A Closer Look At “Salt and Sugar”

This post will analyze and explain the story “Salt and Sugar: A look into eating habits.” It will take a look at what this story does and how it could do it better.

Read the original piece: https://medium.com/@samlburroughs/salt-and-sugar-a-look-into-eating-habits-8c17b1e8d8ff

This story was told through traditional text with supporting audio embedded from SoundCloud. The audio playlist includes an intro and an outro like a traditional podcast, but it does not include narration in between clips.

The purpose of this is to allow the sources in my story to carry the narrative without my input. It allows for a free flowing feel that does not take up the reader’s time with my own reiterations of what the sources say.

This story is about every day eating habits and how they influence our health without us really thinking about it.

The narrative follows one person who describes her typical college eating habits. The story uses expert testimony from an eating disorder specialist to explain why some of the everyday quirks in our eating habits may be just as unhealthy as the food we choose to eat.

My group member, Shayna Tanen, reviewed, tested and revised my final product.

Through testing my product, I discovered my method of presenting the audio in playlist form allowed the reader to go through the piece without feeling interrupted or bogged down by narration.

But the playlist format also inhibited the narrative in some ways.

Through Shayna’s testing of my product I learned that some of the downfalls of this method of presentation is that it prevents the reader from listening to the voices of the sources as they read.

Since I did not break up my audio into clips and insert them into a piece and opted for the playlist, Shayna’s readers said that they finished the text but jumped through the audio files, choosing only a few that they were interested in.

Through Shayna’s testing, I realized that while the playlist is an innovative idea that does not force the readers to listen to audio to get the point of the story, I need to come up with a better way to integrate the playlist into the piece so that readers do not have to constantly scroll up and down to access it.

The readers largely enjoyed the text narrative. They found it compelling and thought it was an appropriate length.

Another positive review that I received said that since the audio was not needed to experience the narrative, it allowed them to chose how they wanted to consume the piece.

The choice in consumption was another benefit this chosen format had. Since the audio is a playlist of clips but includes an intro and outro, readers can listen to the intro and then pick the clips they want to listen to and still be able to experience the narrative.

I believe, that while not integrated at the most optimal point, this format of a playlist that is structured like a podcast with an accompanying strong feature story, was an innovative and creative way to present this story.

It provides readers with a choice and choosing one over the other or both does not inhibit the experience of the complete story line.

Through continued reporting, focusing on getting more anecdotal narratives about people’s individual eating habits would help continue to flesh out this narrative.

The expert source is very solid, it is additional personal narratives from individuals that would give the readers more of what they wanted.

In short: The text was strong and interesting, largely receiving a positive response. The audio was not integrated well enough into the story, but the presentation of an optional podcast without my narration provided the reader with the choice of reading the story or listening to it. The inclusion of an intro and outro for the playlist allowed readers to listen to the audio without having to read the text. What I could do better is find a better way to integrate the audio so that it flows with the story and gather additional interviews of people detailing their typical eating habits.

Read the full story here: https://medium.com/@samlburroughs/salt-and-sugar-a-look-into-eating-habits-8c17b1e8d8ff

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