Blog post 6: Reading assignment

In this blog post, publish your notes from Kern, chapter 13. Your notes must appear in the form of one (1) numbered list. Write a brief statement above the list to explain or summarize it.

The idea is to highlight or capture the ideas or information that resonated most strongly with you, in a format that other people might find interesting to read.

The list is not meant to represent everything in the chapter. It should represent what was most meaningful to YOU. Thus each student’s list will be different.

From your list, choose ONE of your items and find a story at NPR.org that illustrates or reinforces that point.

  • Include the full headline of the NPR story in your item.
  • Make that headline text a link to the story page at NPR.org.

Write two or three sentences that clearly explain how that NPR story illustrates the point — be sure to indicate clearly WHICH point you’re writing about. Read more of this post

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Blog post 5: Reading assignment

In this blog post, publish your notes from Kern, chapters 1 and 2. Your notes must appear in the form of two (2) numbered lists, one for each chapter. Write a brief statement above each list to explain or summarize that list.

This is a legitimate type of blog post (although usually the content would refer and link to another blog post at someone else’s blog). The idea is to highlight or capture the ideas or information that resonated most strongly with you, in a format that other people might find interesting to read.

The list is not meant to represent everything in the chapter. It should represent what was most meaningful to YOU. Thus each student’s list will be different.

In each list, choose ONE of your items and find a story at NPR.org that illustrates or reinforces that point.

  • Include the full headline of the NPR story in your item.
  • Make that headline text a link to the story page at NPR.org.

That’s one link in each list, two different stories. Read more of this post

Blog post 1: Analyze a “beyond radio” story

Read the assigned chapter in Kern. It’s on the Course Schedule page.

Go to the NPR website (http://www.npr.org/) and find a story there that interests you. The story must come from one of these programs: Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday or Sunday. Open the Programs menu to find these.

Note: If your selected story does not have “beyond radio” aspects, which are explained in the assigned reading, then you selected a bad example. Find a story that enables you to discuss the chapter fully. Your grade will reflect this choice. Read more of this post

A good example of “beyond radio” content

Check out this story at NPR and notice how it much it differs from the audio transcript:

9 Powerful Moments in the Day of a Viral Web Editor at BuzzFeed

Photos and radio are great companions!

And please note, everyone: A transcript is NOT the same as a script. Those two words are NOT interchangeable!

Choices students made for Blog Post 1

Sometimes I am surprised to see how students dealt with an assignment. I had some surprises when grading the first blog post assignment for this course (Blog post 1: Analyze a “beyond radio” story).

The phrase “beyond radio” refers to a chapter that students were supposed to read in the book Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production. The chapter describes many things that NPR is able to do on its website to enhance the stories that are broadcast on radio.

A number of students selected stories that had NONE of these enhancements, other than perhaps one photo or other image added to the Web story.

How does that make sense? When the assignment says, in part: “discuss the ‘beyond radio’ aspects of this story on the website,” it would make the most sense to choose a story that had some of those aspects.

Two examples (these are good choices):

(1) Can We Learn to Forget Our Memories?

Unusually, this story includes five links within the text, and all of the links lead to websites outside NPR.org. These links add information to the story.

The most interesting “beyond radio” thing about this story, though, is that the transcript of the radio story is quite different from the text story. Most students found that the NPR text story was usually very similar to the audio from the radio broadcast. (Most text stories on the NPR site do have a complete transcript of the audio.)

Comparison of the audio, the transcript, and the text story in this case provide very good lessons about the best way to tell a story on different platforms. One important element is the nat sound included in the audio. In this case, that nat sound is NOT “sound effects” (such as hammers, car engines, seagulls at the beach, etc.) but instead sound captured on site at the 2012 USA Memory Championship, including groans and applause from the audience. The nat sound brings the audio story to life.

The text story is structured much differently and adds a lot of new information not found in the audio story.

(2) Mekong Flows Along Troubled Myanmar’s East

This story is one of five in a series broadcast in 2010, when NPR’s Southeast Asia correspondent Michael Sullivan and freelance photojournalist Christopher Brown traveled along the Mekong River from the Tibetan plateau in China to the giant delta in southern Vietnam. In class, I showed the interactive feature accompanying this story. Outstanding “beyond radio” aspects of this story include the 9-image photo slideshow at the top of the story page, a map, and the interactive itself, which is linked to an image embedded in the story text.

Photos. And radio. That’s “beyond radio.”

Something else you can’t do on radio: The other four stories in this series are linked to this one.