CIWIC & DMAC: An Ecology of Influence at Columbia College


This peer-reviewed, online academic journal article [CIWIC/DMAC: An Ecology of Influence at Columbia College Chicago] as an example of my audio editing skills, as well as my copywriting skills. I co-wrote the introduction with my colleague Ames Hawkins, but most of my individual work went into the audio recording and editing for my particular section of the article: “A Mess of Influences“.

You can click on the links above to visit the article itself. But if you’re mainly interested in how I recorded and edited the audio, you can listen here:

My initial impulse to produce this piece came from the realization that so many of my colleagues and I at Columbia College Chicago had attended the annual CIWIC/DMAC summer institute over the years. We wanted a text that not only detailed how CIWIC/DMAC has had an influence on us individually, but also to explore how the institute might have had lasting effects on Columbia College’s broader writing program.

We decided that the six of us should have a face-to-face discussion about those influences. I thought it would be a good idea to record it. I ended up using a Zoom H6 portable recorder and separate microphones, one for each of the discussants. I recorded each person on a discrete track to give me the most options for creative editing techniques later.

I had started thinking about “influence,” as it related to our local institution, as something more ambient than narrative. As we gathered more CIWIC/DMAC alumni at Columbia, the more the influence grew. This influence-model seemed to be more appropriate than trying to connect particular institutional elements to the influences of specific people with ties to CIWIC/DMAC. And so, I was after a text that made more of an ambient argument than a linear one.

I ended up identifying a few common themes emerging from our discussion. Then I cut the audio tracks into smaller snippets capturing particular words and phrases from each of the participants. Then I reorganized those snippets according to themes, introducing each theme with a brief note I recorded during the editing.

Ultimately, I’m happy with my contributions, as well as the overall article. The editing is clean. I’m okay with the structure of the text, too. But I think I fell a little short in terms of clarity. I’m still trying to figure out if that is simply the nature of an ambient argument, or something particular to this particular effort.