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Hit the ground running with Final Cut Pro X

In these tutorials you will learn some basic ideas on how to edit video with Final Cut Pro X. From importing your media to exporting your project, all the basics you need to know in order to create your video project are here.

In this first video you can learn about the basics of your interface.

This second video shows you how to create your project and add the basic tracks to your timeline.



In this third video we play with audio.

Learning how to add transitions and cross-dissolves in Final Cut Pro X.


How to add titles and lower-thirds.

Exporting your project.


Shooting video on the D7000

Thanks to Nice Lady Productions, here’s a quick tutorial of how to shoot vide using the Nikon D7000.

A somewhat more detailed video, here, from thinkingmediatv.

FTP for The Osprey and The LongIslander

Since we had a few issues with our FTP session, I’ve created this tutorial which should help you hit the ground running. It’s only 7 minutes.

Adobe Audition: Three Videos to Hit the Ground Running

These three videos will help you get started with Adobe Audition, an intuitive and powerful non-linear, audio editing platform.

In this first video you will learn how to find your files and bring them to Audition, the difference between the “Waveform” and the “Multitrack” windows, and destructive vs. non-destructive audio editing.

In this second video you will learn a few basic commands to create a podcast “Multitrack” session, to position your audio tracks, and to start editing your audio in a non-destructive environment.

This third video will show you a few editing tricks and will explore two ways to export your audio.

Setting up your Nikon D7100

Here are two excellent tutorials by PhotographersOnUTube, that will help you navigate the Nikon’s D7100 mainly to get your settings straight for still photo. Please check them out and read below the basic settings we will be using in class and for assignments.

Part 1:

Part 2:


1- Creating a “Photo” folder in your JDRIVE. You will download all your production into that folder. You can subdivide by “Drills” and by “Assignments” numbering the internal folders (1, 2, 3 etc.)

2- Inserting SD card. By systematic. Use “slot 1” for photos and “slot 2” for overflow.

3- Set the camera for Auto Focus (unless you are confident on your focusing skills). The switch is on the left side of the camera’s body.

-On that switch there’s a button which allows you to change the type of AF. In the viewer you will have three positions AF-A (which chooses the focus automatically); AF-S (which allows you to choose the focus); and AF-C (which is normally used for targets in movement). You should start with AF-S. You change this by pressing on the button and moving the front dial (under the top viewer of camera).

4- Sub Dial: S = Single shot ; CL = Continuous Low; CH = Continuous High; Q = Quiet. Set it up for CL.

MENU / You operate it with the wheel cursor to the right of the back screen.



Focus point: it will mark with a red point where the camera focus is.

Highlights: It will show you whether the photo is overexposed or not.


Role played by card in slot 2 = “Raw 1 / JPEG 2”

Image quality= RAW

White balance= AUTO

Set Picture control= Standard

Active D-Lighting= Auto.

Movie settings=

Frame size/rate =1920/1080 30p

Movie quality= high

Microphone= Auto (check the audio before recording video)

Destination= Slot 2

ISO= The button left of the display. You change it by pressing it and moving the dial at the top right of the body (lower ISO = lower light sensitivity / Higher ISO = higher light sensitivity)


FORMAT MEMORY CARD in case you need a clean card. Remember to download all the info you have in the SD card before formatting.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION. You can add it here, or later in production using Adobe Bridge.


Interviewing Techniques

Interviewing is almost an art. And some people simply excel at it because they know how to engage their interviewees, making them feel comfortable and safe while asking the hardest questions.

Although the interview is a collaborative effort, you will immediately notice that this collaboration has its own rules. Even when sometimes both interviewer and interviewee can have a common goal, your agenda will usually differ from that of your interviewee. Thus, what you think was a great interview could also be the worst experience in your interviewee’s life.

Here are 13 interesting tips to conduct better interviews. The one I liked the most was number 13, endure awkward silences. Sometimes our questions will not be well received. But we still want the answer, right?


Tips to Produce a Good Radio Story

1. Make your script as clear as you possibly can. What is the story about? How would you tell the same story to your mother, brother or your best friend?

2. Use your own words. You don’t need to sound affected . Use the PRESENT TENSE.

3. Tape your story in interesting places for a nice audio atmosphere. Always remember to record your background sound. These sounds will help you connect your clips and enhance your story.

4. Keep the clips short.

5. Try to feature different voices in your piece. Male and female voices, different accents from different places, and from people of different age.

