Ira Glass, host and creator of “This American Life,” is coming to Princeton, N.J., for an under-the-hood demonstration of what makes the show tick. If you could ask him any question, what would it be?
As a matter course, Ira Glass asks a lot of questions. Have you ever thought about what you would ask him if the tables were turned, and he were on the business end of a microphone?
The host and creator of “This American Life” is visiting the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., on April 29 to take fans through a sort of back stage tour of the show. He’ll demonstrate how the show is put together, explain how they find those singularly compelling stories, and talk about pushing the boundaries of broadcast journalism.
Fans may remember last month when Glass was put in the embarrassing position of retracting an episode of This American Life. The January 6 episode featured a theatrical monologue about some troubling working conditions at a factory in China where iPhones and iPads are made. Guest Mike Daisey was forced to admit that many of the details in his story were augmented or completely false after Marketplace China correspondent Rob Schmitz noticed some inconsistencies and began sniffing around.
According to Andrew Phelps of the Neilsen Journalism Lab, the very calm, measured and graceful retraction drew more online listeners in its first week than any episode in the show’s history — including the previous record-holder, the original Jan. 6 episode (which is no longer available to listen to).
What has come up in the show’s 17-year history that you would really love to ask Ira Glass about? What other incidents can you remember that really cut to the question of journalistic methods? How has the show held up, in your opinion?