“U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said last month that no more than 250,000 Americans are in ‘extreme poverty,’ denouncing a United Nations report saying 18.5 million Americans suffer extreme impoverishment.” That was what Washington Post Policy reporter Jeff Stein and Economics reporter Tracy Jan both wrote and tweeted in mid-July which later had to be retracted because Haley said she never gave that statistic.
Although neither journalists lost their jobs, misquoting a source can be a career-ending foot with a little-to-no possibility of regaining credibility. One way of preventing this from happening is by making sure you have a recording device that catches every syllable.
Watching continuing coverage of the Mueller investigation and the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, I noticed that most are relying on their iPhone or
other smartphone devices to record reactions from Senators in the echoing halls of the capitol. But camera shuttering and fellow journalists mumbling in the background can compromise their sound bite.
So is there a better way? I try to answer that question in my latest field test project for my Emerging Media Platforms class I am taking during my matriculation at the Communications@Syracuse graduate program of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
As I previously mentioned in my proposal, I found the Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone online when I was preparing to conduct several interviews on a cruise ship earlier this year. As you may, or may not know, cruise ships do not have the best acoustics on any of its decks. A constant “humming,” from the engine room, is resonating throughout the ship which sometimes makes it hard to listen to a person that is right beside you more or less in the same cabin with you. The MV88 seemed like the perfect investment for me because it was small enough to fit in my pocket and easy to calibrate with their free Shure Plus MOTIV Mobile Recording app.
INTRODUCTION TO FIELD TEST
As you continue to read this study, you will find out about a field test that can improve reporting to lessen the inaccuracies of quotes and helping journalists work smart instead of working hard in reporting the news.
A clear hypothesis will be addressed to give the instruction of the field test. This test will also determine a target audience of what the findings will benefit them in their work for years to come.
This study starts with the background behind the MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone from Shure Industries. Project Manager for the MV88 of the MOTIV product line, Soren Pedersen, will give us an in-depth look into the microphone and also some of the reasons why Shure decided to make this product.
The execution of the field test will be determined from an independent survey supplied with samples that compliment the research’s data. The results from the test, including comments from surveyors and vivid analytics of the results, will confirm or not confirm the hypothesis stated. Lastly, a brief conclusion, including my recommendations to the target audience, will be shared at the end of the report. Enjoy.
HYPOTHESIS OF FIELD TEST
Using the Shure MV88, does the smartphone microphone work better or worse in quite of loud environments and will it help journalists have more accurate quotes. This will benefit journalists (the target audience) who use recording devices for professional purposes.
SO WHAT IS THE MV88?
Shure Industries created the MV88 to offer content creators unraveled convenience and professional quality audio on the go. Reasonably priced at $149.00 the microphone connects to the lightning connector port of all current Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod products and enhances audio quality to its camera and voice memo apps or by using the free Shure Plus MOTIV Mobile Recording App which offers recording editing and sharing enhancements to your content.
Product Specialists, Soren Pedersen, has been working for Shure for over 10 years. Pedersen and his team developed the MOTIV and PG ALTA products like the MV 88.
I was happy that he was willing to answer a few of my questions in a phone interview at the Shure World Headquarters in Chicago:
How did the MOTIV product line begin?
With the relationship with the app and the microphone itself, how did that get developed?
With the microphone in the iOS already, why did Apple think it was a good idea to have a microphone company build a better microphone?
The MOTIV app is very technical. How would a novice approach going through the app?
I’m a journalists and a content creator, and like you said journalists are going to be using the microphone more than for musical purposes. As you may or may not know with the news there has been inaccuracies and misinformation when reporting. How would the clarity of what the microphone is picking up help prevent that?
With the field test that I’m conducting now, I’m trying to see if people can hear a difference in clarity and quality of sound. What should I expect my results to be?
PUTTING IT TO THE TEST
In making the comparison of the built-in mic on my Apple iPhone 8 and the MV88 I recorded myself singing the same song into 3 different environments: a dark closet, the Rockefeller Center subway platform and the center of Times Square during New York rush hour traffic. After creating the samples I drafted a Google Forms survey to conduct an A/B test for my target audience of professional journalists and journalism students who would be interested in a device like the MV88. When listening to 2 of the samples from each environment, questions were given on the criteria of quality, clarity, and overall enjoyment of sound.
Below are the samples that you can listen for yourself:
TIMES SQUARE SAMPLES:
THE RESULTS ARE IN!
A total of 80 individuals responded to my request to take the survey. Each person was helpful in retrieving vital data to determine if the MV88 improves sound quality for Apple products.
When it came to the indoor samples:
- More people (68.8%) enjoyed the sound coming from the standard iPhone microphone made the lyrics seem clearer than the MV88
- 56% said that the clarity of the sound coming from the iPhone was their main reason for making their choice
- Over 61% responded that they would buy the device that recorded the sound which in this case was the iPhone 8
When it came to the subway samples:
- The majority (83.5%) preferred the MV88 over the iPhone
- Clarity was also a factor when making their decision with 61%
- In a close margin (57% to 42%) were not interested in buying the MV88
When it came to the Times Square samples:
- The MV88 narrowly won (53% over 46%) over the iPhone
- Clarity was also appreciated the most with 50% of surveyors but 38% liked the quality of the sound the most in this sample instead of the other 2 samples
- Once again, the No’s were the majority of purchasing the MV88 by 53%
COMMENTS FROM RESPONDENTS:
“They [both samples] were very clean and understanding.”
“Audio recording devices are a purchase I make based on what the end user is.”
“Despite the noise floor being loud, I thought sample A (MV88) provided the most audible difference in sound.”
“Neither sample was a ‘quality’ recording. 1A (MV88) was better at drowning out the background noise while 1B (iPhone) picked up everything and drowned out the vocals.”
“Clarity and quality make a difference when it is being recorded.”
“I like how clear you can hear the first one with all the noise of the subway and the volume doesn’t have to be all the way up to be able to hear clearly.”
“When it comes to purchasing the recording device, there are several other factors I would consider in addition to sound quality, including portability, size, etc. That’s why I answered ‘NO.’ However, the ones selected would be my choices to consider.”
“1B (iPhone 8) brings out the vocals more but, in turn, brings out the background noise. A simple noise filter would make it very usable.”
“I like how clear it is throughout even with all the noise in the background.”
“I might buy it would depend on price.”
In my opinion, I think my field test was a success in finding out if there are ways of improving accuracy in quoting sources. Microphone attachments like the MV88 will in fact help assist with that problem and also enhance the content for their stories.
Out all of the data accumulated, I would recommend the Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone to my fellow journalists to take with them to use for interviews that will be in loud, outdoor, or chaotic environments.
I would love to hear your thoughts about my field test and the results that were determined. Please leave a comment below and I would greatly appreciate it.
Fordham, E. (2018, July 14). Nikki Haley Demands Retraction From WaPo Reporter After He Misquotes Her On Poverty. The Daily Caller. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://dailycaller.com/2018/07/14/nikki-haley-wapo-retraction-poverty-misquote/
MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone | Shure Americas. (2018). Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.shure.com/americas/products/microphones/motiv/mv88-ios-digital-stereo-condenser-microphone
Pedersen, S. (n.d.). Soren Pedersen Interview [Interview by A. N. Joyner].
Soren Pedersen [Web log post]. (2014). Retrieved October 2, 2018, from http://blog.shure.com/authors/soren-pedersen/