Greater use of audio? Now 3 tests. Feedback requested.

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Dec 07, 2018

I’ve been thinking about ways to make a more personal connection with those who use our website. One way to make that connection is to use the human voice in some of the resources we provide. I’ve been experimenting just a little with the creation of audio material.

At the same time, I have become concerned that the worldwide condition of the Church is so discouraging right now that it might be a good thing to use “human voice audio” as a way to encourage and even inspire.

We do plenty of teaching and critical analysis in our existing news and commentary, and in the material in our library. Some episodes of The Catholic Culture Podcast—which is currently our only significant use of the audio format—are certainly inspiring, but the podcast is designed for those who wish to spend a good deal of time listening. Our liturgical year material, of course, is as inspiring as the Catholic saints can make it. But on the whole, CatholicCulture.org has not been focused on inspiring as much as instilling confidence.

We definitely place at the center of our mission the effort to help committed Catholics understand what is going on in the Church, so that they can live their faith more confidently. That is encouraging, too, we believe. But attempting to be more positively inspirational is a little different.

One of a great many things that can be done with short audio clips is to highlight legitimate positive developments that might otherwise go unnoticed. In the few experiments I’ve done along these lines, I have tried also to draw a connection between a positive development and something we learn from the particulars of the liturgical day on which any given audio is recorded.

In practice, I’ve found two to five minutes to be a sufficient length for what I have just described, but our staff could do a great many different things with the audio medium and with links which are related to the topics covered. Inspiration is hardly the only Catholic need. Otherwise, we would not be doing what we do. But sometimes, when you are very busy and you need also to stay abreast of the Church’s troubles, it is valuable to be able to grab inspiration in manageable doses!

As a proof of one particular concept, then, I’ve actually polished up two tests I did in November, and I added a third in early December. I have very little experience with fine audio presentation (and what little experience I have comes from some apologetics videos I made on VHS cassettes back in the late 1980s). This is obviously a work in progress, but I am ready for feedback on the idea.

Below I present links to the first three tests out of the gate. I would appreciate it very much if those who are interested in audio material could listen to them, and then give me feedback about what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what kinds of things they would like us to consider developing for the future.

You can always email me at [email protected]. So here we go:

Thanks!

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: wacondaseeds4507 - Dec. 07, 2018 7:09 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Jeff, for these audio articles. I appreciate the fact that they are brief, and enjoy the human quality of the voice, though I ordinarily perceive better visually and so prefer the written word. The voice does add an inspirational quality, and each of the topics was inspiring. As an aside, I would like to add that our St. Joseph Parish here in Tucson AZ will have its 5th annual grand procession for Our Lady of Guadalupe next week, covering about 2 miles with around 2000 participants.

  • Posted by: rhahn9598209 - Dec. 04, 2018 7:21 PM ET USA

    I actually prefer reading than listening. Especially, material I may need to refer back to. It's hard to locate a section easily in audio or video without re-listening or -watching. That said, I do occasionally like things read to me when my hands are busy, but my mind isn't. But I prefer being read to by a computer. Humans try to add too much to the text. Crisis Magazine has a nice set up where it's both written and read by a computer.

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Dec. 04, 2018 4:58 PM ET USA

    I have to little to no use for audio. Reading is a whole lot faster for me and doesn't waste my time while someone fumbles for words or puts in bumper music.

  • Posted by: winnie - Dec. 04, 2018 10:12 AM ET USA

    Perhaps you should wait until after the New a year, when life isn’t so hectic.

  • Posted by: winnie - Dec. 04, 2018 9:54 AM ET USA

    You have a wonderful speaking voice. I love you tying daily saint to some good news in our Church & adding deeper insights. ie: Our Faith must be lived publicly & not privatized. It was important that you included the link to Eucharistic procession in Lincoln. Please, please make this a regular feature & keep each one to 3 minutes.

  • Posted by: FredC - Dec. 02, 2018 8:51 PM ET USA

    I can read much faster than a human can speak.

  • Posted by: jjen009 - Nov. 30, 2018 7:03 PM ET USA

    I think it is good for some people - perhaps the ones who have a long driving commute. It doesn't suit me. Even when I might have time, I am a reader, not a listener. You probably really need to do a poll of some sort.

  • Posted by: Grace2014 - Nov. 30, 2018 6:38 PM ET USA

    I enjoyed the clip. But in all honesty, I listened to it to give you the feedback you asked for. I am not sure if I would listen on a regular basis. Nevertheless i learned about St.Josephat and watch the Lincoln video.