NPR story assignment details
Now that you know how to use the professional audio recorder and editing software, you are ready to put those skills to use to create an NPR-style audio story. Here are the required elements for this story:
- Record two brief interviews with two different sources, no more than 10 minutes each. (Remember — you have to edit these interviews!) You are allowed to re-use individual soundbites from the interview you did for the short audio assignment (but it is not OK to simply drop the full minute of previous audio into this new piece).
- Record at least 3 minutes total of natural sounds of activity related to your story, of at least two completely different sounds.
- Write a script that tells a cohesive, focused story based on material gathered in your reporting. The typical NPR story format contains a logical integration of natural sounds, reporter narration, anchor throw and sources talking (called “actualities” or “soundbites”). It should end with a final piece of reporter narration (not a soundbite). You do not need to include a sign off for this piece. The natural sounds can be integrated at the beginning, middle and/or end — wherever the sounds are appropriate to set the listener into the scene where the story is taking place. Remember that the words in the story should help make clear what sounds we are hearing and/or where we are.
- The finished story must be between 1:30 and 2:00 long and it must be published to your website along with the usual descriptive introduction.
- The raw materials, scripts and finished piece should all be uploaded to its own folder (i.e. “(LASTNAME)_NPRSTYLE1”) within your folder on the Classes server.
- Email the finished script to your instructor. The soundbites (in bold or italics) and narration/VO (all CAPS) should be transcribed into text and included in your script. Any natural sound you use should be indicated in parenthesis. Other than these elements, there is no specific format required. If you want to use radio-specific terminology we discussed, you may do so.
Here are links to some examples for stories done by Convergence students:
September 8, 2009 by
• Mario Manzini