Think back to September 2018. Christine Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attacked her decades prior. Doubting her testimony, President Trump tweeted that had Ford been attacked she would have reported it.
The Twitterverse responded.
#whyididntreport trended. People tweeted brief stories about why they hadn’t reported sexual assaults. The stories were poignant and heartbreaking. They also underscored reasons why Ford didn’t report her alleged assault.
Barrie Hardymon at NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday took note of the hashtag. She enlisted the help of Dana Cronin, another NPR producer, and together (with NPR staffers Evie Stone and Sarah Lucy Oliver) they produced a two-minute short, sharp, shock of a story. A piece that makes you look at your radio.
Production of the story required a steady and concerted effort over eighteen hours to get it ready for broadcast. It started with a simple tweet of their own on a Friday afternoon asking people who tweeted #whyididntreport to get in touch. Hundreds responded; sometimes with lengthy, detailed narratives about their assault. Dana and Barrie say they were incredibly difficult to read.
From those responses, they asked some listeners to record their tweets. About twenty people did. They selected five, including one that required approval from NPR’s legal department. And the piece was ready for broadcast Saturday morning.
The story of how they did it on this episode of HowSound.