Archive for the ‘Journalism industry’ Category

Photo slideshows drive page-views

November 19, 2010

Here is a fascinating article in Columbia Journalism Review about how photo slideshows drive traffic to news websites.

Not mentioned in the article is the key role that appropriate music can play in a successful slideshow. When a slideshow can be “auto-played,” making the changes congruent with the rhythm of the music is an important technique that can enhance story-telling.

And according to the article, the quality of the slideshow will only grow in importance:

But when even bad slideshows succeed economically, where’s the incentive to make them good? That incentive, eventually, will have to come from advertisers, as they tire of the tricks that their editorial friends are playing on them. Earlier, I noted that advertisers don’t care if dozens of page views are coming from the same user, because their ads are still getting shown. But eventually this will reach a point of diminishing returns. Telling the same person about a new movie a dozen times is not as effective of telling a half-dozen people twice.

Advertisers have an easy way to hold sites accountable: rely on unique visitor, rather than page-view, counts. The page-view metric has become diluted by editorial and business tricks like recirculation tools, landing pages, and slideshows. As Gawker Media owner Nick Denton puts it, “Some page views are worth more than others.” That’s why he now judges his staff and sites’ success on a less-manipulated number: how many people come to visit, not how many pages they visit once they’re there. Denton’s reason for the switch is editorial—he wants more exclusives, and he thinks uniques are a good way to incentivize them. Advertisers should follow suit. Their ads will have greater reach if sites know that it’s unique visitors, not page views, that matter most.

And with that change of mentality will come a switch of strategy. No longer will the worst slideshows be as economically viable. Slideshow quality will rise as sites try to create iconic slideshows that bring in new visitors interested in hearing a story told as only the Internet can. Slideshows will no longer have to be a savior in scourge’s clothing.

 

SND video uses “Mad Designers” as music theme

September 24, 2010

Here’s a promotional video done in 60’s-era animation style by Brian Williamson to promote the Society of News Design’s 2011 conference in St. Louis. Brian asked me to produce a piece of music for the video, and I tried to come up with a Mad Men-esque sound to suit the visual style. (Which was a treat for me, as Mad Men is my personal favorite show).

For you musicians, I used Cakewalk’s Sonar, synths from Dimension Pro, a Hofner-style bass, a Strat with Line 6 amp and effect sounds and drum samples from Smart Loops.

Let me know what you think!

Using rhythm in pairing music with images

September 23, 2010

http://vimeo.com/15211951

Jon Patrick Fobes, a photo editor with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and an excellent musician, stresses using the rhythm of music to guide your placement of photos in audio/video slideshows. The above project, where Jon created the music and edited the slideshow, is an excellent example of what Jon is talking about. And click here to read a previous Q and A with Jon.

New song: “Deadline.”

July 26, 2010

Click here for my latest song, “Deadline.” It’s a song about anticipation, about wanting something RIGHTNOW.  As was the case with “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song),”I was inspired by my experiences as a newspaper editor — this time, I was thinking of the times I’ve spent waiting for a story to be turned in. Musically, I was going for a later-period George Harrison sound.

UPDATE: If you like what you hear, you can buy the song at Amazon.com here and at iTunes right here.

(For fellow music-production nerds, I used Cakewalk’s Sonar, with plugs by IK Multimedia among others. I recorded background vocals with a TNC (Chinese import) ribbon mic into a TNC preamp, and the lead vocal was recorded with a Audio Technica 4047 into a Groove Tubes Brick preamp. I used my Line 6 Variax electric guitar along with a $30 Craigslist find, a 60’s-era Teisco for the slide guitar parts).

Here are the lyrics:

Here I sit, I’m waiting again
I can’t quit until you hit “send”
Taking your time to polish all your phrases
Never you mind if I make some changes

(chorus:) I will live a life sublime
Told in tales of endless rhyme
If only you reply in time
For my deadline

All the pieces will fall into place
All my questions will vanish into space
Biding my time till night turns into day
Walking the line until you come my way

(Chorus)

All of my passion, all of my pain
Would find compassion
If not for your disdain

(chorus)

MediaStorm’s “Intended Consequences” skillfully uses music

June 16, 2010

Here’s a link to MediaStorm’s moving project on rape victims in Rwanda, “Intended Consequences.” Note how the original music by Pamela Chen and Sherman Jia is used to carefully underscore or highlight the material. Another skillful, and entirely appropriate, use of music in journalistic multimedia.

New multimedia design blog by Desiree Perry

May 11, 2010

My friend, former colleague and sometime collaborator Desiree Perry just launched a new blog on web design, illustration and multimedia. Desiree is a top-notch designer and artist with some great thoughts on where we’re all headed in this crazy multimedia world – and she’s a real music lover too! Check it out, and congrats on the new venture Desiree!

Fractions of a second: an Olympic musical

February 28, 2010

Here is a fascinating use of musical notes to tell a story. The New York Times’ Amanda Cox uses the timing of musical notes to show how close many of the Olympic race finishes have been.

I love this because it uses music to tell an otherwise non-musical story, to shed new light on an aspect of reality. My only suggestion: Cox could have used a different note for each sport or category of sport, instead of the same note for all sports. A minor quibble, to be sure.

Audio editing ethics

February 11, 2010

Here is another thoughtful post from Deborah Potter at Advancing the Story. This one is on the ethics of editing audio interviews. Some good points here.

Tips on using natural sound

February 2, 2010

Deborah Potter over at Advancing the Story has a must-read post for video journalists on how to collect and use natural sound. Thanks Deborah!

Who is this Christopher Ave character?

December 9, 2009

Are you new around here?

I thought I’d take a moment to introduce myself to anyone who recently stumbled on this blog, to reveal who is behind this oddball mix of multimedia tips, music musings and Beatles trivia.

I’m Christopher Ave. Nice to meet you.

I’m a musician who creates original tunes for clients and for pleasure through my side business, Music for Media Productions. I have delivered tracks for videos, multimedia projects and radio commercials. I produce a podcast for Wealth Magazine, and I’m recording and producing some music for other artists. A couple of my own “pop” tunes are available on iTunes, Amazon, Lala and elsewhere. I periodically perform around the St. Louis area, where I live. And I play guitar in a worship band at my church, The Journey.

If you’re a journalist, you may have heard one of my songs, “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song),” my commentary on the news industry and on copy editors in particular. And yes, there’s a video:

I’m also an incurable Beatles fan who has had the pleasure to have written about the group. I especially enjoyed the few times I’ve gotten to speak with the band’s balance engineer, Geoff Emerick, a supremely decent fellow, and I’ve talked to several authors who have studied and written about the group extensively.

On the journalism front, I direct political and government coverage for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and its website, STLtoday.com, including supervision of our bureaus in Washington and the state capitals of Missouri and Illinois. I have been a fulltime professional journalist since 1987 and have worked for newspapers in New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Florida and Missouri. I’ve also written about music technology over the past several years, including reviewing some products that help musicians record their masterpieces.

So what’s this blog all about? What I’m trying to do here is write about the creation and use of music, especially in multimedia platforms. If you design web pages, record music, create television advertisements or just listen closely to music, I hope you’ll find something interesting around here. If you have any questions, suggestions or complaints, hit me up right here!


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