How It Works: Making A Radio Story

The ombudsman office often hears from listeners with general questions about NPR's reporting. We thought it might help to show how stories are put together. Every NPR story requires an immense amount of work – from finding a story idea to the last stages of editing.

Last May, former NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard followed religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty through the process. Shepard explored how reporters find sources, pursue leads and consider word choice. Her final ombudsman project gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what's required to make a story sound the way it does on our radio.

Religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty (left) and former NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard (right).

Religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty (left) and former NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard (right). NPR hide caption

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Mistakes can still happen, as humans are involved every step of the way. It is my job to point out the mistakes — found by you or me — as a way to correct them and keep NPR's standards high. But my experience, and what you will see from this audio report, is that the professionalism and care by NPR journalists start from a high point.

Listen to the Story

Reporter: Alicia Shepard
Producer: Christine Arrasmith

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