This American Life producer Stephanie Foo is dismayed by all subpar storytelling, but especially that which can be attributed to the lack of diversity in public media workplaces.
“I just hear so often stories about people of color that are just coasting — coasting!” she told me on The Pub, calling out stories that rely on exoticizing their subjects to generate interest.
“Like, ‘Maybe if I throw in enough saffron and bright colors and, like, bells on sarees, this will be interesting.’ No! There needs to be a problem, there needs to be a conflict,” she said.
This week on The Pub, Foo talks about her frank and funny manifesto for Transom, “What To Do If Your Workplace Is Too White,” and offers examples of how reporters of any identity can tell better stories about people of color.
Also on the show:
- Novelist and journalist Teddy Wayne describes the contrived informality he hears in the voicing of narrative radio, which he decried in his New York Times piece, “‘NPR Voice’ Has Taken Over the Airwaves.”
- We’re at the dawn of a glorious new era! I talk about exciting emerging technologies for recording high-quality remote interviews, from VoLTE to Ringr, while NPR chief audio engineer Shawn Fox predicts the death of ISDN and its replacement.
- What the backlash to a PBS NewsHour story about charter schools and the backlash to the New York Times’ exposé about Amazon.com have in common.
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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.