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Contributor Archives: Julia Barton

Audio Danger: Radio storytelling and the perils of digital permanence

Back in the distant 1990s, This American Life host Ira Glass described a recurring dream of NPR’s Scott Simon: Simon would shoot a basketball over and over, but then it would disappear. The ball never landed. That, Glass said, was a perfect metaphor for broadcast: We tossed words and stories into the ether, but we [...]

Audio danger: Going live

One morning this summer, I got on the elevator with a colleague at WNYC, where I’m working as an interim producer for national programs. My elevator pal had just gotten off the subway and was running late for a meeting he’d scheduled. I stared at him, and we burst out laughing – because this was Jad [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 43: “Radio Diaries” on teenage drama

Boxing stories leave me cold. Like many sports stories, they seem to assume an audience of fans who will be thrilled − rather than sickened − by a narrative built on grueling workouts, bloodied lips and head injuries. So I downloaded “Teen Contender,” about a 16-year-old girl trying out for the USA’s first Olympic boxing team, with some reluctance. I [...]

Audio danger: transgressive voices

[The fourth installment in an ongoing series of posts by Julia Barton about audio narratives. –Ed.] Great audio, as I’ve previously written, transports us to an imaginative place somewhere between the story’s world and our own. If you’re driving down the road in Florida but hearing a story about Siberia, it feels as though you’re [...]

NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling on golden radio, Yoda parallels and the Robert Krulwich moment

[The third installment in an ongoing series of posts by Julia Barton about audio narratives. –Ed.] A ghostly crowd of voices parades across the public radio airwaves every day: politicians and hosts, foreign correspondents, callers, singers. Sometimes they catch our interest, but as soon as one voice is gone and replaced by the next, it’s usually [...]

Audio danger: NPR’s Kelly McEvers on trauma and the calculus of risk

[The second installment in an ongoing series of posts by Julia Barton about audio narratives. –Ed.] The title of this series, “Audio danger,” is mostly tongue-in-cheek. But not in the case of Kelly McEvers. McEvers now works as one of NPR’s correspondents in the Middle East, and she’s opened the network’s first bureau in Beirut. [...]

Audio danger: stories from the edge of listening

[As part of our mission to look at storytelling in every medium, Storyboard is pleased to introduce Julia Barton, who will bring us several posts in 2012 focused on developments in and examples from the world of audio narratives. –Ed.] Writers and video producers live in dread of the wandering eye. Audio producers live for [...]