Critical Evaluation – Individual blog

I came up with the idea for the All Stars Boxing Gym story after I recalled seeing a story last year about it’s founder receiving an M.B.E. I knew about the gym from my teenage years, although I had never been inside the building. I thought it would make for an interesting audio slideshow as I figured there would be lots of visual material and quite a few stories to be told. I wasn’t disappointed.

When I first approached Mr Akay, he was reticent about me doing a story about the gym. His main concern seemed to be about material going online that would feature under 18’s. After some reassurances, this was no longer an issue. After some advice from Reza about spending as much time as possible at the gym, I went there three times in a week. Spending a total of 6 hours and 30 minutes. I could only go at 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday as those were the days junior boxers were not involved.

The first couple of visits involved taking lots of pictures. I thought long and hard about where to take the shots, from which angle and their impact. I also made sure never to disturb any of the boxers whilst training. I made myself as invisible as possible. Some of the audio slideshows shown during class gave me some ideas on how to approach it. I wanted to marry the pictures with the audio so it made for an engaging and visual story. When I finally got to sit down with Mr Akay for an interview, I didn’t expect to get much time to talk with him as he only gave me a few minutes. However, when he started talking about the birth of the gym and its overall story, I knew that the audio was going to be powerful. He is such a great story teller and he didn’t need any prompting from me. The story about Mike Tyson was the highlight of our chat. I was very pleased with that.

The next step was to edit 30 minutes of audio down to 3 minutes. I found this quite difficult, only because I was loath to edit so much out. The challenge for me was to make it as interesting as possible. In the end, I cut it down to 5 minutes and 10 seconds. I added a background track of ambiance from the gym which was used as an accompaniment to  Mr Akay speaking, which was a bit monotone in places. I remembered Reza talking about the importance of ambient sound, so I recorded a couple of minutes during my visits. This proved very useful.

Overall, I was happy with the end product. I think it works quite well and conveys the story of the gym and all of its highs and lows. It could have been better if I’d had more pictures of Mike Tyson as I had to use filler photos during the portion of the slideshow where Mr Akay speaks about him. I held some of the photos too long, but I couldn’t think of another way around this. I thought about taking pictures of Mr Akay working in the gym, but he really didn’t too much, so I opted for pictures of him hanging on the walls instead.

I throughly enjoyed putting this story together. It was challenging yet rewarding. I especially enjoyed the audio aspect of it. I learned a lot from this production. And I feel it was beneficial to me as a journalist. It’s a great way to tell a story and helps the creative process in how you approach a story as a journalist. I feel it helped to bolster my skills and added another dimension to my journalistic talents.

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