Ira Glass from This American Life spoke at the NPR headquarters on Wednesday. The boardroom was packed with at least 100 NPR employees (probably more) who listened — many openly gleefully — to Glass (cousin to Philip Glass and former producer for All Things Considered) describe how stories come together and his interviewing methods. Here are a few of the more surprising things I heard from the goofy man with black art house glasses.
- The show kills about a quarter to 50 percent of the stories they set out to report, even if they are nearly finished.
- Glass suggests inserting your reactions, as a reporter, into the interview and catching it on tape, because as a reporter you are a surrogate for the listener — this means laughing, acting incredulous and, in some cases, confronting the interviewee.
- Each show takes about three months to report, cut and mix before it’s ready to air.
His presence was much needed inspiration during what felt like a very long work week, a week where many of my coworkers came down with colds (I miraculously avoided it). But his speech made me want to grab a microphone and hit the streets and record everyday peoples’ stories. I will. Someday.