Observing Dan Kraker’s journalism career

I really enjoyed listening to the work of Dan Kraker. It was unique to me because I would honestly probably never listen to a piece of work like this if it wasn’t for this in class assignment. Environmental journalism is not something that I have really ever been interested in, but Kraker does some good work.

This piece is relatable and scary to the people of Minnesota. The headline for this jumped out at me because of the words tick-trigged allergy and Minnesota. Growing up in Minnesota, and having a cabin in northern Wisconsin, I have learned that I am scared of ticks. They’re one of the creepiest things in the world and the fact that he used that in his headline made me want to find out more about the allergy.

I didn’t learn as much from this story as I did his other story, but I still think he did a really good job at gathering credible sources to tell this story. I was wondering when I listened to this story about how he found Suzanne Keithley-Myers. The end of the story made me feel bad, because I know I would hate going to a birthday party or a pot luck and not be able to have read meat.

The climate change in Minnesota is what I enjoyed the most while going over Kraker’s work. Like I said before, if I saw an article, podcast, or tv show on climate change, there would be a slim to none chance that I would tune in. But there was something different about the way Kraker told his story.

Throughout this story, Kraker utilized different sounds to let us know where he was. Whether it was the sound of the rain pouring down, the man digging into the ice, or the footsteps on the leaves, they all helped make the story stronger. Instead of just listening to Kraker talk about how the rainfall has changed over the years, the audience actually gets to hear the sound of the rain falling to the ground.

As the rain fell in the background, Kraker explained what the rain looked like as it poured down the streets.

“Three months later, the dazzling sunlight was nowhere to be found when rain sheets pummeled the Duluth area. Muddy torrents of chocolate, fuming floodwaters tore through town, leaving shock and devastation.”

Not only did he do a great job at capturing the perfect sound of the rain falling in Duluth, he also gave a vivid explanation of what the water looked like as it took over the city. I thought this was extremely well done because it was as close to being there as it can be without seeing it over video. I could picture the water going through the city, and having the sound in the background made it that much better.

A question I have for Dan is how important does he feel those little soundbites are within a story? I feel like in some of the podcasts I have heard in the past it is just people talking, but having the soundbites helps me continue to listen to the story. Even if it is a little soundbite like someone walking over the fallen leaves in the woods, do you feel like they are a necessity for a great audio piece? Also, were you standing out in the pouring rain to capture the awesome sound of the rain hitting the ground?