Practice Radio Story – Naydeline Mejia

Host Intro: COVID-19, the novel coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China, has finally made its way into the states, and New York City –– a city of more than 8 million people –– is drastically feeling the effects. While many private universities are taking necessary steps to protect their students from the virus by closing down facilities and moving to distance-learning, many CUNY students are still attending classes as usual. Naydeline Mejia spoke to two Baruch College students about how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting their academic and personal lives, and whether or not they believe CUNY is acting accordingly by keeping schools open. 

AMBI1: Nat sound of a facet running as a student washes their hands in the bathroom. (Fades down as TRACK1 begins.)

AMBI2: Room tone comes in. (Layered under tracks.)

TRACK1: I’m here at Baruch College with Dashawn Jones, a current Baruch senior and fashion designer. While Jones feels relatively safe at school during the coronavirus outbreak, he worries about the pandemic’s effect on his clothing business.

ACT1: At school I feel pretty safe. I wear a glove on the train, so I don’t touch the poles and just remember to not touch my face often throughout the day, but in my personal life it’s really affected my business because I have a lot of manufacturers overseas and all [of] my shipments for January and February were delayed significantly. I even had to cancel some orders, so it’s […] I could just imagine businesses who are much larger who are going through similar complications with getting products and just losing out on a lot of profit because of this.

TRACK2: While the coronavirus pandemic has definitely sparked fears about its possible effects on small businesses and the economy, there are also many fears around how the virus might affect academics. Brenika Banks, a current Baruch student studying journalism, says she feels torn about CUNY’s decision to hold off on shutting down schools –– a step many private universities have already taken. 

ACT2:  I feel a little torn on it. On one hand it’s like, yeah how are we safe as a public university to still be in school when these private institutions have decided to close their door? But on the other hand, a lot of us need this credit. A lot of us it’s our senior year and it would be an interruption in the semester if they close school. Not everybody is going to offer online classes and where does that leave students who are going to be graduating this year if they really need to be in school? So, it’s hard. Obviously if there are more cases and our health is in danger than yes, it would make sense to close down the school. I am hoping for the best because I still want to come to class in person, but I am really torn about it. 

TRACK3: Although the threat of COVID-19 is causing a lot of uproar, Banks believes that the best thing to do right now is to remain calm and not panic. 

ACT3: It is getting to a point where a lot of us should be worried, slightly, because it is on all seven continents at this point. But, honestly, if we’re all taking care of ourselves the way we should be and staying healthy and getting our vaccines, if you choose to, then it’s not much to worry about. The most we have to worry about are people who are already sick, who already have certain illnesses where that [COVID-19] will affect them more. And of course, not being a carrier to a loved one or someone you know who also may be at risk. So it’s just about educating ourselves. There’s no reason to panic, if you’re panicking you can not make clear decisions and think clearly of how to handle things.

TRACK4: As the number of coronavirus cases continue to grow in New York City and the U.S., CUNY students hope that the governor takes proactive steps to protect both students and businesses. For Baruch College, this is Naydeline Mejia in New York City. 

Growing Concerns of COVID Among Baruch Students

Host intro: (Growing concerns progress amongst the Baruch student population as the number of COVID-19 cases rises in New York City. This new virus, whose origins have been traced back to the foreign seafood market of Wuhan, China, infects the respiratory system of those who contract it causing illness and even death in the most severe cases. Some students are beginning to questions the actions of the administration, urging them to stay ahead of this imminent threat while others believe the situation is being handled effectively. Here’s reporter Dashawn Jones with the story.

AMBI1: (NATURAL SOUND 1: SNEEZING, COUGHING)

AMBI2: (ROOM TONE 1)

TRACK: As I enter the halls of Baruch Campus, a new uniform decorates the hands and faces of each student; medical face masks and latex gloves. News spread fast about the novel Coronavirus as the number of cases in New York City begins to rise. Baruch campuses, located in between lower and midtown Manhattan, have become the new epicenter for the 1000 cases that have been reported in the city. I stand with Julissa Brown, Baruch student, who believes the situation is being controlled.

