Sound Reporting and Driveway Moments

Is that Salt’s Patty Wight on the cover? 🙂


NPR updated its book Sound Reporting. It’s a must-have.

Originally published in 1992, the first edition was a compendium of essays by NPR luminaries. This time around, there’s one author — Jonathan Kern — and he’s made many significant improvements. Although the book is denser and dryer than the first, it’s considerably more informative covering, with great depth and clarity, everything from field recording to booking guests for talk shows to reporting for the web. It makes a great text for any radio journalism class.

I wish Kern wrote more about “scenes” — the telling of stories using active tape, settings, and characters. Kern references scenes without ever really explaining what they are. Scenic writing for radio often makes a piece more cinematic and that’s a good thing for radio, the theater of the mind. Producer Robert Krulwich wrote about scenes in the first edition of Sound Reporting. It’s genius. I wish his approach to scenic writing was included in the new edition. But, that’s a small quibble.

Kern was interviewed on WESUN (7/20/08) about “driveway moments.” Here are links to the WESUN piece and to the book.




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