"This American Life"
One of the perks of attending law school at one of the world's premier universities is being able to take advantage of the academic, cultural, and social resources of Yale's other schools and departments. From taking classes in other departments for credit towards your JD to spending a random Tuesday afternoon browsing at Yale's museums and galleries, the wealth of the University is available to our students. Given the Law School's central location on campus, it's easy to run across the street for an afternoon lecture at the Hall of Graduate Studies or to sneak away between classes for a lunchtime concert at the School of Music.
Another benefit of the prime real estate and beautiful facilities the Law School occupies is that we frequently host talks and lectures not directly to the law for other University departments, so taking advantage of broader University offerings is sometimes as simple as walking across the hallway after class. I blogged two years ago about NYT columnist David Pogue's visit to the Law School as the University's Poynter Fellow in Journalism. Countless University guests have spoken at the Law School since then, but students were especially excited about the recent visit of another renowned journalist.
The Law School had the pleasure of hosting a lecture by Ira Glass, award-winning producer and host of the public radio program "This American Life." The standing-room-only crowd listened on as Glass played clips from his show, spoke about the state of American journalism, and described his successful approach to developing and presenting a story.
"This American Life" has taken a different approach from the very beginning, said Glass, by "applying the tools of journalism to things so small no one was paying attention." For example, Glass said, while hundreds of the detainees have been released from Guantánamo, "none of us on our staff had heard any of them interviewed." His program decided to do a show asking former detainees such normal questions as, "How were you treated?" "How do you feel about America now?" and "What did you do to get thrown into Guantánamo mistakenly?" Through these firsthand accounts, the show was able to bring attention to the U.S. government's practice of paying bounties to individuals who turned in potential suspects in the war on terror, among other broad subjects.
After his lecture, Glass answered audience questions and offered advice to would-be journalists. He told them, "It's normal to be bad before you're good." Good stories "are not about logic, not about argument," but are about "motion."