In the graduate class I teach at Quinnipiac University, I'm always telling students to pick "sound bites" or "actualities" as we call them, that convey emotion - not just information. The concept? Well, the reporter can always just tell you the basic information - what, when, how - but the characters in the story are the only ones who can really show you how they feel.
It's frustrating sometimes to try to find these emotions and be able to record them..and then use them to accurately tell a radio story. For instance, take a look at Chris Shays' upset loss to Jim Himes in the 4th congressional district. Shays may be a lot of things, but he's very clearly an emotional guy, who will get angry, get thoughtful, get pensive, in a way most politicians won't. But on the night his 21-year run in congress ended, his concession speech was remarkably free of real emotional moments.
So, where do we find that emotion to record for our stories? Sometimes, it's darn near impossible. Putting a microphone (or video camera) in someone's face can often be the easiest way to get them to clam up - and shut down emotionally. They know they're ON, especially if they've spent a career with microphones and cameras in their faces, and they won't give us the stuff we want.
That's why sometimes pictures really can tell a better story. That's where Chion Wolf comes in. Since she's been taking pictures for us, she's been able to capture some of the real emotions that microphones can't - by standing back a bit and catching our subjects off-guard. Most of the photos in the above slideshow were taken by Chion election night at the Norwalk Inn, filled with Shays' friends, family and supporters. They show a man saying goodbye.