She will be missed….
Jonathan “Smokey” Baer is an Associate Producer at NPR. He shares this remembrance of a magic moment he shared with Margot reporting on the Hutterite community in Connecticut.
I’ve worked at NPR for many years so I knew Margot when she started here, but we only worked closely together on one piece. This one, from 1988, was broadcast that winter on Weekend Edition Saturday. It’s the story of a Christian community who live communally in Connecticut, the Hutterites. How people live with and express their spirituality was always an important theme in Margot’s work and this piece is a wonderful example of that.
The piece is seventeen and a half minutes long—-something you don’t hear on NPR much these days, but a risk we were willing take given the complexity of the subject and Margot’s sensitive and deft treatment of it.
I recall we spent two days at the community and, at the end of a long first day of recording, we’d arranged to interview a few of the community members in a small room in one of the large houses, which served as home for several families.
When we arrived, the room was packed with many people, more than we’d asked to sit down with. But others had heard about the reporter who was asking some members to talk about their community. Communal living, being what it is I suppose, several people had come, not to speak really but to be a part of the interviews, bear witness in a sense. We made no effort separate the members, those we’d invited to join us and those who just wanted to be there.
The section of the piece which is taken from those interviews begins about at about 10 minutes and 30 seconds into the story. We spent about a half an hour in that room, these committed communitarians and Margot, asking about what commits them to their life.
I remember, after the interviews were over, marking that reel of tape, “Magic.”And, as we left Margot and I glanced at one another and acknowledged with that glance that we’d just experienced something remarkable.
There are moments in radio when all the artifice of the medium falls away and we’re left with pure expression. Margot could create those moments. She does here. And I will forever be indebted to her for having been a part of it.
Photos via Roger Wollstadt, Flickr
Water from the sky?
Ok…yeah…don’t wanna know…..
If you say it loud enough…;)
Submission by: <bunny-toothed>