11. Audio interviews

Audio is a tool that fits perfectly with the Internet’s reactivity. A media of streams, the Internet is also a place where experiences are shared. It’s got quite a lot in common with radio, where audience participation is a winning recipe.

Phone or audio recorder ?

Ideally an interview should be conducted face-to-face. But oftentimes, because it’s an emergency or because you’re to far way, it’s done by phone. In this case it’s a good idea to turn your computer into a recorder. Skype is among the most famous software, but your interviewee must have it on his computer as well.

You can also by (derivation) plugged directly into your phone, connecting it to the computer, so that you can tape the conversation. Be careful, such equipment, sold freely in the US, is not legal in all countries. Free software such as X-lite offer the same type of services.

If you have the opportunity to conduct the interview face-to-face, do it. The result will always be better: better sound quality, better Q/A exchanges. There are many audio recorders available on the market, from the smartphone to the professional Nagra, including a wide range of digital sound recording devices. For a moderate price, these are largely sufficient to record the typical interview.

Editing an interview with free software

  •  Once the interview is done, you need to edit it : choose the best moments, edit them and bring them to your readers. Audacity is free, easy to use even for beginners who have never once edited audio in their life. It uses the same logic as text editing software and comes with a good tutorial.
  •  Once you’ve derushed the interview, that is to say you’ve listened to it and chosen a few extracts, you need to select the more relevant ones. Your final product must be short. Beyond a minute, the listener’s attention span will be shorter. Unless you’ve got mind blowing content, refrain from publishing more than between 30 seconds and a minute of audio. Still you can publish various extracts – be reasonable though : no more than 5 extracts in a normal-length article.

Putting audio in an article

This is not radio reporting: the audio is not at the root of your article. It’s there to illustrate and give form to an idea. Sometimes, to help readers get into an atmosphere, a climate. In no case can it stand in for the core of your article. Keep in mind you should respect the rules of audiovisual formats: one sound byte = one idea. No more, no less.