NPR Host to Speak at Marshall

Feb 3, 2014

Host of National Public Radio’s “Snap Judgment” Glynn Washington will speak at Marshall University Tuesday evening.

Glynn Washington isn’t your prototypical NPR talk-show host. "Snap Judgment" isn’t your prototypical NPR show and yet the popularity of the program that can be heard at 9 p.m. each Sunday evening on West Virginia Public Radio is growing quickly. Washington wanted the show to be different.

“Even when I’m amongst family, the public radio family I had to admit that that it bored me, so what we’re trying to do is say alright let’s get to the heart of the story and get rid of all the exposition and stuff that sometimes left me cold,” Washington said.

Washington is part of the College of Arts and Media’s Birke Fine Arts Festival taking place on campus all week. He wanted to tell a story void of the surrounding parts that can sometimes take away from the details and narratives. He said when you strip it down and present it with the rawness of the moment using the narrative and sound you really get a feel for the story.

“What we wanted to do was really stretch the acoustic medium to almost work as a dual narration, so that listeners are getting information on two different tracks from the story tellers themselves and also from this sound-scaping,” Washington said.

It’s those long-form packages using an abundance of natural and produced sound mixed with Washington’s unique storytelling about his previous life experiences that make “Snap Judgment” very unique.

Before creating “Snap Judgment” he worked as an educator, diplomat, community activist, actor and political strategist. The host said it’s his vast experiences growing up all over the country helped shape his unique style.

“I am so in a lot of ways lucky, I thought it was a misspent youth of ridiculousness and craziness the fact that we moved every single year, I think by the time I started high school I had attended 13 different schools and what it’s done for me in a memory sense, for every year I can essentially associate it with a place,” Washington said.

Glynn Washington won The Public Radio Talent Quest sponsored by Public Radio Exchange and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which had more than 1,400 entries. Shortly after winning he developed “Snap Judgment” which first aired in July 2010. Washington said the one thing he always wants to make sure students take away from his lectures, is to live life and create experiences.

"You don't get stories by sitting inside a room," Washington said.

  “From my perspective I think it’s really important that if you’re going to be a story teller, first of all you have to get some stories, you’ve got to live your life. Every single story is about a different type of engagement with a person or group of something of that nature, you don’t get stories by sitting inside a room,” Washington said.

Washington will speak Tuesday night on Marshall’s campus at 7:30.