The First Time I Cut For Air

By Dean’s Intern Jordan-Marie Smith at NPR

summer hatersThis was a really big deal for me because the story was devolved to me after the guest was booked and I had the responsibility of taking control of it—-that included editing. For something like a tape and copy, a host’s voice reads next to clipped audio, the process seemed a bit scary. For one, this was the first time I would have to go out to the field for interviews and clips. That included Potomac, MD, metro platforms with strangers and my college campus. Talking to strangers is fun and I am sure saying I was from NPR helped a bunch.

Secondly, I was completely responsible for scripting and mixing. That means, deciding which parts of each interview I wanted to use and crafting Rachel Martin’s words around the content. I had to keep it upbeat, fun, and entertaining. The LA editor and Rachel really helped bring out the tone and style that helped this work so well. As far as mixing a tape and copy…well, I’ve seen those one screens plenty of times and each time I would look at it and think “oh crap, if I ever try that I’m going to get fired because I’m so going to screw up.” But, I went in and put together all of the pieces I collected and collaboratively wrote that ended up being the final project you can listen to.

The icing on the cake was when a producer reviewed the piece for air, approached me and shook my hand. She told me it was exceptionally and exceedingly (redundant adjective?) well done. When I started to tear up and told her that it was my first time doing the whole shabang, she seemed even more surprised. After the segment aired during the second hour, different Weekend Edition staff emailed me telling me how impressive they thought it was.

I’m not mentioning all of this as a humblebrag back-pat but because NPR is something that makes me who I am and helped me learn so much growing up during times when there were little resources. I heard quality radio and it became a part of my life in an immensely important way. That’s why my ultimate dream in life has always been to work there. When I heard that producer’s words, it meant that I gave back all that I could to the place that gave me so much in my life. It meant that I was giving listeners the quality that they deserve, expect and cherish.

So if you see me smiling randomly, it’s because I achieved my 21 year-old dream.

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