It's a bit sad that one of the "tribes" in public radio -- the independent producers -- would take some dismissive shots at the daily work of another tribe -- the station-based journalists. Though I've been more aligned with the station-based journalists through my career (and would acknowledge some important differences between these two camps: essentially the difference between quickly-produced, fact-based news versus highly-crafted, engaging story-telling), I'd hasten to reach for the peace pipe. Consider...
I'll make one final point that came out of my time at the Third Coast International Audio Festival, which took place two weekends ago in Evanston.
I came away with the feeling that daily radio news has acquired a bit of a bad rap, and I think that's a shame. I didn't attend Ira Glass's session on the Friday night (insert gasp here). I was possibly the only person present who decided she was too tired to listen to Ira (to be honest I'm also a little tired of the audio cults that build up around people like him and Jad Abumrad, even though I admire their work). I heard afterwards that in one comment he was a little dismissive of daily news. If that's inaccurate, please correct me, because after all I did not hear this with my own ears. But daily news came up in other contexts at the conference as being something rather dull than we all have to plod through as part of our jobs, when we'd rather be making the next Radiolab or This American Life story. As at least one person pointed out in a comment on my previous post about public radio pay, the reason so many people are interested in working in public radio today is shows like TAL and Radiolab - shows that tell unusual stories often in surprising, creative ways. Long live such shows. But for many listeners, public raido is a place they come for reliable information - that is, local and international news. So I was rather surprised when on the way home from the conference I read this piece in Current in which Adam Ragusea of Radio Macon in Georgia is quoted as saying, "I hate daily news".
Daily news - what's going on in our towns, cities and the wider world - affects people's lives, so when I hear people who work in news say they hate it, it strikes me both as odd and unfortunate. Maybe I'm just feeling nostalgic because news spots were such a big part of life at Marketplace. I must have filed close to two thousand of them over the years I worked there. But spots and short features are great instruments through which to hone your writing, and you learn so much doing them. I'm no longer even in the business of daily news but I still listen and appreciate those spots, packed with information. It takes skill to pull those off.
I loved Robert Smith's Third Coast session on how to write creatively while on deadline. But daily news's increasing unfashionableness seems a little strange given the business many public radio reporters and producers are in. Not to mention the reason listeners tune in...
Continued at www.ashleymilnetyte.com
- we have much in common (service to listeners with varying needs),
- much to share with each other (skills, stories, opportunities),
- and we overlap like crazy (reporters borrow from the story-tellers toolkit and storytellers wish to achieve journalistic credibility).