Jessica Alpert moderated this session that focused on the power of audio to enhance storytelling in new and exciting ways.
Jocelyn Frank learned about audio at NPR University. The DC intern-turned-producer played a tantalizing mix of answers to the question: “What are you hungry for?” to kick off the post-lunch session. (Which is a good thing or we all might have ended up hungry!
A veteran of Radio Expeditions, Morning Edition and more, Frank remains fascinated by how communities define themselves and tell their stories. She stresses that survival in the world of audio takes being able to adapt, to react and to change. And she would not have it any other way. “I could not dream up a better place for me to be,” she says.
What started as a labor of love and personal passions, a project about photo subjects and how they define themselves, led to a funded production. As a member of The DC Listening Lounge–people who just love to share audio—Frank produced a piece that took subjects of census-related photography and asked them to tell their stories.
Kathleen Galligan of the Detroit Free Press told of a different journey to audio. Her career mission—“I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless”—seemed a perfect match for adding audio to her photo stories. A three-year project about children in foster care showcases just how powerful pairing voices with images can be.
But Galligan didn’t start out with any specialized audio or video training. Her editor handed her a video camera as she was on her way to an assignment. Next stop? Letting the subjects of her photos speak for themselves.
The final audio panelist, Susan Schardt of AIR, played snippets of the original broadcasts from public radio in 1971. They sounded like bad video game jingles. Today’s sophisticated productions include interactive platforms. Schardt introduced localore.net, a new initiative to grow fresh producers in the field to continue to give voice to the voiceless.
Expert panelists gave the following “how to get started” tips:
• Join AIR
• Do what story needs – sometimes audio adds a new layer, a rich depth
• Visit Transom.org
• Partner and collaborate
• Check out the equipment; price doesn’t have to be prohibitive: you can get a Zoom recorder, a stick mike for less than $200.
–By Elissa Yancey
Plus, check out the accompanying: