NPR’s “Kristin Kimball’s farm” Great Audio, lacking in photo and presentation

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2011 at 3:43 am

National Public Radio (NPR) is best known for its use of audio in both radio broadcasts, web sound bytes, and music clips. With audio as its most used medium, it is no wonder that the sound in the audio-slideshow I found was superb, while other elements left something to be desired.

While browsing through I found this slideshow entitled “Kristin Kimball’s Farm.” It shows a slice of life at Kristin’s farm, her animals and her lifestyle, with audio discussing her ideas and philosophy.

The length of the piece is only about a minute, which I think may be a little too short to truly be representative. On the other hand though, the short one minute slideshow allows you to quickly take in the story without any unnecessary information. Although the time is short, it feels complete. There are some elements left uncovered but it is packaged in a way that doesn’t make one feel that it has ended abruptly.

The slideshow itself has no narration from a third party speaker; the audio comes solely from Kristin. The quotes from her are meaningful and representative, but I think it would have been beneficial to have several other sources as well. There is no natural sounds, and perhaps some clips of horses or cows might have added to the portrait.

The initial photo features a farm with a gorgeous rainbow in the background. I think this is my favorite part because it immediately grabs your attention, catches the scene and places the viewer with the speaker on the farm.

As the multimedia piece continues, Kristin talks about working with the horses. Several photos of her are shown with the horses, but they are all quite similar. They do not show different scenes or really explain the type of work that they do. It leaves the viewer that is ignorant of farm life guessing.

There are no photo captions, but I do not think they were needed as the words describe the situation.

Also during the description of the horses photos of other animals are shown:

These additional animals and their purpose are  never discussed.

A random reader posted a comment beneath the story saying:

He has a point as Kimball’s audio describes the human nature to be close worth and work with the earth but the photos feature a much more glamourous side of farming. At no point does Kristin seem to be looking dirty or working with the earth. It presents the story but does not visually represent the reality as well as it could.

The audio however presents some meaningful words. Kristin discusses her work on the farm and on the earth as something that makes us feel “satisfied.” It is in her words of wisdom and expression of personal experience that makes me think that this is a successful slideshow, despite its short comings. It shows the reader a snapshot of life and presents a meaningful point of view. With both of those goals being accomplished, I think NPR succeeded with this multimedia piece. It could have been done differently to better show the farm and the truth of work there, but nevertheless I leave the slideshow feeling “satisfied.”


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