6. Use music that fits your story. Be mindful of copyright.

7. If available use sound effects. A simple sound effect can go a long way. And you can get sound effects for free on several libraries online.

8. Finally, think carefully about your kicker.

For a few more tips go the BBC Radio, which has fantastic tips for voice overs. BBC has also a nice standard radio script template. Mia Carter’s Radio Journalism 101 also has great tips.

Working With Pro Tools: Creating a Radio Session, Importing Audio, Trimming, Fading and Crossfading

Here’s how I would suggest you create your first Pro Tools session to work on a radio project. Remember that for now we will not be using any effects but simple audio tracks.


And here you can see how to import an audio track to your Pro Tools session.

This video shows you how to trim an audio region and how to apply a fade.

This video will teach you how to create a crossfade.

This video will teach you how to deal with volume on separate tracks and on the master fader track.

Finally, this one will teach you how to bounce your project and export it as a wav or an MP3 file

A Few Interesting Slideshows to Check Out

Here are four examples of good slideshows I’d like you to watch.

The first three were shot and reported by Pulitzer Prize Winner Barbara Davidson.

1- The Ballad of Mateo

2-Frozen and Forgotten

3- Pool Party

Here’s a link to Media Storm. They use both video and photography, but the basics of their storytelling is audio.

Check out “A Thousand More” story on Philly Mayer, a young boy with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Quick Guide to Soundslides

Here’s a really easy-to-follow tutorial on how to create a slideshow using Soundslides and how to embed it in a WordPress website.

Here’s the first video:

The second video tells you how to embed a Soundslides project in your WordPress blog.

Finally, here you have a link to Soundslides user manual

The Inverted Pyramid

Ok, here’s a graphic with the most basic elements of an inverted pyramid.

The classic "inverted pyramid" and its three main elements.

In Just the Facts David Mindich argues that the style was invented not by journalists, but by Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton. To validate this claim, Mindich studied several newspapers during the period between the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s, and found that the first clear example of inverted pyramid was Stanton’s announcement of Lincoln’s death, wired unedited by the A.P.

The dispatch read as follows:

Washington, April 14, 1865

To the Associated Press:

The President was shot in a theatre tonight and perhaps mortally wounded.

On Chapter 3, page 66 of Just the Facts Mindich explains that “because Stanton’s terse, impersonal dispatches appeared unedited on the front page of newspapers across the Union, he was widely read throughout the war.” So it seems that the most emblematic of all journalistic genres was not created by a journalist, but by a very efficient P.R. person.

Bruce Porter’s Ten Commandments for Journalists

The Journalist’s Ten Commandments

Bruce Porter CU’62 and author of “Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel And Lost It All


1. Just the facts. Report what you’ve learned firsthand. Attribute to others anything you didn’t see or hear yourself. Avoid going with rumors or assumptions. And beware of describing people that reflect your bias.

2. Be accurate. Always distrust your ears; double check spellings of names; get ages and addresses right. When in doubt, leave it out.

3. Use exact quotes. In quoting people, put down exactly what they say, even if it sounds awkward. If in the beginning you can’t write fast enough to get the whole thing, limit yourself to phrases you know are correct.

4. Do not plagiarize. Never present another reporter’s work as your own. And in your class assignments do not “double dip.” Never present the same piece of work to two different classes without clearing it with the instructors.

5. Do not fabricate or approximate the details of a story you could not verify yourself. Transgress either Rule 4 or 5 and you will fail this class.

6. Be fair. This means calling around to get all sides of a story, taking special care to give representation to people with whom you disagree.

7. Honor all deadlines. If you can’t complete the story on time, go with what you’ve got.

8. Make all copy conform to the AP Stylebook.

9. Keep up on the news.

10. Out on assignment, use your imagination; do not follow the pack. Always try to seek out your own sources and strive to develop angles other reporters have not thought to pursue.

Three-step Way to Edit Photos Using the Adobe Suite

Here’s a simple, step-by-step way to work your photo editing, starting with Adobe Bridge, where you’ll add metadata to your images, through Camera Raw, where you will work on light and color, ending in Photoshop, which you will use for sizing and framing and reframing your images.

JRN 320 remote classes

Class, I’m putting out here the video recorded sessions that we’re going to be holding, just in case you want to check them out or there’s anything you’ve missed. These sessions aren’t public, so use them for personal reference only.

