Many teachers challenge their students weekly to bring in and discuss current events. Many high schools have entire electives devoted to current events. And most of these classes rely almost entirely on print articles.
1. Evocative Writing – When you have no pictures to show your readers what you are talking about, radio reporters must rely more on carefully chosen words that allow listeners to form pictures in their minds. In this profile of a politically active 11 year old the writing brings the main character to life.
2. Emotion – Both print and radio reporters interview people for their stories. But only in radio to you hear how someone sounds when they voice their thoughts or opinions. You can hear if they are angry, sad or scared. This gives students a powerful connection to the speaker. In this look at unequal policing the emotion is raw and clear.
3. Pacing – Radio announcers use techniques in their voicing that keep you listening. They create drama with their voice. They speed up or slow down to guide your ear through the story. This story takes you to a little league watch party in Chicago and it’s artful pacing keeps you engaged and wanting more.
4. A Sense of Place – Audio stories often take the listener into the story with ambient sound that makes you feel like you are in a different place. A story about antibiotics and chickens starts in a hatchery where little chicks are peeping.
5. Length – Most public radio stories are under 5 minutes long. They may not give students all the background they need to fully understand the story, but they do leave them wanting more, asking questions. And that’s where we want to leave students right? Wanting more. In just four minutes students can get an overview of the Scottish independence referendum and consider how this will impact Scotland’s future.