I started listening to national public radio (NPR) shortly after beginning my first internship. NPR Stories equipped me with relevant and intelligent topics to contribute to office conversations – which I found were much more elevated than the ones amongst my college peers. Now, I listen and look forward to what topics NPR will raise each morning on my commute.
The NPR stories I tune into are the perfect solution to my want to be knowledgeable of the world without an absorbent amount of time to spare.
What surprises me most about listening to NPR is that I am not only learning about the latest happenings in the world and in my community, but I am also being well-versed every day in different ways to craft a story through creative sentence structure and elevated vocabulary.
Twitter news and abbreviated push notification alerts from news sites serve one purpose: to inform. While there is a need for a quick method to receive information, communicators also have a responsibility to not only know the facts, but also know the story. When you only read the headline, or the 140-character version of the story, you miss the best part; you lose the creative connection that an author can make between the who, what, when and where. By seeing how other writers craft stories well, we begin to craft our own stories better. By being challenged by new vocabulary, we become better word-choosers. By witnessing how others communicate, we begin to communicate better.
If I were to ask communicators to take extra time out of their day to read the newspaper through and through, I am aware that I would hear a range of responses falling somewhere along the lines of: “I would love to, but I’m stretched too thin already. I just don’t have the time.”
The beautiful thing about radio news stories is that you can multi-task. You can tune into stories – not just news facts and headlines – while you are doing things that you would already be doing, like driving.
Next time you’re stuck in traffic, turn your dial (or navigate your fancy, modern touch-screen radio) to your local public radio station. You will hear the new stories today, and notice a positive change in your writing and storytelling skills tomorrow.
Another great perk of listening to NPR: the stories you hear will make you smile and remind you that news does not only have to be unsettlingly sad.