March 30, 2020

April 1st, 2020 section 1

April 1st, 2020 section 2

April 6th, 2020 section 1

April 6th, 2020 section 2

April 8th, 2020 section 1

April 8th, 2020 section 2

April 13th, 2020 section 1

April 13th, 2020 Editorial team meeting, final project

April 13th, 2020 Section 2

April 15th, 2020 Section 1

April 15th, 2020 Section 2

April 20th, 2020 Section 1

April 20th, 2020 Section 2

April 22nd, 2020 Section 1

April 22nd, 2020 Section 2

April 27th, 2020 Section 1

April 27th, 2020 Section 2

April 29th, 2020 Section 1

April 29th, 2020 Section 2

May 4th, 2020 Section 1

May 4th, 2020 Section 2

Remote video and audio strategies

Gathering good quality audio for your video stories

Class, as you know, COVID-19 is limiting the range of our reporting to a certain degree. And when we are talking about video reporting/postcards, this could be rather problematic.

I wanted to share with you a few ideas to produce video pieces remotely, even without direct contact with your sources. Yes, you will still need to have some b-roll, establishing and closing shots, but those can be accessed without direct exposure.

1- When thinking of good video, first focus on GOOD AUDIO

Viewers are much more forgiving of limited or poor visuals, as they are of good audio. A good audio narrative under blurry/shaky video can tell a much better story than bad audio on good quality images.

2- Plan ahead, because you’ll need time to retrieve good audio

As I’ve been discussing with you via email, you can always ask a source to tape the answer to one or two of your questions, and to self introduce themselves, in a voice memo that they can then send to you. But you need to have a certain connection/trust built with that source before the ask.

Imagine if someone, out of the blue, emailed you with a request to tape several answers to a few questions and email you back the audios. It could be a lot of work, so you need to be careful. 

A good approach is to first conduct all the interviews on the phone, tape some yourself just in case, and then, when you’ve figured out who is your most interesting source/character, and the entire arch of your story, then ask them to tape a few answers to a couple of (not all of them) and send them to you. 

3- Be mindful

Think of one, maybe two answers to a two questions as the core of your ask. You may ask two of your characters to give you an answer to one question. But consider that as little as this may seem to you, it could be a lot to ask to anybody. So be considerate and minimize the amount of work you are asking of your source (who has already answered some of your questions on the phone).

4- Think of natural sound

After the interview, if your sources are in place (working at a soup kitchen, in a bodega, a hospital) ask them to take some natural sound of the room they are in, too. Again, don’t overstretch their patience. Assess whether they are open and available. If they aren’t simply thank them and move on.

5- Take a lot of b-roll

You will need it to run on top of your interview. Courtesy photos (of your sources, the institutions you are working with, the developments or project they are working on) could be useful too. But don’t keep them on the screen for more than six to eight seconds. 

Remember to use an array of different camera angles. And to keep your phone steady for at least 10 seconds (no panning, no traveling, no zooming, steady and on the subject).

6- Connecting testimonies with VO

If you only have a few seconds of a character on audio, you can try to stitch two testimonies with a voice over. But make sure that the VO is clear, and explains why these two characters are connected and how.

DaVinci Resolve: profesional video editing freeware

Master Phil Altiere of Stony Brook Journalism created these four tutorials to kickstart anybody with minimum skills into DaVinci Resolve a really powerful tool for non-linear video editing. The tutorials are simple and clear. Thank you Phil!

Transitioning from Premiere to DaVinci Resolve:

Audio levels in DaVinci and how to create an audio mix:

Working with transitions and titles:

Exporting your final mix:

Infographics with Canva. A guide to get started

Canva is a very powerful platform for design in all its forms. But it’s become a particularly important and useful repository for infographics templates, models and photos. I created a basic tutorial so you can check out some of its potential and produce your own infographics to accompany some of your journalistic projects.

Using Audacity: kickstarter session

Since some of you won’t have access to the Adobe Suite, I’d like to offer you an alternative for audio editing: Audacity. With a few additions (a few of these extras can be found here) you will be able to edit compressed and non-compressed files in a relatively simple way.

Here’s a 10-minute tutorial!

GIMP instead of Photoshop? Let’s get started!

These tutorials will help you get started with GIMP, a free and very powerful design program, to create your opening and closing titles and edit photos for your stories.

This second tutorial teaches you a bit of photo-resizing and editing in GIMP.

Creating an HTML 5 Button with Adobe Animate

In this post, I will quickly tell you a few differences between Adobe Flash and Adobe Animate regarding how to create and publish animations in WordPress.

1- Creating an HTML 5 button with Adobe Animate.

2-How to FTP your project and embed it in a WP post.