Scoring, sound effects, scene, narrative — they’re the hottest tools in the hands of today’s most innovative audio journalists, and yet they come from the very non-journalistic world of fiction.
“We have the popularity of narrative nonfiction. Well, that’s just us as journalists pulling concepts from fiction and putting it into nonfiction,” veteran independent producer and audio fiction evangelist Ann Heppermann told me on The Pub. “So, in a way, it’s like fiction is going to take it back, you know?”
Indeed, some of the most-downloaded sound-rich narrative podcasts out there aren’t journalistic at all. They’re fictional shows, like Welcome to Night Vale and Radiotopia’s The Truth. Not since the 1930s heyday of radio drama has it been such an exciting time to do make-believe for the ear.
On this week’s episode, Heppermann plays us some of the exciting, genre-bending fictional work she commissioned for the website of The Sarah Awards, a new international competition she has co-founded with the support of Sarah Lawrence College to spur a new generation of audio-fiction creators.
Also on the show:
- I and Nieman Lab director Joshua Benton discuss the ways in which public media’s internal values might not jive with those of the audience.
- A conversation with Dave Dickey, the recently retired head of Illinois Public Media’s agricultural service, about public media’s ongoing role serving rural communities.
Also: We’re doing a live show in Los Angeles Sept. 25! Seats are very limited, so go here to register for your free tickets.
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.