In an AMA Friday, VPR's resident podcast master Angela Evancie let the Vermont reddit community ask her "anything" and did her best to answer! Here are three things you don't want to miss.
There's a place for 'wonky-but-boring' questions in the newsroom
Reddit wonk and VPR reporter Taylor Dobbs ask Angela if she had "any concerns that the audience-first model of journalism" would leave room for "wonky-but-boring" questions.
No concerns at all! I think there's a broad misconception in newsrooms that audiences "don't care" about dry topics like utilities. In fact, our very second episode was about utilities. The difference, perhaps, is that readers/listeners might appreciate a different story frame than journalists would think to use. I always think of that (bad) joke: "How many journalists does it take to change a light bulb?" "How many?" "None. We did that last year." You and I both work in the newsroom, Taylor, and we've been trained that you have to pitch a story a certain way to make it new and fresh — when sometimes people want to get into the topic from a more basic angle that we'd feel sheepish about proposing on our own. (Like, "How does the Iowa caucus work?")
Looking for podcast recommendations? Here's what Angela loves!
A few people asked about Angela's favorite non-VPR podcasts ("I HIGHLY recommend Rumble Strip, hosted by the inimitable Erica Heilman") and what podcast she "couldn't live without?"
Right now, I am completely addicted to The Daily, the news podcast from the New York Times, hosted by Michael Barbaro. Every morning, there is just this super informative and deep and well-produced almost mini news-documentary waiting for me to listen to while I butter my toast. I transition over to it after listening to NPR One, which is also a new thing for me — I get the national newscast and VPR's newscast, and NPR's Up First (which is sort of similar to The Daily) and a bunch of great national/local stories and interviews. So that is pretty much the routine I can't live without — perhaps more than you were looking for!
Angela has questions too!
Reddit user IndefinableMustache asked "are there any topics that haven't been submitted that you'd love to delve into?" We're so glad you asked; we've been dying to know too!
It's funny, because I sometimes have thoughts along these lines, like, "Man, I really wish someone would submit a question about ____ (most recently about what it's like to have Lyme disease, and also what Neko Case's life is like in the NEK)." But then I remember that I work in a newsroom and I can just tap a colleague on the shoulder and share my curiosity with them, and there are resources available for them/us to pursue the answers in-house. And the whole point of BLS is to empower our audience to direct our work — because there are topics and angles out there that we'd never think of on our own.
One thing I WOULD like to do is interact with more humans and gather questions in-person at events and happenings around the state. (Got any suggestions for places where we could find some curious folks?) We've also been getting a lot of super big-picture questions lately, and I'd like to get the word to our audience that it's OK to submit Qs about, for example, specific towns/landmarks ("What's the story behind ____?")
Read the rest of Angela's AMA and find out if she'd rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses (confused? It's a reddit thing...).
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