"There are some people, who don’t wait."
May 13, 2011 10:03 AM   Subscribe

On May 7th, Robert Krulwich (of WNYC's RadioLab and accompanying NPR blog Krulwich Wonders) gave the commencement speech to Berkeley Journalism School’s Class of 2011 on the future of journalism. (Via)

Mr. Krulwich's blog is a frequent source for MeFi posts. Here are Two previous threads.
posted by zarq (22 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Longer than 140 characters, so totally irrelevant to modern media.
posted by briank at 10:20 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

*plays slide whistle*
posted by BeerFilter at 10:21 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

His story about forging Yale credentials to get into the 1967 Chicago democratic National Convention is by itself worth the time it takes to read the article.

The next day, my mother called me (cause my parents’ address was on the bag) and she said, “Do you know Dr. Spock? Cause he just left your clothes in our lobby.” And there was no way I could tell my mother what I’d done. No way.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:37 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Will it be...

... a back and forth


...delivered by

an alternating...

[both together, but with timing slightly off] duo!

for no discernible reason..

...other than that

dissonance is...

posted by orthogonality at 10:45 AM on May 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

If Krulwich is the future of journalism, here's hoping May 21 is in fact the end of the world.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:57 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Will it be... Etc

No, actually, it's a small set of highly poignant and smart anecdotes delivered in an interesting way by a fantastic story teller that you would appreciate if you weren't acting like some snarky twit, but thanks for playing!
posted by fungible at 10:59 AM on May 13, 2011 [11 favorites]

Well I liked it. Thanks zarq.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:30 AM on May 13, 2011

I understand that many people do not care for radio lab. Personally I would prefer it if the thread were not simply a succession of people expressing that view, but rather discussed the content of his talk.
posted by Diablevert at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

Mod note: comment removed - metatalk is your option
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:40 AM on May 13, 2011

Well, ok, but it's surely not unexpected that people have come to associate Krulwich (because of RadioLab) with a cute but un-serious sort of journalism.

His talk was on the future of journalism, so characterizing what we think Krulwich's style is, and how that contributes negatively or positively, to journalistic practice,, isn't I think too off-topic.

I mean, I love the subjects RadioLab covers, I do. But as interesting as I find the subjects, I just can't stand to listen to how Krulwich and Abumrad cover them.

And worse, their style -- of adding what's essentially noise -- does seem to be contaminating other public radio productions. Honestly, it's funny to see public radio's supposedly more sophisticated audience falling for what's the equivalent of the three "anchors" of Local EyeWitness News On Your Side At Five trading quips about the weather.
posted by orthogonality at 11:43 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

With due respect for Krulwich's nod to Greek tactics at Troy: Cool Story, Bro

Years ago, I was driving across Indiana with my two boys, on our annual summer trip. The oldest was in 6th grade, the youngest in 4th. Krulwich had just come on the radio, with one of his "explanations," when the older boy said "Dad, can you change the station. Listening to that guy always makes me feel smarter than I know I am. I think because he explains things as if he expects me to be dumber than I know I am."

Which prompted my younger one to chime in "Yeah, change the station, Dad. I just can't stand that guy, and I don't care why."

We all really liked Charles Kuralt, however.
posted by paulsc at 11:48 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Perhaps I'm stupid (I'm not), but I don't think RadioLab or Krulwich "dumb" anything down, and the content is always smarter than anything else in the mainstream media. Remember, these guys also have to tell stories to grandmothers in Iowa. And one of the reasons people don't pay attention to science is because it's either a wildly speculative study converted into a newspaper headline to grab attention, which will be disproved in a day, or it's coated in such jargon that only research professional can understand it. If a younger America once had a child's curiosity for science, building rockets in our backyards and bringing interesting rocks and reptiles home from the forest, their show just sincerely recreates that curiosity.

In any case, radio is not and never going to be magazine-format journalism: it's designed to be heard while you're making sure your kids don't kill each other or while you cook breakfast or while you're trying not to crash into the sedan that just cut you off on your commute. It's made so you can listen to it and keep up with it. And it's also made like, you know, it's the 21st century, because it is. We can process different layers at once now.

What RadioLab does beautifully is creates an almost hallucinogenic auditory experience that visualizes in sound the progress of the narrative. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but when it does work it's true art. But if you like the communion wafers of old NPR and like your radio plain, you can always listen to Splendid Table.
posted by bukharin at 12:22 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

I dunno, in re Krulwich's comment about Just Doing It --- I think that approach has some merit, but at the same time I have a muffling sense in the back of my mind with a lot of this stuff...does the world need a dozen Dooces? Maybe. 120? Sure. 1200? Possibly... but 12,000? 120,000? I'm gonna say no...there's a power law effect in here. Nobody has infinite time to read infinite sources, and to not-necessarily-large-but-nonetheless-powerful degree everybody want to read something somebody else is reading; that is to say, one of the things that's enjoyable about any cultural experience is having somebody to share it with. So the pattern Krulwich talks about is something you see again and again, as each new niche of the infosphere is discovered and exploited ....blogs in general, then political blogs, personal blogs, food blogs, science blogs....but I'm not sure you ever see a second generation within a niche. Kevin Drum and Andrew Sullivan and Matt Yglesias started pol blog 8 or 9 years ago and got hired and now do it for a living.... But that's the thing, they're still doing it, and while there have been others who have come after I don't think just anyone could break in the way they did.

There will be other niches, of course. Other techniques, other technologies. But I do think it's entirely possible to just do the thing you love and work hard and go it well and never get discovered, never make that leap..,.
posted by Diablevert at 12:25 PM on May 13, 2011

Niggling, not muffling. Curse you, phone.
posted by Diablevert at 12:27 PM on May 13, 2011

Charles Kuralt's secret life

No offense, but this is the same, standard advice pretty much any graduate gets: "don't wait for your opportunity, make it!"

If you write, you write.

I concur.

... think about getting together with friends that you admire, or envy. Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it

... O K ...
posted by mrgrimm at 2:25 PM on May 13, 2011

Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up.

Er, ah, think not what your country a company can do for you, but what you can do for you! Because the implicit Social Contract -- play by the rules and you'll get ahead -- is over, and you just spent four years training for a job you'll never be paid to do.

We choose to go to the Web 2.0 and do the other things, not because they are easy but because there are no jobs for college graduates and "I'm an entrepreneur running a startup" sounds a lot better than "my parents are letting me stay in the basement".
posted by orthogonality at 2:57 PM on May 13, 2011

MY EYES! Seeing pictures of radio personalities is always a bit jarring to me.

And wow, I had no idea liking RadioLab was so uncool :(
posted by Rickalicioso at 4:54 PM on May 13, 2011

Liking RadioLab is very uncool on metafilter.
Liking RadioLab is pretty cool everywhere else.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:29 PM on May 13, 2011

Liking RadioLab is very uncool on metafilter.
Liking RadioLab is pretty cool everywhere else.

Once more, for emphasis.
posted by archivist at 9:22 PM on May 13, 2011

I had no idea liking RadioLab was so uncool :(

And unsophisticated, apparently.

Previously, in which the thread devolves into "RadioLab is so annoying" vs "MeFi doesn't like RadioLab?"
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:39 PM on May 13, 2011

Someone should make a list of things that are 'uncool' on metafilter. Radiolab, Cory Doctorow, etc... I hate not knowing!
posted by DigDoug at 7:27 PM on May 14, 2011

things that are 'uncool' on metafilter. Radiolab, Cory Doctorow, etc...

Lady Gaga.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:08 PM on May 17, 2011

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