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Audio Journalism

Have you seen all those commercials lately about “cash for gold” and wondered what it’s all about? I definitely have been, since you can’t flip through the channels without catching one. Well when I went to the NPR web page I found a little insight into the whole whoop-la on gold. I listened to the story We Bought Gold!

I really enjoyed the piece; it was very informative and intriguing.  I wanted to high light the strong points of the story through bulleted explanation:

  • The story is engaging because it’s a current and very relevant topic due to current issues. The economy is poor and people are looking for any opportunity to generate revenue.
  • Educational: Many people are unaware of the high currency gold holds right now. 
  •  Experimental Approach: The story wasn’t just a simple informative news piece but it was an experiment conducted by the NPR Planet Money Team. The experiment was explained very well through the main host narrative, she broke down the background, hypothesis, research question, and introduced the sources which add to the credibility of the story.
  • Story 101: The gist of the story was that the Planet Money (hypothesis) researched a few theories of how a successful economy functions; one answer they found was to be active with in it. So they decided to go invest a small amount of money into gold. They first researched the subject by naturalistic inquiry. They went straight to the famous Diamond District in N.Y City to understand the value of gold.
  • I really liked the questions they asked in the story because it really pricked an interest with me: What gives something value? The source they used to find the answer was that is a psychology, “gold is an idea- if everyone believes it’s valuable, it’s valuable.”
  • They bought the gold, a very small piece, and they plan to sell it in 6 months time and again will report back to listeners. The experimental approach of this story will generate anticipation and make people want to come back to the site to hear the second half of the story- I know it made me want to. This is a great example of strong journalism.
  • Ambien Sound: store background (coin dropping, cash counting, other customers), street background (vehicle motor, and breaks) (voices of street vendors)

The second story I listened to was about a young girl and her life on the streets. She felt alienated at school for her differences and took the street life. She moved from Chili with her family and experienced homelessness on many occasions. The story was about her, why she was on the streets, and how she survived. I liked the story because it was on such a personal level and gives you good insight to why some people are living on the street, rather than simply judging her. The story can help open the eyes of others and realize that every body is human and the streets are dangerous but sometimes they have no where else to go, it’s often not a choice but the only option for a lot of youth today. It scares me because the streets are dangerous and you get a real feel for that in the story. I didn’t like this story as much as the first because it didn’t have any ambient noise and was only a narration by the main caricature. But it did have really good photos to keep me interested. But because it was a piece about the streets I would have made sure to capture some of the sound to make it seem more real. 

The Third story I listened to was about a young Jewish women who left the sect in Brooklyn, N.Y to venture out on her own and find her self. I liked the story because it is inspirational for people who grow up in a setting that just doesn’t match who they are inside. A lot of people become trapped by their comfort zones, but this girl left because she realized that she didn’t want to be there. The story had no ambient sound, it was only narration, with again, it was a street piece and I think it should have had more street sounds. The pictures were strong, and added to the piece, but it could have been stronger I think with more ambient sound.


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