Translating the network evening news to the Web

Jason Samuels was a TV man through and through. He spent 11 years at NBC News producing breaking news and as an award-winning long-form producer for the newsmagazine Dateline NBC.

“I am a big believer in television journalism–its power for telling stories and raising issues that should engage younger audiences who are my peers,” he said recently. “But I just didn’t see younger people tuning into network television news.”

He did see that generation flocking to online news and shifted to the Web with them. Since October 2006, he has been a senior producer at ABC News Digital where he says he has an opportunity to test how the power of television can translate onto the Web. Samuels spoke to OJR recently about sending out stringers with DV cameras to cover world news and how the webcast might be a precursor to the television newscast of the future.

OJR: Tell me about the webcast you produce for How different is it from the evening newscast?

Samuels: It started before I came here but they basically wanted a way to have some news before 6 o’clock available to those who were online. So correspondents who were working for the 6:30 broadcast would file pieces for the webcast at 3 o’clock so that people could click on them and watch them during the day from their office or before they left to go home.

But over time it’s evolved to where it has a distinct attitude, and it’s not shy about targeting a different group of viewers who may not be watching the network news. There is a different focus, a different DNA to the show. We kind of loosen the tie a little bit, if you will.

We do stories that may be appeal more to Generation X and Generation Y than stories that are directly trying to appeal to Baby Boomers and [their] parents. As a person in charge of it, it’s my job to kind of select stories that I think appeal to a younger generation.

We really have no rules to the show. We can try things that are very different. The mandate is to try to be different and try and engage the viewers who are not right now watching the evening news broadcast.

People believe that younger audiences get their news from the Daily Show. It’s a very smart show, but it’s produced by people who work for Comedy Central–not by traditional journalists. We have tried to create a webcast with content that appeals to people who are looking for news but are not really that engaged with what the traditional shows are offering.

OJR: Could you give me one example where the storytelling underscores how different it is from the 6:30 broadcast?

Samuels: Sure, I’ll first go over just the nuts and bolts. It’s essentially a 15-minute, commercial-free show every day that we tape live with Charles Gibson as the anchor. The first two and half minutes are the meat-and-potato headlines–the traditional network news fare. The rest of the show has pieces that can be on the news of the day but they can also be like features.

As an example, though, correspondents usually go out to cover stories; they write a script, edit it and put it together for the broadcast. But I tell them to just shoot a video blog. So in today’s show, Miguel Marquez in Los Angeles was assigned to do a story for the broadcast about the new line of Bible-themed action figures that are going to be sold in Wal-Mart. So when you watch the broadcast tonight it’s going to be a traditional, well-crafted 1:30 to 2-minute piece. What we asked him to do is that when you are at Wal-Mart and you are reporting your piece for the broadcast, just stand there, hold up these action figures and just tell us about them. Don’t script anything perfectly just give us your own impression and your sense of what is the story. Miguel filed a video blog piece that is about a minute long for our webcast. It’s a little less formal, it’s a little more raw and I would argue in some ways it is a little more real.

It is less polished but I think younger people are willing to accept that and almost prefer that instead of showing what’s packaged so perfectly.

Now if there is a piece for the broadcast that we are interested in, we will put that on our webcast as well. For example there is a piece for broadcast tonight about a woman who has homeless kids taking photos of what they wish to aspire to. And it’s a wonderful piece that should be interesting no matter how old you are. We’ve put that into our webcast.

Another example. We did an interview for the webcast exclusively with Christopher Hitchens, on his book, “God is Not Great.” We sat him down in front of a camera and we had him basically talk about the themes in his books and we edited that down into an essay. That would never go on the evening news shows but for us it worked. It’s provocative and it’s different.

OJR: You’re also lucky that you can use any portion of the massive amounts of content produced for ABC News on your webcasts. How much of what is produced specifically for the webcast is constrained by budget issues?

Samuels: Sure, a bit of being different is also for budget reasons. We don’t have the broadcast news staff; we don’t have the broadcast news budget. So we have to do things a little bit differently but I think effectively as well.

OJR: How are you as a broadcast-based news organization using interactivity on the Web?

Samuels: Now if you go to our website, you can comment in real-time on the broadcast.

I’ve only been here for four months but I am trying to slowly bring more interactivity into the fold. One thing we would like to do is have people watch the show, react to the show, and then the next day feature their reactions. This would mean that viewers could literally sit in front of their webcams, tell us what they thought and we will put it on our webcasts.

