Listen: When Cassius became Muhammad

WLRN producer Wilson Sayre’s “Miami Made Muhammad Ali” is a four-minute gem of a story: a quirky experiment in which Ali’s fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco and Ramiro Ortiz, the president of the Miami History Museum, walk back through time to the night when Cassius Clay fought Sonny Liston and emerged as the heavyweight on top of the world, Muhammad Ali. 

The entire tale is delivered as an arrangement of historical tape, boxing sounds and two fans of the fight trading memories.

Sayre, who put the story together after attending the Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive in December 2013, called it “a really wonky, weird-sounding thing” — a nice break her from the daily news.

Best to listen first, and her story will light up:

What’s great about a boxing match is that the sounds are interesting. I recorded a friend of mine boxing, so I played with that and interspersed those sounds, but the fight itself worked as a kind of soundtrack. It was like the music for the story, so you punctuate with that. ...

Thinking about what kind of sound you use here, what doesn’t work there because it’s too intense – it felt like in some ways the piece was helping me relive the experience.

I played around with lots of different boxing sounds – a boxing glove hitting a bag, all of that. Some of them didn’t sound old enough. So a lot of it was going through, putting sound in and taking it out.

These characters’ personalities, they way that they boxed, is one story of the fight but I had to leave that part out because it was too long. That was the hardest part for me, cutting the narrative down. There are so many twists and turns to a fight. I had to find the parts that told the story. [READ MORE]


Apply yourself to these five jobs

Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen pushes a coal-filled brazier over in a tent, immolating her enemies.1. ¿Que tan buenas son sus habilidades de traducción? If you don't know what that says, stop here. StoryCorps' Chicago booth needs a bilingual facilitator. Skills will be tested, obviously. (CPB Jobline)

2. C'mon and make us care: Above the Fray funds three months of reporting for NPR on important stories from an underreported region. (The John Alexander Project)

3. And if the president dies in office* ... WFYI in Indianapolis needs a vice president/CFO.  (CPB Jobline)

4. Go. Tell a new story. Six women travel to Ghana with the African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative.  Apps due 6/15. (International Women's Media Fund)

5. 🔍 🔍 🔍  ProPublica wants you ... but only if you're ready to be a senior editor with one of the world's best investigative teams. 🔍 🔍 🔍 

* Not actually how that works, probably.

#FindingAmerica Story of the Week

Paige Chargois and Sharon Gaunt met one day when Sharon needed a ride.

Chargois’ ancestors were enslaved in Virginia, and were part of the Nat Turner rebellion. Gaunt’s ancestors owned slaves in Virginia.

When Gaunt dies, she told Chargois, she wants to be buried in the space between where her slave-owning ancestors were buried, and where their slaves were buried. Chargois’ response was immediate:

“I wanted to just throw on brakes in that car — I’m driving down the street — and just jump out and run around and pull her out of there and just give her the biggest hug that I could give her ..." [READ MORE]

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