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Journalism and Podcasting

Journalism and Podcasting
Thanks to a team effort in the School of Journalism and Media led by multimedia professor Kakie Urch, students are learning how to produce one of the fastest-growing storytelling methods: podcasts. Working with technology coordinator Chris Larmour, Urch set up a facility for students to create pilot podcast programs in her JOU 498, Multimedia Storytelling, capstone course.  
A sports podcasting course is planned for the Summer '19 session.
Please click here to read about Podcasts.
 
PODCASTS
Students learn new multimedia 
storytelling techniques for news and sports 
 
When E.W. Scripps Chairman Rich Boehne talked with students about the future of journalism at the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame luncheon last year, he put the emphasis on one word: podcasts.
 
Today, thanks to a team effort in the School of Journalism and Media, led by multimedia professor Kakie Urch, students are producing pilot podcast programs in her JOU 498, Multimedia Storytelling, capstone course.  
 
They are also learning about how Scripps has put all of its podcast companies under the Stitcher brand, the national leader, and how other news media companies are using podcasts to transform their storytelling. 
 
"Audio, through podcasting, is enjoying a new golden age of possibility," Urch said. "News organizations like the New York Times and the Washington Post are adding audio podcasts to their multimedia mix with great success."
 
Working with the school's technology coordinator, Chris Larmour, Urch set up a facility for students to create their pilot podcast programs as part of class projects. The facility also serves as a bridge to the independent Kentucky Kernel newspaper, whose sports staff has used it to improve the quality of its podcasts.
 
"The Kernel had been producing a great sports podcast for two years," Urch said. "The new setup gives students the real experience of being in a studio to make their podcasts, not crouched in a corner or a closet." 
 
The Kentucky Kernel's "Between the Blue and White Lines" podcast is on iTunes for download as a free subscription.
 
The school's new facility features a pro-quality microphone setup and board that allows for photo and other external inputs. The Multimedia Storytelling students are developing the skills and knowledge to create professional-quality podcasts.
 
"The assignment requires them to develop a full pitch for their podcast, analyze and build its components and report, host and record the pilot episode, " Urch said. "This gives them a valuable example of work on this platform for their graduation portfolio, and if they like, the first step to an iTunes registered podcast." 
 
By requiring students to create their own pilots, Urch is impressing on them the importance of being entrepreneurial.
 
"Many times in my student media and professional media career, I have found the value of implementing the philosophy of 'If you don't see what you need in the market, build it yourself,' " she said.  
 
Urch's extensive experience in radio made her transition to podcast storytelling smooth. A founding member of the student-run station WRFL in 1988, Urch was also instrumental in the 2017 creation of the Lexington Community Radio non-profit led by Debra Hensley and its two LPFM (low-power FM) stations, WLXL and WLXU. 
 
"All three of these stations use podcasting as a way to extend the life and reach of their on-air broadcasts," Urch said.
 
The school is looking to expand its podcast course offerings in the Summer 2019 session with a Sports Podcasting course taught by Lecturer Andrew Dawson, a broadcast graduate of the school and former sports director at WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
 
The school is exploring immersive journalism through Assistant Professor David Stephenson's JOU 497 course on Virtual Reality Storytelling. As Urch looks to the future, she sees a connection as audio meets augmented reality.
 
"Audio podcasts are popular, in part, because they are hands-free in our busy, commuting, exercising, driving world. But they also do things that are often associated with reading—allow the user to use their imagination to create images of the story," Urch said.
 
"Who knows what we will have as the audio sensation from the sound of the crowd at Rupp Arena. I can't wait to be part of it. "