Firstly, a huge thank you to all of our volunteer readers. You are amazing and we continually appreciate all that you are doing to support Sandwell Talking News.
It seemed easier to put all the guidance in one place, rather than send it in individual emails. We adapt the process and guidance in response to the various issues that arise with the recordings. As everyone is using different devices and recording in different settings, we are all learning as we go along. Please do feel free to comment on anything that isn’t working for you. And if you have any expertise in these matters, please do share it!
At the start of your reading. Introduce yourself on your first recording and say that these are articles from the Express and Star dated (whatever your date of news clipping is). Don’t give these details on your other recordings, just the first one. Read out the title of the article, pause, then who it is written by (if relevant) and their position. No need to read their email address if this is given.
File name of recording. Save your recording with exactly the same file name as the file name of the clipping it relates to (i.e.including the date and your name). In the file name of your first recording, where you have introduced yourself, add a 1 after your name e.g. 23 May-Jane1-Wind-brings-chaos-to-Midlands.
The reason for this naming protocol is to assist Ray, our Editor, with compiling the tracks in the right order.
Audio settings. Check the settings of the app that you are using to do your recording. If possible, adjust the sample rate/recording quality so that it is mid/medium quality, which on an Android Voice recorder app for example is 128kbps, 44.1kHz. Also if you have an option for mono or stereo choose mono. Apple compressed setting, 48kbps.
Recording environment. Choose a quiet setting, ideally where there are plenty of soft furnishings, to avoid echo. Speak around twelve inches from the mic (internal or external to your device). Speak more or less directly at the device being used.
Pictures. Describe pictures briefly if they add value or are useful to the story – no need to describe a simple picture of someone unless there is something noteworthy about the image, e.g. they are wearing a silly hat, unusual clothing, holding a magic wand…that sort of thing.
If reading from the Express and Star or other publication, please do no comment on the text or alter it in any way.
Deadlines. For most recordings, the deadline to return your audio tracks is midday on Tuesday. If you are not able to meet the deadline, please let us know as soon as possible. We may be able to extend for you if we know when you will submit it. However all recordings must be back by midday on Wednesday at the latest. The reason for this is to allow time for editing and compiling. The STN is usually put on USB sticks for distribution on Thursdays in time to arrive in the post on Saturdays. It goes onto the various internet locations on a Saturday morning, which feeds into the Alexa and telephone service.
Original contributions. We are always keen to have your original contributions, or ideas about what we could include. This could be songs, stories, talks, anecdotes, poems… we are open to ideas!
We hope that this guidance will help to make the process as smooth as possible for everyone. And again, our heartfelt thanks for your support.
You can find out more about Sandwell Talking News here and listen to the current and recent editions.
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