That’s a total clickbait title. Or maybe more cleverly, mis-direction. To me that is one of the key elements of storytelling, the hook, the draw into something, the nibble taste that makes you want more.

So no, I have no truths to tell/sell you about education. It’s more about what I got from an episode of one of my favorite audio storytelling podcasts… The Truth

THE TRUTH makes movies for your ears: short stories that are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, and always intriguing. Each story is different, and usually 10 to 20 minutes long. We take you to unexpected places using only sound.

http://www.thetruthpodcast.com/about

My podcast listening time happens while I drive, which is usually back and forth to town for errands. The genesis for this happened after listening to a few episodes of a few education related ones (not naming names) (do not @ me friends) and I just was not getting much out of them. I heard a lot of talk about projects and new books, but I was not getting any bit of the kind of pull you get in the kind of audio that is produce more with the arc of a story.

So I shifted from the education ones to something to maybe grip me with a story. And I can nearly always count on The Truth to do that.

It happened right away with Zoe Butterfly.

And there was The Truth with Zoe’s teacher, castigating a third grade child’s imagination in lieu of doing a PowerPoint. This story makes a commentary via the indirect path of a human story.

I’m not saying all podcasting needs to be done this way (mine are not) but there is something to be said (or already said) for that story arc.

Another of my gotos for learning unexpectedly of concepts or things in the world is 99 Percent Invisible — one that stands out was learning the story behind that UK concept of being able to walk across private fields or The Right to Roam. I was drawn because I recall being introduced to this (and a bit shocked) when John Johnston took me on a walk in Scotland.

The story is told here not as a litany of facts or a timeline of events, or a series of objectives followed by chapters of aligned content.. there is a human element tat draws us in to the history, and you even get a passing essence of what happens when a popular singer’s estate is where the roaming happens.

And there is my old standy by for the cream of the crop of audio storytelling, This American Life. If every I had the task of teaching Hamlet (the odds of which are along lines of nil), I would reach for Act V, where what is told is about the production of Hamlet by people in custody at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center. This is not about production value, but what people convicted of serious crime, including murder, can teach us in their insight Shakespeare’s tale.

It is one of the most moving episodes I have heard, and I have listened to a lot.

There’s a meta lesson about these podcast things. We sometimes toss it around like they are all the same. The kind of podcasting I do is more one take recording of conversations, yes free form, unplanned, but not much more than record, edit ins and outs, yank out Alan’s ums, insert some intro/outro, and hit publish.

I have an very infrequent show The Puerto Rico Connection with Antonio Vantaggiato (yes, my friend, our frequency has leaped out the window). I’ve been doing more in the past year in my work for OE Global with producing the OEG Voices podcast. And heck I was yakking about Podcasting on the Cheap like 100 years ago (in blog years).

And while I am not suggesting I will do mine as audio narratives like these examples, I am learning or re-learning some of my old lessons about audio storytelling, and also that a podcast is a podcast is a podcast.

Just ask Zoe.


Featured Image:

Not Ready to Fly
Not Ready to Fly flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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