Posts tagged with ‘this american life’

Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.

Ira Glass to Lifehacker. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.

Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:

When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.

Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.

This American Life Celebrates 500th Episode
Once called the vanguard of a journalistic revolution by the American Journalism Review, This American Life aired its very first episode on July 5, 1995. Now in its 18th year, the weekly show entertains an audience of about 1.8 million with its thought-provoking programs. In a recent interview with Slate, founder and host Ira Glass reflected on the program’s evolution:


Over the last few years, we’ve gone from being a show that was almost entirely very personal stories to a show that is much more engaging the news. When the show started, the mission of the show was to apply the tools of journalism to stories so small and personal that journalists weren’t doing them. And occasionally, we would do something that would touch the news…But after 9/11, we became more interested in the news—the whole country became more interested in the news. And the show exists partly to follow what we as a staff are interested in.

For the 500th episode, the staff will talk about their favorite moments on This American Life. Glass praised the show’s experimental format, which he described as “flexible enough that we can to do whatever we want.”
It’s interesting to note that in an accompanying interview, Glass said he thinks of his interviews with guests as story plots:

Really what I’m thinking about is: “What is the story arc of this story? How do I get plot going and how can I get them to tell me the plot in a way that will work in on the radio?” So… I’ll go into the interview with a set of thoughts I have about their experience.

Bonus: You can catch the 500th episode and browse previous episodes stretching back to 1995 through This American Life’s archive. 
Image: viatvtropes

This American Life Celebrates 500th Episode

Once called the vanguard of a journalistic revolution by the American Journalism Review, This American Life aired its very first episode on July 5, 1995. Now in its 18th year, the weekly show entertains an audience of about 1.8 million with its thought-provoking programs. In a recent interview with Slate, founder and host Ira Glass reflected on the program’s evolution:

Over the last few years, we’ve gone from being a show that was almost entirely very personal stories to a show that is much more engaging the news. When the show started, the mission of the show was to apply the tools of journalism to stories so small and personal that journalists weren’t doing them. And occasionally, we would do something that would touch the news…But after 9/11, we became more interested in the news—the whole country became more interested in the news. And the show exists partly to follow what we as a staff are interested in.

For the 500th episode, the staff will talk about their favorite moments on This American Life. Glass praised the show’s experimental format, which he described as “flexible enough that we can to do whatever we want.”

It’s interesting to note that in an accompanying interview, Glass said he thinks of his interviews with guests as story plots:

Really what I’m thinking about is: “What is the story arc of this story? How do I get plot going and how can I get them to tell me the plot in a way that will work in on the radio?” So… I’ll go into the interview with a set of thoughts I have about their experience.

Bonus: You can catch the 500th episode and browse previous episodes stretching back to 1995 through This American Life’s archive

Image: viatvtropes

What Happened At Dos Erres
fjp-latinamerica:

We are totally enjoying a recent episode of This American Life on the story of Guatemalan immigrant Óscar Ramírez:

In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred the villagers of Dos Erres, killing more than 200 people. Thirty years later, a Guatemalan living in the US got a phone call from a woman who told him that two boys had been abducted during the massacre — and he was one of them. 

Beyond the fascinating storytelling, what we liked the most is the degree of collaboration between several journalistic enterprises: startup extraordinaire ProPublica, Colombia-based Fundación MEPI, independent journalist Habiba Nosheen, and This American Life.
Insofar, their collaboration has already rendered a remarkable set of journalistic products (and byproducts): an in-depth essay, a timeline, a slideshow, and an eBook. Praiseworthy by all means.
Image: Partial screenshot of Óscar’s Story, by Sebastian Rotella and Krista Kjellman Schmidt. Via ProPublica. 

FJP: If you haven’t listened to this, set aside some time and do so. It’s an amazing story.

What Happened At Dos Erres

fjp-latinamerica:

We are totally enjoying a recent episode of This American Life on the story of Guatemalan immigrant Óscar Ramírez:

In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred the villagers of Dos Erres, killing more than 200 people. Thirty years later, a Guatemalan living in the US got a phone call from a woman who told him that two boys had been abducted during the massacre — and he was one of them. 

Beyond the fascinating storytelling, what we liked the most is the degree of collaboration between several journalistic enterprises: startup extraordinaire ProPublica, Colombia-based Fundación MEPI, independent journalist Habiba Nosheen, and This American Life.

Insofar, their collaboration has already rendered a remarkable set of journalistic products (and byproducts): an in-depth essay, a timeline, a slideshow, and an eBook. Praiseworthy by all means.

Image: Partial screenshot of Óscar’s Story, by Sebastian Rotella and Krista Kjellman Schmidt. Via ProPublica

FJP: If you haven’t listened to this, set aside some time and do so. It’s an amazing story.

shortformblog:

jcstearns:

According to a major story by This American Life, news companies have outsourced local news production to Journatic, a company that hires underpaid workers in the Philippines, and uses fake bylines to create local news for communities in the United States.
Sign the Petitionhttp://act.freepress.net/sign/journatic
Dear Sam Zell and the Tribune Company:
Don’t sell out local journalism. Stop outsourcing local news and put out-of-work local journalists back on local beats.

