Robert Krulwich:

Hard Stories Told Easily

Tuesday 25 February, 2014
6:30 - 8:30pm, $0/Rsvp

SVA MFA Design Criticism Department -136 West 21 Street, Second Floor

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There are ways, lots of ways, to take technically complex stories and tell them to a lay audience—not dumbing them down, not ignoring the hard parts, but making them compelling, even fun. I’m going to describe some of the techniques we use on our show, “Radiolab,” or that we steal from the most adventurous, daring explainers to show how voice, movement, music, dance, design, writing, drawing, and animation can attract lots of ordinary, curious people to difficult subjects and get them thinking. Having spent decades covering economics and science, I have lots of examples to show, lots of stories to tell. Think of it as a Short Introduction To the Newest Experiments in Journalism—not just the stories that worked, but some of my biggest, most embarrassing bloopers. The gist, though, is simply: that explaining things has never been more fun.

Robert Krulwich works on radio, podcasts, video, the blogosphere. He has been called “the most inventive network reporter in television” by TV Guide. Krulwich is a Science Correspondent for NPR. His NPR blog, “Krulwich Wonders” features drawings, cartoons and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science. He is the co-host of Radiolab, a nationally distributed radio/podcast series that explores new developments in science for people who are curious but not usually drawn to science shows. “There’s nothing like it on the radio,” says Ira Glass of This American Life, “It’s a act of crazy genius.”Radiolab won a Peabody Award in 2011. His specialty is explaining complex subjects, science, technology, economics, in a style that is clear, compelling and entertaining. On television he has explored the structure of DNA using a banana; on radio he created an Italian opera, “Ratto Interesso” to explain how the Federal Reserve regulates interest rates; he has pioneered the use of new animation on ABC’s Nightline and World News Tonight.

For 22 years, Krulwich was a science, economics, general assignment and foreign correspondent at ABC and CBS News. He won Emmy awards for a cultural history of the Barbie doll, for a Frontline investigation of computers and privacy, a George Polk and Emmy for a look at the Savings & Loan bailout online advertising and the 2010 Essay Prize from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Krulwich earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Oberlin College and a law degree from Columbia University.

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