While August 2012 still feels like fall before last on remembering my second and final layoff from the newspaper profession, June 2013 seems longer than the six years it maths out when I recall that month’s part-time job, transcriptionist at the University of Arkansas Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History.
Those few hours a week did teach me two lessons I won’t forget, the value of transcriptions and the fallacy of transcriptions. Visiting the Pryor Center for a book reading inspired me to ink these up.
While my next university job was the 2014-15 term at its journalism department, the courses I taught did not have an opening for a reporting exercise I hadn’t seen anywhere (which doesn’t mean it’s not done). In some beginning or intermediate journalism class, it’d be cool to present a 3- to 5-minute recording excerpt, such as from the Pryor Center, and have the students transcribe it. By transcribe I mean word for word, with all the stumbles and repeats the least and greatest of us utter when speaking.
They would be encouraged to repeat the tape as often as needed, using a free transcription software app. Afterward, I’d hand out or put on a screen the official transcript so they’d see what they missed.
The only students who could get an A+, one would predict, would be someone who was a former stenographer.Continue reading