Posted tagged ‘Podcast’

Saline podcasting project comes to fruition

April 23, 2011

It has been seven months since I first contacted David Rhoads, president of the Saline Area Historical Society about a possible joint venture, and today I am pleased to have shared with our readers — and listeners — the fruits of our labor.

As part of my work with the Journal Register Co.’s ideaLab, a group of 14 reporters, editors, circulation directors, IT professionals and advertising consultants from the Midwest and East Coast, I’ve been experimenting with technology to improve our storytelling and help move journalism forward in this age of technology.

What I’ve come up with has been a joint effort in partnership with the community.

Professor Michael McVey (right) records a podcast with Wayne Clements, a member of the Saline Area Historical Society.

The idea came over hot drinks on a balmy September day at The Drowsy Parrot in Saline with Michael McVey, a Saline resident and an assistant professor in Eastern Michigan University’s Department of Education. I was telling him about my ideaLab charge and knew he had an interest in podcasting, as he has developed “The Considerate Podcast” series available on iTunes U.

I am not sure whether it was his idea or mine, or we got there together while brainstorming, but we decided a podcast series featuring a walking tour of Saline’s historic buildings would be an interesting project.

The Saline Area Historical Society seemed to be the perfect partners, so I blogged about it here and then Rhoads reached out to me, and we came up with a list of 10 sites worth featuring first.

From October to February, historical society members Wayne Clements and Liza Collins researched seven of the sites and wrote scripts for the podcasts. In early March, McVey and I met with Clements and historical society member Bob Lane at the Rentschler Farm Museum to record the podcasts. I also shot video and took photos to document our work.

Within a week, McVey had edited the recordings, and during the last month I have gathered historic photos from the Saline District Library website and sized them for the web. Photographer Hiroshi Onuma shot current-day photos, which I also sized, while the scripts were being written.

David Veselenak, our new online coordinator and Manchester reporter, created Google maps pinpointing each of the historic sites.

The end result is the Saline Historic Walking Tour podcasting project on our website at www.heritage.com. Under the podcast menu, you will find audio of either Clements or Lane reading the history of the Union School, Wallace Block, Rentschler Farm Museum, Davenport-Curtiss mansion, town founder Orange Risdon’s home, Saline Railroad and Depot and Union Block.

The old and current-day photos take readers on a visual tour of the sites, and the locator maps help readers easily identify where these buildings are located.

We plan to add to this series and we would like to expand into the surrounding communities. Anyone interested in helping is encouraged to reach out.

I hope everyone enjoys it. I welcome comments. Email editor@salinereporter.com or post a note on our Facebook page.

Sharing local history through podcasts

September 21, 2010

A chat at a local coffeehouse last week with one of my volunteers working on ideaLab Heritage has netted an exciting project that can be incorporated into my ideaLab participation with the Journal Register Co.

Since my goal is to get technology in the hands of staff and have them incorporate the latest and greatest tools available in their reporting, this project fits nicely.

Michael McVey, a Saline resident and assistant professor in the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University, and I were chatting and I knew he produced podcasts, so I asked him about them.

Initially, I wondered if there was any value in having one of my reporters read individual stories for a podcast we could make available on our website so people could listen to the news rather than reading it. I thought they could click on the daily headlines and opt to click on a podcast report rather than read the story online. This thought was inspired by my daily workouts at Liberty Athletic Club in Ann Arbor, where I see a handful of people trying to read the newspaper while running the treadmill or exercising on the stationary bikes.

McVey, however, said he didn’t think it would catch on based on his own experience, but maybe we could try something else. That’s when we came up with the idea of historic walking tours of the Saline and Milan communities. The idea is to feature a historic building or deceased mover and shaker every week or two, with two- to three-minute-long stories shared by a member of the local historical society.

We would build on our podcasts over the years and end up with a wonderful archive of each community’s history featured in a drop-down menu on our home page.

If this catches on and enough interest is generated, my staff and I could tackle all eight communities that we cover.

I still have a lot to learn about podcasts, as I know nothing at this point, but McVey said we could incorporate photos and video. He sent me some links to his work, as well as a link to a podcast on podcasting, and we talked a little about equipment, which is really just a good microphone.

We also talked about getting all of the stakeholders involved, from training staff to engaging the historical societies and local libraries.

We hope to start this project in October and Milan has offered a great opportunity. The historical society will be leading a tour of Marble Park Cemetery with a talk on deceased prominent residents at dusk Oct. 20.

My next move is to reach out to both historical societies, check out McVey’s podcast on podcasting and look into buying a microphone. My next meeting with him is Sept. 30, so I’ll update you on my progress at that time.

In the meantime, I welcome your comments and input. Do you have any experience with podcasting?