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.
Kern, executive producer for training at National Public Radio (NPR), here consolidates into one volume the training provided to NPR employees. Kern quotes hosts (e.g., Robert Siegel), reporters (e.g., Larry Abramson), and NPR editors and producers to expound on audio journalism as specifically practiced at NPR. Sound reporting, from idea development to the finished news story or interview, gets the full treatment. Kern stresses that radio is a unique environment that dictates a writing style suited to the ear and that may therefore be contrary to print conventions. Along with the reporters and producers, he dissects actual broadcast segments to demonstrate why they were or were not successful. While Steve Warren's Radio: The Book(4th ed.) offers tips on how to get a job in radio, this work describes the interconnected avocations involved in bringing sound reporting to life. Recommended for high school, public, and undergraduate libraries.