A couple months ago, Youth Radio learned that our newsroom’s series, Reflections on Return from the Iraq War, will be featured alongside 12 other youth media works on a new website, Projects of Change, highlighting the signature pedagogies and best practices behind exemplary youth media products. We’re excited to be included!
Film-maker and education consultant Mindy Faber is working on the project, and she called me up to learn more Youth Radio’s work, to inform our description on the site. We discussed one of the methodologies Youth Radio producers used extensively in the Reflections on Return series—something you might call “speaking scripts.”
Using this technique, reporters from our newsroom interviewed troops coming home from Iraq, and then cut those conversations into two-to-four minute single-voice, first-person essays. This process creates an especially challenging and collaborative approach to interviewing. We prefaced each conversation by letting the young vet know that throughout the interview, we’d be “in-flight editing,” and that we’d need their help. In other words, the reporter needed to be thinking the whole time about how the story would sound with all the questions eliminated, and what bits of tape would work as the story’s beginning, middle, end, and transitions in between. It was not at all uncommon, in this process, for the reporter to pause the conversation and say something like, “I love what you just said, but can you help me make a transition to that other point you made earlier?” Questions like these make the composition process more transparent, while young people hone an important skill—the capacity to edit in production.
Check out these stories for examples of Reflections on Return’s speaking scripts. All aired nationally, most on NPR, which serves 26 million listeners annually:
Family Ties (the interviewer here was a fellow young vet, Kevin Walters)