Workshop 3 brought exciting news to the KRTS Youth Media Project. Today, we finalized our partnership with PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs Program; at the end of our 8 week project, our students will have the opportunity to share their stories on the Student Reporting Labs website, alongside other student reports from around the country. We had a Skype session with our PBS liaison Thai Da Silva, who welcomed our students into the program and spoke with us about story ideas.

We spent the remainder of class focusing on storytelling techniques in radio. After watching Ira Glass's 4-part series on storytelling for radio, we talked about the difference between writing for the eye and writing for the ear. One of the building blocks of storytelling for broadcast is momentum. Rather than relying on the structure of topic sentences and facts to fill them out, radio relies on sequences of actions. Momentum takes us from one scene to the next, so that we travel with the story from one place, event, or emotional state to the next. All the while, we are raising questions that lead to a moment of reflection. The climax of the piece should communicate something with punch – what’s the point?

We also talked about the technical side of writing for broadcast. In radio, the audience can’t go back and re-read a long sentence. Information needs to be parceled out in bite-sized pieces if the listener only has one chance to absorb it!

We ended class with an exercise in scene writing. Students listened to a sound byte of a snake charmer being interviewed at the circus. They wrote scenes to introduce the charmer as if she were a voice in a radio story. Here are some of the results.