Follow the Fellows: Tiny Spark investigates the business of doing good in crisis zones

Follow the Fellows: Tiny Spark investigates the business of doing good in crisis zones

This is a guest blog post by 2012 SoundCloud Community Fellow Amy Costello whose project Tiny Spark who investigates the business of doing good. Amy also contributed a report to PRI’s The World on the medical community’s attempt to learn from mistakes made in Haiti. Read it here.

It’s hard to believe my SoundCloud Fellowship is soon coming to a close! Before it does, here’s my latest podcast:

It’s a months-long investigation into a seemingly good idea: medical professionals who volunteer in international crisis zones.

Turns out, doctors and nurses who lack specialized training can actually do quite a bit of harm.

And there’s one more thing I’ve discovered during the course of my Fellowship – it’s not as weighty but it’s still important:

SoundCloud can save journalists quite a bit of cash. Since I launched Tiny Spark a year ago, I’ve spent thousands of dollars renting studios and hiring freelancers to record guest interviews. Then, a few weeks ago, I asked a Harvard doctor I wanted to interview whether she’d simply hit the Record button on SoundCloud. She sat in front of her computer in Boston while I was at mine in New York. She took out her iPhone headset, plugged it into her computer and used it as her microphone. She then hit Record, uploaded the audio to me afterwards and whoop! I had broadcast quality audio….for free!

Here’s a little sample of that interview so you can hear the quality of audio that can be achieved with Soundcloud’s record button. (It’s also a pretty harrowing piece of tape..and gives you an idea of the kind of things that went on in Haiti.)

Finally, I wanted to share with you another thing I made for free with SoundCloud and through ThingLink. A surgeon from California emailed me some photographs of patients she treated in Haiti, who’d suffered from the work of earlier volunteer surgeons. I recorded her voice with SoundCloud too, chose a few excerpts, and integrated it with Thinglink to create this interactive photo. I think there’s enormous story-telling potential here with these two platforms.


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