Podcasting takes time, planning

Taking on a podcast is something I always thought I would like to do, but with my limited time and more limited grasp of technology, I managed to convince myself to push off the encounter. Of course, that is until now, until taking this Teaching Multimedia class as part of my journalism educator degree at Kent.

Part of me regrets the non-decision of pushing things back, continually, and another part, again, my sane part, is convinced that the timing has worked for the best.

As with re-learning to use a camera, as in digital camera, I have found that with direction from a willing and capable instructor, with excellent online chats, with excellent class materials (except for the textbook and equipment, all the digital tools we use  are free) and with excellent material available on the web all that is necessary to learn podcasting is time.

I will be the first to admit that I have trouble with time–I do a lot. And yet, I was able to script, record and upload a podcast to this website in a relatively efficient and timely manner.

First, however, I had to sink into all of the various equipment that podcasters use, from recording devices, microphones, to audio editing software and software that helps embed the podcast in a website. That took me a couple of days worth of reading and scanning and viewing and listening. The investment was important to give me more of a perspective on the wide range of equipment choices available to podcasters, who, it is now apparent, come in all shapes and sizes.

Second, I drafted a script, one that is a bit more ambitious than required, since I decided to experiment by including two family members. The idea was to discuss a recent column by New York Times columnist David Brooks. That is what happened.

This is where I learned the most about podcasting. I assumed, even though I had been warned to the contrary, that the podcast would take care of itself. Podcasts do not happen magically. They do not take care of themselves.

I started with good intentions by scripting an opening. That well-intentioned opening it turns out was interminably long. Next, rather than following, as instructed in the reading material, with a general outline including questions and points to cover during the podcast and a closing to end the podcast, I decided to go with the flow, so to speak.

The result is not pretty. You can listen to it for yourself. This glimpse into the world of my first attempt at podcasting, not at all a perfect, is a messy one. That, I now know, is what happens when a podcast is approached in such a cavalier fashion, even after doing the reading and some planning.

In addition, the quality of the recording is not very good. I am hoping audio editing will help. A real fix would be using the appropriate equipment, which I read all about and now understand much better.

If I have learned anything, then, it is this. When I teach my students to podcast, I will have this messy imperfect model to work from, and, I believe, from it will come an experience that students will be able to relate to and try to avoid.

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