WJI 2015 Day 5:press conferences, radio recordings and laughter

May 22, 2015

Friday – Day 5 with Nick Eicher

By Margaret Tazioli

Crowded on the front lawn of WORLD News Group with all of our phone recorders cued and photographers circling on the perimeter, we watched the door in anxious anticipation.

Two attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) [LINK: http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org] traveled to Asheville for the morning to participate in a mock press conference with us. The topic was new to most of us, and we had spent the preceding two nights reading a list of articles and preparing questions for this press conference.

Mr. Lorence, the attorney representing ADF for the mock conferences purposes, stepped through the door and out onto the porch first. Pretending he had just exited the courtroom, we swarmed around the base of the porch and thrust our recorders toward his face. After a making general statement about the legal developments in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he opened the floor for questions. We immediately began launching questions at him regarding the complex legal battle.

Mr. Sharp, the attorney pretending to represent the ACLU for us, was the next to walk outside, and we repeated the reporter’s “gaggle” around him.

Following the 30-minute press conference, we came back to our tables and debriefed with both attorneys. Following a successful debriefing and a few further questions, radio guru Nick Eicher proceeded to help us turn our recorded sound bytes and research into short radio segments.

Once we had written our scripts we took turns recording one at a time in the radio studio with guidance from Mr. Eicher. As the 11th person to record, I did not get into the studio until 11pm. Nick had been sitting in there for about 8 hours. Expecting him to be impatient and tired, I sat down and resolved to read my script perfectly through the first time so he could go home.

I started reading:

Religious liberty is a basic human right. North Carolina’s proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act will ensure strong protection for this right…. But not if the ACLU has anything to say about it.

And Mr. Eicher bursts out laughing.

“I’m so sorry,” he says with a smile after a minute. “I hope I didn’t offend you! It must be really late. That line just caught me off guard… Why don’t you tell us how you really feel?!”

He was not cranky or impatient at all even after working in the office with us for 14 straight hours.

“It’s fine.” I said, laughing too. “I didn’t realize it sounded so snarky until I just read it out loud myself.”

And so we worked on my radio spot for 20 minutes until the recording was done well and I had learned a few new things about radio technique.

A 15- hour workday is certainly not easy by any means, but the experience was priceless.

For more information:

World Journalism Institute