Stories made for 30 to 35 cents on the dollar: Read up about this on Romenesko and listen to the clip here. If 100 percent true, this basically makes up for the Mike Daisey thing.

FJP: We flagged this earlier today for review but the podcast isn’t available until tomorrow night. Jim Romenesko though has a partial transcript here.

shortformblog:

jcstearns:

According to a major story by This American Life, news companies have outsourced local news production to Journatic, a company that hires underpaid workers in the Philippines, and uses fake bylines to create local news for communities in the United States.

Sign the Petition
http://act.freepress.net/sign/journatic

Dear Sam Zell and the Tribune Company:

Don’t sell out local journalism. Stop outsourcing local news and put out-of-work local journalists back on local beats.

Stories made for 30 to 35 cents on the dollar: Read up about this on Romenesko and listen to the clip here. If 100 percent true, this basically makes up for the Mike Daisey thing.

FJP: We flagged this earlier today for review but the podcast isn’t available until tomorrow night. Jim Romenesko though has a partial transcript here.

When Retractions go Viral →

While not as often as we’d like, news organizations often issue general factual corrections — and occasional outright retractions — to the stories they produce.

The problem, few actually see them and the original error is passed about the online wilds.

Not so with Mike Daisey’s This American Life investigation of electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn. Nieman Lab reports that the TAL episode dedicated to retracting the story is its most popular yet with with over 891,000 downloads and streams of the podcast since the story first aired.

The original Foxconn podcast had 888,000 downloads and streams in a similar timeframe. Since that time and additional 206,000 have listened to it.

Goes to show that biggie errors deserve a biggie response. In this American American Life’s case they dedicated a whole show to their errors. Something to learn from as most outlets bury their mistakes where few actually find them.

Nieman Lab, This American Life’s retraction of the Mike Daisey story set an online listening record.

drewvigal:

jayrosen:

All of this becomes clear in Retraction, which is an extraordinary display of transparency in corrective journalism.

Agreed. Definitely worth a listen.

FJP: Important as can be. Ira Glass and This American Life retraction of its Mike Daisey Apple/Foxconn episode.

Should be listened to but if you want to read the transcript, it’s available here.

This American Life Retraction Transcript for Daisey Foxconn Episode →

Via Ira Glass, This American Life:

I should say, I am not happy to have to come to you and tell you that something that we presented on the radio as factual is not factual. All of us in public radio stand together and I have friends and colleagues on lots of other shows who – like us here at This American Life – work hard to do accurate, independent reporting week in, week out. I and my coworkers on This American Life are not happy to have done anything to hurt the reputation of the journalism that happens on this radio station every day. So we want to be completely transparent about what we got wrong, and what we now believe is the truth.

And let’s just get to it.

The transcript walks us through Mike Daisey’s trip to China to investigate labor conditions at Foxconn, and leads to an interview between Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz, Ira Glass and Daisey himself.

This American Error →

In January, This American Life broadcast an episode that explored labor practices at Foxconn, the world’s largest electronic component maker.

Turns out, there was a lot there that wasn’t true.

Via Public Radio International:

This American Life and American Public Media’s Marketplace will reveal that a story first broadcast in January on This American Life contained numerous fabrications.

This American Life will devote its entire program this weekend to detailing the errors in the story, which was an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s critically acclaimed one-man show, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.” In it, Daisey tells how he visited a factory owned by Foxconn that manufactures iPhones and iPads in Shenzhen China. He has performed the monologue in theaters around the country; it’s currently at the Public Theater in New York. Tonight’s This American Life program will include a segment from Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz, and interviews with Daisey himself. Marketplace will feature a shorter version of Schmitz’s report earlier in the evening…

…Some of the falsehoods found in Daisey’s monologue are small ones: the number of factories Daisey visited in China, for instance, and the number of workers he spoke with. Others are large. In his monologue he claims to have met a group of workers who were poisoned on an iPhone assembly line by a chemical called n-hexane. Apple’s audits of its suppliers show that an incident like this occurred in a factory in China, but the factory wasn’t located in Shenzhen, where Daisey visited…

…In Schmitz’s report, he confronts Daisey and Daisey admits to fabricating these characters. “I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard,” Daisey tells Schmitz and Glass. “My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism, and it’s not journalism. It’s theater.”

We wrote about Foxconn at the time and have updated the post to reflect this retraction.

We can get behind it.

wnyc:

Heavy swearing from Ira Glass. Excellent.

(also: co-sign on the effort)

afajp:

You know him as host of NPR’s “This American Life,” but we here at AFAJP strictly know Ira Glass as devoted supporter of our mission to get The Onion a Pulitzer Prize. 

Are you as angry as he is? 

Via This American Life:

The camera really changed the way we behaved.

It still really disturbs me. We lost our humanity.

We let one of our classmates just get trampled on.

And they weren’t even real cameras.

As fans of the This American Life we were happy to come across this brief clip of Ira Glass discussing structural techniques of good storytelling.

This is part one of four. Follow the links to watch parts two, three and four.

Hat tip to Mark Berkely-Gerard whose post on multimedia storytelling lead us to the video.