We hope you’ve all been enjoying what seems like the fastest summer ever. As we cope with the sudden return of fall, we’d like to give you a rundown of what we’ve been up to these past few weeks.
A New Leader for the Audio Team at The Times
In July, we shared the exciting news that Paula Szuchman, our former head of Opinion Audio, will become The Times’s new director of Audio. As director of Audio, Paula will manage the teams that make our shows to ensure that our journalism remains excellent, even as we scale to do more, and that we live up to our values in fostering an equitable and inclusive culture.
A little bit about Paula and why she’s the perfect person for this role: Paula is a creative and exacting editor who makes every story she works on better. She is a compassionate manager who understands the demands of audio production as well as print — she spent three years as a Page One editor at The Wall Street Journal. She has a proven track record in managing journalists across mediums — she ran production teams for five years at WNYC, working across a range of subjects from personal narratives to news. After eight years at The Wall Street Journal, she ran the newsroom at The Daily Beast and worked as an editor at Newsweek.
We could not be more excited about what this means for the future of The Daily and NYT Audio.
How ‘The Daily’ Covered Afghanistan’s Fall
Some episodes of The Daily come together over weeks. In the case of the episode that aired on Monday, August 16, it took a weekend. Responding to the rapid fall of Afghanistan’s government to the Taliban, the episode featured the visceral reactions of one resident of Kabul as she was witnessing the collapse of the country around her, day by day. (She was referred to only as the initial R., because she feared retaliation by the Taliban.) To shed light on the making of this episode — and the many choices and areas of expertise that combine to shape one show — three staff members talked about their roles: Lynsea Garrison, one of the producers; Larissa Anderson, an editor; and Chris Wood, a sound engineer who works in London.
You can read more about how they made this powerful episode of The Daily here.
Meeting The Guest Host: Sabrina Tavernise
Over the last several weeks, listeners were introduced to Sabrina Tavernise, a national correspondent for The Times — and a fantastic guest host of The Daily.
Recent episodes hosted by Sabrina delved into a breadth of stories, including a conversation with Natalie Kitroeff about Mexico and the problem of America’s lax approach to guns; a chat with Carlotta Gall about the Taliban’s strategy as the United States started to withdraw from Afghanistan; and an in-depth look at the story of Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time, with Juliet Macur.
Sabrina started at The Times in Moscow in 2000 and spent her first 10 years as a foreign correspondent, based in Russia, Iraq and Pakistan, and in Turkey, where she was the Istanbul bureau chief. In Iraq, she covered civilian casualties and documented the lives of ordinary Iraqis from 2003 to 2007 and was one of the first to identify sectarian cleansing in 2005.
Here’s a little bit about Sabrina’s thoughts on hosting from a recent conversation with her and Michael:
Michael: I feel your bio perfectly set you up for this moment when we asked you to help host the show, because you’ve covered such big and rich and varied subjects around the globe. What’s the transition been like from reporter/Daily guest to having hosting responsibilities?
Sabrina: Hard! I love audio. Definitely my favorite medium. But I’m not used to actually creating it. So there’s a learning curve. But I love it.
I still feel like that cartoon T-rex trying. Like I have these really powerful legs from running but I’m being told that the one thing I need to do now is pull-ups and so I’m trying to do pull-ups with these little, undeveloped arms. And no one cares how fast I can run.
Michael: I love that metaphor. Hosting is… weird!
Sabrina: Hard! Yeah. It is weird. but great!
Michael Barbaro may be out for a few weeks this fall — look to APM for further details.
Until next time,
-The Daily Team
p.s. Thank you for taking the survey sent by APM about guest hosting and promotions. We will be taking your feedback into consideration as our team and the program continues to evolve.