ACT: I think the administration is doing a good job right now by informing us through emails to wash our hands and stay safe. I don’t think it’s a big deal right now or serious where coronavirus is concerned
TRACK: While Baruch administration has sent numerous emails on hygiene to prevent contracting the virus, Private colleges have begun to close their doors and switch to virtual courses for the remainder of the semester. Baruch’s responses to the epidemic have stirred up conversation among students, questioning if the actions are enough in an effort to keep the student population safe. Baruch student, Patrice Gonzalez thinks their efforts can be increased.

ACT: Honestly at the moment we have just been receiving a bunch of emails just basically having hygiene protocols but there have been other colleges who shut down their institutions in order to protect their students and their staff. I feel like that is something that Baruch should also take into considerations, following what other colleges are doing by just closing down the colleges until further notice.

TRACK: The Center for Disease Control reports that COVID-19 has a contraction factor of 2, indicating how quickly it can spread between individuals who come in contact with it. Is handwashing and sanitizing truly enough to help prevent the spread? Biology major, John Watson disagrees. Here’s his take on the severity of the epidemic.

 

I think COVID is much more severe than they are telling us and I think that washing our hands constantly before we do things is not enough. We need to practice social distancing we need to stay 6 feet apart.

TRACK: The students of Baruch seem torn between the actions of the administration however, one thing is certain. COVID-19 is a viral disease that has serious health implications. Failure to act now could lead to a spread among the students and put lives at risk. Not only each other but the individuals they come in contact with. The next few days will be crucial for understanding what the next steps Baruch will take to help prevent the exposure to the virus. “For Baruch College, this is Dashawn Jones in New York City.”

 

Practice Piece and Script

 

HOST:

The Coronavirus, which recently surpassed 100,000 cases worldwide and continues to infect new people daily, has required students at Baruch College to adjust their daily lives in order to remain unafflicted. Students have received a number of emails encouraging hand washing, to stay home if exhibiting flu-like symptoms, and to avoid the subway if possible. Reporter Kenneth Fremer              talked to Baruch students to get an idea of how they are coping with the virus.

AMBI1: Sound of students in Baruch

AMBI2: Room noise of office

TRACK: Joel Bautista, a student at Baruch, lamented losing the ability to hug his classmates when greeting them throughout the Coronavirus epidemic. Students have been encouraged to avoid handshakes, creating a sense of distance on-campus.

ACT1: “I usually hug people and they just want to elbow each other and that’s their way of saying hi… I’m like… I’m with that now, it’s not a big deal.”

TRACK: Students like Joel have begun to express concern over CUNY’s failure to close school facilities, as other campuses throughout New York City – which include Columbia University, New York University, and Fordham – have outlined a clear plan to shift towards hosting classes online. Petitions to close CUNY schools have garnered over 10,000 signatures within the past week.

ACT2: “They should definitely close it, ‘cause who knows? Maybe one student gets it and that spreads to a million, to the whole school. I wanna live, and I’m sure everyone else wants to, too. I think they should close it down.”

TRACK: On a broader scale, unclear government messaging and a lack of specific steps to be taken by city and state officials have left students without a strong sense of trust in public figures to fix the situation.

ACT3: “As long as they’re ordering strict things, so people don’t get any viruses y’know like cleaning and supplying hand sanitizer, that’s for the people, it’s their own people. Like take care of your own people. We want to live, so yeah.”

TRACK: As more cases of the Coronavirus spread throughout New York City, students are unsure of what the future may hold. Many professors at Baruch have started hosting classes online, but no official directive or outline has been given by CUNY regarding a timeline for a shift to online lessons. For Baruch College, this is Kenneth Fremer in New York City.

Host intro: Amid the coronavirus outbreak, people are getting more concerned about their health and safety. Jiayu Zhu spoke to a Sophomore student in New York City at Baruch College about what it’s like to live in New York at this moment and his attitude toward current issues.

 

AMBI: Group chat, student talking (FADE DOWN AS TRACK BEGINS)

AMBI: Room tone (LAYER UNDER TRACK)

 

TRACK: I’m here with Mark Morales at Baruch college, he is a sophomore journalism student at Baruch College.

