Feature Story: “Audio Technology Program Grows to New Heights”

Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2009 by commblogsh

The American University Audio Technology program now has a connection with Jimi Hendrix.
The school commissioned John Storyk, studio designer for Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York City, to design a new recording studio in the Kreeger Building on campus.
“It’s great we’re moving to a new facility,” said ATEC professor Mike Harvey.  “My fingers are crossed that John Storyk’s plans are redefined fully,” Harvey said.
The program began in 1979 by physics department professor Romeo Segnan for students interested in the scientific aspect of sound and recording, said Dr. Paul Oehlers, head of the ATEC department.  “I want students to have skills in the art of recording and the technology used in it,” Oehlers said.
Today, students learn how to use the recording software Pro-Tools, and learn different topics of synthesis, acoustics, electronics, and music business.  The program offers Pro-Tools certification, which exposes the students to a lot of software based recording systems and mixing.
The school also just bought a brand new analog mixing board, the API 1608, from the audio company API to give students a greater experience in audio and mixing.  Oehlers and Matt Boerum, studio manager and recent graduate of the program, worked together to build a mixing room.  The 1608 makes signal flow much more intuitive and easy to learn, and signal flow can actually be followed on the console.
However, the program did not used to have all this equipment and funding.  Boerum recently graduated in 2005, and during his time at the program, “we only had three Apple G4s and two G3 computers, which didn’t work at all,” said Boerum.  “Our classroom was just an open office space with no acoustics.  There was a 24 track tape machine until we got Pro Tools 6.  There was nothing in the mixing suite,” Boerum said.
Before Air Conditioning was installed, the recording studio would sometimes grow to the temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit.  “I would sometimes be in there for six hours at a time,” said Harvey, “and would go home at the end of the day with major headaches.”
When Oehlers came in 2003, however, things began to change.  “I gave a 25 page detailed report to the dean explaining what problems we had and what needed to be fixed,” Oehlers said.  “The dean was extremely supportive and started giving us the funding to fix some problems and buy new equipment,” said Oehlers.
In those few years, the program has tripled in size and is gaining more and more recognition.  “There were around 10 to 15 people in the program when I graduated in 2005,” said Boerum.  “Now there are 70 students in the program,” Oehlers said.
“I’m doing on average about three tours a week for prospective students, which tripled from last year,” Oehlers said.  “EQ Magazine, API, Guitar Center, and Mix Magazine have all endorsed us.  This might even increase our size by five or six times,” Oehlers said.
The program not only has grown, but the community is a good place to learn as well.  “I really like the tight-knit community involved with the program,” student Wyatt Eddy said.
Kristof Aldenderfer, a 2007 graduate, enjoyed benefits from the tight knit community at the program.  He now works at the Library of Congress doing quality control on different sound media and teaching at the school.  “Paul was the one who got me the job,” Aldenderfer said.  “My boss went through the ATEC program here, so Paul connected with me him and I got the job.  I also definitely wouldn’t be teaching here if I didn’t know Paul,” Aldenderfer said.
“With my knowledge on how audio works, how to work with it, and record it, I’ll also do some freelance recording with some groups,” Aldenderfer said.  “I also did post-production work and mixing for a thesis film,” said Aldenderfer.
With changing technology and times, much of audio is “moving ahead into multimedia” said Harvey.  “I’m always behind the curve on technology,” Oehlers said.  “It’s a challenge,” said Oehlers.  “Luckily, I can change the program based on the needs of the students,” Oehlers said.
With a fast-paced world and diverse interests of students, the program seems to be corresponding with that.  “We’re going away from music composition and separating more into our separate major,” Boerum said.  “We’re also opening a post-production facility and will offer Pro-Tools certification in music recording as well as post-production,” Boerum said.
“My experience here has been really good,” Eddy said.  “With the skills I have learned I hope to work in a studio when I’m out of school,” Eddy said.
“The program is headed to a good place,” Harvey said.



Class Blog 11/30/2009

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2009 by commblogsh

Class today hinted of the closing of a semester.  Anxious students could sense the end with only two full classes and a take home midterm left of Writing for Mass Communications.  The lecture today consisted of more powerpoints discussing the laws and ethics of journalism.  The lecture then curved into talk on the online class and a lecture on the three journalist story videos posted on Blackboard.  This turned into a discussion of each journalist and what the students thought of their ethical dilemmas.  There was much talk of Kim Dozier, whose story a few years ago accidentally left on a US General saying when the attack of an area was.  Her punishment and her cameraman’s punishment was discussed and debated.  Diana Quinn and her dilemma was also discussed, as well as Gina Garcia.  After discussions, Felicia Parks from the career center came in to lecture about the career center and all the resources it has to offer for Communication and Journalism students.  She talked about careers, internships, and where people have interned before.  Thus concludes class today.

