Audio Editing Basics from Professor Mindy McAdams

For any audio editing beginner, Professor Mindy McAdams’s tutorial “Getting Started in Audio Editing” is definitely a tremendously useful tool. The short video tutorial provides simple step by step basics in audio editing.

In the tutorial, users specfically learn how to edit audio files using Audacity. Audacity is a free, open source program that allows users to record and edit sounds.

The free editing program is relatively simple. It uses most of the same buttons as the standard camcorder including: play, record, pause and  stop.

The actual audio editing process, however, is a little more difficult than just understanding Audacity’s tools. To simplify the process McAdams compares many of the steps in the process to working in Microsoft Word.

McAdams identifies two steps users need to know for basic audio editing.

  • Step 1: Deleting audio
  • Step 2: Moving audio

To delete audio simply select the segment you wish to delete and hit the delete button. Users can open the edit menu and choose to undo or redo the delete if needed.

Moving audio involves a few more steps.

  1. Select the segment you wish to move
  2. Click “Cut”
  3. Position the cursor to where you want the segment to move to
  4.  Click “Paste”

As a final tip, McAdams notes users should clean up the file by shortening silent points.

If the user wishes to upload the audio file to a website, users must also export the file as an MP3. For the best audio quality, McAdams urges users to choose 128 kbps.

The most surprising part about this entire editing process was how much easier it was than I had anticipated. McAdams short step by step tutorial made the once intimidating process much easier to understand. By comparing many of the steps to Microsoft Word, I felt a lot more comfortable working in the editing program.

My only complaint about the tutorial was that I wish she discussed more than just the basics. In order to make an effective news audio piece, journalists need to know a little more than just the basics.

Ideally, I would love to learn more about how to insert additional audio clips into an audio piece. Specifically, understanding how to insert music smoothly into an audio piece would be an especially effective tool.

Audio storytelling provides a different and unique alternative to the standard article. With a good understanding of audio editing, journalists can become effective audio storytellers. And journalists that can produce any form of multimedia are better equipped to reach audiences today.

I definitely recommend any journalist with little audio editing experience to check out McAdams’s tutorial.