Listening Journal #1: Public Radio (NPR)

September 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm (Listening Journals) (, , , , , )

National Public Radio, created in 1970, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit media organization that serves as a national syndicator to 797 public radio station in the US.

National Public Radio, created in 1970, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit media organization that serves as a national syndicator to 797 public radio station in the US.

Listening to 2 features on NPR and critiquing them on these criteria:

  1. Title of the feature
  2. Who produced the feature? (One or more persons)
  3. Length of the feature
  4. Describe the feature.
  5. Was the feature interesting?
  6. Quality of the sound? Use of nat sound.
  7. Quality of the announcer’s voice?
  8. Was the feature too long?  Too short?
  9. Other observations/suggestions (for example, ease of use of the website; also use examples to help illustrate your point(s))

Feature #1

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113018102

1-      Title: Terrorism Plot Suspects to Appear in Federal Court

2-      Producer(s): By: Dina Temple-Raston

3-      Length: 3:56

4-      Description of feature: It is a news kind of feature where the presenter was interviewing a reporter on the incident of the FBI arrest of 3 men who were suspected to be terrorists and the release of them thereafter.

5-      The feature was interesting for me because of the presenter’s questions that the interviewee herself admitted were good and important. It also gave the important information as directly as possible so there was no way for me to get bored or anything. I got the details of the people and the places where they belong or of which they were planning to attack and the places where they were going to court.

6-      The quality of the sound was amazing. I could hear the 2 announcers very clearly except that in the middle there was a stumble in the recorder. Barely was there any use of NAT sound.

7-      The quality of the announcers’ voices was good. Neither was their voice unbearable nor so good to listen to. It was just fine.

8-      The feature length was suitable for the type of news it was reporting. Not too short and not too long.

9-      I would have suggested using some NAT sound of the arrest may be like the police car sound or the sound of people tumble and fighting the police at the beginning of the feature or some happy sounds at the announcement of the suspects’ release as a transition in the middle of it. I liked the fact that the website gives the thrust of the story written as a lead in for the story.

Feature #2

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112813709

1-      Title: Coco Chanel: The Orphan who Transformed Fashion

2-      Producer(s): there was about 15 people producing the Morning Edition. By Susan Stamberg

3-      Length: 7:19

4-      Description: It is a feature covering or advancing the screening of a new film telling the story of the legendary fashion designer Chanel. The feature has a character called Fontaine whom the reporter is talking to or quoting. It also has quotes that Chanel said one day.

5-      The feature was very interesting indeed. The presence of this other character kept me following the story, especially with her French accent. Also, the reporter inserted some NAT sound from the movie may be (they were French talks) in the middle of the feature.

6-      The quality of the sound was very good.

7-      So was the quality of the announcers’ voices, both the presenter and the reporter. The other third interviewee’s voice quality was also good.

8-      The feature was a little bit long. It could have been shorter so that it doesn’t give too much of what the movie is going to be like. For me, the film is almost burned. I know the story and eveything. Only if I was interested in the visuals, I’d go see it, but what if I wasn’t?

9-      My suggestion would be introducing the woman talking to the reporter or at least make it clear whether it was a live interview or it was some audio clipping. Introduce her as in her identity, how related she was to the story of the movie.

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“Qahwa Sada”: When Laughing is a Sad Reality

September 23, 2009 at 1:47 am (Weekly Posts) (, , , , , )

Continuing my nostalgic state that I have expressed in my previous post, I attended a performance in the Opera called “Qahwa Sada” or “Black Coffee”. I laughed till my tears hurt my cheeks. That was all the play was about. Laugh till you cry.

The name connotes how deteriorating the conditions we, Egyptians, are living in are. In segments, it presents how a certain issue was like before in the good old days and how it is now. The use of Arabic language, ignorance, the Fatawa (a religious advisory opinion), fighting for living, the prayers of today’s businessmen and spinsterhood are among the issues the play touched upon. After presenting each of those issues in such a funny way, the audience would hear a beautiful old song reflecting how different this exact same issue was with such somber and dismal music at the intermittent transitioning to the following issue or story.

The crew, all in black, started off by placing the pictures of Egypt’s great artists in all fields, singers, composers, actors and actresses, and writers at the front of the stage and going into a weeping and crying state. By the end of it, a performer would look at them in sorrow and say “our only condolence is that you are going to a much better place.”

The performance has been on play for over a year now. It was performed on the stage of the American University in Cairo (AUC) at the beginning of the year 2009.

It was attended by many prominent people from intellectuals to politicians to artists. Egypt’s First Lady Suzan Mubarak was among them.

Some of the performance’s cast made it to a movie starring a young popular actor in the Egyptian and Arabic cinema. The movie is still screened in movie theaters.

When matters are getting so sad that you have nothing to do but laugh at them, order or watch Qahwa Sada

When matters are getting so sad that you have nothing to do but laugh at them, order or watch Qahwa Sada

Watch from 3:20 to 7:40 or just watch it in full; it’s up to you!

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When technology takes over

September 16, 2009 at 12:26 am (Podcasts) (, , , , )

“Oh! Come over here you gotta see this picture of me!”

A sentence that could be said in surprise when a picture or a document is found no matter how awful or awesome the memories they hold are.

I believe that being technologically advanced has taken away from us, as humans. My story will further elaborate what I mean.

My sister and I were tidying up our room the other day. Among all the crap, there was lots of paper piles that we needed to get rid of or find some other use for. Books, novels, notes from her college years that are more than 10 years old. Doha, my sister, was a student majoring in English literature, so plays and novels written by shakespeare were all over the place with her comments and translation of words that were hard for her to understand at the time.

She asked me if I wanted to have a look at them to see if I was any interested, but they were too old for me to read and too dear for her to get rid of.

I was happy to see her having her memories in her hands whenever she got the chance to.

Then she grabs a dust-ridden cramped paper to find that it was her university enrollment document where she had her preferences listed for which college she wanted to go to, depending on her total score. She was too ambitious.

It was the same paper that we filled in electronically a month ago for Shaimaa, my youngest sister. I stared at her document for a little while and then told her “what if shaimaa wanted to see what she had in mind for her college 10 years from now?”

Even if the document is retrievable, it won’t feel the same holding it and seeing how much it has become timeworn or seeing what dust and age have done to it.

I, myself, still feel nostalgic to the days when I used to wait for my dad to bring in a developed film negative of a special occasion to grab the photos in my hand and recall why I had my laugh coming out like that in this picture.

It’s just that flash drives and memory cards have deprived us, or at least me, of such a joy.

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