NPR’s Ari Shapiro on the intimacy of storytelling
As co-host of National Public Radio’s flagship evening broadcast, “All Things Considered,” Ari Shapiro, 44, is one of the network’s highest-profile correspondents.
When asked what he thinks makes a great story, he replied, “When I’m looking for a great story, I need a point of view, I need high stakes, and I have a I want a reason why someone should care.”
He helps shape coverage, interviews newsmakers, and continues to report from the field. Still, when he was a Yale undergraduate, he was rejected for an NPR internship. “And I’ll remind any NPR bosses, at any time, that I was rejected for the NPR internship!” He laughed.
But Nina Tottenberg, NPR’s famed legal affairs correspondent, chooses her interns, and she shot Shapiro. He told Brewer, “He was always agreeable. Did I have someone who could go outside the courthouse with a tape recorder and stand in the rain? Ari Shapiro was there.”
After interning, Shapiro was able to land a few behind-the-scenes gigs at NPR. But in his off-time, he started reporting his own stories. “I decided to treat NPR as a free graduate school,” he said. “And so, I borrowed some equipment, and I asked people if they would teach me how to use it.”
“What did you like about the reporting part of it?” asked Brewer.
“I’m disgusting, you know that?”
The Nazis, and as he explains in his new memoir, “World’s Best Strangers” Along with growing up as one of the few Jews in Fargo, North Dakota, where his parents were professors.
“My older brother and I would go from classroom to classroom with a menorah and a dreidel, and we’d talk to these Scandinavian immigrant kids about what Hanukkah was and what Hanukkah was,” Shapiro said. What Judaism is,” Shapiro said.
When he was eight years old, his family moved to Portland, Oregon, where he gradually came to another realization: coming to the knowledge that he was gay, and feeling quite comfortable about it from the get-go. Is. “I remember thinking really clearly, the sooner I get over this, the sooner this will be a non-issue,” Shapiro said. “So, I told my parents, and they took it well, they said they still loved me. It was a process, but it was a process we went through together. “
And he says feeling like an outsider fueled his reporting, whether covering the Justice Department or the White House, or spending two years as a foreign correspondent based in London.
Shapiro is married to her college sweetheart, Mike Gottlieb. But she said that when they first decided to get married, she thought she needed to get permission from NPR. “Yes, 2004 wasn’t that long ago,” he said, “but in politics, in gay marriage, in gay rights, it feels like a lifetime.”
“What do you think has changed about being married to another man, and being able to go out there and say, ‘This is my husband,'” asked Brewer.
“I think the country is kind of caught up with where we were,” he replied. “But I’ve also become more comfortable in my own skin. And that’s part of what this book is about, is me realizing that the things that distinguish us from each other make us more interesting, more valuable. , make richer, and those are the things we should celebrate, not on paper.
That’s why Shapiro now spends his vacations singing with the Portland-based band Pink Martini. Although he performed throughout high school and college, Shapiro put music behind him. then, He did a story on the band.. A few years later, in 2008, the leader of Pink Martini heard Shapiro sing at a party, and asked him to record a song, “But Now I’m Back”, for the band’s album, “Splendor in the Gras”. Invited:
And, Shapiro notes, even though he’s sung for large audiences around the world, “when you say, ‘Oh, you’re a serious journalist who sings with a band,’ there’s a part of me that now A little bit corrupt too. And I want to say to myself, ‘Ari, snap out of it! Don’t panic, be proud! You’re singing at the Hollywood Bowl! You’ve sung at Carnegie Hall!'”
But Pink Martini isn’t Shapiro’s only side hustle. He also performs a cabaret act with Tony Award winner Alan Cummings, known for his work in theater, film and television. The two had known each other for some time, when Cumming pitched the idea to Shapiro. “And I stopped and I turned to him and I said, ‘Alan, don’t joke about it, because I’m going to take you on it!’
Cummings recalled, “The next morning, I called him and said, ‘I still mean it. I still want to do the show with you!'”
They call the act Ouch and Away! [“Och” being a Scottish version of “Oy.”]
Brewer asked Cummings, “What do you like about Arie as a person?”
“He’s so full of zest for life,” she replied. “He’s very interested and fascinated about things. And he’s a geek. You know, he’s a big geek.”
“He’s a cool jack, right?”
“Oh yeah, he’s a huge geek! So, I think whatever he does is really what he wants to do. And I think he’s just figuring it out.”
But right now, Ari Shapiro says he has only one goal for all the different aspects of his work: “Whether I’m singing to a live audience of thousands, or sitting alone in their driveway. I want to give somebody a reason to keep listening.”
Read an excerpt: “The Best Strangers in the World” by Ari Shapiro
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Story by Jay Kearneys. Editor: George Pozdrake.