The Christopher Hitchens’ piece is a perfect example. We asked our viewers to send reactions and comments in video about his provocative essay. Going forward, I want to do more of that.

I am also trying to develop a way for people to send us their story ideas for the webcast. If you think there is a story in your town or city that you think should be on the webcast, send us info and we will try to assign someone to do the story.

Those are two ways that I hope would make us more interactive soon.

OJR: News organizations have always controlled distribution of their content. The Web is changing that with RSS feeds, Google News and other ways of news personalization. What is doing in that direction to share its content more broadly?

Samuels: The webcast is available on iTunes. When it’s posted on iTunes, I believe we are one of the few video broadcasts that have chapters. So when you are watching the webcast on iTunes, you can fast forward through the segment if you are not interested.

In June, we had over 5 million people download the webcast from iTunes and

I should mention is obviously every segment that we do for the webcast lives as an individual piece, if you will, on So the webcast exists as a show but it also exists as a way to manufacture very interesting short news segments for

OJR: Disney’s ABC and Apple’s iTunes have obvious connection through Steve Jobs and Pixar. But there is also this realization that you need to be on as many platforms as possible. Are your shows available on places like YouTube as well?

Samuels: This is a little bit beyond my pay grade but I think that ABC News is not letting people post our content everywhere else, including YouTube. Their philosophy is we want to drive people to our websites and we want the clicks on our websites. That’s an internal discussion that’s going on and I think a lot of media companies are trying to figure out how much do you let float out there and how much do you keep behind your walls.

OJR: How do the reporters and producers react to all of a sudden having more work to cut an earlier segment with the pressure of meeting the 6:30 deadline?

Samuels: I think that initially they probably thought it was pain in the neck but I think that they understand that this is the future.

The downloads of our show is increasing. Whereas if you look at other forms of news content–whether it’s newspapers, or evening newscasts, or news magazines, or nightly news shows–they are decreasing. With that in mind, I think they realize this is something they have to do.

We also try to have them do something a little different. They don’t have to give us the same thing that they doing for the broadcast. We want a video blog with a behind the scenes look at something.

Also, I am already using stringers around the world for content. Before the advent of small DV cameras and laptop editing, these stringers were only used when there was a huge catastrophe. Today I can call the stringers who have DV cameras and laptops for editing, can they can do a story about anything and send it to me over FTP and we can put it on the webcast.

For example, the recent stand off in Islamabad, in Pakistan, an ABC News person in Islamabad that filed for the web cast virtually everyday. He would shoot it and send it to us with his own DV camera and it was wonderful stuff. As we go forward, my plan is to have people all over the world filing for us–stuff that would never get on the evening broadcasts because they have a more serious structure to them. But we can post video blogs from people in Cuba, in China, in Islamabad, in Africa, in Australia, in France… everywhere. Because the technology allows that and I don’t need the polished or experienced correspondent. These are usually younger people. I love to have that kind of energy and that raw look at the news from around the world. Technology makes it possible.

I can’t predict the future but I know that ABC News is making a commitment and an investment to position young people with DV cameras around the world in Africa, in India, in places where they ordinarily would not be able to afford to put a crew and a cameraman and a producer. Now you can put a 20-year-old graduate student with a DV camera and a laptop in far away places and they can send you things through the Internet and you can put them on the air. I plan to have my show take full advantage of that in New York.

OJR: How do you respond to critics who say this is nothing but an attempt to cut expenses by using inexperienced and therefore cheaper labor because the technology allows it?

Samuels: I absolutely understand that argument. If I am an editor who has worked 30 years in my craft and some young kid out of graduate school and edits these pieces, what does that say for the value of my skills? I would say there is room for both, but I think if you are an editor or a cameraman that’s been in network news for a long time, you might have to adapt instead of shooting with your beta camera take a DV camera out and shoot with it. If you are an editor that’s used to working with a big beta system, use your skills to edit on a laptop. I don’t think the skills are no longer needed I just think that the tools are changing.

At the same time, what we do everyday with a smaller staff as we do is pretty remarkable. So I think there is something to the notion of less people doing more.

There are also more outlets for work in terms of work that’s different and that’s exciting.

OJR: As the generation that’s used to the structured evening news format gets older and older and continues to shrink, are we going to start seeing some of these webcast techniques making their way into the evening news?

