07 November 2014

RadioLab Audio Essay

Your next assignment will be to create a 15-minute, audio-essay/interview in the style of NPR's RadioLab.

For this assignment, you will need to incorporate the research you've already conducted for you Research Proposal and Rhetorical Analysis, audio clips from 1-3 interview subjects, as well as any additional information you've gathered over the course of the past few weeks.

The delivery of your final product will necessitate a) a typed, double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman script of your essay, as well as b) an audio-file (via thumb-drive) that I can upload to SoundCloud and post to the course blog.

When constructing your essay, consider the manner in which your argument will unfold. How will you first present your material in the introduction? Likewise, what type of background information will you need to provide so that your audience can get a sense of the context from which your subject matter derives? As you outline the main points of your essay, how can you frame your findings so that they are both comprehensible and entertaining for an audience of non-experts? Additionally, think about the implications of your findings and how those outcomes will directly affect your audience. Finally, you'll want to conclude your audio essay on a compelling and memorable note.

Consider, also, how many people will be speaking during your essay. The RadioLab segment we listened to in class had two hosts (the main narrator and an interlocutor), as well as 4-5 interview subjects. How will you weave these voices into a functional and aesthetically pleasing essay? How will they play off one another in order to create sonic and rhetorical textures? You also want to be cognizant of the language you use and the manner in which you speak. These are key elements to sounding intelligent, persuasive, and entertaining

Another aspect of your essay that you will need to consider is the inclusion of sound-effects. The RadioLab program we listened in class added these sonic flourishes to a) mark transitional moments, b) highlight important information, or c) create more distinctive imagery. You want to employ sound-effects for similar reasons.

Next week, we'll work with Audacity, which is a free online software program that allows you to edit sound files. You're free to use other programs when constructing your essay, but make sure you have unrestricted access to them.

If you have additional questions regarding this assignment, please feel free to ask me in class, during my office hours, or via email.

DUE DATE: Thursday, 11 DEC 2014

As I'm sure you've noticed, I extended the due date for the RadioLab assignment. As such, we will no longer create a TED Talk Video Essay. (Please check the syllabus for the updated schedule.) One of the implications of this change, obviously, is an alteration in the grade-weight for all of your previous projects. We will discuss the new grading scale in class.

05 November 2014

UPDATE: 05 NOV 2014

For tomorrow's session, we will complete the argumentative, structural, and rhetorical outline for the RadioLab podcast we listened to in-class. Make sure you have a complete outline that is detailed and specific.

We will also analyze the manner in which sound-effects and -editing function in the podcast. Specifically, we will focus on the manner in which "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Rat" employs sonic techniques to signal transitions or to highlight important information. Be prepared to offer commentary on this aspect of the text.