AT: I became intimately aware of that history through my time there and talking with people who had worked there in its inception over the years, and was able to speak as a representative of that organization, right? Like, I didn’t separate myself in our podcast as not a representative of that org—which brought its own challenges when we had to write scripts that met the needs of SAREP as a stakeholder.
ICC: Were you running scripts by people in the org?
AT: We ran one script by . . . I think the reaction was positive . . . But the reaction was in part that SAREP always feels slightly under threat of losing its funding. And like so many institutes at universities that’s maybe not the straight-and-narrow, or mainstream, I guess, so some of the reaction from people was “you need to boost the language about the positive things that SAREP has done in the story.” And we did that.
[. . .] I think it impacted how we ended the story, too. We were a little bit less negative at the end, and a little more inquisitive. Which I think was actually better. [. . .] We ended the podcast with these questions of how do we develop these partnerships and how do we get the university to be better responsive to community needs? And so I think their feedback was good—if at times we felt like it . . . we questioned the integrity of the story-telling.
[. . .] But we kind of had to keep remembering, this isn’t journalism. We’re not journalists. We are two people with perspectives and with roles in this story, in some way, you know?
ICC: We didn’t take the teeth out of the story, but it made it a story that could be heard within the wall of the institution. Which was pretty powerful . . . I mean, I think that if there’s a place that needs to hear it. [. . .] The fact that it had a track inside the university was really important to the life of the story.