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Comments on: Audio ethics guide: Editing and more

Notes from the classroom and observations about professional practices for sharing the news on digital platforms.

Last Build Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:41:11 +0000


By: Lisa Hébert

Wed, 19 Sep 2007 17:40:35 +0000

NON-TRADITIONAL ELEMENTS IN DOCUMENTARY It is important to maintain rigourous standards for news. When you enter the realm of storytelling, I think there is a different value system. By this I would never suggest that one should manipulate reality to distort meaning or truth. My comments are meant to open the door to more creative storytelling. When one applies news patterns to longer formats, they can create notoriously boring documentaries, resulting in a rather painful choo choo train of script/clip/script/clip. Under the goal of broadening Documentary and storytelling skills, I would support pushing the boundaries. You could argue that using real actors with the ethnic heritage to read the English translation of clips is closer to reality than having the reporter or someone else in the newsroom read it. The translation could also contain the real emotion of the clips. When one uses actors for a docudrama, I like to acknowledge their presence, either in the beginning or a mention in the credits so that people know the English voices were not the principles, in the same way one mentions if we are using a different name for a source. A documentary that occurs in the past could involve could involve actors and music and re-created sound as one replicates memory. Music can have symbolic or add a more than literal, or extra level of meaning. I would never be heavy handed about this. Sometimes when a story occurs in someone’s mind, it is twisted with their fears and anxiety, and there is value in trying to replicate that state. When we’re presenting something creative, we don’t say this is exactly what happened. We set it up in a different way, for instance, saying that we’re presenting someone’s story. Because there are different schools of thought on documentaries v docudramas, sometimes there is a debate at awards about separating the categories. Some do have separate categories. Drama v Current Affairs. The model you are proposing of documentary in its pure form is no longer the norm at, for instance, The Current. Within the CBC, I would say the Current has a premiere reputation for documentary making. It is there that the boundaries are routinely pushed. You wouldn’t fake something – if a character doesn’t play basketball, one wouldn’t put him in a scene at the court. But if he does play often, it would be considered a fair way to unfold the story. Increasingly the majority of European documentaries are also mixing non-traditional elements. When I was part of the Jury at the Prix Italia last September, it was interesting to see that though there was a drama category, entries went into the documentary category when there was only one small part of the documentary that originated from a real element. So within the Documentary category, there were many entries with additions that weren’t pure documentary elements. The winner at the Prix Italia last year was a beautiful story about a blue coat (“The Blue Coat” by Kasia Michalak)– it was a Polish entry set in the post WWII era. An old woman told a story from her childhood about a coat that was donated by someone in Australia. The girl remembered that her mother took apart the seams and turned the coat inside out so her brother would have a coat that wouldn’t appear used, and in doing so found an address of the previous owner. That led to a lifelong friendship with the woman who donated the coat and her family. In the end, the main character, now old, goes to Australia or rather tells how she went to Australia, and finds the husband, John, alive. Together they visit the grave of his wife, and he talks about putting flowers on her grave so she will always be alive. You know she isn’t, and cry as music that has been the theme creeps in once again. John is an actor. And the story has been interwoven with sound effects, and historical newsreel that the journalist definitely didn’t record, since she wasn’t born yet. The only pure documentary element was one single interview with the main character and she likely stayed in the [...]

By: Tuesday 9-18 links | News Videographer

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 17:24:33 +0000

[...] Mindy McAdams highlights an audio editing ethics guide that should also apply to editing the audio portion of videos. [...]

By: links for 2007-09-18 | TrentHead.Com

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 14:24:43 +0000

[...] Teaching Online Journalism » Audio ethics guide: Editing and more I always tell people we online folks do not need to reinvent the wheel for audio journalism — the radio journalists have already confronted these ethical issues and sorted them out. (tags: multimedia ethics) [...]

By: Mindy

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 12:31:36 +0000

There is a link that says "contact me" on the About page. If you clicked it, you would see an e-mail address.

I have not heard about feed errors from anyone else since I added the CompleteRSS plug-in. You'd have to give me more specific information for me to be of any help. But PLEASE use e-mail and not the comments, okay?

By: Frederick

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 04:39:21 +0000

Hello Mindy, Sorry to post "off topic", but I didn't see an email link for you on the blog page. Wanted to let you know that, after several weeks of working well, I'm again getting error messages, both at and in my own drupal site, for your feed at: Any idea what is going on? Thanks, as always, for your work on this site.