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Podcasting the City: “If These Walls Could Talk”

Inside the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

The magic of podcasts is that they keep you immersed in a moment as they tell you a story. Podcasts are supposed to take you on a journey through sound to convey information and evoke an emotional response within you as the listener. During my first semester of graduate school, I collaborated with other students in my “Understanding Media Studies” class to create a brief podcast about various sites in New York City. Some groups were assigned Ellis Island, Washington Square Park, and Grand Central Terminal, among others. Our group was given the task of researching the background of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and to find a way to weave our storytelling techniques into the podcast to create a cohesive theme.

My classmates did much of the sound editing and the background research about the museum. Another classmate, Jackie, had reached out to David Eng, Vice President of Marketing at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and she set up the interview with him. I remember not having much experience with using a Zoom recorder (I’d never even used one before this), but I helped out with performing sound checks and asking questions during the interview. I also assisted with research and adding more information as we developed the script. When it came time to record, I decided to share my personal story about my parents’ immigration to the U.S. and my own experiences with assimilation after growing up in the Philippines as a toddler, even though I was born in Brooklyn. My other classmates also shared their personal histories about their families and growing up in their neighborhoods. This storytelling structure allowed us to build a bridge that linked our own personal stories to our research about the tenement building and the artifacts left behind by the families who used to live in these tenements—hence, the title of the podcast, “If These Walls Could Talk.”

 

References:

Eng, D. (2015, November 23). [Personal interview].

About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved November, 2015, from Tenement Museum website: https://www.tenement.org/

Tenement Museum [Photograph]. (2015, November). Retrieved from http://www.google.com

Take Me Back to New York Town. (n.d.). Retrieved from Free Music Archive website: http://freemusicarchive.org

Misc. Sound Effects [Audio file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.freesfx.co.uk

Misc. Music [Audio file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.podingtonbear.com

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