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Claire - A Sports Journalist

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2014 12:23PM GMT
Budding young journalist uses latest note-taking software to manage interviews with the stars


Up and coming journalist Claire Bloomfield (23), has been a staff writer at Sky Magazine for nearly two years. In an effort to streamline huge quantities of audio recordings from interviews she decided to try out Sonocent’s Audio Notetaker software and found that the simple tool revolutionised the way she works. The solution has helped her save time, making it easier for her to deliver top quality journalism and make sure that she is always at the top of her game.

Kick-starting her career with a top journalism degree course at Kingston University, Claire was immersed in the theoretical side of journalism for three years. She also learnt invaluable practical skills such as the ability to write shorthand.  However, throughout her course, she was unaware of the range of tools available to help her deal with the realities of the job, in particular, how to manage huge volumes of audio recordings created when interviewing. Claire comments:”When you start your career straight out of university, it can be really daunting. You find yourself with lots of recordings to process to tight timescales and without on the job experience, it can be really difficult to get your head around.” She continues, “It is vital that you are able to find a way to make the work load and the material manageable so you can meet deadlines and still have the time to take on every new opportunity to further your career.”

Graduating with a First-class degree, Claire’s big break into the media industry came with the opening for a reporter on Sky Sports Magazine. Two years on, Claire is used to recording countless interviews with international sports stars and managing large amounts of audio material in order to meet tight editorial deadlines. “Sometimes it’s really tough”, she explains: “if you have conducted lots of different interviews in a short period of time, you end up with reams of audio that is not catalogued. It is then often a matter of trawling through it all, trying to extract the useful elements. This is incredibly time-consuming.”

When Claire discovered that she would be conducting a series of interviews with world heavyweight Champion David Haye over a period of five months to feature on the front cover of the re-launch issue of the magazine, she knew she needed to find a practical, cost-effective way to manage her recordings. She decided to try out Sonocent Audio Notetaker – software specifically designed to help people dealing with large volumes of audio to better organise and manage their material. “The solution literally revolutionised the way I work. It was particularly noticeable over such a long project – I spent five months with David Haye and, as you can imagine, had hours and hours of interviews to sift through to try and condense it into three double-page spreads”.

The software has a multitude of features that enables Claire to quicken her working processes significantly. Of particular note was the software’s revolutionary 2-D audio view which allows Claire to manipulate audio as if it were text – jumping to any point, quickly editing her files. The straight-forward interface made it easy for Claire to get to grips with it in a short period of time – ideal for journalists who do not have time to spend getting used to complicated software. The software is easy-to-use and allowed her to learn as she used it.

Sonocent Audio Notetaker works with recordings made via a digital recorder, laptop or PC. The annotation capabilities allow journalists to add keywords, highlight key points using coloured markers as well as breaking up their notes into sections as they are recording, making it easy to locate key information and recall past audio notes. Sonocent Audio Notetaker also includes integrated file management tools that helps journalists to organise and search their notes and recordings to locate and easily recall important interviews. Claire comments: “The colour-coding was a dream, it meant I could go back and pick out the technical boxing discussions from the more personal profile angle material. It makes it so much easier to revisit the material. Not every interview gets run immediately; Audio Notetaker lets me go back to old stories for reference.”

The software is particularly useful for journalists who spend much of their time travelling as it can be loaded onto a laptop. This ensures that time which may previously have been relatively unproductive – hanging around in airports or at hotels – becomes immediately useful which Claire discovered.

The usability of the solution and its practical implication make it indispensible in Claire’s professional life, not only in profiling the heroes of track and field but for the occasional venture into the glitz and glamour of the music world: “I am interviewing Westlife for Sky’s entertainment magazine so the colour-coding will be great for that. When you are listening back to an interview with a band it can be so difficult to work out who said what.”

Copyright 2010 iansyst Ltd.

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