Think about your research topic and research question. How could you compose a podcast connected to this for a public audience? How might this public genre help you connect to a particular audience that you could not reach through the genre of the Academic Research Paper? What group of people would you like to connect to?
Who do you know that has some personal knowledge of or connection with your research topic that could share their story with your audience? Contact them and arrange the interview immediately. This can be one or potentially two people if their stories are connected.
Make certain that you listen to the StoryCorp examples to understand what is expected.
Be sure you have an intro the provides a context for the story and a brief introduction to the individual. In this intro, and at other points you feel it’s effective (such as the conclusion), make use of background music. You use free sources here:
- Create a brief podcast (2-3 minutes) that meets the parameters of StoryCorps’s mission statement: “StoryCorps’s mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Like the podcasts on the StoryCorps website and digital archive, your podcast should consist of an interview with someone in your life—ideally someone with a unique perspective on history, current events, American culture, or life in general.
- Choose an interviewee with whom you have a close relationship. This can be a parent, sibling, child, friend, or colleague. In any case, in order to draw personal stories out of your interviewee, you will need to build on familiarity and trust. Also, since you will have the option of revising and including this podcast as one of the three genres in your Multigenre Research Project, keep your MGRP topic in mind when choosing your interviewee.
- Plan your questions ahead of time. See the link to StoryCorps’s “Great Questions” page (storycorps.org/participate/great-questions/) to help you get started. Come to your interview prepared with more questions than you think you will have time to cover, since it is always better to have too many questions than too few.
- Listen to some StoryCorps podcasts to get a sense of what makes a good story. Keep this in mind as you conduct your interview.
- Practice recording ahead of time: Figure out what device/equipment you will be using, and test it out in the space you will be using for your interview (phones work fine for this if you get the right app; Hi-Q and Recorder Plus work well). Figure out how close you need to be to the microphone, how to limit background noise, and so on.
- It’s okay to record up to 5 minutes’ worth of interview if it takes a while for your interviewee to get to the “good stuff,” or in other words to warm up to talking about what you might consider the most valuable information to share with your audience. If you choose to include your podcast in your MGRP, you can always edit unnecessary parts during the revision process later.
- After you listen to the interview, audio edit if necessary, cutting anything that might distract your audience from what feels like the “real story.”
- If you want to include a music track, keep it subtle. You don’t want it to dominate your story. In fact, you might consider including music, preferably without lyrics, only in the beginning and the end. If you do include music, keep in mind copyright/fair use rules.
- Listen to your finished story/podcast and write a reflection in which you consider the following: What do you like about it? What might you do differently next time? Consider sharing your reflection with your interviewee. Be sure to include the link to your podcast.