Week 5 Assignment

Due by 3pm on Feb. 27!

Task 1: Call in to California Speaks. (time required: 3-5 minutes)

Check out California Speaks  and call to answer this week’s question. Call 1-833-SPEAK-CA

Task 2: Enable the California Speaks Alexa skill that Kunal built. (time required: 5-6 minutes)

Try it out. Come up with one suggested improvement or new feature. We’ll ask you for feedback in the next class.

Task 3: Readings (time required: 45-60 minutes)

Front-end editing: The ‘secret ingredient’ of great audio storytelling


Active Sound: How to find it, record it and use it


The audio editor’s resource: Tips for shaping great stories


Understanding story structure with the “Three Little Pigs”

“Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio,” by Jessica Abel, Chapter 3: “Keep or Kill: Story Structure”

Task 4: Write/produce/edit publish a story related to gun violence. (2 hours)

In wake of the Florida school shooting, your task is to produce a 60 to 90 second news segment on the topic of gun violence. THIS MUST HAVE A CLEAR FOCUS.  Conduct one (or more) interviews.  Prepare for the interviews — think about what kind of quotes you need. Review your interviews and pick the best quotes.

Write a host intro (1-2 sentences), write the introduction to the tape, and pull the quote(s).  Be sure to write a concluding line. Remember, the whole story will be about one-minute story  — this includes a host intro + about 5 or 6 sentences + the actuality! Post your script (with the actualities/quotes written out) to WordPress. Also post an mp3 of you reading your script and playing the quotes. Tag it with these tags: your first name, guns, homework  (See below for how to cut your quotes in Audacity*).

Task 5: PITCH YOUR ALEXA SKILL. (30-45 minutes)

Write a blog post, using SSML, that talks about an Alexa skill you want to create, and the user you are designing it for. Add as much emphasis and drama as you can — SELL IT! Include AT LEAST 10 effects (pitch, volume, pauses, etc.) One must be a Speechcon. Your code must work. If you can’t get Alexa to read your skill, something is wrong. Troubleshoot your skill until you can get the code to work and Alexa reads your post as smoothly as possible. If you have trouble, email David or Julie for help. Don’t wait until Tuesday. Start early! Minimum 250 words.  Post this to WordPress. Tag it with these tags: your first name, homework pitch

Tip sheet is here

*Open your full interview audio file in Audacity. Highlight the quote (should be 5 to 15 seconds long) and then do Control C to copy it. Then do Control N to make a new file. Then Control V to past the audio clip. Then move the cursor in the new file to the end. Then go back to the interview audio and highlight and cut the second clip. Paste this one into the second Audacity file. Highlight the whole file so both the quotes are selected– then export this as an mp3. Upload this file to your WordPress post.