August 18, 2017

Reporter Field Notes

A week spent graduating from screens to sounds

By Morgan O’Hanlon

As an editor of words on paper (or, more accurately, screens), I’ve come to love the way sentences and clauses can link together like puzzle pieces to make something beautiful. Working on the Next Generation Radio Project this week, I realized I was playing an entirely different game. Working in Audition was more like learning to solve a Rubik’s Cube. It was a slow trek navigating my way through the ins and outs of layers and tracks, but I’m leaving KUT this week feeling much more confident in my ability to weave together a strong piece of radio journalism.

When I applied to the Next Generation Radio Project, I’d dabbled in a few audio pieces, but the experience of putting one together this week was definitely more rigorous and intensive than any piece I’d ever done before. Throughout the recording process, my ears were fine-tuned to a variety of sounds that I hope to pay better attention to in the future. But even more than opening my ears, this week has taught me that being out in the field, donning headphones and a fuzzy mic, I was a conduit between places and people. Listening to my car radio this week, I became acutely aware both of my own experiences out in the field and of the experience reporters go through whenever they’re out reporting. Radio and sound can really take you places.

Working with my mentor, Ashley Lopez, was an incredible experience because she’s someone I could only hope to be like somewhere down line. Not only did she impart some feminist wisdom on my young female journo ears, but she also told me about the doors public radio opened for her, and that it could open for me, as well. I’m so thankful for all the folks at Next Generation for giving me the opportunity to create a great-sounding piece and helping me to start my journey toward becoming a savvy radio journalist.