A dream of mine came true today: I co-reported the latest Radiolab episode! It’s on COVID vaccine trials — specifically, about a controversial technique called a human challenge trial, in which human subjects are intentionally infected with the virus. This could speed up the process for next generation vaccine candidates. Senior correspondent Molly Webster gets the lowdown from me, and then tracks down some of the tens of thousands of people who have volunteered to participate in a challenge trial.
There are many people I need to thank for getting me here. First, Jonathan Miller, who I met at WRFI Community Radio when I was just beginning to pivot into radio. He took me under his wing and has continued to be a trusted mentor. Without his belief in me and edits of my pitch to Radiolab, I would have never reported this episode. So, a huge thank you to Jon!I am also grateful to work at Public News Service, which gives me the creative freedom to report pieces like my original coverage on human challenge trials. Thank you to the whole PNS team, including Senior Editor Chris Thomas, who edited my first piece on this, and PNS Founder Lark Corbeil, who’s believed in me.
Also big shoutouts to UnionDocs Podcast School, where I first met Molly Webster, and 1Day Sooner‘s Abie Rohrig and Josh Morrison, who graciously partnered with me for the PNS and Radiolab pieces.
And, last but not least, thank you to the unsung heroes who make my family life work with my 1-year-old son: Zahava Cherques and my parents Tom Rosbrow and Patricia Rosbrow. And of course, my husband Ofri Telem, who’s been there through many ups, downs, and hundreds of rejections till this moment. I love you.
It has been a weird, challenging year, but am extremely thankful this is finally getting out into the world. Happy holidays everyone!
I’m happy to announce that I’m currently working as the interim news director at WRFI, Ithaca’s community radio station. This is exciting, particularly since I got my start in radio by volunteering for the news team, where I have contributed to WRFI News at 6 and am currently a Friday host for Your Morning (from 7-8 a.m.). The station has been a home for me since I moved to Ithaca in the fall of 2016, and I hope I’ll be able to expand it so that more people from all walks of life can be part of WRFI.
Here are a few of my favorite pieces I’ve done at WRFI (in reverse chronological order):
Black Students United silently protested at the University Assembly meeting on Tuesday. CREDIT: LAURA ROSBROW-TELEM
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.
Also, for folks subscribed to my website, I’m a lot more active in posting updates to my Twitter and Facebook profiles. So, if you feel like following me there, go for it! Thanks as always for your support and thoughts.
I know I haven’t written here in quite a while. Over the past year, I have gradually decreased my responsibilities at Geektime and been digging deep into learning how to/now doing more radio work. And I’m very excited.
Here’s a taste of what I’ve been up to: my first clip with NPR’s Binghamton/Ithaca station. It’s just a minute and a half, so won’t take too much of your time, if you would like to listen. It’s about how Ithaca’s mayor, who is advocating to open a supervised injection site for drug users, thinks that proposing such a radical measure has made it possible to fund other drug-related programs. Also, for those hard of hearing, there is a transcript in the link as well.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. CREDIT CLIFF OWEN / AP PHOTO
First, I must thank many of you who reached out to me after my last post. Your positive energy was much appreciated. I think it worked, because not only did I land my first contract writing gig, I also got rehired for my editing position. Yipee! The contract writing will be a part-time grant writing job that I can do from Israel. That’s a very exciting development and lovely way for me to step back into the nonprofit world. Then, the story about my position, well…how about you read this Jpost post, titled, “Working it: Some advice about journalism in Israel,” to get the full picture? :).
In any case, I’m very excited for these next steps and really appreciate all of your support. Hope you’re doing well, and look forward to seeing many of you in the Bay Area over Thanksgiving!