Intern Edition Summer 2004
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Radio Workshops

June 25: Basics of Reporting
June 18: Sound Recording and Interviewing
June 4: Introductions

June 25: Basics of Reporting

Speakers: Barbara Bradley Haggerty, religion correspondent; Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR's first ombudsman

Haggerty shared her insights on reporting:
  • When writing on a tight deadline, keep the story simple and linear.
  • The best interviews are when the interviewee tells the story in concrete terms, often with funny anecdotes that listeners can relate to. Even when reporting on a controversial topic, it's possible to get good results.
  • Approach the interviewee with the desire to understand rather than to confront. This will often get you an amazing story with light humor, honest thoughts, something that will leave the listener with a new perspective on the subject.
Dvorkin discussed how to be an effective and ethical reporter:
  • Fair journalism means remaining neutral at all times and allowing listeners to choose their side of the issue.
  • "Bad journalism causes discredit to all journalism."
  • Journalists should always think ethically. Ask yourself: "Have I served the listener well with this decision?"

Dvorkin's also recommended the following reading on related topics:

  • "The Journalist and the Murderer" - Janet Malcolm
  • "The Tipping Point" - Malcolm Gladwell
  • "Journalists' Opinions: The Eunuch in the Harem?" - a column Dvorkin wrote for NPR's website
The interns left the discussion an important insight: Journalism is a craft that demands respect and requires a lot of responsibility from reporters.

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June 18: Sound Recording and Interviewing

Speakers: Josh Rogosin, director for technical training; Jim Wildman, Morning Edition producer

"There's sound happening everywhere, and everything makes a very unique sound," Josh Rogosin said.

Rogosin encouraged interns to use the medium artistically and make their stories "sound-rich."

Rogosin revealed one key to successful sound recording: "Trusting your own senses and placing yourself where it sounds the best to your ears."

Another tip: Rich ambient sound is vital to helping the listener create a vivid image of the recorded event in his or her mind, Rogosin said.

After all, that's what compelling radio is all about: creating a "mind theater" through sound.

"You will look absolutely stupid," Jim Wildman promised.

Sound recordists are often caught staring at an interviewee's mouth while he or she speaks. Or they may need to hold a microphone up to an audio speaker or a water fountain, Wildman said.

Fear of embarrassment must not stop you from doing anything necessary to get the best sound for your story, Wilman said. You must lose your inhibitions and be aggressive (but always respectful.)

Interns will soon be taking these experts' advice to the streets as they step outside their regular internship duties to begin gathering sound for their own pieces.

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June 4: Introductions

"Do what's valuable to you" Morning Edition producer Jim Wildman urged interns gathered for the first Intern Edition meeting.

For the next week all interested interns will apply for IE positions ranging from reporters, to producers, to online staff, music director, managing editor and more. They will also start pitching stories for the program. They will fill the roles that are valuable to them as students of public radio.

Doug Mitchell, Next Generation Radio project manager, heads the summer intern program. He introduced everyone and presented some new faces to the group:

  • Maria Paz Hermosilla, newly arrived from Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, joins NPR as the first international-exchange intern
  • Jim Wildman, Morning Edition Business Producer, will advise IE staff
  • Titus Ledbetter of Hampton University, Betty Ann Williams of Black College Wire, and Peggy Lewis of Howard University will join the process to learn about producing radio broadcasts

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Next Generation Radio Project

2004 Intern Edition