With so much readily available and relatively cheap technology to be had, there’s never been an easier time to launch your own career as a budding eco reporter or movie maker. Most of what you need comes built-in to most modern laptops – and an awful lot of mobile phones too; add a few more bits and you’re away. With the global reach of the internet, you could soon be influencing people all over the planet!
The usual security warnings over the wonderful world of the web apply, particularly about what you say, where you say it and not giving out personal information, but if you’re careful (and take a little age-appropriate advice from your parents or teachers), there’s a lot of fun to be had.
Podcasting to the World
One of the best ways to get your message out to the world is via the podcast. It’s like having your very own eco-themed radio station, or TV channel – you get to make the content, decide how it looks or sounds, and then make it available for everyone to access.
Unlike live-streaming, the podcast’s principal advantage is that it’s not; it’s pre-recorded and that can be a major blessing, especially in your early days as a reporter or movie maker. You can check your podcast over, and fiddle with it as often as you like to get it absolutely right, before you unleash it on the audience. No mistakes, no bloopers – just the message you want to put out, presented perfectly.
You simply need to upload the finished product to your website and wait for your audience to download and enjoy it.
Picking Your Message
Whether you’re going to make movies or sound-only podcasts, one of the most important things to think about is what do you want to talk about? That is, of course, something that is a very personal choice – and you may already have some particular topics that you’re bursting to tackle. It can be the opportunity to look at almost any eco topic that interests you, from little local issues such as recycling facilities or your school’s new pond, to big global problems such as climate change or deforestation.
The choice is yours – that’s part of the fun – but don’t forget that there are laws about saying things about people and companies that aren’t true and they apply to you just as much as they do to the newspapers or the BBC, so try not to let yourself get too carried away, no matter how strongly you feel! In any case, a well argued piece will always win you more support than a major rant. While we’re on the subject of staying on the right side of the law – do bear in mind that almost all music is copyrighted, and most recording companies tend to get very upset if you use it without permission – so don’t!
It’s also worth remembering that, successful movie makers and reporters don’t always have to make films or reports about the same things – although some do – so if you want to cover whales one week, recycling the next and pollution the week after that, there’s nothing to stop you. It really is up to you.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
All you really need to make audio podcasts is a computer, a microphone if yours doesn’t have one built-in, and some simple recording software that will produce your files in mp3 format, though if you’re planning to feature anything taken “on location” in your programming, you’ll also need to have a suitable portable recorder to use.
Budding movie makers will obviously need a video camera of some sort to get started, but it doesn’t have to be a massively expensive piece of equipment; many mobile phones and digital cameras produce good enough images at least until Hollywood beckons!
If you haven’t done so before, it’s probably a good idea to listen to a few podcasts by other people before you get going on doing your own. They don’t necessarily have to be eco-themed ones, it’s more to give you a feel for the way podcasting works and you might even pick up a few ideas to incorporate in your own reports too, when you feel ready to take the plunge.
Then, once you’ve have a few podcasts under your belt, you might like to do a little advertising and self-promotion by registering with some of the specialist online directories to let everyone know what they’re missing.
Now enjoy yourself – your audience awaits!