American Forum 2009 article

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2009 by commblogsh

Panelists consisting of David Gregory, Jose Antonio Vargas, David Winston, David Corn, and Erin McPike gathered yesterday at the American Forum at American University in Washington, DC to discuss the youth’s reaction to the Obama presidency after almost a year of him winning the 2008 election.

“Is this the change they can believe in?” said Professor Jane Hall, associate professor at American University’s School of Communications and moderator of the event.

Professor Hall agreed that this year’s Forum is very much a sequel to last year’s Forum, entitled “Youthquake 2008.”  The Forum last year discussed young people’s roles and importance in the upcoming 2008 election, and how their increased involvement could drastically change the presidential election.

It seems this is the case, as Hall pointed out that 22.4 million young people voted in last year’s election, with 66 percent of the vote for Obama.  Meet the Press host David Gregory said there is not a lot of faith in government or the media today.  “A young person voting for Obama was about leadership,” Gregory said.  It is so “they could identify with someone,” he said.

The question is: are the youth satisfied with the Obama Administration one year later?  David Winston, republican strategist and president of The Winston Group, said, “is it 18 to 29 year olds following Obama, or is it Obama following 18 to 29 year olds?”  Winston points out that Obama could be trying to appeal to young people, or young people could just like him.

“He doesn’t look like a transformative president” in how he’s conducting himself, said David Corn, Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine.  Corn said that Obama could very well not be trying to appeal as much to young people now that he won the election and is in office.  “Obama is not speaking out to young people as much because he doesn’t have to,” said Erin McPike, political reporter for Congress Daily at The National Journal.

Jose Antonio Vargas, the technology and innovations editor to the Huffington Post said a lot of the appeal for Obama is he is not George W. Bush.  American University student Elizabeth Hopkins refuted these claims, as she said “it’s not about the personality, it’s about the issues.”  “Young people are paying attention more than before,” said McPike.

David Gregory said that nowadays, young people of 18 to 21 year olds are starting to realize the severity of the issues that happened in the beginning of the decade and pay more attention to them, with increasing concerns on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “The Iraq War is a very difficult war,” Gregory said, “and young people are reconnecting to the war in a negative way.”

The use of online networking through media such as Facebook and Twitter was also discussed.  It is not the online strategy that has connected Obama with young people; it is just that he connects with them and can bring issues to the level of the young generation.  “The challenge of the republican party is not how to use the internet, but to learn how to speak with 18 to 29 year olds,” said David Winston.

“Through social networking, the youth are definitely voicing their opinion a lot more,” said Kevin Ralph, freshman at American University.  This can be seen as a countless number of tweets and Facebook posts arose on the subject of Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize, many of them negative.  Although Obama won a golden victory in November, 2008, he still has a lot to do to prove himself to the young generation.  There are some issues that some people are still concerned about even with Obama in office.  Students were asked in the beginning of the Forum if they thought the Iraq War was better since Obama took office, and the room became awkwardly silent as few people clapped and few people raised their hands.

Another issue is the topic of education and getting more people to afford college.  “I don’t know how he can commit to lowering the price of textbooks,” said Erin McPike.

Although Obama won a landslide victory with the help of many new, young voters, his work is far from over.  The American Forum last night proved that young people are paying attention to his movements, and just because they voted for him does not mean he cannot gain disapproval.


A Young Point of View

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2009 by commblogsh

Journalism today, without a doubt, is definitely not the same as it was 30 or even 20 years ago, and in more ways than one.  Physically, the type of media journalistic news travels through is rising and rapidly changing.  In the days before internet, newspapers, television, and magazines ruled news reports, while today the internet has a vast amount of new medium to offer such as newspaper and magazine websites and arguably blogs, Facebook, Twitter, independent news sources, and endless amounts of posts and fan sites.

The idea of news is also changing.  Dr. Danna Walker says that older journalists “have become comfortable seeing journalism as an entity that crosses platforms and business models.”  The traditional style of the hard, dry news in newspapers and television seem to also be transferring over to the digital world, and news can come in any form.  However, Dr. Walker also says that students “think of journalism in old school ways.”  “’News,’ as they define it, is dry and objective-and generally to be avoided unless you’re a hard-core politics junkie,” Walker says.

While this is not true about all students, this claim is very true to most.  American University senior Cameron Conway says, “Twitter and Facebook are definitely not news or journalism in any way.  I do find myself finding out many things from them, such as an event or a link someone posted, but I do not consider it real news.  However, it is a good lubricant to find certain news easier.”  The opinion of blogs is also really similar.  “Blogs are a great way to give opinions, stories, or personal thoughts that are outside the box,” Conway says, “but it is still not real news.  If most blogs had a specific source or some credentials to show, I might consider it news.”  However, Cameron does agree, like most students, that journalism is definitely changing.  “Journalism is definitely not dying, no.  I feel that the internet is the next place for it to go, and that the options for journalists will increase twofold within the next decade or so,” Conway says.