Samuels: I think it will over time. When you have a 20-year-old stringer in Islamabad doing your report it’s not going to look like Brian Williams. I am of the mind that younger people are more able to appreciate a raw unpolished news pieces. They are used to homemade videos on YouTube. YouTube is big because it’s not the polished sitcom stuff that’s on the network. It’s raw, it’s shaky video, it’s … its real, it’s gritty and I think that appeals to younger viewers.

When I took the job, I asked myself whether the anchor, Charlie Gibson, was the right man for the job for the younger audience? I have been so pleased with how he embraces the show. He values the show and he gets what we are trying to do. We don’t have him be anything other than what he is which is a very intelligent, passionate. He is not trying to pretend like he is young and hip. But the content of the show is different and he embraces that.

There are plenty of days where he will see something on the webcast and he will put it on the newscast. That has happened more than once.

I think in many ways we are almost a breeding ground, an experiment, if you will, to see what might work going forward for the news division.

Reconceiving storytelling at the Associated Press

Ted Anthony has played many roles for The Associated Press, from national correspondent to China news editor. Most recently in 2005, the AP tapped him to be the founding editor of asap, its multimedia news portal. Still, he says he considers himself, first and foremost, a writer—even publishing a book this month titled “Chasing the Rising Sun: The Journey of an American Song.”

Given the AP’s proven formula for writing breaking news articles, I spoke to Anthony about how this over 150-year-old news cooperative’s youngest division is tackling multimedia storytelling, how the asap has changed over the past two years, and what skills multimedia journalists need in the AP universe.

OJR: What were some of the initial goals of asap when it was launched and how have those goals evolved?

Anthony: We started the service in response to AP members who told us repeatedly they needed some help attracting and retaining the 18-to-34 year-old audience. But what we learned quickly along the way was that it was much more about how media was being consumed, than it was about the subject matter chosen for 18 to 34-year-olds. We found it very much transcended that age group. We have people as old as in their eighties who have said that they consume media in the ways that the online world has become accustomed to.

So reaching a younger audience was the dominant narrative, but by the same token we very much wanted to fundamentally reconceive storytelling at the AP. In some ways we wanted to get away from the assumption that a story would be text and photos. We implemented what we call the multimedia litmus test that would ask at the beginning of the story process, how should the story be told?

We also recognized that the AP is this rich tapestry of people from around the world, who know different things and who have different sets of experiences in different areas of expertise. So another goal was that we wanted to bring them into the mix, in ways that perhaps they hadn’t been brought in before. Their main product had always been the stories that they wrote, the photographs that they took and then applied in ways that were time-tested. But we wanted to see what we could do in bringing out those talents in different forms.

So asap has evolved into what we call a premium multimedia service of The Associated Press. The asap entertainment editor calls it a multimedia imprint of AP and an alternative storytelling lab.

OJR: How alternative can asap’s storytelling be given its clients—the traditional newspaper industry?

Anthony: Well, I recognize that when we talk about alt-storytelling in the newspaper industry, we are a little less alt then perhaps the mainstream of the Internet has become. But it’s the place where we need to be pushing towards—we recognize that. The way we are experimenting with storytelling is very much the mainstream in some online communities.

OJR: How is it different reporting and putting together a multimedia piece?

Anthony: I’m the child of linguists and the printed word is very near and dear to me. But when I started pushing into this stuff, I realized that the fundamental building blocks of storytelling really do cross platforms–and I know that’s a very trendy way to put it these days, but it is very true. We perceive stories in certain ways. We recognize that a story moves through time. We recognize that a story has characters, settings. We recognize that a story has resolution. All of those things that we apply to storytelling, whether it’s non-fiction or fiction, those things all play very much into multimedia.

OJR: Can you please give me an example?

Anthony: This may sound too lit-crypt, but for years when I was a national correspondent, I used first a film camera than a digital camera to take notes on stories. These weren’t photos for publication. I used them essentially to supplement my written notes to make sure, say, that if I was going looking for a missing plane on a mountain in New Hampshire, I could come back and write that the grass that crunched under my feet was green or that the bark was peeling off the trees. Things that I might not have noticed during the time that I was there but that I can have at my fingertips. I recognize that those were as much a components of my storytelling as my notes were. That’s a very basic and fundamental thing, but it’s not necessarily something that we would think of.

