Rabbit Review - Sound Reporting
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit according to Asian cultures. This year, I decided to focus on reading more with an emphasis on improvement, culture, and minority voices. Over the Lunar New Year holiday (Seollal/설날 in Korea), I read four books and started a fifth. I'm going to add several reviews of my books as I go through the year for others to follow along on my journey.
One of the important things as a writer or artist is simply to bring in new information. One of my writing teachers in college likened it to a spider and a honeybee. We can spin tales that come from within like a spider with a web, but often they are not for the greater world. In contrast, like the honeybee, we can go out and learn new information. This new information, in turn, creates items that many others will find useful.
I see writing as a both spider and honeybee - we need to tell the stories within ourselves, but we also need to go out and find more information, new interests, and new viewpoints. When we find the balance we need - our art becomes amazing.
Our first book for the Rabbit Review is Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production by Jonathan Kern. I read this as an ebook through Kindle.
Reason for Reading: I am attempting to start podasting this year (more on that later). While podcasting, audio books, audio dramas and radio are all things I find interesting, I realized I knew fairly little on production and quality. I had purchased the Kindle version of the book in 2020 or 2021, but this was the first time I had slowed down to read it.
I'm glad I did.
This book gives you an excellent overview and would make a good textbook for introduction to radio production. Each chapter focuses on a different part of radio production and how those parts work together.
A second element I really appreciated was the ethical and moral points that were brought up - even ones that I would have never considered. As a writer, I can often change where I want a quote to go in a story without changing the meaning much. If I need to edit a quote down, I use ellipses to show that. That is not the case in audio production, or, more precisely, it is not as easy as it is with writing. The book showed ways one can edit effectively as well as ethically. There was an entire chapter devoted to the ethical questions of editing which I found helpful.
For me, I find that reading about what I should do gives me a good foundation before doing the action. With that in mind, reading about what to do for in-field reporting, editing ethics, and production keys gave me a good place to figure out what I needed to do.
At the end of the day, Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production by Jonathan Kern is a good introduction for those wanting to work for radio news. It is also a good introduction for those who want to go into podcasting (though the two are not always the same).