First-rate seconds - Israel Story First-rate seconds - Israel Story

First-rate seconds

Abby Neuschatz

Before interning here, I would listen to stories with several interviewees, and I would wonder how long it took to conduct each interview. While some of the incredible people we hear from take up half (or even more) of a story, other interviewees appear in little snippets, as supporting authorities, or perhaps giving different perspectives.

I was surprised to discover that each interview – whether it provides twenty seconds or twenty minutes of tape – actually lasts upwards of an hour.

Take our episode, “Our Hope?” for example. Act I includes two Arab Israeli soccer players sharing their thoughts on the Israeli national anthem. While we hear the succinct experiences of Rifaat Turk and Abbas Suan, the audience may not realize that the conversations that provided that tape covered everything from university-memories to forays into politics, and saw us sampling the local dates in a beautiful Sakhnin home.

Also unknown to the audience is the fact that there was actually another soccer player interviewed, on a soccer pitch. As soon as we started recording, we knew there was too much street noise, so we went to the quietest place possible and tried our luck. But the usable audio didn’t cover enough of the story to warrant inclusion.

Completely cutting characters from a story is actually surprisingly common. While we do end up using the majority of our interviews, there are a good amount that don’t get featured for a variety of reasons. These reasons include time-limitations, relevance to the story, and interview-quality.

So our stockpile of unused tape is always increasing. Because even if we feature a character for only twenty seconds, those twenty seconds need to be first-rate.


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