“I didn’t want to be a journalist so much as I wanted to be an NPR reporter.”
There’s a lot packed into a quote like that, which is why it should come as no surprise it belongs to Wade Goodwyn, the Texas reporter for NPR who has a cult-like following among public radio fans, me included.
That’s why we’re recommending Current’s profile of the 56-year-old Goodwyn as must-reading for the morning.
Living on a freelancer’s salary in New York was an impossible dream, so Goodwyn returned to Texas. In those early days, Goodwyn confesses, his voice was rushed and his reporting pace slow. He spoke quickly to pack more details into each piece, which might have taken him three or four weeks to complete.
But he found that as he slowed down, and as he aged, his voice deepened. Some of his fans on Twitter have taken turns trying to describe it. “Texas timbre” is what one person called it. “Nonplussed drawl” wrote another. Still another opined: “His voice is like warm butter melting over barbecue’d sweet corn.”
You’re more likely to hear colorful phrases such as “gobsmacking amazement” or descriptions of “dozens of grasshoppers with antennae so large they look like antlers” in one of Goodwyn’s stories for Morning Edition or All Things Considered than in pieces by his NPR colleagues.
The typical Goodwyn? It’s this story.
“There’s a lot of me in there,” Goodwyn tells Current. “In the story you can hear the guys I’m fishing with talking to and about me, and I respond. All of that is leeway given to me by Quinn O’Toole because he likes my style — Texas storytelling.”
[update 3:07 p.m.] – My colleague, producer Sara Meyer, calls my attention to this incredible 2015 essay from Goodwyn on white supremacy and the removal of the Confederate flag.