 

ACT: Mark: As far as how the Corona Virus affects me, it hasn’t changed my daily responsibilities, but it affected the way I do my activities. Like, I still have to go to school, still have to take public transportation, but I am definitely a lot more conscious of touching anything in the subway, it’s very dirty, and now it’s a health hazard, added another layer to it.

 

TRACK: Now, public transportation is a major concern. Many people in New York City didn’t become aware of the danger of this virus.

 

ACT Mark: I’ve seen a coup of videos of people intentionally putting their saliva to the poll on the transportation, so that just makes me more worried. Honestly, I am probably just going to not touch anything, and hopefully, I just don’t fall when the train stops.

 

TRACK: The reason that Mark mentions the don’t fall when the train stops, is due to an accident that a Chinese girl was pushed down to the subway track days ago by an American African, because of wearing a mask. As the Corona Virus outbreaking in New York City, a wave of racism also begins.

 

ACT Mark: Fortunately, I don’t think affected by the virus as other people, because there have been racial attacks because of the virus, because of the thing that uninformed people don’t know how the virus is transmitting. It just makes people more violent, and it just has more dangers.

 

TRACK: Corona Virus keeps spreading out in the United States. As more violent racism issue has been brought, it’s essential now to get rid of the ignorance and be supportive of each other at this hardest time.  For Baruch College, this is Jiayu Zhu, wearing the mask.

Class Agenda: Thursday, March 26

Discussion: The Power of Voices and Speech Patterns

When we hear someone speak, what are the different things we pick up on? What are the things we assume about them?

“NPR Voice”

During a recent long car ride whose soundtrack was a medley of NPR podcasts, I noticed a verbal mannerism during scripted segments that appeared on just about every show. I’ve heard the same tic in countless speeches, TED talks and Moth StorySLAMS — anywhere that features semi-informal first-person narration.

If I could attempt to transcribe it, it sounds kind of like, y’know … this.

That is, in addition to looser language, the speaker generously employs pauses and, particularly at the end of sentences, emphatic inflection. (This is a separate issue from upspeak, the tendency to conclude statements with question marks?) A result is the suggestion of spontaneous speech and unadulterated emotion. The irony is that such presentations are highly rehearsed, with each caesura calculated and every syllable stressed in advance.

In literary circles, the practice of poets reciting verse in singsong registers and unnatural cadences is known, derogatorily, as “poet voice.” I propose calling this phenomenon “NPR voice” (which is distinct from the supple baritones we normally associate with radio voices).

“He was hinting at the difficult balancing act reporters face in developing their on-air voice. It isn’t just a challenge of performance — and it’s not as simple as channeling some “authentic” voice into a microphone. It requires grappling with your identity and your writing process, along with history of your institution.”

Decoding identity on the air

Here’s an actual intro by Ira Glass: sound similar?

Challenging the Whiteness of Public Radio

Podcast: ‘White voice’ and hearing whiteness as difference, not the standard

Does public radio sound too white? NPR itself tries to find out.

The reason the sound of your own voice makes you cringe

Why your voice IS a “podcast voice”

On accent bias in the industry, by Baruch’s own Gisele Regetao:

The Many Voices of Journalism

Podcast: Gisele Regatao on NPR’s accent bias

Common speech patterns in today’s world that everyone (men, too!) use all the time:

Upspeak

Vocal fry

“Like”

According to Ira Glass:

“…listeners have always complained about young women reporting on our show. They used to complain about reporters using the word “like” and about upspeak… But we don’t get many emails like that anymore. People who don’t like listening to young women on the radio have moved on to vocal fry.”

Why old men find young women’s voices so annoying

99% Invisible podcast responds to criticism about women’s voices

So all of this leads us to the question: How can we be intentional about how we use our voices to tell the best stories as effectively as possible?

Luckily, in radio/podcasting, speaking naturally is what we actually WANT. No one wants to listen to a robot, or someone who sounds like they’re reading.

How I learned to stop worrying and love my voice

Update: The new additional instructional recess, updated spring break dates, and what that means for this class.

