Friday, February 26, 2016

Why you should listen to this spellbinding podcast interview with the mother of one of the Columbine shooters

On April 20, 1999, when Sue Klebold heard about a shooting incident at Columbine High School, her thoughts immediately turned to her 17-year-old son, Dylan, who was a senior there.

"In the very beginning, I didn't know what to think," Sue tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross [in this podcast interview]. "I was aware that there was a shooting incident occurring at the school. I didn't know if Dylan was in danger, if someone was trying to shoot him, if he was doing something."

Gradually the truth emerged: Dylan and his friend, 18-year-old Eric Harris, had gone on a shooting rampage at the school, murdering 13 people and injuring 24 others before killing themselves.

If you're a media student and if you aspire to become a journalist, here are six reasons why you should listen to this interview:

  1. To understand how to ask questions
  2. To understand how to listen to the responses and ask follow-up questions
  3. To understand  in this case  what questions to ask a woman whose son and a friend shot dead 12 students and a teacher and then killed themselves
  4. To understand the importance of diction and intonation
  5. To understand what it means to be a popular radio host
  6. To understand what works on radio  if you're a media student it is quite likely that the production of a radio feature is part of your course curriculum (as it is at Commits)

So go on over to the NPR website and pay careful attention to how Fresh Air's Terry Gross conducts this interview (recorded earlier this month to coincide with the launch of a book written by Sue Klebold): "Columbine Shooter's Mother: I Carry Him 'Everywhere I Go, Always'".

You can also read a transcript of the interview here. If you have learnt how to "write to pictures" (TV news scripting), reading this transcript will give you a good insight into how "radio copy" works.

Speaking of radio copy, you should also read the transcript of a wonderfully descriptive podcast review on Fresh Air of singer-songwriter Sia's latest studio album, "This Is Acting", by rock critic Ken Tucker. Study the structure: Intro by host David Bianculli... SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "UNSTOPPABLE"... Beginning of review by Tucker... SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BIRD SET FREE"... Tucker again... and so on till the end.

You can read the transcript as well as listen to the review here: "Sia Reclaims Songs She Wrote For Others On 'This Is Acting'"

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