Documenting somebody else’s life is one of the hardest challenges producers face in their work. Over an extended period of time relationships intensify, stories often change drastically, and the line between personal and too personal blurs easily.
Two producers talk with the subjects of their work about the stories they’ve documented, the struggles they faced together throughout the process, and what they’ve learned from each other through the experience.
Documenter and Documentee (part two) is moderated by Joe Richman, and features Michele Norris (NPR) and Sharon White, the subject of two pieces Norris produced on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Joe Richman is the founder of Radio Diaries, a non-profit organization. Over the past 15 years, Radio Diaries has helped to pioneer a model for working with people to document their own lives for public radio. Richman has collaborated with teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards, bra saleswomen and lighthouse keepers to create award-winning productions including: Teenage Diaries, Prison Diaries, My So-Called Lungs, New York Works, Thembi's AIDS Diary, Mandela: An Audio History, and Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair. Before Radio Diaries, Richman worked for many years as a freelance reporter and producer for NPR programs All Things Considered, Weekend Edition-Saturday, Car Talk, and Heat. He also teaches at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Michele Norris is a host of All Things Considered. Before joining NPR, Norris worked as a television correspondent for ABC News and she has worked as a print reporter for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. Norris has received numerous awards, including the Livingston Award, the NABJ Salute to Excellence Award, an Emmy, and a Peabody. Norris also narrated the five-part radio series on Black Choral Music called Lift Every Voice and Sing! and the radio documentary Say it Plain: A Century of Great African-American Speeches.
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