I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to begin this program.
As someone with mostly video production experience, I’ve been trained to always think in images. And in the print world, I rely on my words to tell the story. So, when I was presented with the daunting task of producing a non-narrated audio piece, it froze me. To rely strictly on sound and the words of my subject to report my story was unknown territory to me. Being a student of journalism in the digital age, however, I knew that this audio reporting experience would be fruitful; because not only does it emphasize the importance of sound in a multimedia project, but it’s also a fresh approach to reporting that would enhance my abilities as a storyteller.
And in five days, I feel I learned more about the craft of storytelling and reporting than in my four years at Drexel University. I was blessed to have the guidance of my wonderful mentor, WHYY reporter Catalina Jaramillo, who taught me that audio stories are only as good as the interview answers you get. That being said, we worked relentlessly to come up with thought-provoking questions that would anticipate descriptive and colorful responses.
We also relied heavily on ambient sounds to establish the scenery and represent the subject’s actions— an element I didn’t realize could be such a powerful tool if used correctly.
All in all, the tedious task of reporting a non-narrated story scared me at first, for I was a stranger to the concept. After a week-long intensive training with NPR’s Next Generation Radio program, I’m proud to say I’ve added a new form of storytelling to my arsenal as a digital content producer.