“Ira Glass” written by Ira Glass

Ira Glass (2004) says in his article, “Finally, Alex says that beginners should abandon their ideas way quicker then they usually do. He says that understandably, because they haven’t done many stories, they often blame themselves if a story isn’t working. They try to make it work. They stick with it. They think it’s their fault if they can’t find the story in someone. There’s a myth that everyone has a story, Alex says. Everyone does have a story, sure, but it’s not necessarily a story that should be told on the radio.”

The question that immediately jumped into my head while reading is whether or not Glass would advise that person to revert back to an original abandoned thought once mastering other stories? I would imagine that a beginner in any trade would try and tackle their first couple projects full force with passion unloaded. Would it be wise for someone to return back to an idea that they couldn’t work with before, or is that abandoned idea simply an abandoned idea?

Glass quotes Alex, saying that it’s a myth that everyone’s story to tell isn’t news worthy or appealing enough to gain viewers on the air where’d I’d argue that any story is worthy of going live on the air if the storyteller makes the story worth listening to. For example Vin Scully, the broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers and can make any old story appealing to the ears. Although he is not a radio talk host, commentating a ball game is quite similar to talking on the radio and his stories are as thrilling and grasping as any other radio story you could hear because of his storying telling skills.

Vin Scully stories: on Matheny and bird poop, broadcasting a proposal, on Jackie Robinson day, being sarcastic, and a Scully compilation.


2 thoughts on ““Ira Glass” written by Ira Glass”

  1. This is a really great question, and you’re right, Glass seems to imply that once one has discarded a story, one doesn’t return to it. But perhaps with experience, you might find yourself returning to something you let go with fresh eyes. Or maybe experience brings the opposite: the confidence to know that you’ve considered a story idea enough so that once discarded, it remains that way. But he’s not clear about it.

    Also, the reference to sports announcers having some of the same skills as those Glass discusses here is an excellent comparison. In fact, it has me thinking that you might be able to do a really fun interview for your next assignment that takes the form of a mock-game-announcement….Let’s talk more in class. 🙂


  2. Some stories are probably not worth revisiting but an experienced storyteller knows what details to emphasize and what to leave out. An old, boring story could be completely transformed depending on what the author chooses to tell or leave out. I think a good storyteller can make an interesting story out of anything by emphasizing the right things. But some stories might not even be worth the effort.


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