We’re interested in your thoughts on a very powerful piece by This American Life.
It’s about Chicago’s Harper High School – a school that has been beset with shootings (some fatal), the constant threat of violence, and the omnipresence of street gangs. Throughout all the mayhem and the sadness, there are those at Harper – the principal, the teachers, the social workers – who have not given up hope, despite the odds stacked against them.
The school gave three reporters unprecedented access to its staff and students over an entire semester. The result was a two-part radio series. Part 1, which ran last weekend, was an hour of riveting radio, excellent reporting and writing, unbelievable tape and a dramatic cliff-hanger. Part 2 runs this weekend.
There are many techniques used in this kind of a piece that could be very instructive on how we assemble our reports at StateImpact. Sometimes we forget that in all that we do, ultimately it’s about people and lives being affected (by matt source). That’s what the piece on Harper told us. Now it’s true, gang violence and the daily threats to safety will never touch us the way, say, Common Core curriculum will. But there are great journalistic tools that can be learned from listening to the two pieces.