically with the Iphone 5.

IphoneX is and still will be forward thinking because it’s components are innovative, exclusive and still need to be worked through, tweaked and improved. Google Androids are not a threat to Apple because one, they don’t use exclusive tech and two, they still have to buy into iOs for advertising revenue.

This highlights Apple’s continued massive hardware advantage. Thompson asserts that because Apple is still aggressively pursuing this advantage while maintaining the accessibility and applicability of its current products, they should continue to retain their status as the industry leader in the smartphone sector.

J583 Audio Storytelling Entry 1

In our first class, we spoke with Samantha Matsumoto, a former UO journalism student who also took audio podcasting. She now works for OPB’s radio affiliate in Portland, supporting the daily radio show Think Out Loud. They interview a variety of individuals who are somehow significant or offer a news worthy point of view.  These can be playwrights, marriage attorneys, award-winning teachers, etc.

Think Out Loud supports five reporters by itself, almost ten percent of the entire staff of OPB.

Samantha is two months into her producer job. Her responsibilities behind the scenes include pitching ideas for segments, researching stories and guests, proposing interviewees, conducting a pre-interview chats with these guests, developing questions for the host, vetting their talking skills, making sure things go to plan during the show and so on.

Each day at OPB there is a morning meeting where employees toss ideas around. They plan for guests anywhere from a few weeks in advance to grabbing people that day with breaking news.

Samantha began her career as a breaking news reporter with The Oregonian. The skills she developed at The Oregonian led her to get hired at OPB even though she didn’t she had a chance.

For podcasts, voice is everything. OPB can sometime go through 3 to 5 people in pre-interview before they find someone worthy of an actual interview.

What Samantha wished she had developed more at UO is her technical skills. I’d like to do that as well, but with a full-time graduate schedule, an internship and a side job, there’s not much time for that.

Day two, listened to a variety of broadcasts from War of the World in 1938 to a BBC 4 play, determining what worked for these: atmospheric description, a breaking news delivery, natural sounds, short and punchy, Anglo-Saxon delivery, creating a sense of place and the position of the microphone all provides a sense of intimacy.

We also Skyped with Kyra (?), KLCC’s first audio Snowden intern. Right now she works as a KSL news reporter for the CBS (?) affiliate in Park City, Utah. She helps to host a live lunch show. Comparitively, the KSL live lunch show is much less time sensitive as opposed to KLCC where everything was prerecorded and had to be almost up to the second. The KSL live lunch show is also much more personality-based where KLCC was more fact-based.

As new journalists, Kyra suggests that we find our unfair advantage at a news organization. Stay humble, but leverage this advantage. Kyra, for example, was the only person at KLCC to know very much about social media marketing and alignment to publication. With social media, Kyra created strategy for the station, constructed scheduled posts to appear throughout the day, developed Twitter and Facebook headlines and constructed these towards audience demographic optimization.

On Tuesday, 1/16, we listened to several powerful podcasts to highlight the building blocks of storytelling-atmospheric sound, descriptive storytelling and an engaging narrative style.

For our week one listening assignments, we listened first to the child of white nationalism, Derek Black, who left the movement after college and now speaks against hatred. This was a fascinating story amplified with The Daily’s excellent information delivery. There is dark, foreboding music to chill the listener’s bones, a chronological presentation that’s easy to follow, and excellent questions from the host like: “What was the definitive moment?” for Black, when he realized that he had broken from his roots as a white nationalist. My one criticism is that the host sometimes delivers leading questions for Black, seeking answers that he’s already got in his head, often adding “right?” to the end of sentences, meaning the host has already answered the question.

Slow Burn-True Believers about the Watergate era was our second listening task. In this, we heard about fascinating parallels between Trump and Nixon. This includes party-aligned politicians lining up to defend the men even though their actions range from questionable to truly damaging. This highlights how the acquisition and the holding of power can be tantamount to powerful people.

The amount and range of historic quotes in True Believers shows an incredible amount of research and attention to detail in producing the show. And I am blown away that the hook that finally nabbed Nixon was what Secret Service agent Butterfield thought was an innocent admission: that of course Nixon audio recorded his conversations in the Oval Office.

The Tow Center Guide to Podcasting with Vanessa Quirk first takes listeners through the history of podcasting. Most notable about this is the thing that really mainstreamed the experience was Apple’s uneraseable Podcast app, introduced to the world by Steve Jobs in 2005.

The two stylistic advantages, according to Quirk, of podcasts over text and video are that one, podcasts are intimate so they keep the listener company and two, they transport the listener to a different world. Podcasts can be consumed in more places and contexts than text or video, similar to radio. Podcasts, however, have a long way to go to reach the reach of radio. It’s estimated that 91% of Americans listen to the radio each week.

Podcasts also offer advertisers advantages, of which Quirk lays out three. One, podcasting engages listeners-they voluntarily listen so the advertising is stickier. Two, podcast listeners are loyal to the podcast and therefore are more likely to be loyal to those things that the podcast advocates for. And third, combining the first two, the host often reads the podcast advertising, leading to less listener aversion.

IOS users dominate podcast listening because of Apple’s native app. This will change, though, with Google’s native app debuting in the next few months. This app will also do something that Apple’s doesn’t: curate a list of related podcasts and user suggestions, filling a big hole in the platform’s leverage.

Half of all podcasts are listened to in the car. This is not always easy but will also be much more simple in the future. By 2020, 70 to 80% of all US vehicle will have onboard podcasting tools.

Finally, we listened to Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann review the first 10 years of podcasting. A similar chronology was presented, highlighting Ben Hammersly, inventor of the word podcasting, Adam Curry, one of the first podcasters, Ricky Gervais’ show with Steven Merchant and Adam Pilkington and Mark Marron’s show from his garage in LA. They marked Gervais and Apple’s native app as well as the source of podcasting’s explosion.

Some interesting highlights include the low barrier to entry for podcasts, the ability to say anything that the podcaster wishes, the autonomy that the platform brings and how podcasters often learn how to present better from their listeners. An example of this is that podcasters have to record in mono for listeners to hear the audio in stereo.