National Writers Workshop

Fort Lauderdale, Florida | September 2008

No-Fear Guide to Multimedia

This page accompanies a half-day training session for journalists.

Part 1: Audio

Inspiration: Watch and listen to this Soundslides from the Chicago Tribune. It might give you new ideas about gathering audio.

Inspiration: Download the weekly podcast from This American Life for great examples of audio storytelling.

Part 2: Soundslides

Download the fully functional demo version free: Soundslides

Works on either Windows or Mac. You can learn to use this program and even publish audio slideshows without paying for it, but you should appreciate that Joe Weiss quit his day job at the Raleigh News & Observer to support and enhance this software full-time. If you start using it regularly, Joe deserves to get paid.

Now available: Plus version. You won't need this to start with. It has extra features that advanced users clamored for.

Here is all that you need to make an audio slideshow:

  1. The Soundslides software.
  2. One edited, final MP3 file.
  3. Your photos, already cropped and toned, saved in the JPG file format. Copy them into a folder before you begin, and make sure the JPGs for this slideshow are the only JPGs in that folder.

Photoshop How-To for Soundslides (NEW)
This illustrated tutorial shows you how to use Photoshop to resize, caption and save your photos before you import them into Soundslides.

This blog post links to four recent examples that demonstrate the versatility of Soundslides. If you think video is better than a slideshow, check these out and then tell me what you really think.

Read Tom Priddy's tutorial (PDF, 1.2 MB) for a great overview of how a professional photojournalist works with Soundslides in his everyday job (used with Tom's permission).

View a well-illustrated online tutorial that explains how to get started with Soundslides (from; they also have a good interview with Joe Weiss).

View a video tutorial that introduces you to Soundslides (by Richard Koci Hernandez of the San Jose Mercury News).

Part 3: Video

Video Editing

Do not start with a more complicated editing program, such as Final Cut Pro. It's not necessary until you've learned what you're doing.

Where I Like to Buy Gear

We like this site for camera reviews (and detailed specs):

Gear Checklist

*My choice.

Links to audio gear
This is a page I update often to provide links to specific equipment through Make sure you check around to get the best price. I'm not promising you that Amazon always has the best deal. This is just an easy way for me to show you the gear.

Contact Information

My e-mail:

My blog: Teaching Online Journalism