New HowSound: The Squirm Test
(September 1, 2020)


When you’re fortunate enough to be able to closely observe a story subject, trusted enough for them to share the inside of their home, for example, you can see a lot. Sometimes you notice less than flattering details, situations, or behaviors.

How do you decide what and what not to include?

In this episode, Rob Rosenthal remembers a story he reported in rural Maine, and shares the conversation he had with a student about what he refers to as “the squirm test.”

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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 Sruthi Pinnameneni, Noel King, Leila Day, John Burnett, David Isay, and Susan Stamberg, as well as emerging producers from podcasts and local NPR stations around the country, and participants in various Transom Workshops.

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.