Learning How to Tell A Story

By mayralinaresatnprDean’s Intern Mayra Linares at NPR

I have  learned, worked, and experienced storytelling more in these last months than I have in my time in higher education. At NPR I have learned how to create a human interest story from one bit of research data. I often hear the phrase “let’s use personal stories to talk about larger issues” at least once during meetings or brown-bag lunches with producers. It definitely feels like an institutional mantra I can get behind.

One week into my internship I was asked to look into the reasons behind teacher attrition in America. While working with a reporter at our west coast office, I saw how my research was transformed into a final produced piece with a spot on a public radio classic: All Things Considered. And I got to be a part of it the day it went on air. I sat in the producer’s side of the recording booth while Robert Siegel introduced the radio spot. This story also created a lot of traffic across nprEd’s social media platforms and on our blog.  This was when I first started to see how storytelling affects real people.

Working with the Education Desk exemplifies this as well. They respect each other and the work that everyone does. Last week, I went to the football famous T.C. Williams High School in Virginia to accompany a reporter as a photographer. We met with seniors and their parents in a tiny office. As a photographer, it was a challenge for me to photograph for the story and to stay true to the events unfolding before me. Though I’ve been a photographer for many years, this was my first time as a photojournalist. And it was thrilling.