This American Life is a podcast that I regularly listen to, and I eagerly look forward to Monday morning when the episodes become available for listening. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it is a journalistic, non-fiction program that features multiple acts relating to a theme that varies each week. How perfect was it that this week, “The Radio Drama Episode” featured a story about stories. A story about getting “stuck” while recording narration, a musical story based on real-world events, and a humorous collection of stories recounting what it is like to be married.
While listening to this program, I kept a few traits of storytelling in mind in order to reflect on the production for my course in digital storytelling. First, I considered the flow, organization, and pacing of the story. Following the typical pattern of this program, there were multiple segments that featured different stories with different narrators. The pacing of the stories alternates between suspenseful moments, energetic entertainment, and casual, subtle humor. The transitions between the stories is facilitated by Ira Glass, who eloquently draws together the stories while frequently expressing his own personal connections. These moments of authentic reflection from Ira are the web that catches the spectrum of stories and proudly features them like drops of water, fresh and shining. Ira’s presentation and performance is equally matched by the skill and candor of the narrators of the stories. Each storyteller’s expression is a window into the experiences of all kinds of people. Using descriptive and colorful language paints the backdrop of the story, so although there are no visual elements the listener is able to get a good sense of place from the narration. The originality, voice, and creativity of each narrator is curated into a unique story that shares and documents a genuine, honest snapshot of life. Through this program, the stories of people are shared in a way that are accessible and easy to relate to. I look forward to exploring more stories that reflect the many facets of contemporary life.
Flow, Organization and Pacing
Presentation and Performance
Originality, Voice, and Creativity
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