I have always believed that the visual specialists in the newsroom are as pivotal and as insightful if not more so than the word specialists. Once I started realizing that there was such a deep relationship between the two, and then I realized that we had to be able to control the tools that we use. That’s what we’ve tried to teach here. We’re bringing people together who are versed in different storytelling techniques and having them playing common ground. The common ground is the storytelling essentials. Once you get that down, the story can be told in a Flash presentation or an audio slideshow with photos, or just an audio podcast.

If we are able to see a story as a story rather than a chunk of text or a series of photographs, then we’re going to be able to tell that story in all different realms. One of the things that I have always wanted to do–but we never really had the resources– is to send four reporters with different specialties out to cover the exact same story and see what they come back with. I think that will be an interesting exercise, but to some extent that’s the mentality that we’ve tried to spread here.

OJR: News organizations have traditionally done the reporting to tell the story. Now more are trying to tap into their readers’ interest in telling their own stories. How is asap incorporating that form of storytelling?

Anthony: Let me come in through the back door on that answer. As a B2B (business-to-business) model, it is more difficult to reach out to users online because the online relationship is predicated on the fact that there is some kind of interaction between content provider and content receiver. A B2B model makes that a little bit more difficult, because it puts in a middle man, i.e. the AP’s member newspaper or the client, who we are providing content to. So we’ve looked for ways editorially to essentially make that connection without blatantly reaching around the people who we’re serving.

One of those things we’re doing is called “Assignment: You” in which for the last several weeks, we’ve solicited story ideas from people and said that you can assign an AP reporter a story. What have you always wanted to see a story done on, but you think the mainstream media will never do? We will assign a reporter and put the resources of asap and the larger AP behind it. We’ve had a great response.

Another thing we’ve done is something called “My World” in which we hand over a camera to someone who is in a middle of a major news event and have them shoot their lives for a day. Then they give the camera back to us and we produce the piece. One of the pieces we got out of that was pretty staggering in its impact but also caused some controversy. We gave cameras to two Iraqi children and one of them came back with the picture of his friends playing execution. That was a really dramatic photo that emulated the videos that you saw from al-Zarqawi for such a long time.

We certainly got negative feedback, but we also got feedback of how this felt like it was really authentic and that’s something I know that is tough to achieve when you are trying to develop relationship with your users.

OJR: Are your member news organizations seeing the kinds of results they were hoping for through asap? Are they drawing in younger readers who are actively participating on their sites?

Anthony: The active participation part, I can’t really speak to. I know that our renewal rate after the pilot project was roughly 70 percent, which I think was a little higher than expected. But that stuff is more business side stuff so I’m less confident speaking about it.

I will say that the feedback that we’ve received suggests that the more innovative we are with our storytelling, the better the results. Earlier on, we sometimes took safer routes because we were a still a bit unsure of our footing.

OJR: Can you give me an example of something that drew participation or feedback?

Anthony: What’s a good example? We did a Flash interactive on how to buy a man’s hat for our lifestyle section. It involved about six different pieces of video, with a hatter talking about different kinds of hats, how to buy them, what type of shop and that got really, really good feedback. That’s not something we would have thought about doing early on. It wasn’t a story in the sense that we traditionally view stories but yet it resonated with a lot of people, because it seemed to represent our willingness to tell something in a very alternative way.

I think that we have been surprised at how far we can go—in terms of telling stories in different ways and not how far we can go in being “edgy” or “provocative.”

OJR: The AP has of course perfected wire service format–getting daily news stories out quickly, accurately and fairly across the wires to member news organizations. How do you assure that those same standards transfer to asap when there is much more technical production work involved that may slow the posting process?

Anthony: We’re pretty relentless about hammering home daily that this may be a new department but this is the AP and certain things can’t be compromised. We’re in new frontiers but we have regular and sometimes very lively discussions about ethics and standards and how they apply online. When it comes to those kinds of questions we try to err on the side of traditionalism. One of the hugest things that AP brings to the table and through it to asap are the AP standards—readers know that they are seeing something that’s accurate and that’s real. We do not try to match word for word or image for image the AP’s covered spot events. We recognized earlier on that we should not compete with 3,000 colleagues in terms of bringing back the news. So we’ve looked for alternative ways into the news. We’re not designed to be a breaking news service. We’re designed to be a very timely, a very fresh and a very newsy online magazine.

