Overheard By SoundCloud: Dan Patterson
Every so often we stumble upon SoundClouders who are creating interesting ways to engage with other members of the Community . Overheard by SoundCloud is a new blog series for which we’ll ask these SoundClouders a couple of questions and hope that their answers will inspire others as well. Today’s interview is with NYC-based journalist and reporter Dan Patterson.
Hey Dan, thanks for taking the time to answer a couple of questions for Overheard. First, please tell us how you first heard about SoundCloud and what made you join in the first place?
I discovered SoundCloud while on a hunt for an audio CDN. As a long-time radio producer and podcaster since 2004, over the years I’ve accumulated a ton of audio content and long have had a need for a ‘YouTube for sound’ solution. It would appear that SoundCloud could be the answer.
Sound can be so personal, powerful and meaningful. Why do you think sound is still relatively underrepresented compared to video, text and photos on the web?
Audio is under-represented on the social web because it’s a more intimate and less glamorous medium. Because sound requires – inherently – an invocation of the imagination audio media is incredibly personal. Video, while more immediate, marginalizes and dismisses the power of the mind’s eye. Creating an audio story is incredibly difficult but leverages creativity in ways video simply cannot. Because of these unique properties, audio can – and will always – remain a powerful method of communication.
From a technical standpoint, audio has many advantages: Audio has a low consumption footprint thus increasing the volume of audio I can consume. Audio allows one to multi-task with audio (eg, a parent can consume news and concurrently drive the kids to school, I clean my tiny Brooklyn studio while mentally arguing with pundits on TWiT, etc). Audio is easier on my bandwidth bill, and audio is easier and lower in cost to produce than video. The list goes on.
You’re sharing TONS of amazing audio content on your SoundCloud. What are your personal top three recordings you made and what’s the story behind it?
This is a difficult question to answer as I have no singular favorite. I love conducting interviews with politicians and tech thought leaders, so many of my UN and presidential campaign interviews were very interesting to conduct.
In 2008, while working for a smaller news organization on a trip to Darfur, I worked with a group of broadcast journalists to report on the humanitarian crisis. We traveled from Juba north deep in to South Sudan and the Darfur border. One stop included meeting with a group of recently-freed South Sudanese slaves. We conducted a number of interviews and reported live back to the States via satellite phones. That audio, while not “fun” to produce, is still quite striking.
Personally, any of the Creepy Sleepy pod prods are close to my heart. These were produced from 2004 – 2006 with a gang of friends in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. We had no money and the social web was in it’s infancy, so we had a small audience. But we did have some beat-up old gear and tons of ideas. We didn’t hit the funny bone on every attempt, but when we did the content was tops and still remains funny and poignant (though completely NSFW).
Why should journalists and news organizations consider using sound more?
Sound allows a reporter to capture not just the technical details of an event, but also the mood, vibe, and peripheral environment of an event. These components – while seemingly only of aesthetic value – help the audience contextualize the news.
How long until the zombie apocalypse? What’s your list of top suggestions for us to get prepared?
The zombie apocalypse is inevitable. Tactical preparation, while essential, is secondary to the human need to unify against a common enemy. In politics and the inevitable zombie apocalypse, the human race will succeed only with unification.
You heard it here first, SoundClouder! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Dan!