I’ve been doing a bunch of reporting lately for NPR member station WSKG and am including some of my recent clips here.
It’s been quite a learning process doing more radio. A few things I’ve learned:
- The importance of capturing “scenes,” not just interviews. This is very different from print. So, taping live events, such as public court sessions, protests, a night out with an Uber driver, etc, are key. It also makes you understand why broadcasting sound bytes, for better or for worse, are so crucial to the medium.
- This is technical, but I figure important for anyone here interested in radio reporting: Even if someone is speaking into a mic, it’s always better to put your mic close to them, rather than hooked up to an audio system or close to a speaker. A space’s sound system can often be bad and I’ve sadly had to not use really good tape because I made the rookie mistake of mic’ing a speaker rather than up close to a person.
- Always record more “ambient” sound than you need. What I mean by “ambient” is background sound of whatever events or interviews you’re doing. It saves a lot of time in the editing process if you have extra ambient sound. I had no idea how much radio reporting needs ambient, even if you’re narrating something that’s unrelated to you being at a certain place. My editorial supervisor for The New Normal, Jonathan Miller, wisely suggested always getting one minute of “room sound” before or after an interview. This is super good advice.
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