2 Minute Judgement

With the population of the world being as big as it is, I realize evaluating people for jobs, prizes, relationships, you-name-it; there is less time to spend on each person.

That said, I still hate it. A 1 page letter of motivation. A 2 minute audio sample. A 3 minute conversation over a drink at some party. Each of these is supposed to give someone an accurate idea of who I am, and then a judgment is to made based on that.


The world is going to have to figure something else out, because humans are simply more complicated then these little allotted samples.

Recently my wonderful friends over at Radio Open Source, aka Public Radio in Boston, urged me to enter into the Public Radio Talent Search…. so I submitted my audio for judgment in a contest who’s winner gets money, and some other lovely support from the NPR world.

As a struggling journalist, obviously I could use such things. Plus I’m honored that they thought of me, so I entered. I grabbed a random 2 minutes from the NEw Orleans series, and submitted it. (click the link if you feel like voting) And even as I did it, I was thinking “2 minutes… thats it?” Two minutes does not explain what I do and why it matters. To be judged in 2 minutes, after almost 3 years of podcasting, 200 shows, 6 years of blogging, and untold experiences and studies… is to me.. preposterous.

But this is how the world works, so often. Universities and their methods for judging potential students. Employers and their demand for that “CV”, which of course they never read beyond the first page. So your life’s worth is then evaluated based on a piece of paper, or a few pieces of paper, maybe some testimony from 2 people. The horror.

Actually it reminds me of speed dating. Thats right, I’m a curious person and an amateur anthropologist, so I went to a speed dating debauchery not too long ago. And again, my first thought from the moment I arrived: I will not try and explain myself in 3 minutes. I am complex in what might be a very good way, but that complexity cannot and should not, be squashed into 3 minutes because the world doesn’t have time to listen.

So public radio, you’ve got my 2 minutes. While it is true that this struggling journalist could use your help, I don’t need you to tell me my work is worth something, and I certainly don’t need you in order to continue in this well established podcast that already has a wonderful relationship with a large group of people scattered throughout the world.