October 30, 2009
By: Laura Franzini
In my Journalism 101 class at Emerson College in Boston, we first-year journalism students were given a semester-long challenge. For 4 months, we must follow a local reporter—read the reporter’s stories, listen to the reporter’s radio program, or watch the reporter’s television show. At the end of the semester, we will interview our chosen reporter one-on-one.
Through this in-depth observation, we will gain an understanding of the reporter’s ‘beat’—what they cover and how they present that information to the public. In the middle of the semester, once we have gotten a solid grasp on who our reporter is and their style, we must begin a blog discussing and analyzing our observations.
It is now the middle of the semester and I am starting my blog.
After growing up in the Boston area, it seemed natural that I would be interested in following journalist Robin Young, who currently hosts the WBUR radio program, Here & Now, which airs from Boston University.
Here & Now describes itself as “Public Radio’s daily news magazine” and boasts contributing reporters from the NY and LA Times and the Christian Science Monitor. The program also recently formed a partnership with the BBC, establishing even more connections worldwide.
But it’s host Robin Young who gives voice and energy to the news. With over 25 years of experience in a variety of broadcast formats (including correspondent and host of NBC’s the Today show), Robin has also been producing and directing documentaries since the late-90s. For her work as a documentary filmmaker, Robin is a Peabody Award winner.
Here & Now presents the news mainly through telephone or in-studio interviews. The news is delivered through dialogue with reporters, experts, and witnesses, who can offer knowledgeable and/or personal insight into the topics they discuss. Past topics include dental care coverage in the nation’s new health care plan and a discussion with a local filmmaker, whose documentary won top awards at two local film festivals.
To present these various topics, the show has a solid yet flexible format. It is broken down into five segments, each with its own focus:
- Overview of major news stories of the day
- Feature story is discussed, usually through a formal interview
- Secondary news is addressed (also usually through a formal interview)
- Secondary feature is presented, often with a local witness or reporter
- Arts and/or other events are introduced
Each section comes together to form a unique and alternative presentation of international, national, and local news coverage.
My goals for this blog are:
- to give readers an intelligent, entertaining analysis of the way one particular broadcast program presents the news
- to cultivate my own, and the readers’, knowledge of the current news media
- to refine my skills as a journalist
If you are reading this, please feel free to leave comments and open discussions; I would love to know what you think!