Writing Out Of Tape

Listen to “Writing Out Of Tape”

True story: A print reporter once said to me “Well, yeah, all that recording you have to do for radio, that’s hard I suppose. But, at least you don’t have to write!”

I tried to set him straight. From story focus to choosing quotes to narration to editing scripts…. It’s all about writing. So, not only do we have the technical aspects of our work, we have to write, too. He wouldn’t have it. He thought radio producers were just good talkers.

I gave up.

Given how much writing is involved in producing radio stories, I’m surprised I haven’t focused on it more frequently. I need to change that – not only for radio producers looking for writing tips but for print reporters with the wrong impression.

On this episode, writing out of tape: transitioning from a quote to narration. Usually, a narrator will move to a new idea when they come out of a quote. In fact, it’s almost like the narrator ignores what was just said and simply keeps moving forward.

Reporter Mose Buchele recently did the opposite. For some of his narration in a story he produced for NPR, Mose used quotes to propel him forward into the next idea and to change scenes. It’s an uncommon approach and one worth considering for your next story.


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  • Daniel Meza



    Great episode. Coming from a video editing background, I love listening to Transom and finding ways to interject little tips like this for radio into my videos.

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