While the student generation does not necessarily feel that journalism can go into so many digital mediums, this is not necessarily a bad thing.  This sets a standard for the journalists of the future, and still makes it that certain requirements and credentials must be met before being considered real news.


It seems that  covering meetings, politics, and sports are the trickiest topics to cover in journalism.  For meetings, a journalist has to be on top of his or her game, and be very prepared beforehand to know what the topic of discussion is.  For politics, skepticism is needed, especially when interviewing a politician because they lie.  When interviewing politicians, it is also important to note that a journalist must slowly get to the meat of the content, slowly building trust.  And for sports, research and careful notes is also really important, and writing a sports story must not be boring and act as if the reader is actually there.

I’m Trendy because of My IPHONE

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2009 by commblogsh

It’s on the subway, the train, the plane, in the car, riding a bike, walking to school, even walking in nature.  It is everywhere you can imagine.  It used to be “one of the most talked about consumer products ever,” but now it is seen so frequently that no thought is given to it anymore.  The pleasant glow given off by it is eerily mesmerizing and it has conjoined many activities into one.  People simply stick their heads in it and become lost in their own world.

I describe of course the iPhone, a revolutionizing product changing the way people communicate.  Introduced in June 2007 by Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, the iPhone quickly became a huge hit among young people, although tending to be quite expensive.  No matter the price, more and more people switched to the phone, making it ‘trendy’ to own one.

The phone “searches the internet…and comes with a host of new applications,” having long battery life and gadgets such as shooting full motion video.  The questions are, are all these functions, gadgets, and applications too much and are they detrimental to society?  IPhone user Ryan Hall comments on the criticisms of the iPhone.  “The iPhone can cause a person to become anti-social, but it really depends on their personality.”  “I mean, it’s an electronic device, and any electronic device has the capability to make someone anti-social.”  Ryan has used the iPhone for over a year now, and he really sees no problem with it.  “I find it very useful,” he says.  “I find myself mostly using it looking at maps of a city, or using the ‘Next Bus’ app to see when the next bus is going to come around.”  “I actually find that I spend less time on my computer because I check email and updates on my phone throughout the day,” another avid iPhone user, Wyatt Eddy, comments.  Ryan continues, “I’m sure some people do buy the phone because it’s a trend, but I know I bought it because it’s a useful tool and it’s nice to have in a stressful situation, like when you’re lost.”

Although the iPhone is a trend, its welcome is still definitely not worn out, and for good reason.  Sure, it might have very useless apps such as the light saber app or the piano app, but it also is chock full of very useful items.  It is a trend that is slowly defining a generation and will soon enough become a part of life just as a laptop computer is a part of life now.  Amidst all the criticisms, the average person buys it for its useful applications to aid their life, and not for it to take over their lives.


Blog #2: An Objective Bias

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2009 by commblogsh

When I watch the news, a process of skepticism always subconsciously runs through my brain.  I know that in some way, shape, or form, the news network HAS to have an agenda running through the program.  In a sense, I find it a good thing to be thinking ahead and critically about what is being fed to me, yet on the other hand I find it sad that it is necessary.

People will always have a bias on anything we do or say, even if we don’t mean to do it.  As the Rhetorica Network states, “human communication always takes place…through a medium among individuals and groups who are situated historically, politically, economically, and socially.”  Bias is just a word that “identifies the collective influences of the entire context of a message.”  So basically, it is impossible to avoid any kind of bias in journalism and reporting; it is just simply part of human nature and what cultures we are brought up in.

However, what should be avoided in news media is the purposeful kind of bias, where reporters do actually have an agenda or purposefully slant a story to fit their own opinions.  This is completely wrong and unfortunately, many reporters today do just that.  This is unfair and gives the newscaster or journalist a sense of entitlement to think their opinion should be shown to the viewers.

The website Fair exposes many biases shown in the Fox News network with their article “The Most Biased Name in News.”  The article goes through many examples of how Fox News shows conservative bias in all of its programs and is “devoted explicitly to right wing stories” and has “one conservative cause after the other.”  However, a problem with this article is that it seems very biased itself.  It is not written in a very objective style and the diction is very offensive and sarcastic, such as the sentences “Fox knows how to place this game better than anyone,” or “when it comes to the Fox News Channel, conservatives don’t feel the need to ‘work the ref.’”  This article is obviously against the Fox News channel.  I’m not saying that Fox News isn’t biased, because it definitely is.  I’m exposing that although Fox News is biased, this article is definitely biased as well, and what it says should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is the trouble with news today.  It seems more and more biases are needed to counteract the biases of other news mediums.  (Even this blog is one!)  The easiest way to fix this problem is to try and make the news more objective and fair in their stories and shows.  While bias is impossible to avoid, a purposeful bias is easy to avoid and the news will be less of a debate and more of a stimulant.



Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by commblogsh

peregrination crop2