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Category Archives: audio narratives

The Music of Narrative: Songs from great literary journalism

A story without sound lies too dead on the page. Imagine “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster,” by Jon Franklin, without the pop … pop … pop of the operating-room sensors. Or Tom Wolfe’s “The Girl of the Year” — the 1964 New York magazine classic on “it” girl Jane Holzer — without the manic rhythms: She is gorgeous [...]

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 [...]

Snap Judgment’s Glynn Washington on storytelling influences, NPR, race, narrative intention, pacing and structure

Detroit Week continues here on Storyboard, with an appearance by radio storyteller Glynn Washington, a Motor City native and host of the hot NPR show Snap Judgment. We recently ran Part 1 of our conversation with him, about the contextual lines between journalism and entertainment storytelling. “This is not the news,” Washington told us, “but if we’re telling [...]

Radio storytelling: When is a story just a story, and when do listeners expect more?

Jay Allison, who produces The Moth Radio Hour and founded Transom.org, once said, ”In public radio, our signature is story.”  He entered radio in the 1970s, from the theater. “I thought, ‘Wait a minute — it’s exactly the same, because it’s a medium in time.’ In order to hold attention (radio storytelling) must at least recognize theatrical values like [...]

Pamela Colloff and Tom Junod talk storytelling

At the recent City & Regional Magazine Association conference in Atlanta, Esquire’s Tom Junod and Texas Monthly’s Pamela Colloff interviewed each other for an audience of narrative lovers. Atlanta magazine’s Tony Rehagen kindly recorded the session exclusively for Storyboard. You can hear the conversation in its entirety (an hour and 22 minutes) below, with an introduction by Steve [...]

The best in narrative, 2012: Storyboard’s top picks in audio, magazines, newspapers and online

Welcome to Storyboard’s first annual year-end roundup of top storytelling: 34 of our favorite pieces in audio, magazines, newspapers and online, with three of the categories guest curated by Mark Armstrong (online), Julia Barton and Julie Shapiro (audio), and Ben Montgomery, Michael Kruse and Thomas Lake (newspapers). This was a strong year for storytelling, and it was hard to choose. You’ll find pieces that [...]

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 [...]

The best of Storyboard: What’s that sound?

The best stories – even the written ones – have audio. Maybe it’s a sensibility: voice or style, which Ben Yagoda explores in his craft book The Sound on the Page. Maybe it’s a structural/pacing device (think of the pop, pop, pop of the heartbeat in Jon Franklin’s “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster”) or the lingering effect of [...]

“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 [...]