Media Moves

How “Planet Money” is successful: Making the abstract real

August 7, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

Robert Smith of the National Public Radio program “Planet Money” spoke at the Audiocraft Podcast festival about how the shot is put together, taking complex economic ideas and turning them into interesting stories.

2018 is the 10-year anniversary of “Planet Money,” which has had 845 episodes. The first episode was “The Giant Pool of Money” about the economic crisis.

“It took these scary global forces … and it made it into something you could understand,” said Smith.

He strives for subjects for the show with humor and self-awareness.

“Our job is to make the abstract real,” said Smith. “To take the forces of economics and to make it human.”

“Planet Money” likes to find the little story inside the big idea, said Smith. Every story has to have a huge idea and a reason to keep listening — a story.

Smith likes to read boring stories about big economic ideas such as cartels and then file them away in the back of his head. Then he waits to see it happen in his everyday life.

For example, he was recently in Geneva, Switzerland, where he ordered fondue, which was once controlled by a Swiss cheese cartel. And he used that to tell a story about cartels.

“People will come for the fondue, and they will stay for the economic ideas about cartels,” said Smith.

To listen to more, go here.



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