New HowSound: Journalism Of Empathy
(February 11, 2018)


The craft of journalism demands the ability to be objective, but in the words of the great British journalist James Cameron, “I cannot remember how often I`ve been challenged, especially in America, for disregarding the fundamental tenet of honest journalism, which is objectivity. To this, of course, there could be no answer whatsoever, except that objectivity in some circumstances is both meaningless and impossible.”

Current journalism includes a form that allows for a degree of humanism to enter the practice, “the journalism of empathy.” This form is made for audio reporting: hearing a human voice in one’s ear creates a certain instant empathy.

In this episode of HowSound, Rob talks with Meribah Knight, who spent nearly a year reporting on the Nashville’s largest public housing project, and all the issues raised as the city plans to redevelop that project and its community. Rob thinks it “some of the best local reporting I’ve heard in a long time.”

Click here to hear their conversation.

Produced in collaboration with the Public Radio Exchange, HowSound delves into the ins-and-outs of radio storytelling in conversations about everything from fieldwork and recording techniques to narrative and ethics.

Each episode highlights the work of producers such as Alix Spiegel, Roman Mars, Joe Richman, Kelly McEvers, and Anna Sale. HowSound also features work from new producers, including students from the Transom Story Workshop.

Host Rob Rosenthal launched and directed the radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies for eleven years. He’s an audio guy through and through, producing documentaries, features, multi-media, audio tours, sound art, podcasts, commercials, and public service announcements as a freelancer.

Since the fall of 2011, Rob has been the lead instructor of the Transom Story Workshop, teaching eight-week workshops twice a year in Woods Hole, as well as weeklong workshops around the country.