NPR’s Latino USA – Reporter Guidelines
Program Summary. Latino USA is an award-winning weekly public radio program that explores the politics, arts and ideas that relate to the fastest-growing demographic segment of the American public. Our main focus is on Latinos – where they live, what they experience, and how they intersect with the rest of America. We’re looking for unexpected story ideas from all parts of the country, and we encourage reporters to use their creativity. We will also consider ideas from abroad if they are exceptional and have a strong connection to the US.
Use the elements of good storytelling in your piece:
- a strong story arc that keeps listeners engaged from beginning to end;
- well-developed characters, using personal stories as appropriate;
- simple, conversational language that can be easily absorbed in one hearing;
- context that helps listeners understand the background and wider issues related to your piece;
- visuals that ‘take listeners there,’ including physical descriptions of people and places, and other observations;
- compelling/dramatic actualities and ambi – use your best tape!
Script heading. Please include your name, Latino USA, your story slug, your editor’s name and your email and phone number at the beginning of your script.
Make your story as sound-rich as possible. That means recording 2 or 3 minutes of ambient/natural sound for every place you go, every scene that’s in your story. Think in terms of recording audio illustrations for each scene in the story. If you’re profiling one person, think in scenes that will illustrate the person and his/her work. Record sound from both close up and far away, and get more than you think you’ll need.
Get room tone. Be sure to get a sound bed for indoor locations, even if the room “sounds” quiet. If possible, close windows, shut off computers, etc. to reduce noise. Try to choose a small, carpeted room for the interview to reduce echo. Position the person you’re interviewing so that you are shooting the interview away from windows. If there is occasional noise, i.e. traffic, be sure to get that bed noise.
Ethics. Reporters cannot perform paid work or have a volunteer relationship with the subject of their stories. All stories should be balanced and contain all relevant points of view.
Voicing. Access to a professional recording studio or comparable facility is preferred. Less experienced producers should check with their editor about proper recording techniques. If you’re relatively new to public radio and/or uncomfortable with voicing, please ask your editor for coaching.
Translations. If the people you’re interviewing have difficulty speaking English, it is often better to interview them in their primary language and provide translation in your copy.
Recording specs. Please record wav or aiff files with sample rate 44.1 , bit rate 16, stereo or mono. Use a professional quality recorder and microphone; consult with your editor for guidance if necessary.
Final Mix. LUSA usually does the final story mix. You need to provide separate voice tracks, actualities, ambient sound and music if needed. Please record your voice tracks in one sound file, your acts in a second file and your ambi in a third file. Within each sound file, each sound element should be separated from the next by a few seconds of silence. Each sound element should be laid out in the order in which it appears in your final script. All files should be wav files, not mp3.
FTP filing instructions. There will be a folder with your story slug and name on it ready for you on LUSA’s FTP site. This is where you upload your sound and photos. Your editor will give you the show’s FTP protocols when you’re ready to file your piece.
Payment. LUSA pays $125 per minute, including the host intro.
Mileage and Expenses. Reimbursement for mileage and expenses must be cleared ahead of time with your editor.
Kill Fee. Negotiable, depending on the amount of work done.
Web content. Please take horizontally oriented photos to go with your story! They are including in your assignment fee. Also, when you submit your final script and audio, please be sure to include your bio and a picture of yourself.
To pitch, please send a short description of your idea and the story arc, characters, scenes and sound you envision to: email@example.com. If you’re pitching for the first time, please include a brief summary of your experience and audio samples of your work.