Wikinews talk:Audio Wikinews

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Strange[edit]

As you know I stopped doing the AW back in August but for some reason the iTunes podcast has been getting a ton of hits lately and the site I use for the feed will be out of bandwidth in a few days. I have no idea what is going on.

Anyway, the reason why I quit probably deserves an explanation.

I had a decision to make : either keep doing it at the expense of everything else going on in my life or quit before I became too invested and burnt out.

The show was hard to do and it took hours to put together a professional product. Mainly this was due to the history segment - the rest of the show was actually pretty easy compared, especially once I was in the habit of recording everyday. I could have just cut the history segment and saved hours of production time, but the history segment was an important aspect of the show as it gave people a reason to listen beyond that of just hearing news that was, at the time of broadcast release, already hours old. Also it drew heavily upon other aspects of wikimedia which is important to help tie all the various wikis together and bring awareness to all the wikimedia projects, not just wikinews. Finally, because I thought the history segments were pretty kick ass most of the time and didn't want to cut them.

However, I didn't see the production actually going anywhere. I was investing a ton of time (as everyone here does) but I didn't feel like I was making any progress. To be honest, it really came down to feedback, or lack thereof. I know that sounds selfish, but I wasn't even getting negative feedback. Keep in mind that it wasn't feedback from anyone who is a wikinews contributor I'm talking about, but from the audience outside of wikinews. Everyone who contributes here was always very generous and helpful and seemed very supportive of the show, it was people who were just listening to the show, the audience, I was interested in hearing from so that I could make changes and produce a better product.

Maybe I didn't give it enough time, maybe I should have stuck with it longer and let the show marinate longer, but I was at a crossroads and had to decide if what I was doing was worth the time I was putting into it so I just stopped while I was ahead.

I miss doing the show a lot and I think about it all the time and still have ideas I would like to explore, but not even knowing if the general audience liked or disliked it is a bit tough to come to terms with when you are investing so much energy into something.

I'm probably being selfish and impatient too. Thinking the show would "take off" so quickly is naive and good work takes being persistent and a long amount of time, but this is a volunteer effort we are all engaged in so instead of pay, it is, I believe anyway, reasonable to think some feedback as payment enough. (And please, keep in mind, I'm not talking abut anyone at all here at wikinews, I'm talking about the audience that I knew was kinda there by tracking downloads but were mute on anything positive or, more importantly, negative to say).

I guess all I can say is that I gave it my best and I loved every second of it, but I learned something about myself and that is I'm just not a dedicated enough person to plod on with something, even something I love, and that I don't have the fortitude to carry on with it in spite of what anyone else thinks.

If anything I'm more disappointed in myself. I wish I had the ability to be like those people who in spite of everything else always carry on because they love what they do and don't care about anything else. I'm just not that tough of an individual.

By the way, I'm not looking for a pat on the back here or fishing for a compliment - it's not like that at all. I'm just trying to be honest with myself and with you. This is a great community and I think highly of every last person here and am extremely grateful for the support all of you gave me and the show. In fact the part I feel the worst about is that I feel like I let everyone here down in a way and it's the people and community here at wikinews that still makes me want to come back and pick up where I left off.

I hope everyone is still doing well and I'm sorry I didn't say anything sooner. Turtlestack (talk) 03:23, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

  • I'm of the opinion that a lot of things like AW might be better done weekly. That way, you'd avoid a lot of the burn-out problems. Incidentally, did you ever move beyond that 'toy' Audacity? I did quite a bit of hackery in setting up Ubuntu Studio and it has audio toys that'll blow you away. --Brian McNeil / talk 03:48, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Weekly is a possibility, now that you mention it. I'll have to think about that. If it was a once per week show, what would you like to see in it? I'm very open to any ideas along that front. As for Audacity, it does have its limits (of which I pushed every single one of them to their near breaking and crashing point) but I don't use Linux because I would have no idea what I'm doing with it. I could "get" better PC software, but the nice thing about Audacity is that it's free, it's open source and anyone who wanted to contribute to AW would have equal access to it (as well as access the guides I wrote). Also, I fear change :) Turtlestack (talk) 22:13, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The instant problem thought for me is that as news changes, some stories would need updated for the end-of-week show. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 22:16, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
If only there was some software that allowed users to tracks and make changes to a document in an open and freely accessible system :) Sorry, I was just having some fun there - you are right of course, that is a sticking point, however when I recorded the AW, I did things in small chunks so editing parts to reflect the latest changes would be pretty easy and would involve re-recording 1-2 sentences (or a few paragraphs in the worst case scenario). Also, if the show was released on a Friday (just for example) then the cut-off for new stories could be Thursday allowing for a full day to just edit - news that happened after Thursday could go on the next show. However, I think the bigger problem is making the show relevant. Just rehashing the weeks top stories does not sound inherently interesting from an audience point of view. I mean, why would anyone want to listen to it? The show would need a hook - a reason for people to listen to the whole thing. The one advantage to a daily show was that it was still fresh news but a week is like a century in news years. I want to make a show an audience looks forward to and wants to listen to but every idea I can think so far of goes against NPOV. Turtlestack (talk) 23:39, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Here We Go Again[edit]

First, I'd like to personally thank EVERYBODY who has put any effort into this project at all, but especially to Amgine, Bawolff, gumboyaya, Nicholas Turnbull, James Pain and Dan Harlow, who put in a particular amount of hard work to pump out fresh audio files for as long as they did. Everybody has done a tremendous job in trying to pick up this project and take it to the next level. It's not easy, especially once it falls onto your own shoulders.