So we aren’t cranking out news, but that said we have had reporters at every major news event in the last couple of years. We had two go to Virginia Tech two months ago so we definitely stand on top of the news. I think it is certainly harder because there are no neat answers that come from decades of literature that we learn in our journalistic ethics classes. But we adhere to the AP’s baselines and AP’s ethics statement. It has not skewed us wrong yet.

OJR: Can you give me an example a decision you have had to make?

Anthony: Hmmm…we had a story when Betty Friedan died on how she was the original “Desperate Housewife.” We decided we were going to do a photo illustration of Betty Friedan with the Desperate Housewives. This is something that magazines and even The New York Times now do all the time. These photo illustrations that tell something iconically. We had what must have been an hour-long talk here about whether we wanted to do this and if so, how we wanted to do this. And what we did was to have a picture that had Betty Friedan in black and white, amongst the Desperate Housewives and their very deep colors. We wanted anybody looking at that to be absolutely sure that there was a wink-and-a-nudge in there.

It certainly is a challenge. You have to have continual conversations about this stuff and you have to foster an environment of conversation in which somebody who brings something like this up, doesn’t feel like they are being a nattering nabob. As long as we are designed to be this forward guard of multimedia, we are going to do it within the ethical and journalistic boundaries that the AP is still espousing after all these years.

OJR: Can you tell me about the qualities you are seeking in journalists to tell stories in alternative ways?

Anthony: We hired 27 journalists by the time we were done hiring. We went in with the thought that we would hire about 70 percent from outside the AP and about 30 percent from inside the AP because we wanted something really dramatically fresh. But as we got to the hiring we realized that virtually the opposite was true. We ended up hiring about 40 percent from outside and about 60 percent from the AP, because we recognized that if we really wanted to try these new things and do them with “oomph” and do them with credibility, that we would need some real AP experience embedded in there.

We were looking for people who were flexible in their storytelling–and by that I mean people who wouldn’t say, we don’t do things that way. Too many news organizations in today’s world are populated with many people who say, we don’t do things that way. Those people are not going to be doing things at all if they keep up that attitude. We have to be willing to acknowledge that there is a certain core group of values and skills that we have, but that beyond that we are in this brave new world and we have to be able to think critically about how a story should be told and whether a story will resonate, will echo if it’s told in the best way.

I really was aiming to hire people who are willing to say, “okay, we will not be bound by convention.”

'Giving voice to the voiceless': How the Internet can fulfill public radio's mission

Jay Allison, 55, is a broadcast journalist and producer whose pieces have aired on National Public Radio’s This American Life, All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Along the way, Allison has picked up five Peabody awards and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Edward R. Murrow Award, the industry’s highest honor. In other words, he has a “golden touch” in public broadcasting.

Allison’s touch seems just as potent on the Internet. In 2001, he helped launch two Websites, and the Public Radio Exchange that encourage citizen involvement in public radio. “I would like to see public radio become more invitational,” he says, “and the Web is the way to issue that invitation.”

Allison spoke to OJR about the future of public radio on the Internet; about what makes powerful Internet audio; and how he hopes the Internet will help bring new voices to public radio.

OJR: What the original goal was for starting and how that goal has evolved since that time?

Allison: When we started it, it was kind of cutting edge and now it’s sort of old fashioned. It’s hard to keep up with the changes in literacy and expectation and community tools and all those kinds of things.

But in the beginning it was simply an effort to give out the tools and ideas that people might want to be able to tell their own stories on public radio. I’m a lifer in public radio and I’ve always had the notion that public radio could be a little bit more like the way the Internet has turned out to be–namely that the users are also the content providers.

When we started Transom there was no real repository of either the practical tools to make programming or the sort of philosophy and mission behind the origins of public broadcasting. My interest is in getting more voices involved and from communities we may not be hearing from and from demographics we may not be hearing and ages we may not be hearing from. The Internet presented itself as a chance to build a library of that kind of thing and keep that library current.

OJR: How is Internet audio different from public radio pieces?

Allison: I don’t think it is all that different but I think the point is that in public radio it would behoove us to admit a greater range of style. I think one of public radio’s weaknesses is a sameness of style and an expectation of a certain kind of presentation and a certain attitude and sensibility. While it is important to be able to rely on the credibility of the source and it’s comforting to know what you’re going to get, that can also be a weakness. It eliminates the element of surprise, which is one of the things that captures attention.

I think I’m more often surprised on the Internet than I am by public radio. At Transom we hope to embrace a greater range of style–we don’t impose an expectation of how someone should sound or how a story should be told.

