I hesitate to blame the audio hiss on RJA. I had hiss in my tapes back in school too because the equipment sucked and there was literally no way to get rid of it. The camera put it in, and we didn't have any filtering capability to get it back out.
However, what troubled me about RJA's second post in here was that there were a lot of excuses flying around. Cameragod is giving you something that the stations you apply to won't - critiques. If they don't like your stuff, they're just gonna chuck it in the trash.
I do understand that sometimes it's hard to get interviews, and sometimes, especially in schools, they get overly excited about keeping you from shooting stuff that you need to shoot. But when you send that story in your demo reel, the ND isn't going to be privy to your problems, nor is he/she going to care about them. At the end of the day, someone else's work (especially these days when seasoned ENG photogs are getting laid off and looking for work even in entry level markets) is going to look better than yours and so they're going to get the nod.
There's a certain amount of sweet-talk that you have to learn in this business in order to get people to let you shoot what you need to shoot. It comes with experience, though being a natural BSer doesn't hurt
Usually just assuring the principal that you won't show any student faces gets them to give you the OK. If you really can't get what you need to get in order to do this story well, then don't put this story on your demo reel.
The interview of the principal really was the sticking point with me, though. No matter what problems you had getting her to consent to the interview, you finally got it. So make the best of it. You can't blame the window backlight and the bad framing and the shadowed face on ease-of-access problems. That's all photog. I'm guessing you don't have a light kit. That's actually OK. I shot natural light throughout college, and then for several years in my first job because my station was too cheap to buy any lights. Learn to use what light is available to make it look as good as possible. At minimum you should have closed the blinds on the windows so that you weren't silhouetting her against blue light.