I've been on an interesting journey since the last time I've been here. When I came here in 2008, I knew a little bit about podcasting and citizen journalism, but just a little. For the previous few years I had been involved in writing articles and recaps about sporting events, and helped to start a small podcast on the subject of professional wrestling. My involvement with Wikinews for a few months taught me a lot about how to research, organize and write news stories, and how to take those stories and translate them into audio show. Unfortunately my involvement here was brief as life took me down a few other roads. During that time, though, I still kept up my involvement in writing about sports and podcasting, and things slowly began to build. At the end of 2010 our website has built one of the largest podcasting syndicates for professional wrestling and combat sports. Not tooting my own horn here, because honestly it snuck up on us and I didn't even realize it until I ran a Google search on our site one day just doing some webmaster duties. I'm now quite busy as producer for four podcasts a week, and manage the syndication for several more, and looking to gain even more shows and more exposure for our shows. I seriously doubt I could be doing all of this if I hadn't put in a few months of work here, and for other people showing me how to do it.

Without a doubt, Audio Wikinews suffers from stability issues, and like many have found out, in the beginning we jump in with a lot of enthusiasm, but by sheer coincidence we come in just as other people are becoming burned out, and much of it falls upon the new people who come in, and by the time a fresh crew is abound the crew that was here is also ready to go. It's a killer cycle, and I've gone through a few spells myself, and with my other podcasting partners as well.

Knowing what I know now compared to what I knew in 2008, and having the hindsight of history as it is documented here, I feel prepared to take on the reigns of the Audio Wikinews project. I won't make any promises that it will be daily newscasts like were dreamed of in the past. Or, perhaps, I won't make much of any promises at all. I'm not going to jump head-first into this myself either, I'm simply too busy to try to wrestle two bulls at once. Instead I'll ease myself into it, and I'll encourage anybody who wants to be involved to also ease themselves back into it. Contribute what you can, when you can, all simply strive to do it to the best of your ability. Even if that is just reading one news story a day and uploading it. Maybe at the end of the week we'll have enough to do a weekly newscast. Or, maybe not. Who knows? I'm prepared to take small steps to get this back on track for the long haul.

I did take liberty to change a few things. First, I'm sure you've noticed by now, I've decided to re-organize the archives here by year. I personally find it more beneficial to see what was discussed and when. And second, I took a few minutes out and recorded some new stories, updated the written articles with the audio, and dusted off the Spoken Wikinews archives. So, let the games begin again, I say! kamnet (talk) 12:19, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

As I noted on your talk page, I wish you the very best of luck and I will be more than happy to assist you in taking over the project anyway and anytime you wish. There is just one thing I want to add and I'll just be blunt about it - please keep up the professional quality of the show. My desire for doing the show rested mainly on two things 1) promoting wikinews as the best source of citizen and independent journalism. This is the key to everything and the AWN is a powerful tool to represent the wikinews project as well as wikimedia as a whole as a first class, professional and viable alternative to the MSM and other paid news outlets.
My other desire for doing the show was, and this is where I'm going to be blunt, is because I didn't feel the AWN as a product was all that professional until I took it over. Too often the audio was poor (due to the use of cheap microphones), the reading was poor (too many mistakes, lack of flow, too many "um's" and "ah's", too many mispronounced proper nouns, poor editing and very amateur sounding). The show also served very little purpose - it just read the news (often poorly) and no consideration was given to the fact that people are supposed to listen to it. If the broadcast sounds poor, if it seems cheap then why would anyone listen to it? The audience must be the second consideration in the AWN - they need a reason to listen and they want to listen to something that sounds as close to a real broadcast as possible. Anything less is, in my opinion, a waste of effort.
Now, I understand that I am no longer doing the show and that as a wiki this is a collaborative effort, but I did put a ton of effort into the show (not only the hours per day making the show but also the guides, the housekeeping and the promotion of the show across the internet) and it still does feel like my baby, so letting go is still hard so I hope you understand. And I'm not doubting your ability at all, so please don't misunderstand me for assuming you can't make it work, I just strongly believe that there are core values that the show should adhere to at all times and I'd be disappointed if the show went back to being more of a hobby rather than a real, honest-to-goodness broadcast.
However, again, as I noted on your talk page, I am very excited to see what you decide to do with the show and what exciting new directions you will take it in. Wikinews is a fantastic community and everyone here has always been wonderful to work with and I do miss my time involved with the project (which is why I'm rambling, I suppose). I'm sure your years of experience will benefit the show and make it a success. Turtlestack (talk) 05:12, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with everything you've said. Much like you noted in the past, the reason things were done with AWNB before you got here is because that was the way thing were always done. I didn't attempt to change any of that at all while I was here because all I was doing was following what others did, even if it was just me doing it. Your revamps to the project, including the improved scripts and the workflow layout, are solid and should be the template that is used going forward... at least until somebody else presents something that proves better. Your efforts will not be discarded. -- kamnet (talk) 11:47, 20 February 2011 (UTC)