Robert Siegel, Host of NPR's All Things Considered

#140: Legendary NPR Host of All Things Considered, Robert Siegel, Reveals How He Crafts His Stories

#140: Legendary NPR Host of All Things Considered, Robert Siegel, Reveals How He Crafts His Stories

The best stories we have are a reflection of our lives and experiences. An audience can immediately recognize when a story isn’t authentic. But many storytellers struggle to find a narrative that they think is engaging and effective without resorting to fiction. Our special guest explores the intersection of journalism and storytelling, and the fine line between fact and fiction. 

Robert Siegel is a world-renowned storyteller. For over 30 years, Robert was the iconic voice at National Public Radio (NPR) who co-hosted the network’s flagship news program All Things Considered, a series that focused on telling the most important stories of the moment. Every day his voice with co-host Linda Werthheimer would reach over ten million people, informing them of culture, politics, news and more.

I was blessed to have this rare occasion to interview Mr. Siegel during the 43rd Annual Murrow Symposium for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 40 years in radio journalism. I had the honor to lead a Business of Story masterclass and be part of panel discussion on personal branding for communications majors, plus interviewing Robert as we stole away in a small conference room in the basement of the CUB student union building. 

Robert shares his approach to turning ordinary journalism into a powerful, fully immersive sensory experience using the theater of the mind. We are honored to have him join us to teach us his methods to crafting powerful stories out of everyday events.


In This Episode, You Will Learn

  • What would Edward R. Murrow think of journalism today
  • How the Nixon years were tougher on media than Trump’s tweeting
  • The narrative structure and techniques used to craft indelible All Things Considered stories
  • How audible scenes, interviews, natural sound, and scripting come together for immersive storytelling
  • Robert reveals his #1 tip for telling stories on the radio (a must listen for all podcasters)

Key Quotes

“Voices come and go, but the mission goes on.” – Robert Siegel

“You don’t hear me just sitting in a studio, you hear me where the story is taking place.” – Robert Siegel

“We do have a shorter attention span. We produce a five-minute story that changes perspective as often as a newscast cuts to and from the anchor, the reporter, the interview. We have to keep it interesting.” – Robert Siegel

“You can’t solve a content problem with a production solution.” – Robert Siegel

“We’re obliged as journalists to find the point of tension in a story.” – Robert Siegel

“A more experienced storyteller will use silence as part of the story.” – Robert Siegel

Mentioned In This Episode

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