Which means that some of the pieces we put on the site may not ever make it to public radio because they are too far out of an accepted existing style. Still it’s important to explore those boundaries and very important I think to talk about what makes the cut in public radio and what doesn’t, and, more importantly, why.

OJR: Is that line shifting, as to what will make the cut in public radio?

Allison: I think public radio is scrambling to figure out what its identity will be, and it should. Since public radio began, there have been so many changes. Its earliest incarnations were as an educational broadcasting system. Most of the early stations were University licensees. As they began to get into the news, it was far from the mainstream. I think it considered itself a kind of an alternative news source in the early mission statements, with language about giving voice to the voiceless, and shining light in the shadows. It suggested that our obligation was to look where others were not.

Then public radio became the radio source of record. It now is relied upon by many for their daily fix of news and information, and it’s no longer an alternative. The Internet has created greater public involvement and, in that framework, public radio needs to figure out what its role is.

OJR: What can it learn from what’s going on in the Internet in terms of audio and the ways of presenting the news?

Allison: I think it’s a lesson in humility, and that it’s important to recognize that if you are not delivering a tone and style and substance that people want, they now can find it elsewhere.

OJR: What I see now in terms of community citizen journalism is very text-driven. What role is Internet audio is playing in citizen journalism?

Allison: I tend to be more involved with citizen storytellers rather than citizen journalists. Journalism is an actual profession and does have a sense of ethics and boundaries and rules, which are appropriate. On the other hand each of us has stories to tell which don’t require a particular training other than making it a good story. I’ve always been a champion in all kinds of projects of trying to get people to realize that they can take advantage of the opportunity to get their stories and voices heard.

OJR: Is there more tolerance for different sound quality on the Internet?

Allison: I have a pretty great tolerance for a range of sound. The problem is if the sound interferes with your comprehension or hearing the heart in the voice, which is what’s important. If technical issues overwhelm our ability to hear the piece then it’s less effective.

OJR: And those are the rules that you still teach on Transom?

Allison: Yeah, simple stuff like: “mic close to your mouth” and “get the appropriate levels.”

OJR: Many citizen journalism sites tend to tend to cover a small community or a niche topic. That generates community involvement and debate. When I look through Transom there is just such a richness of topics from different places. Can you get the same kind of sense of community when the topics vary so widely?

Allison: When you are organized by theme or subject or special interest, you’ll get the zealots involved. Whereas at a site like Transom you are focusing more on the skill and practice and effectiveness of the story, and therefore the story can be about Possums or it can be about torture. And our goal is to get people to be able to communicate their story and truth, no matter what the subject. The community gathers around the practice of using the medium rather than a given topic area.

OJR: Transom still relies on the community to give you the stories?

Allison: Yeah, Transom spawned another site, Public Radio Exchange, which is built with the next generation of tools. Transom covers the how-to and the why of making and the Public Radio Exchange deals with the distribution of that content. It’s been a rather effective tool in getting people to the air on public radio stations around the country.

OJR: You talked about how there is often a formulaic expectation on public radio and now if a site that helps people get back on the air, maybe they are not going to be as experimental or creating new ways of telling story. Might Public Radio Exchange actually have the opposite effect of what you may want?

Allison: I think you’ll find a huge range at the Public Radio Exchange, everything from your “meat-and-potatoes” public broadcasting reports to lots of experimental and odd and interesting stuff. It really just depends on the taste of the public radio station as to whether they’ll take a chance in airing it.

OJR: Print news organizations now use audio, video and photographs to complement their print pieces on the Internet. Radio is posting the audio on the Internet along with photos and video. What does that do to the visceral connection one feels when listening to audio? When you bring in images, how does that change the audio storytelling?

Allison: Well, dramatically. Images are very powerful. I’ve worked in television, I used to shoot specials for Nightline and the image tends to rule the eye. So sometimes if you want your listener/viewer to simply pay attention to the story and you have an image present, the image can often work against you. It can work against your receiving that voice and letting it fully get inside you because the picture captures you in an instant.

We’re soon going to have a new feature on Transom with a guest talking about attaching images, slideshows and video to audio. They will discuss how to keep a program audio-driven when there are visual images. We will also feature two pieces. One about the last day of an old country store and one about a guy who was released off death row on DNA evidence. Both of them are slideshows but the narrative could stand alone as radio pieces.