A blind reporter’s digital journalism includes a lesson for us all

Liz Campbell with Gabe, her guide dog.

Liz Campbell with Gabe, her guide dog. Photo by Joyce Marshall/Star-Telegram

A big challenge for digital journalists at a newspaper is figuring out how much time to spend helping colleagues learn the required skills.

It’s hard to overstate how much we appreciate those who don’t need much hand-holding.

Enter Elizabeth Campbell, a blind reporter who has worked various beats at the Star-Telegram over the years.

Liz has accepted that today’s journalists must create content that works across platforms, not just in print.
She can’t shoot videos or take photographs, but she found at least one new platform that she can master — audio storytelling.

She refused to settle for the “I’m too busy” rationale, and she didn’t give in to the technical challenges.

She simply pulled out her iPhone, opened the built-in Voice Memos app, and recorded a short audio clip while interviewing riders for a story about bus transportation. 

She returned to the office and uploaded her audio clip into Goldwave, the PC-based audio editing software we use. She had problems getting the software to work, so she went home and tried it on her home computer.

The next morning, she quietly e-mailed the edited audio clip, converted from Apple’s .MV4 format to the requested .mp3, to the digital desk for posting with her story. Camera-ready, as we used to say.

She’s now talking with blind colleagues about external microphones and other tricks to improve her recordings.

There’s an excellent lesson here for all of us, especially those who have been slow to take responsibility for learning new skills.

If Liz can overcome her challenges, we can, too.

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