Final Audio Story

For this course so far, I’ve been focusing on clean energy. That is because promoting energy-saving is one aspect of outreach which is my topic for this course. I wanted to pivot the focus for this project on the actual topic of outreach. I’ve been employed in this type of work for over four years now and wanted to draw attention to the great efforts education outreach brings to an organization.

I definitely wanted to interview my colleagues here at the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. There’s a few other education specialists for their respective division (as I am for the Division of Consumer Advocacy). So, I decided on creating an explanatory story segment discussing outreach – the good, the bad, the future. With that, I drew inspiration from audio shows like Radiolab to create my audio story.

The original interview of my colleague in the Insurance Division, Chanel Honda, was about seven minutes long. I used my iPhone voice memo app to do the recording which was great since it’s lightweight, I held and moved it between the both of us easily.

I gave Chanel the interview questions ahead of time so she could prepare her answers and we did the interview in one take so I wouldn’t take up so much of her time. I think it also prevented a lot of “mistakes” in her answers since she already knew what she was going to say. There were a few “ums” that I had to edit out but at least it was kept to a minimum.

I brought the recording file into Adobe Audition and started breaking up the interview into question and answer blocks using the razor tool. I knew I wanted to take myself out of the interview because I’ll be narrating in between Chanel’s answers.

I recorded my narration portion of the story, again with my iPhone. I did multiple takes of each line so I wouldn’t have to re-record and upload to Audition repeatedly. After choosing the best take to bring in to the multitrack, I wanted to make sure the flow between my narration and the interview was not “choppy.”

I may have held the iPhone mic too close to her as I had to bring down the sound levels in Audition. Then had the task of matching my recording to the sound levels as hers. I made sure to adjust the volume before cutting up the clip with the razor tool otherwise I’d have to adjust each new individual clip after splicing (which can be a pain).

After some feedback from my peers (including editing the “ums”), I had to re-record the beginning and end of my narration. I changed my introduction of Chanel that I had mentioned at the end, thus, having a new ending to the story. I also needed to define “DCCA” which was an oversight on my part in my draft story. That made for a longer introduction narration for me. Luckily, with the clean-up edits to Chanel’s interview, it didn’t add to the timeline length.

You can listen to my draft audio story here.

I went researching for some sounds to use in the background just like you would here on NPR, This American Life or Radiolab. I landed on a piano recording I found on ccmixter. I only added it in during my narration so the focus is solely on the content of the interviewee.

I also had another suggestion that the music was a little too loud and distracting from listening to my narration. I lowered the sound levels even lower for the music on each of the four times the music comes on so that it’s at an “elevator music” level… hopefully. With the edits to the narration and cuts to Chanel’s interview, I had to be sure the narration sounds on the second track corresponded correctly with where I wanted it as the interview track shifted.

I think the final story is much cleaner than the draft and am very happy with the end result. Thanks to my peers for making great suggestions.

SoundCloud link to Final Audio Story:

Audio credit:
Put the Needle Down by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2010 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Building Awareness to the Public

When I began working for the government in 2012, I started out in the Investor Education Program of the Securities Office of the Department of Commerce and Consumers Affairs (DCCA) for the State of Hawaii. It was a newly created position because it had an element of multimedia as part of the outreach efforts. Over four years later, I still find myself working in outreach for the state.

The topic I’ve chosen for this blog is, naturally, on education outreach for the general public. I spent over three years with the Securities Office before moving into my current position in another division of the DCCA, at the Division of Consumer Advocacy (DCA). Even with the move, the type of position remained the same – education outreach.

When I started, I was a Securities Multimedia Assistant and now I am an Education Specialist. Despite being in two different industries (investments and public utilities), the mission of my positions have only differed slightly. In Securities, I did a lot more event planning and project management for the outreach efforts. At DCA, outreach is more driven by public relations (media) as well website and social media updates.

My work in outreach is to bring awareness to the public of 1) what my office does for Hawaii consumers and 2) prevent or promote the industry topic (i.e. fraud prevention when I worked in Securities and encourage energy efficiency at DCA). Often times the public doesn’t know what we do – or worse, they don’t know we exist! So outreach is an important part of our state department to be able to help the public help themselves.

I’m glad that I was able to make the move because then I got to branch out more into different forms of communicating with the general public but I also got to use the experience that I’ve had from the old division and implement them into the new one. Now, I have a whole arsenal of outreach tactics to spread the word to the general public. Sure, the topics are vastly different but the methods to bring awareness to an audience have the same principles.

I look forward to exploring more about the topic of education outreach in the hopes that I can bring what I’ve learn in the course and apply it immediately to my position to advance my office’s outreach approaches in the future. It’s already been a few years and my interest in education outreach has not waned. I hope to continue down this path and bring more to the table as I learn and grow in the program.