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Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound (Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University) Paperback – March 15, 2010


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Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound (Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University) + Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production + Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Radio has suffered corporate deadening just like other “traditional” media, yet it retains an edge thanks to public, community, and college stations and the popularity of radio documentaries. Biewen, audio program director for Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, offers a lively history of creative documentary radio in his introduction to 19 passionate, instructive, and unexpectedly moving essays by innovative audio journalists and artists who “use sound to tell true stories artfully.” Such artists include the Kitchen Sisters, who write about their “deep need to bear witness and try to heal the culture through stories and revelations,” and Ira Glass, who generously reveals just how much patience, effort, and luck are involved in creating This American Life. Jad Abumrad’s description of his work with Robert Krulwich on the wacky Radio Lab series is matched by provocative accounts of radio diaries and bold audio performance art and Katie Davis’ beautiful essay about her collaborations with Washington, D.C., teens in Neighborhood Stories and the practice of “deeper listening.” Invaluable and many-faceted coverage of a thriving, populist, and mind-expanding art form. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

[Biewen] offers a lively history of creative documentary radio in his introduction to 19 passionate, instructive, and unexpectedly moving essays by innovative audio journalists and artists who use sound to tell true stories artfully. . . . Invaluable and many-faceted coverage of a thriving, populist, and mind-expanding art form.--Booklist

This book is valuable for those who believe radio's future is in the art of storytelling and can be a particularly good resource for students enrolled in radio narrative or radio/audio documentary classes, and a valued tool for faculty teaching documentary, narrative, audio drama, and radio writing.--Journal of Radio and Audio Media

What is striking about this collection is how clearly the reader can 'hear' the diverse voices and stories, despite the print medium. . . . A wonderful and accessible read. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice

An incredibly important contribution to the field of public media, one that will invite introspection, spark creativity, and hopefully teach people that the first step in learning is listening.--Public Radio Makers Quest 2.0

Biewen . . . chronicles this rebirth of the documentary . . . profiling a new breed of radio producers who . . . are willing to get involved with their subjects, reveal parts of their own lives, and paint vivid pictures with sound.--Duke Magazine
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Product Details

  • Series: Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; First Printing edition (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807871028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807871027
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
If you want to know how to build a story, give this a read.
Sean
On the whole, this is a marvelous book that paints vivid portraits in written words of those who create vivid portraits, most often, in the spoken word.
Jerry Saperstein
If you'd like to make your recordings richer, more compelling, and more interesting to your listeners, learn from the best.
Aisling D'Art

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By EsmyReelnaym on January 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really dug this book. Like any bios, many of those included in this book offered surprises. (Who'd have thought the great Emily Botein began adulthood as a pastry chef?) I appreciated the great words of wisdom from superstar producer Jay Allison, and the insights of the brilliant young producer - and co-host of RadioLab - Jad Abumrad... The book is a great read. I enjoyed learning the backstories of the many public radio greats that I enjoy listening to each week...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Johnstan on January 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a listener of public radio and the audio documentary format for many years. I always look forward to stories from NPR and PRX. This is the ideal gift for any fan of This American Life, Radiolab and All Things Considered. With chapters written by the likes of Jad Abumrad and Ira Glass, this gives a real glimpse into not only the inner workings of these shows but the very essence of the ideas leading up to them. This is not just a book for the fan of PBS, it is for anyone interested in storytelling and journalism. With so much of our TV time taken up by cheap reality programming and radio with inflammatory talk shows, this book really restored my faith in the fundamentals of radio reporting and storytelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sean on January 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's not a technical manual, so if you're trying to learn more about recorders an microphones, this isn't the one for you. If you want to know how to build a story, give this a read. Also pick up NPR's book Sound Reporting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aisling D'Art on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're involved in radio, podcasting, or even video blogs, this book is worth reading. I liked it because it explained to me what the spoken word can do that other media can't... or can't do well, anyway.

If you'd like to make your recordings richer, more compelling, and more interesting to your listeners, learn from the best. That's what you'll find in this book.

This book expanded how I look at podcasting, and the kinds of recordings I want to make.

I was a little uneasy buying this book, because it seemed a little expensive for stories I might not learn from. I shouldn't have worried. From the first few pages, the "ah-HA!" moments were worth every cent.

Before relaunching my podcasts, I'm re-reading this book. I was almost overwhelmed, the first time, because this book wasn't what I expected. Reading it the first time, it was as if someone had lifted the curtain and showed me an entire landscape of ideas and approaches that take recordings into a new dimension.
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Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound (Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University)
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