What we hear–and how we process it–has a far greater impact on daily living than we realize. We are surrounded by noise every day. Many times we do not hear all that it is intended… or perhaps we only hear what we want to hear. Either way, we take for granted the exceptional power of sound.
The mundane noise of the alarm clock screeching in the morning, the neighbor’s dog howling in sync to an ambulance’s siren or the constant humming of trains rolling down the track may seem insignificant. However, noises like these are very important in audio journalism. With my new audio recorder in hand, I embarked on a new adventure of collecting different examples of ambient noise. Here are six of my best samples:
Ambient Noise – Sirens
Track 1 is a sample of multiple police and fire sirens wailing down Grand Street on Tuesday evening. This type of ambient noise could be included in a variety of audio journalism stories. I might try to feature it in a story about life in the big city.
Ambient Noise – School
Track 2 is the hustle and bustle of students settling in to my Broadcast Journalism course. Students talking, chairs moving and backpacks being flung down could be used in a special feature on education or mid-term exams.
Ambient Noise – Cat Toy
Track 3 is the splendid chirping of an obnoxious stuffed birdie that my kitten loves! I would include this in a special report on appropriate pet toys or annoying toys.
Ambient Noise – Tea Kettle
Track 4 is the screeching sound of my new tea kettle. I would use this in a segment about imported teas… or perhaps an intimate interview conducted in a subject’s living room.
Ambient Noise – Chimes
Track 5 is the melodic ringing of chimes blowing in the wind on the back porch. This sound might serve to set an eerie mood or remind the listener of a warm summer evening in the back yard.
Ambient Noise – Clocks
Track 6 is the loud ticking of a wall clock hanging in my room. I would include this in a story about aging, signifying the passage of time and the ticking of a biological clock.
Ambient noise can help tell a story. Sounds and voices allow the reader to understand or relate to the story on a more personal level. Sometimes all we have to do is…listen.