A.J. Feather

Journalist, Developer

I'm a Missouri native currently seeking a dual masters in computer science and journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Every week I also host an awesome podcast called "Integrate" with my friend Mikah, which you can find at Integrate.FM.

Before moving to New York, I obtained undergraduate degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In Columbia, I hosted a weekly show called "Talking Politics" for KBIA, the local NPR member station and produced, wrote and anchored video for Newsy.com way too early in the morning.

There has never been a political column I did not enjoy reading or an Apple product I did not enjoy using.

Audacity

This week we started working with audio in Multimedia Journalism.  We'll be using Audacity to put together audio stories.  Like the 3 - Photo Project, my project will focus on Richard the Lionhearted.  In the past, I have only used Adobe Audition and Garage Band to work with audio.  I'm always excited to learn a new system though. Audacity was released in May of 2000.  It's different from the other products we're using in this class (Final Cut X & Photoshop Elements) because it's an open source application, which means it's available freely and can be modified by users and developers based on personal preferences.  Audacity won "Best Project for Multimedia" on SourceForge.net in 2007.

Although it's free, Audacity is a full-performance audio post-processing program frequently used to edit and produce podcasts, but it has also been used to record and mix entire albums for projects for bands, such as tUnE-yArDs.

Audacity does have some limitations though.  At this time, it doesn't support WMA, AAC, AC3, AMR(NB) & M4a natively.  All of these formats require plug-ins for use.  With all of it's limitations, Audacity is still popular in education.  Several institutions, including Birmingham City University, East London University, Red Hat High Summer Science Camp, Universidad Veritas and Technology for Improved Learning Outcomes, use Audacity for audio production training.  The Audacity Team has started focusing on the education market over the past few years.  As the Audacity team writes on their wiki, "In 2008 as a result of feedback on use of Audacity in the classroom, we started adapting Audacity to be easier for younger students to use."

A Lifehacker.com September 2013 poll rated Audacity the No. 1 audio editing application with almost 57 percent of the vote.  In a Sept. 2, 2012 article, Lifehacker writes, "It's no DAW, but if you're a DJ looking to polish a set before sharing it on the web, or if you just want to remove the noise from your music collection ... Audacity is a simple tool to master and gets the job done quickly."

There's always a learning curve for new software, but having a working knowledge of Audacity should be very useful.