  • We won’t “meet” again until next Thursday. If you feel you don’t have the right computer equipment/reliable internet at home to complete the documentary and portfolio website assignments, please let me know so we can get you set up in this interim period.
  • Now that the dates for spring break have been changed, I’m changing the due date on your scripts to Tuesday, April 7. The sign-up sheet for edits still applies, it’ll just be on a different day.
  • Considering how much this is putting us behind, I’m simplifying the final project to just a video rather than a whole multimedia project with different elements. The logistics are just too complicated and with the constantly moving goalposts of the last couple of weeks, you won’t have as much time to complete it as you’d need.

Also, here’s that episode of The Daily I mentioned that relies on lots of recorded online audio.

Practice Radio Assignment

https://soundcloud.com/user-88360655/practice-assignment/s-dyo6iWLAGHe

Script

Host intro: COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, has rapidly spread from its origin in the city of Wuhan, China to almost 100 countries. With more than 150 reported cases in the state of New York, many individuals and organizations have begun to implement cautionary measures to prepare for the further spread of the virus, Therese Rodrigues, a student at Baruch College, is here to report on this pandemic. 

AMBI: Students talking inside of Baruch Cafe

TRACK: The Coronavirus has rapidly spread across the United States, and it is projected that the virus will continue to spread for months. I’m here with fellow Baruch student, Anthony Tellez, here to give his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic.  

AMBI: Student skateboarding. 

TRACK: Where were you when you first heard about the Coronavirus?

ACT: ANTHONY: I was actually at home, because I have various news apps on my phones, I get a lot of alerts, so I was probably at home when all of that went down. 

TRACK: And what were your initial thoughts when you first heard about the COVID-19 outbreak?

ACT: ANTHONY: I thought it was a bit crazy, given you know that the focus was solely on China, but, I didn’t think that it would go further than that. I found it amazing that they shut down the whole city of 11 million people. But now that there are cases around the world of people who don’t have a travel history, especially in the United States, I think it’s more concerning. 

AMBI: Students talking inside of  Baruch Cafe

TRACK: Some New Yorkers are starting to take serious precautions in everyday activities. Hand sanitizers and face masks have been wiped off store shelves, and many feel anxious and unprepared. 

TRACK: Now that there are many confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in New York City, how have you and those around you been impacted? 

ACT: ANTHONY: It hasn’t impacted me as crazy. I see people on the train with masks, hand sanitizer, refusing to touch the poles on the train. I think it’s a bit hectic given the situation we’re in, but I haven’t seen any major impact in New York City, as of yet. 

TRACK: Many CUNY students feel as if there hasn’t been enough done to ensure their safety during these uncertain times. 

AMBI: Students talking inside of  Baruch Cafe

TRACK: How do you feel CUNY has responded so far to the outbreak?

ACT: ANTHONY:  I think they’re a bit- I don’t know- I think they’re waiting around for something to happen to initiate some sort of action. I understand that they’re putting in hand sanitizer,  changing the soap, but that’s really the extent of it. I really haven’t seen any major issue- like we’re going to do classes online, or shutting down school at least. I know there’s some petition to shut down the school, but, I’m not sure what their response really is, but I know that certainly, they need to step their game up like the private institutions across the city. 

TRACK: CUNY has yet to close its doors and switch to remote learning, a move which many private universities across the state of New York, such as Columbia, NYU, Hofstra, and Syracuse have already done. Some professors have switched to online instruction already, while others refuse, saying that as long as school is open, they will continue their regularly scheduled sessions. Fears across New York City continue to grow, and there is much uncertainty of the extent to which the COVID-19 outbreak will affect the city. Only time can tell. For Baruch College, I’m Therese Rodrigues. 

 

 

Practice Radio Piece

Host intro: The coronavirus pandemic is ravaging across the world. Many countries have been ordering businesses to close and residents to stay home amidst the constantly changing situation. Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, sent a notice that all city and state universities be online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. Just like experiencing the calm before a storm, Reporter Nadia Khan was able to ask a CUNY professor what her plans would be when Baruch closed.

AMBI: Footsteps. Professor talking to class (FADE DOWN AS TRACK BEGINS)

AMBI: Room tone (LAYER UNDER TRACK)

TRACK: I’m here with Professor Emily Johnson in her office. She is both a journalist and a journalism professor at Baruch College, one of the City Universities in New York.

