‘Waking Up,’ An emotional history audio report – Reflection JOUR206

Compiling this emotional history audio report was a challenging learning experience for me as a journalism student. It was both confronting and eye-opening in regards to having to ask hard-hitting questions, but also receiving the raw and hard-hitting answers.

My experience of editing the report made me take into account how I wanted to represent my talent. Given only the space of 2 minutes and with nearly an hour’s worth of recorded material, I had my work cut out for me.

Prior to interviewing my talent, Emily Tropea, I was already familiar with her story and the medical journey she overcame. Nevertheless, I took time to doing some research, by observing photographs posted on social media about her conditions and reviewing video footage on her from Sunrise and Today Tonight. I also read some blog pieces and magazine articles on her story. Although I know, Emily as a close friend, I found researching these representations of her story gave me ideas on how to direct my questions and which part of her story I wanted to highlight in the 2 minutes.

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Emily Tropea today – photo credit: Jasmine Tobia

When conducting the interview, I bared in mind that good journalism does not pry emotion from its interviewee. I visited Emily the week earlier and explained what the task would be and asked her what she was willing to talk about for the assignment. On the day of the interview, I ensured she was comfortable and still willing to open up. I also explained that at any point in the interview if she wanted me to stop recording or didn’t want to answer a particular question, it was perfectly fine to do so.

I believe that was important to establish a safe environment for her to be able to speak about emotional and at times very painful life experiences. Through this experience I was amazed by Emily’s ability to speak about her operation and to go into so much detail. Today she is doing a lot better, achieving so many goals and is leading a healthy life, so I was aware that returning to a time where her life was in a period of uncertainty by talking about was an emotional experience in itself. Therefore, my goal for this report was to highlight the strength and courage I witnessed from Emily, while conducting the interview.

Emily and Jasmine 2014 - Photo Credit Jasmine Tobia

Emily and Jasmine 2014 – Photo Credit Jasmine Tobia

Editing was also a new experience. I was unfamiliar with Hindenburg Journalist’s Pro. However, after workshops held in class, I found it relatively easy to use. Although cutting down my recorded material to 2 minutes was difficult, I overcame this by choosing to focus on delivering one aspect of Emily’s story, her first major operation which was a spinal fusion.

While editing, I bared in mind that I was telling Emily’s story, and therefore made the decision to elide my introduction from the 2 minutes and just use her recorded voice as the only speech. I feel this made the audio excerpt more personable and didn’t showcase me as the journalist, but Emily and what she was saying as well as the emotion in her voice.

Out of the six primary emotions, I primarily wanted to convey fear. Capturing the idea that a 15 year old girl faced with such a massive operation with fatal risks was scary for her. In addition there are elements of sadness and happiness which I think the audience can recognise. Particularly through the choice of music, which I located from the Creative Commons licenced Free Music Archive. Ultimately, it was an eye-opening and rewarding experience and I enjoyed attempting to showcase the emotions felt from one moment in someone’s life.

You can listen to the audio report here…

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