Floating 120 miles down the James River (view this story)

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Rep: 38
Kevin Wellenius June 28, 2010, 6:51 p.m. permalink

The audio does a good job conveying the light-heartedness of the event, while the photos show us a bit of the work involved, what the people look like, and what the boat looks like. Some of the images are really strong, with gorgeous light. I like the image of the men on the bow with the dog on the rail, and of the larger fellow napping. It's not easy getting a variety of images when you're essentially in one spot the whole day.

As for editing, your opening audio give a label to what's happening, but that alone doesn't tell me much. A stronger start might be with the audio that comes later: "Where else in the world is there 25 home-made wooden boats running for eight days down a river?" That audio begs for an answer, and you get it if you stick around to view the piece.

What also struck me is that the paragraph describing the slideshow on the WP website mentions Roger's "fondest childhood memories" are of floating down the river, and that he is joined this year by his brother. Yet none of these two interesting aspects appear in the slideshow itself. These seem important to answer the basic question of why does anybody do this? (OK, Roger gives the mandatory "it's fun," answer, but that's pretty superficial. Lots of things are fun ... why does *this* do it for him?)

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi June 29, 2010, 2:14 p.m. permalink

I think the photography in this story is terrific, and the individual chunks of audio give me a nice window into the experience of this event, but I feel like it's lacking something to tie all of this together.

If I was producing this as a video, or as an audio-only piece for radio, I would have dropped in a few brief pieces of narration to frame the story, rather than relying on the subjects to tell the whole story. I'm not sure why, bt the style with audio slideshows seems to be never to use narration. I think this is a great goal, but it makes it hard to put together a complete "story."

If the goal here was just to give a flavor of the event, then I think you did a fine job. The quotes from your subject get to the "what?" of the story, but not the "why?" as Kevin mentioned above.

I also agree with Kevin's suggestions for an opening. The "where else in the world..." quote is your strongest, and shouldn't be buried at the end behind a lot of factual stuff. Also consider opening with an interesting piece of natural sound, like one of the songs. Use a bit of singing to grab my attention, then hook me with the above quote. Then give the contextual stuff.

Rep: 4
Don Himsel June 30, 2010, 7:43 a.m. permalink

Hi Norm,

Nice work. I think a little more ambient audio would have filled this out a bit and provided a stronger sense of place. Perhaps start with some singing.

Looks like a fun ride.

Rep: 1
Kim Raff July 3, 2010, 4:54 p.m. permalink

Hey Norm,

That is so awesome you were on the river.  I was aboard the Anthony Rucker for a day and was fed pickeled eggs by Roger on the Rosalee.  Aren't the river people amazing.  Anyway I wish I did an audio slideshow but they made me do a video instead...but you should check out my pics they are in a slideshow with a lot of other peoples pictures but there are about 14 in there from the day. http://media.gatewayva.com/lna/specials/2010_batteau/publish_to_web/indexs.htm

So fun to see another persons take on the festival...I really enjoyed it. 



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