The making of the First Great Episode

This is how we did it

The Donald.

Check Your Facts is up and running! After launching a 4-minute teaser last week, we published the (as Donald Trump would say) First Great Episode of the podcast on Thursday.

Since me and David Tvrdon first met each other in the Digital Journalism Rocks community, choosing our first guest was a no-brainer. And here’s what Lina Timm, founder of the DJR community, has to say about digital journalism, innovation, and communities for journalists:

“We journalists who are deeply interested in innovation and technology should collaborate more and exchange our best practices and views, because in this way innovation can accelerate and have a broader impact.”

That’s just one of many interesting insights shared by Lina (or should we call her Lean Left Him?) in the first episode.

We’re not going to spoil it for you — go check it out yourself if you haven’t already!

With that being said, let’s move on to the main topic of this story: the Whats and the Whys and the Hows.

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Voice/video call application

Conceptually, we had already paved the way with the teaser episode (and, of course, many key decisions were made prior to that, but let’s save that for another story). Technically as well.

Neither me nor David Tvrdon is a fan of Skype, but it proved robust enough during the recording of the teaser. Therefore, we decided to stick with it for the recording of the first real episode as well.

Call recording software

When I managed a few podcasts at Aftonbladet (two as host and five as editor) some years ago, I used the software Soundflower with great results. However, the Soundflower software hasn’t been properly upgraded for a couple of years, so we decided to look elsewhere.

There’s a bunch of tools for recording Skype calls out there, and we considered both eCamm’s Call Recorder and Kanda Software’s Callnote. Of these two, the latter was a better fit since it lets you record both Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook, and Viber.

Ultimately, we didn’t choose any of those two though. The winner, with quite a large margin, was instead Audio Hijack.

Audio Hijack is an extremely versatile software that allows its user to record any application’s audio,

including VoIP calls from Skype or FaceTime, web streams from Safari, Google Chrome, Opera Neon, or Vivaldi (the latter two being my personal browsers of choice), and practically anything you can think of.

Audio hardware

With video call application and call recording software being all set, we also needed a good hardware setup.

My microphone of choice is a Røde NT-USB, while David Tvrdon acquired a Samson Go Mic, which is a portable USB condenser microphone.

Lina Timm, on the other hand, had nothing but an iPhone headset at her disposal.

Audio editing software

Being an amateur musician, I had been using Apple’s Logic Pro for quite some time and was thus familiar with the application.

The Include audio input and Split between channels features were enabled in Audio Hijack.

When recording the call, I enabled the Include audio input and Split between channels features in Audio Hijack.

This way, I could edit the Skype audio input and the Røde audio input in separate tracks in Logic Pro X. Otherwise, my input would have been too dominant — partly due to my Røde microphone, but also because my input, being the main source of audio, was free from transmission interference — making it more difficult to get a balanced mix of the different inputs.

In Logic, I added multiband compressor, noise grind, and limiter, cranking up the Skype input without distorting the audio, and isolating the Røde microphone input in order to take it down a notch.

I think we did pretty good considering it’s our very first (real) episode. What do you think? We’d love to hear your feedback! Oh, and by the way: if you missed the teaser trailer, don’t worry. You can still find it on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Youtube.

Henrik Ståhl is a journalist with almost 15 years of experience, recently turned Product Owner at Bonnier News, working with the digital development of Dagens industri and Dagens Nyheter, occasionally writing articles for Dagens industri andDi Digital. He is also a Digital Identities speaker.
David Tvrdon is a journalist interested in social & new media, data journalism and journalism innovation. Now working as a product manager for online news of @DennikSme & @SME_Data.

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