2021年2月12日 星期五

The Daily: Giving Our Shows a Name

Michael Barbaro shares how we title each episode. Plus, a few listening recommendations.

Hi everyone, happy Friday! This week, when not working on the show, our team was sharing the latest viral videos (the lawyer cat, the chaotic parish council meeting, the "Framing Britney Spears" documentary), playing Amble and ordering Girl Scout cookies. We'd love to know what you were doing this week while listening to The Daily.

This week in the newsletter, we have a letter from host Michael Barbaro and a few listening recommendations from our narrated articles team. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Choosing a title for The Daily… every day

Michael Barbaro preparing to record The Daily's live election show.Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

By Michael Barbaro


When The Daily started, we did not put much thought into what an episode should be titled. In fact, we gave it no thought. The episodes were labeled by date.

The name of our debut episode? "Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017."

You had to listen to find out what it was about. (Donald J. Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.)

That system persisted until April 2018, when, at long last, we introduced episode titles that actually described the content of the show. That day's title: "James Comey Opens Up About Ego, Distrust and More." (Comey had sat down with us for an interview.)


From that moment on, we had a challenge: to figure out what, beyond summarizing an episode, a Daily show title was supposed to accomplish.

In some ways, we knew what we did not want — to give away too much information or for it to read like a newspaper headline.

We settled on short titles that focused on the big takeaways (and sometimes eschewed verbs): "North Korea's Fear? Becoming Libya" or "What Trump Learned From Clinton's Impeachment." Sometimes, we let events speak for themselves: "The State of the Union," "The Impeachment Trial Begins" or "Joe Biden Wins the Presidency." And for better or worse, I'm a sucker for alliteration, meaning titles like "A Historic Handshake" or "Chaos and Contempt: The First Presidential Debate" are often written in the early hours of the morning.

But it turns out, some episodes are so nuanced that our words fail to capture them. So we defer to our guests. For a memorable episode, my colleague, Lynsea Garrison, spoke with Scott Watson, a Black officer struggling with his identity as a member of the police force in Flint, Mich., after George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis. We used his own words for the title. "Who Replaces Me?"


Last week, when Azam Ahmed, a Times correspondent, told the story of Miriam Rodríguez, whose daughter was kidnapped and killed by a Mexican cartel, we could not imagine a more fitting or more powerful title than her own plaintive request: "Please, Give Me Back My Daughter."

Talk to Michael on Twitter: @mikiebarb.

For fans of The Sunday Read

By Desiree Ibekwe and Mahima Chablani

2020 was the year many lost a sense. Our writer explored what that meant. Stephanie Gonot for The New York Times

If you listen to The Daily on Sundays, you're probably familiar with our team's work narrating stories across our newsroom. But, in addition to The Sunday Read, we have also been working with reporters to develop read-aloud versions of their articles. John Woo, a senior editor, and Parin Behrooz, our production coordinator, are two members of the team that make it all happen. We've asked them to recommend their favorite narrated articles from recent weeks:

Smell is a "startling superpower," writes Brooke Jarvis in "The Forgotten Sense." I used to think there was no limit to science's ability to understand how our body engages with the outside world. "Everything — everything! — will ultimately be discovered and known," is how many faithful believers in science were raised. Covid-19 changed that. Although we learned so much this past year about our connectedness and ingrained human interaction patterns, we also realized — through its connection with Covid-19 — how little we know about olfaction. Brooke's article is a thorough unpacking of the recent changes in our understanding of the "bonus sense." — John Woo, senior audio editor

It's rare to come across a story that's told so vividly that it can transport you to a specific time and place. In Michael Wilson's piece about the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Dr. King's stabbing in 1958, we're taken to a Harlem department store on a cloudless Saturday afternoon in September. Michael's story is a tribute to Al Howard, but it also captures the city's energy and is even more captivating when told by Michael himself, in his warm and resonant voice. — Parin Behrooz, production coordinator

What recording looks like behind the scenes:

"We don't have eggshell baffling like in a pro studio, but we do what we can to make sure our reporters sound good," says editor John Woo. Here's a view of one writer's makeshift recording studio.

"I have a face for radio and a voice for print. Yet they asked me to read from my home sound studio," John Branch, a sports reporter for The Times, said on Twitter.John Branch, via Twitter

To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android.

On The Daily this week

Monday: What the fight over the fates of Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Greene tells us about the future of the Republican Party.

Tuesday: Ahead of the second Trump impeachment trial, Jim Rutenberg gives us a rundown of what we can expect from the prosecution and defense.

Wednesday: The Biden administration wants to reopen school quickly. But what will that take?

Thursday: Our investigation into Victor Rivera, the homeless shelter boss accused of sexual and financial misconduct.

Friday: We look at the history of "laïcité" — France's model of secularism — and ask whether it still has a place in the modern, multicultural country.

That's it for The Daily newsletter. See you next week.

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