Posted by: lcowie | December 24, 2008

How to: Speakers

How to: Effectively record a speech or lecture

Comprehensive coverage matters

By Lesley Cowie

Some beginner journalists have trouble capturing important quotes during an interview or speech. To ease the process, a journalist should use a sound recorder, video camera or digital camera at the event. In addition to capturing the information, a journalist will also be able to provide multimedia content for those who could not attend the speech.

Obtain a digital instrument —

A sound recorder will work for your ears as you write the article pertaining to the event. You may include the sound recording on your web site or blog, but your audience will be more inclined to watch a video. A video camera will allow you to shoot video of the subject, therefore increasing the quality of your work. Your audience may want to see and hear the speaker in addition to reading your transcription. Some digital video cameras, such as the Flip Ultra, contain software that allows you to pull images from the video. Digital cameras generally have the option for taking still photos or video. In this case, you will manually decide which function you would like to perform. The video quality on digital cameras is not as good as what you would find from a digital video camera. In addition, most digital cameras restrict the length of video to approximately 15 minutes. All three instruments can record a lecture. Your choice of instrument will depend on how you intend to use the recording.

Bring a notebook or pad —

Although you have brought the digital instrument to the event, you will still want to take notes on what you hear and see. In case the digital instrument does not pick up all the sound, you will have your notes as a back-up. This will also allow you to have better coverage of what you hear and see. Quotes are more likely to be exact in this manner.

Chunk the information —

Rather than listening to, or watching, the hour-long lecture multiple times, record the speech in small chunks. You may split your notebook into sections, designating where the information lies in relation to your recorded chunks. This way, when you review your notes, you can choose which recorded chunks you would like to listen to in more depth.


Journalists have different ways of covering speakers and events. By using a digital instrument and notebook, a journalist has the ability to provide comprehensive coverage of a speech. Digital recordings are engaging to the public. Chunking information allows the journalist to review the speaker’s lecture without having to sit through the entire lecture again. These tips are valuable for multimedia stories that require comprehensive information on a deadline.


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