Producing Personal Pieces

photo of Stephanie Foo
Listen to “Producing Personal Pieces”

Every day, reporters ask interviewees to go deep, to reveal profoundly personal information. Stories about all manner of difficult subject matter: divorce, illness, fraud, war, domestic violence, poverty….

And it’s not just the reporter who’ll hear those stories. Millions of people may hear them. Reporters make what’s private, public. That’s a lot to ask of an interviewee.

Rarely, do reporters turn the mic on themselves to divulge the challenges in their own lives. So, when they do, it’s surprising — and refreshing.

Producer Stephanie Foo aimed a mic her way for an essay on This American Life called “The Favorite.” It’s the first essay she produced for the program. It’s not an easy listen. “The Favorite” is a frank and sometimes disturbing look at how Stephanie was abused by a parent, and the complicated way her extended family responded.

On this HowSound, Stephanie talks about writing “The Favorite” and why she found it personally rewarding to do. She offers a good deal of insight — useful for anyone thinking of turning a mic toward themselves.


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  • Greg R Barron



    “Herein begins a series of audio explorations and storytelling about the things I find right in front of my eyes. When I was a kid I was a radio newsman, a journalist telling “important” stories about the broader world.

    Today my interest lies in a more personal realm…”

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