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Claudio Sanchez  On News


To describe the stories that I do, which would be considered feature stories, and they are, by and large. The normal definition of the word. But I'd like to use the word "explanatory" stories. I'd like to believe that I'm explaining things beyond the headlines that we otherwise would not be able to hear or to listen to. They're not hard news in that they're breaking news or that they are news that are short lived, they will likely become something else if you give the story enough time. But this is like the kind of scene story that tells us a lot more about why this is a news story. We are committed to file spots for every story we do. Files meaning the 45- to 50-second stories that the newscast writes. Well, I usually like to do those first before I do my feature story or before I do my longer story, because it allows me to condense precisely what the story is to no more than 40 or 50 seconds. To run as part of the newscast. And to just get the basic information out, and to try and convey why the story is important to a national audience. Well, I find that when I do that, I usually have my lead sentence to my story, that then explains the players in the story, the confusion, the controversy, the debate, the pros and cons. And it's been a wonderful practice, for those of us who are on beats, to be able to do that. Once we have filed the obligatory story that everybody expects to hear or to read about, and then to be able to say, "Well, here's the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say, because here is really the meat of the story. Here's why it's meaningful to you. You can't do that in 30, 45 seconds. You can just lay it out and have people decide for themselves. And later when you come back to the story and find that it's a lot more than that, it means a lot more than that, or maybe finding out that it doesn't mean anything at all. I think that that opportunity here lends itself for some good radio and some good writing.


I've been covering education for NPR for the last almost five years now. The story of education has changed so much. To be honest I was very leery of coming in and covering the education beat. I've not covered education, I've covered an area of the country on and off for NPR, and certainly for print. I've covered the Southwest, I've covered immigration. Both illegal as well as migrant communities. I've covered drugs along the border, economic development, issues such as that--the Latino community. Education, I think, the way it was described for me at least when I came here, was that it was a way to get into, a way to get a story into, a window into the future of this country, by concentrating on the rise of children as we see them in schools. The kinds of conditions in schools, or the conditions in kids' homes that have alarmed us, and that have also pleased us in many ways, because this nation is facing so many problems and yet we keep expecting and assuming the young people in this country are going to be able to deal with all those problems, even if they get worse. What we seldom hear is these kids telling their stories of how they look at the future. So what I kept thinking of, philosophically, anyway, but here's a way for people to hear someone who's going to be running the factory down the street or opening a business in the next five, ten years. Or maybe going on to school and assuming leadership roles. So I thought what a wonderful way to tell the story of this nation's future, if we allow and open up our microphones to kids. And I've never been more satisfied than interviewing children. They're really tough to interview. But just to be around them, and to talk to them, unlike an interview, like say, at some person's office, some policymaker's office somewhere. I find it so refreshing to hear kids tell the truth. Because they're very good at that. And I find myself thinking a lot more profoundly about my future and hopefully about the future of others who are listening to my stories. It's very hard to get kids into pieces, and if you really do pay attention to all that we hear and read about, we seldom hear children. And so in a way I find myself being a messenger of kids that have a lot to say, and then getting people to react or respond to the concerns that they have. Whether it's a teacher or it's a policymaker, or whether it's the president of the United States who presumably, all of us have kids' interests at heart. But do we really, do we really listen to them? National Public Radio, on the other hand has a long ways to go before we really create a presence for children and things that they're saying. And I don't think any medium, any particular network, has ever really done a good job. We're barely uncovering, because of the alarmist nature of education news these days, we're barely uncovering what these kids are saying. And you'd be amazed how often they do have a lot of answers that are not being paid attention to.

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