Entries from August 2009 ↓

Wide eye excitement

I’ve taught my current class for four years and it’s amazing to watch the shift of the students in my classroom. Four years ago my students were interested in working for the web – but most students had plans to work traditional jobs in broadcast newsrooms. They wanted to be on air reporters, newscast producers and videographers. Very few had interest in web-based newsroom jobs. Four years ago, some of the students who wanted web-based jobs couldn’t even find them.

My how times have changed. In a rough economy, I’ve been happy to see many of my former students find amazing jobs. Some of the jobs are positions that had never existed before. My students are presenting skills to newsrooms and other businesses that aren’t seen everywhere. They can shoot and edit video, convert and post it to websites, think visually by creating graphics or understanding enough to work with more techno-savvy flash designers to accomplish their interactive vision. My students understand how to use social media and they understand the challenge of building online relationships through social tools to deliver information. They’ve learned how important it is to be flexible and accept that this world is full of tools that are great now, but could easily change tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about the future and hope I can continue to keep up with it all so my students can be as informed and experienced as possible.

Playing with Google Voice

I know many others have already written about Google Voice… But I haven’t had a chance to play with it until now. I set up Google Voice for my cell phone and my home phone. I decided to call it using my husband’s cell phone to see what the experience is like. When you call a Google Voice account, it asks you to leave your name and then Google Voice alerts the account owner. My phone rang saying my husband was calling. I answered and Google Voice asked if I wanted to answer the call, let it go to voice mail or listen in while the person leaves the voice mail. I opted to let it go to voice mail. I left a quick message after that.

The result: I quickly had an inbox message on Google Voice with the audio and a transcript of the voicemail. It wasn’t a perfect transcript, but it was incredible how quickly it was completed. Along with the ability to call the phone back or send an SMS, I can even embed the voicemail:

Let’s think about this in the sense of news collection. You could have a reporter call in, leave a voicemail report and quickly share the text with the news producers or editors while placing the audio recording onto your newsroom’s website. The audio is also downloadable. What if a reporter used Google Voice to call in his or her voice track for a news package? Who knows. I hope to try these ideas out in my newsroom. Does anyone else have good ideas for the use of Google Voice?

UPDATE: I was too excited to play with Google Voice – I missed that it gives you an option to record your phone conversation. The next thing I hope to investigate is how long Google Voice will record your audio. Imagine the simplicity of collecting a phoner interview using Google Voice. A transcribed interview before you even sit down to write.