National Public Radio’s correspondent for Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Prize-winning freelance journalist, most recently recipient of the 2020 Cabot Prize from Columbia Journalism School, conversing with Angela Kocherga, news director and correspondent for public radio station KTEP, El Paso.
CK: You have to have a narrative that keeps the momentum of the story going. There does need to be a beginning, an inflection point, and an ending. There’s chronological narrative, which is easy storytelling for radio. Or sometimes there’s the immediacy of the news to bring you there.
AK: Some stories tell themselves. Don’t feel too locked into the idea that you have to tell a story in chronological order. If you were going to tell this story to a friend, how would you tell it? There’s kind of a natural rhythm. That’s the human way of telling it; rather than sitting down and strategizing.
CK: Yes, if you’re stuck on what narrative to use, just put it aside and go tell a friend. The reason you guys want to be reporters is because you love telling stories; don’t ever forget that. And remember how you tell your friend the story; you’ll have to give them context first, and pick the best parts. And you can tell when they’re getting bored! Listen to yourself tell the story.