Podcast

Use audio to create a moving piece of journalism.

A podcast is a journalistic program made up of digital audio files hosted on the Internet, which can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device. Typically users will subscribe to a themed podcast (some are free, and some must be purchased) which are offered in installments. Podcasts are excellent vehicles for stories, intereviews, documentaries, exposés, and other genres in which a story is told over time and made compelling through the creative combination of verbal exposition, music, and sound effects.

Audacity
  • Audio
  • Journalism
  • Storytelling

Learning Goals

After you finish this activity you will be able to:

  • Research and better understand a subject
  • Make a quality audio recording
  • Do basic audio editing, combining voice, music, and effects tracks
  • Share your work to the cloud

Instructions

Follow these steps to complete the project.

An excellent first step in creating any media work is to examine exemplary works of the same type. Make a list for yourself of what makes these examples strong and inspiring.

Don't skip this step!

1 Get inspired by visiting the links in the Get Inspired box.

By growing your skills in the tools used in any project, you save yourself time and produce stronger work.

2 Peruse any or all of the tutorials in the Tame Your Tools box.

When beginning a new media project, it's best to organize your resources in a single location.

3 Create a folder on your Desktop named something memorable, such as my-media-project. In this folder you'll organize all your resources for this project.

You will want to avoid giving your listeners the sense that you are reading robotically from a script. That doesn't mean you shouldn't organize and structure the various components and moments of your podcast before recording them.

4

Begin by brainstorming the components or pieces of your podcast episode. Work chronologically through your episode, thinking of the sections as scenes that you will narrate. Components include:

  • Your podcast theme music
  • Music or sound for bridging exposition
  • Ambient background noises
  • Special effects
  • Quoted sources
  • Narrative exposition

And don't forget to include silence (the audio equivalent of white space) as a bridge between the various moments of your podcast.

5

Use the Podcast Script Template to carefully outline your project. Save your outline to your project folder.

There are several options for recording the primary audio for your podcast, from using professional equipment to using your own mobile device or computer.

6 Choose a recording method/equipment.

The Hesburgh Libraries offers a Sound Studio located in the Lower Level which is capable of housing up to 2 people. It is a sound-dampened space in which you can record audio. The Sound Studio is equipped with a computer running Audacity, a high quality microphone, and headphones.

For instructions on using Audacity to record audio, see Tame Your Tools.

Book Sound Studio

Faculty, staff and students may reserve audio recording equipment from OIT, such as the Tascam audio recorder.

Equipment used for class assignments may often be reserved for free for brief periods. For more information, or to borrow equipment visit the OIT:

DeBartolo 115
(574) 631-6423
eventrentals@nd.edu

While the sound will be of higher quality using professional equipment, you may record your podcast with your own computer or mobile device. Audacity is a free, cross-platform application for recording and editing sound on a computer. There are also many apps available for recording your voice on a mobile device. One strong option is the free VoiceRecord Pro:

For instructions on using VoiceRecord Pro to record audio, see Tame Your Tools. Note that you will need an adapter if you intend to connect a professional quality microphone to you phone or mobile device.

7 Record your audio.

Now, you'll choose a soundtrack to layer behind your podcast. Make sure to choose music that matches the theme and tone of the podcast.

8 Visit the YouTube Audio Library.
9 Select the Free Music tab.
10 Search and filter for music by any combination of Genre, Mood, Instrument, or Duration.
11 Choose an Attribution option. We recommend "Attribution not required."
12 Click the download icon to download the track (MP3) you choose. Save this soundtrack file to your project folder.

Layering sound effects into your podcast can certainly enhance the storytelling. If you use sound effects, remember that less is more—err on the side of subtlety.

13 Visit the YouTube Audio Library.
14 Select the Sound effects tab.
15 Search or filter sound effects by Category.
16 Click the download icon to download the track (MP3) you choose. Save any sound effects files you like to your project folder. All Audio Library sound effects are free and require no attribution.

Now, you'll create an audacity project for layering together all the audio you've found and created.

17 Launch Audacity on the computer you are working on. If you are working on your own computer, you will want to download Audacity if you have not already done so.
18

Save your Audacity project file (.aup) in your my-media-project folder. Audacity will also add a resources folder called where-from-audacity-project_data, which you may safely ignore. Your project folder should now contain:

  • Your outline document
  • Any soundtrack you chose
  • Any sound effects you chose
  • Your audacity project file and its resources folder

Next, we'll import your primary audio recordings and any soundtrack and sound effects you've downloaded into your new Audacity project.

19 With your Audacity project open, select File > Import > Audio to import the MP3 of the podcast take(s) you intend to use.
20 Repeat step 23 to import the MP3 of your soundtrack and any sound effects you may be using. When you are finished, your project window should show multiple tracks.

In this step, you will edit each of your tracks, layering and syncing them so that they sound like one polished audio track, beginning-to-end.

21 If you haven't already done so, watch How To Record and Edit Audio In Audacity. We highly recommend the Learning Audacity course on LinkedIn Learning if you intend to do advanced editing, such as layering in sound effects.
22 You may use the selection tool () to cut unwanted parts from your audio track, and cut-and-paste audio within and between tracks.
23 You may use the time slider tool () to sync tracks, shifting each track forward or back in relation to each other.
24 Finally, select the audio you wish to fade out and select Effects > Fade Out from the application menu. Feel free to experiment, applying various effects and filters to your audio which seem appropriate.
25 Make sure to save regularly as you edit your project file (.aup).
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Now, you'll need to export your podcast to a format which can be shared on the web, such as MP3.

26 Select File > Export Audio from the application menu to export your project to an MP3 file.
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27 Navigate to your project folder to save your polished podcast file as an MP3. Name the file "podcast-final," or anything memorable which will distinguish it from the rough audio files you used to make it. Select Format and choose "MP3 Files".
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28 Select the Options button to open the Specify MP3 Options window, where you'll set the Bit Rate Mode to 'Constant', the Quality to '320 kbps', and Channel Mode to 'Joint Stereo'.
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29 Click OK to close the Specify MP3 Options window. Then click the Save button to export your MP3.
30 The last step before saving asks you to provide metadata in the Edit Metadata window. This step is optional, but recommended. Click OK to continue.

In this last step, you'll upload your podcast to Soundcloud, to share with others.

31 Login to Soundcloud, a cloud-based platform for sharing audio. You may create your own account or sign in using your Notre Dame Google Account.
32 Select Upload from the application menu. Click the Choose a File to Upload button and navigate to your project folder. Select your finished project MP3 and click OK.
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33 Add information as desired in the Basic Info, Metadata, and Permissions window and click Save. Remember to set the project to Public in order for others to find and listen to it online.
34 Your podcast is now live and public in the cloud. Copy the link to email or share your link on social media!
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Congratulations!

You've grown your multimedia literacy while creating cool things! Well done, you!

Kudos
Consider nominating any work you are particularly proud of for the Remix Project Showcase!

Example

Get Inspired

Explore examples of similar projects.

Tame Your Tools

Master the skills used in this project.

Audio 101

Get Help

Notre Dame has many helpful resources, including our Media Corps coaching staff, located in the Hesburgh Library.

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