Remember when I used to record podcasts about social issues with guests from around the world? Well this is not one of those. I do discuss issues, in addition to things that have been going on; journeys, etc. All this from the comfort of my new home while making a dam fine cup of chai. If you enjoy me talking about life and the world for about 40 minutes, give this one a listen. Also you may enjoy Kate’s ukulele songs from hacker camp a few weeks ago. Well worth a listen!
Important announcement: a live podcast event this September 27th in Amsterdam! Yes. I’m launching the Realities Podcast (website almost ready), a production of citizenreporter, carrying on the tradition of this program’s candid, human conversations, only this time they will be done live with an audience! And you can be in that audience, if you can make it to Amsterdam in the coming month. Read all about it and sign up if you can be there for this most historic event.
If you’ve been alive for a few decades you’ve surely noticed how fast time passes and how things seem to change, sometimes even without us fully comprehending what has happened. Once a year, somewhere in Germany, several thousand enthusiastic individuals get together to consider those changes and look into what else is possible in the future. Beyond that, old and new friends get a chance to catch up, share knowledge, and maybe even get inspired.
This event, known as the Chaos Communication Congress, has brought me friends and acquaintences that I feel very fortunate to have and look forward to seeing year after year. Two such friends and fellow audiofiles, join me on today’s program to kickoff CTRP 2015 properly; by reporting from the congress and evaluating what this meeting is all about and how this thing connects to the big thing out there. Today on the program: Emmanuel and Kyle of 2600 Magazine, Off the Hook and Off the Wall.
Imagine yourself at work one day when the boss comes to you, hands you a shovel, a gun, and says “the invasion is starting, you must defend your workplace.” It may sound implausible but that is exactly what happened to my guest on the program today.
Ali Al Shouk was your average working chemist when the invasion of Iraq began in 2003. It was then that a series of traumatic events and coincidences would begin, eventually leading him to a career in journalism and a place he did not expect to end up.
In between my taxi interviews Ali and I sat down together in Dubai to talk about his amazing experiences that made him who he is today.
The word storytelling seems to pop up all over the place over the past year. A quick glance at cultural events in your community and projects being carried out by NGO’s (such as our very own hardworking Small World News) and you are sure to see the word storytelling. Storytelling as an art, a hobby, an activity to bring people together, to share experiences and culture; it’s this thing that has always been there, for generations, and might just be having a bit of a renaissance in the context of on and offline culture.
I’m often involved in discussions or projects related to the world of online story telling. Truth be told, I do love a good story, and I do believe it is part of why I love to record other people’s words. By and large it must be a big benefit for all of us now and for future generations, that in 2013 storytelling got hip!
Despite the fact that it is probably good for our collective health and I myself am involved in teaching and promoting story telling online, I am also partly skeptical of all the noise surrounding the word. Storytelling for the sake of sharing with the world and bringing us closer together- yes! Surely it does matter how you present something, if the audience can understand it, follow it, and to some extent relate somehow. But storytelling that is focused on entertaining and manufacturing emotional high’s and low’s, as a journalist at heart, that is not what I am about. Of course I like a good story and have certainly exaggerated my way through some tales for the sake of a big smile or a “huh.. wow.. that’s amazing” reaction. I too love the stories coming out of radio projects like This American Life, Radio Lab, or Snap Judgement. But if indeed I am a storyteller and I’m busy teaching means of better telling their stories, I would rather inspire people to not try to entertain but rather – tell the truth.
Choose to record the words of a person without chopping up the audio or video in an effort to create an emotional moment. Films do that. Radio plays do that. Even the guy or gal at the bar on a Friday night does that. But we who genuinely want to bring stories of real lives and real issues from one part of the world to another, our priority should not be to produce “a story” that will captivate and move an audience, we should let the truth do that. And if the truth isn’t enough to get someone’s attention, if the reality of suffering or triumph from some corner of the globe isn’t enough to compel an audience to listen, at some level, I say- so be it- life is not always entertaining or captivating. Sometimes life is just sad or wonderful or something in between. It is not a made for tv drama, and there are still many of us out there that don’t need to be entertained before we learn something new.