Zach Hirsch’s recent story on NPR is proof you can find national stories right in your neighborhood. Zach recorded a fairly simple chat in a backyard and turned it into one of the most important stories he says he’s ever produced.
Of course, no radio story is ever “simple.” For starters, the conversation he recorded with neighbors was about the Confederate flag. Zach said it was a bold move on his part to reach out and talk to someone displaying that flag.
In the end, the bravery, the communication system he set up with his partner, and thinking of his mic as a shield may have been a case of overpreparing. The people who spoke turned out to be, as Zach puts it, sweet.
But then, after the interview, Zach spent a great deal of time fact-checking the people he talked to. He included what he learned in his narration. And, that caught my ear when I heard the story. So, I reached out to Zach with a handful of my own questions: What obligation do reporters have with interviewees post-interview fact checking? What if the bulk of a story consists of correcting interviewees? Can’t people simply say what’s true to them? Zach tackles these questions and more on this episode of HowSound.
[Correction: In this episode Rob states that the immediate area around Plattsburgh (Clinton County, NY) went for Trump. It actually didn’t. It’s the broader North Country region that went for Trump. (Clinton County was the only North Country county where Hillary won, 47 to 46 percent.) So this region, this part of Upstate NY, voted for Trump. Plattsburgh did not.]