ACT: PROFESSOR JOHNSON: I have started thinking about how to accommodate my students remotely, in the event that the school gets shut down. I don’t know anything about that officially, but it just seems kind of like that’s how the wind is blowing.

TRACK: She notes that it’ll be difficult to transition her class remotely because of the fieldwork component of journalism.

ACT: PROFESSOR JOHNSON: In a multimedia journalism class, it’s hard to do things over the phone. You really have to be physically in front of people to photograph them or record them or film them. We are going to have to be a little creative in terms of how we go about the rest of our assignments throughout the rest of the semester.

TRACK: When asked if the coronavirus is affecting her career as a journalist, Professor Johnson expressed uncertainty about her summer endeavors.

ACT: PROFESSOR JOHNSON: I’m concerned it might affect my reporting plans for the summer. ‘Cuz I have no idea what travel restrictions or recommendations might be in place in June, when I’m most likely going to be doing some reporting in Kenya.

TRACK: All in all, Professor Johnson emphasized staying up to date with the news.

ACT: PROFESSOR JOHNSON: I’ve just been reading a lot of news about it and just trying to inform myself as much as possible about what’s going on and how best to proceed.

TRACK: Currently, New York State has at least 30,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Universities will remain closed for at least the remainder of the spring semester. For Baruch College, I’m Nadia Khan.

Sample Radio Assignment

https://soundcloud.com/user356114795/classassignment/s-Amc1CscmmxI

Script

Host intro: Valsenia is a sophomore at Baruch College, looking to get a take on how others feel about how the institution is handling the coronavirus.

Ambi: People having conversations inside of the school cafe.

Track: I am walking through the cafe, at Baruch College, to meet with Therese. Where were you when you first heard about the coronavirus?

Act: Therese: I was at probably  home watching the news, my dad probably told me about it. I don’t really remember. I just remember seeing a lot of updates on my phone about it.

Track: Did you think it was something serious at that time?

Act:Therese: I thought it was something serious but I didn’t give it much thought because it was in China, so I was just like “That’s really sad.” But I didn’t really give it much more thought after that.

 Track: Now, how has it impacted what you’ve seen or how you, like, move?

Act:Therese: Its been a little… I guess it’s more real, obviously, now that it’s here. Uhm, I haven’t really changed the way that I move around or what I do. I’ve just been a little more cautious, you know, carrying around hand sanitizer with me, watching my hands more, but, other than that, nothing has really changed, for me atleast.

Track: Do you feel like overtime it will get better or worse?

Act:Therese: I think that it’s going to get worse before it gets better, especially since, I feel like, the US isn’t really prepared to deal with it, as some other places might be. So I think it’s going to get a little worse before it gets better, but I also don’t think it’s going to be the end of the world or it’s gonna cause mass scale destruction, like some people are painting it out to be.

Track: What have you seen your institution doing to change things or help the problem?

Act:Therese: Nothing much, to be honest. I feel like CUNY has done the bare minimum. They’ve sent out a lot of emails about we’re gonna watch it and they’ve been giving out hand sanitizer, apparently. But, other than that, that’s all they’ve been doing; they haven’t taken any steps to prevent it or switch to online classes, like a lot of private universities have been doing.

 

New Radio Pitch

My radio pitch will focus on Corona Virus how this virus is affecting the education system and students. I will interview students and discuss about that how covid-19 is affecting the classes. what challenges they are facing while taking online classes.

 

Radio Pitch

I want to focus on the shady PR practices of companies during the coronavirus pandemic, specifically retail store American Eagle Outfitters/Aerie (which up until a few weeks ago was my employer for 4.5 years). They recently put out a statement online (after facing backlash for not closing their stores at the start of the pandemic) that they will be making sure their associates will be paid during their store closures and that they will provide access to medical testing and treatment if needed. However, based off of statements from my former coworkers and comments made by numerous associates online, there was a company-wide decision to cut all part-time/hourly associates’ (essentially non-management) hours prior to this statement being made. Associates were informed that they will be given paid leave according to their scheduled hours, however this now leaves a majority of employees with 0 hours and 0 income during this difficult time. I would focus on the stories of the employees left without pay, and how they are dealing with it/fighting against it.