A Storytelling Lab for the Next Generation

This post comes from David Klatt, executive producer of NPR’s Intern Edition for spring 2009 and a reporter for WAMU.


Intern EditionFor the last two months more than 20 NPR interns have been hard at work on radio pieces, multimedia stories, and a new website for Intern Edition, a storytelling lab for the next generation of public radio contributors.

Traditionally IE has been a radio show with a few visual elements online, but in the MQ2 spirit, we decided that photos and artwork should loom larger in the spring 2009 package. Interns with photography skills teamed up with interns who knew something about managing a website. Interns who knew something about graphic design said they had some ideas.

The result: audio, video, photo, and blog work, with a multimedia half-hour package of stories including one on how Superman reinvented himself for the iPod and one on the unintended outcome of nannies taking over children’s story time in DC’s Mount Pleasant library.

IE has allowed us to zoom out and see our radio reporting in a different light. We have a better sense of where the base skill of building a story with sound can take us. We set out to experiment with how to tell stories instead of how to be broadcast journalists, and our lead photographer now calls himself a “visual journalist” and our radio managing editor now designs websites.

You are what you take the time to learn and experiment with, and public media is what you make it. What do you make of it? And what do you make of our work?