A broadcasting journalist needs to know more than just how to string together a good sentence. As well as learning about economy of language and how to hit the right note when reporting on sensitive subjects, a broadcasting student needs technical skills.
Whether it is a television or radio broadcasting studio, it is crucial that background noise, white noise and any other tedious form of unwanted noise is eliminated from the recording.
Who makes sure of this?
A sound engineer is primarily the person in charge of acoustics and sound management, but a good broadcaster will know what they want to achieve from their programme. Leave everything up to the sound engineer and just see what happens. Afterall, it’s not a sound engineer’s job to know that it’s in bad taste to introduce a fog horn noise after the announcement of the death of a public figure. Sure, the sound engineer can use his common sense, but if the fog horn noise is made every day at the same time – and the sound engineer is hearing but not listening to your programme – what’s going to stop him honking that horn? Embarrassment it the only thing a mistake like that will lead to.
Broadcasting students should acquaint themselves with the software and hardware necessary for the production, reproduction and synchronization of sound. They should also know how to discern between digital, acoustic and electronic sound and the benefits of each.
Studios are laid out in specific designs to provide for the best possible use of sound. Arrangements such as where to put the microphone or where the PA system should go are down to knowledge, experience and, naturally, the right training.
Broadcasting students beware: there’s more to your job that a confident disposition and a crafty tongue. If you want to get ahead, familiarise yourselves with studio audio equipment, the basic principles of sound engineering and the latest in the software and hardware sound packages.