Australians will likely be familiar with the Jenny Macklin inaudible story in the mainstream press over the last couple of days.
- Sydney Morning Herald: The great vanishing act: Macklin’s dole comment disappears
- The Age: Macklin won’t release ‘inaudible’ audio
- ABC News: Macklin challenged to live on dole for a week
For those of you who missed it or who are outside of Australia Jenny Macklin is our current member of parliament responsible for the Families Ministry and who was recently questioned about some wide ranging welfare payment cuts which kicked in on 1st January, 2013 – when pushed by an eager journalist if Miss Macklin could herself live on the allowance she apparently said “I could“. As you can imagine the Australian social media circus went into a character frenzy calling for the Families Minister to try and live on the welfare, as she claimed she could for anything from a week to a three month period.
Now what makes this story interesting from a digital voice perspective is that the recording used for transcription was made on an iPhone using a voice recording app. Quality was not that good, lots of background noise and so crucial recorded confirmation from the Minister could not be clearly heard and as such appeared as INAUDIBLE in the governments own transcript of the inpromptu doorstop press conference. A lucky break for Miss Macklin. But for any journalist or government staffer using an iPhone as a voice recorder a lesson has to be learnt. Invest in a good quality, dedicated voice recording unit, you never know when your journalistic claim to fame will hit you in the face.
Sure the iPhone can record pretty good audio, especially when there is no background noise, people are talking close to the mic and not over talking each other … rare for a journalist. In the real world iPhone recording apps struggle with hubbub so if you are someone who relies on clearly recorded voice you should look at a dedicate digital voice recorder. They are not pricey, even a struggling journo could afford one and range from AU$159 for an Olympus WS-812 which would cover you for just about every scenario to a high quality Olympus DM-3 for about AU$329 for those times when you are stuck at the back of the press pack and need to turn on the zoom mic to really narrow in on what the person at the front of the throng is saying.