Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad Reflection

For this assignment I listened to part one and part two of Ira Glass’ segment on audio story telling. Ira said something that grabbed my attention from the start. He notes that in his opinion, in this medium of story telling, you have to ‘unlearn’ everything that you were taught in high school, beginning with the fact that you do not need to start with a topic sentence. I thought this idea was interesting for a couple reasons. Firstly, it is interesting that step one is ‘unlearning’ a crucial piece of knowledge. Secondly, I thought it was kind of funny that Glass says that you do not need to start with a topic sentence, but thats kind of exactly what he does in this short video. Essentially, his topic sentence is “you do not need a topic sentence” and everything he says after that is his supporting argument.

I also thought it was interesting that Glass notes how the hardest part of his job is often finding a good story. He notes how often and how many stories he has to “kill” before coming across a decent one. This idea sort of feeds into his next point, which was the “importance of abandoning crap”. I felt like that was a funny way to phrase what he was trying to convey, and I suppose that is an important step when producing media. In a similar breath, he notes that if you continuously fail you are doing something right, because you are increasing the chances of producing something great. I guess that is a good way to motivate people…?

Finally, Glass also emphasizes the importance of an anecdote, a moment of reflection, and continuously asking and answering questions. It seems to me, in the most basic and deconstructed sense, these are Glass’ components of making a great story. Or, as he might put it, severely lessening the chances of producing crap.

Jad Abumrad, in my opinion, seemed to have a less cynical approach to audio story telling. He notes that he feels empowered by the lack of pictures, as it creates a “deep sense of co-authorship”. I thought this was a really interesting way to phrase interaction between storyteller and audience member, and how they work together to create images in an audio story.

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