New Semester, New Gig

Vocalo 89.5 booth.

In the booth at Vocalo 89.5, my new internship home.

Three months ago I was sweating under the heat of a North African sun, and under a fast approaching final article deadline.

Today I’m quite a bit colder (the sun doesn’t seem to want to join me in Chicago) but the deadlines are still there. This time for quite a different medium and topics.

I accepted an internship with Vocalo 89.5 FM, a Chicago Public Media station. It’s the sister station to WBEZ, but more catered to a community-oriented, younger and culturally diverse audience. Basically it means I get to sit in a cubicle above the City Room and next to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and report on nearly anything cool, controversial or fascinating I can find. Not a bad gig at all.

I am working with the Afternoon Overdrive, specifically, and aside from a couple intern tasks like cutting audio, coordinating interviews and posting to social media, I do my own interviews and produce my own pieces (with a bit of help from the audio/journalism gurus Luis and Shantell, the hosts of the Overdrive).

Making the switch to radio for a semester has been exciting, but certainly a challenge. I have found that the basic tenants of journalism and storytelling still apply, but now I have to think a little harder about what I sound like in an interview, whether a background siren helps or hurts the piece and how to raise the volume of an interviewee who wouldn’t get closer than eight inches away from the microphone. It has also helped me think about each piece in a more well-rounded way: how would I write up a story from the interview I did? If I had the choice, would I do this as radio or print? How could I incorporate this interview into a multimedia piece?

I’m still at the very beginning of my learning curve, but I’m getting somewhere. I love the atmosphere at Chicago Public Media, and the opportunity to try another facet of journalism. Plus perks of the job include an upcoming session with ‘BEZ education reporter Linda Lutton on her work with This American Life. Can’t complain at all.

Here are two pieces I have done already for Vocalo:

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