National Writers Workshop

Wichita, Kansas | May 19-20, 2007

The No-Fear Guide to Multimedia Skills

This page accompanies a 90-minute presentation to journalists, mostly newspaper reporters.

Step 1: Audio

STEP 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.

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.

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).

In this fine example of a Soundslides slideshow, an undergraduate photojournalism student tells us the story of a production of the Nutcracker ballet. She produced this while on an internship at The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun. Notice the diversity in shots, scenes, lenses, etc. Notice too the excellent editing of the pictures to the content of the audio.

When you listen to this unusual example from the Chicago Tribune, you may get some new ideas about audio.

Step 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.

What About Flash?

As Richard Koci Hernandez said, until you've made people cry with one of your Soundslides, you're probably not ready to start learning Flash. (Unless you're a graphic artist -- then you should skip Soundslides and go straight to Flash.)

When you're ready, start here and advance to here.

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Contact Information

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My blog: Teaching Online Journalism