Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production

Paperback | July 1, 2008

byJonathan Kern

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Perhaps you’ve always wondered how public radio gets that smooth, well-crafted sound. Maybe you’re thinking about starting a podcast, and want some tips from the pros. Or maybe storytelling has always been a passion of yours, and you want to learn to do it more effectively. Whatever the case—whether you’re an avid NPR listener or you aspire to create your own audio, or both—Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production will give you a rare tour of the world of a professional broadcaster.

Jonathan Kern, who has trained NPR’s on-air staff for years, is a gifted guide, able to narrate a day in the life of a host and lay out the nuts and bolts of production with equal wit and warmth. Along the way, he explains the importance of writing the way you speak, reveals how NPR books guests ranging from world leaders to neighborhood newsmakers, and gives sage advice on everything from proposing stories to editors to maintaining balance and objectivity. Best of all—because NPR wouldn’t be NPR without its array of distinctive voices—lively examples from popular shows and colorful anecdotes from favorite personalities animate each chapter.

As public radio’s audience of millions can attest, NPR’s unique guiding principles and technical expertise combine to connect with listeners like no other medium can. With today’s technologies allowing more people to turn their home computers into broadcast studios, Sound Reporting couldn’t have arrived at a better moment to reveal the secrets behind the story of NPR’s success.

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Perhaps you’ve always wondered how public radio gets that smooth, well-crafted sound. Maybe you’re thinking about starting a podcast, and want some tips from the pros. Or maybe storytelling has always been a passion of yours, and you want to learn to do it more effectively. Whatever the case—whether you’re an avid NPR listener or you a...

Jonathan Kern is the executive producer for training at NPR. He has worked in almost every position in radio news, including executive producer of All Things Considered.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:380 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:July 1, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226431789

ISBN - 13:9780226431789

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD
PREFACE

1 SOUND AND STORIES

2 FAIRNESS
     Fair, Accurate, Complete, and Honest | The Echo Chamber | Verifying Assertions | Getting Both Sides | Avoiding Loaded Language

3 WRITING FOR BROADCAST
     Write the Way You Speak | How to Sound Like a Real Person | Other Newswriting Tips

4 REPORTING
     The Reporter's Personality Skills | Developing News Sources | Other Sources of Original Stories | Getting People on Tape | Getting Great Actualities | Working on Tight Deadlines | Beyond Acts and Tracks | A Storytelling Sampler

5 FIELD PRODUCING
     Getting Started | In the Field | Finding Sound and Scenes | Putting the Story Together | Filing from the Field | Taking Responsibility

6 STORY EDITING
     The Editor's Role | The Ingredients of a Story | Structuring the Story | Editing by Ear | The Intro | The First Track | Copyediting | The Ending | When to Stop Editing | Finding New Approaches to Old Stories

7 THE REPORTER-HOST TWO-WAY
     The Problem with Scripted Two-Ways | Going Scriptless | Two-Way Tips

8 READING ON THE AIR
     Sounding Conversational | Marking up a Script | Getting Physical | The Need for Feedback

9 HOSTING
     The Host's Day | The Host Interview | Reading Scripts Other People Write | Hosting Live Programming

10 NEWSCASTING
     What Is News? | Public Radio Newscast Values and Principles | Composing the 'Cast | Newscast Writing | The NPR News Spot | The Reporter Q&A | On the Air

11 BOOKING
     Booking Well-Known People | Booking Everyday People | The Booker as Detective | The Pre-interview | Final Steps

12 PRODUCING
     Finding and Pitching Stories | Producing Interviews | Editing Interviews | Mixing Reporter Pieces | Producing Music Pieces

13 PRODUCTION ETHICS
     The Unkindest Cuts | Other Production Issues

14 PROGRAM PRODUCING
     The Art of the News Program | Creating the Lineup | Producing Live Programs

15 PROGRAM EDITING
     Setting the News Agenda | Error Checking | Massaging the Script | Sitting In on Interviews | The Editor as Manager

16 COMMENTARIES
     Finding Commentators | Topical Commentaries | Personal Commentaries | Editing Commentaries | Coaching Commentators | Commentary Intros | To Comment or Not to Comment

17 STUDIO DIRECTING
     The Director as Number Cruncher | The Director as Conductor | Directing Live Events | The Joy of Directing

18 BEYOND RADIO
     The Web-Radio Relationship | The Manifold Media of the Web | Podcasting | Editorial Issues Online | The Future

APPENDIX I. GLOSSARY
APPENDIX II. PRONOUNCERS
INDEX

Editorial Reviews

“Writing for the ear is an art form. What Jonathan Kern has accomplished with this marvelous guide is doubly artful: using clear, colorful, conversational language, he teaches us how to write clear, colorful, conversational radio copy. He also teaches us how to interview, produce, and paint audio pictures with sound. There is no other ‘how-to’ radio journalism manual to compare. ”