Session 11: Final Scripts & Voicing

Today we finally wrapped up our final scripts and voiced our stories. Both Lisa and Maryam rewrote their final scripts the day of voicing, so their final drafts look pretty different from their first drafts. I should have held them more accountable during the draft process. Ultimately, I wish we had time for more edits, but I think the girls are happy with how their final stories turned out. 

Session 10: Barf Drafts

Today we listened to the Transom piece on "barf drafts," and recorded barf drafts of our own. Radio storytelling is very conversational, so a "barf draft" is where you record yourself telling your story like you were telling it to a friend. Then you transcribe that word for word, and you have a first draft. 

After we did a little more work on our scripts, we ended class by listening to one of my favorite David Sedaris pieces, Santa Claus v. The Easter Bunny, which is either a huge hit or a huge miss with high school students. They chuckled a few times, so I'll take it. 

Lisa and Maryam are both in Columbia all summer, so they're taking their sweet time finishing their stories. Since we have an extended timeline, I hope to get them doing a lot of their own editing and producing, which isn't something we've had the time to do in the past. 

Session 9: Intersection of Technology & Advocacy

After a break last week because I declared it too beautiful to be inside, we began class today by having our reporters report out on their stories as usual. The plan is to have all interviews done and a draft for peer editing ready to go by next Friday. After we discussed individual stories, we listened to Finding and Decoding Your Identity On Air by NPR and Nieman Lab. It's about how women's voices are often perceived as less confident and less knowledgable than a deeper man's voice. We had a discussion about gender and media, and how we as women in media can overcome gender stereotypes. For homework they'll listen to Just Shut Up from the podcast Strong Opinions Loosely Held, which builds on the topic of policing the voices and word choice of women in media (and also everywhere). 

We spent the last hour of class listening to a podcast episode called Yik Yak Returns from Reply All. The 35 minute episode is about how the anonymous social media platform Yik Yak has fueled racist hate speech at Mizzou and universities across the country. A line in the story says something like, "Technology doesn't cause this - Facebook doesn't make us lonelier, Google doesn't make us stupider, Yik Yak doesn't make us more racist. These platforms just give us more behavioral options." We talked about how technology and media are both good and bad for advancing social movements. Since the episode focuses pretty heavily on Mizzou, we talked about how involved they felt in Mizzou's anti-racism protests in November, and how Rock Bridge handled those protests. They said they felt the same way a lot of college kids I know felt: that they knew something was going on and it was a minor inconvenience to them, but they didn't quite know what was being protested. One of the interviewees in the Yik Yak story said some of the most terrible Yik Yak posts were actually helpful to marginalized students because they finally had "proof" of racism on campus. We talked about how discrimination is often both felt and perpetuated as "microaggression," which was a new word to them. We talked about how it's hard to explain microaggressions, which is why it was sometimes hard to understand why the protesters were protesting. They shared examples of microaggressions they had experienced in their own lives. 

For homework this week they're reading the chapter on story structure in Out on the Wire. They're also revisiting two GREAT Transom articles on interviewing called The Basics and Before the First Question. These students are so awesome. I'm excited to see what they get this week - their interviews so far have been awesome in both content and sound quality. 

Session 8: Listening Session

It was AP test week this week, so our reporters haven't gotten very far in the interview process. We're going to put off script writing and "barf drafts" for next week. Today, we listened to and discussed Tom Girls, one of my all-time favorite pieces of journalism. It's a story about two families at a conference for families with trans kids. The piece is awesome because it uses beautiful anecdotes to "show not tell" the story, and it takes a topic that is very foreign to many people and beautifully universalizes it. We had a pretty long discussion about the story. 

It was a beautiful day, so after they reported out on their stories and had some question/answer and work time, we went to a picnic my grad program was putting on and ate free food.