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Riverside Church Barber

From: Joel Meyer
Length: 07:21

Harlem barber shares his craft with New Yorkers who are in transition. Read the full description.

Default-piece-image-2 Harlem barber Dennis Thomas operates a free barber training program in the basement of Riverside Church in Morningside Heights. Visitors get free haircuts, and students get a free education. Everyone gets a fresh start.

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Piece Description

Harlem barber Dennis Thomas operates a free barber training program in the basement of Riverside Church in Morningside Heights. Visitors get free haircuts, and students get a free education. Everyone gets a fresh start.

3 Comments Atom Feed

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Review of Riverside Church Barber

This is a good local piece. It needs work to be a national level piece. Here are obstacles to this becoming a great piece. First. Ambience. It clips on and off rather than continuing under the reporter trax and a number of the actualities are clipped sounding too abrupt coming in and out especially the ending which needed ambience to trail off. Second. Narration. Too reporter-ish. This is a feature that's crying out to really get to know this Barber and the narration signals this is an "objective" news approach rather than an intimate documentary approach. The content of this piece is worth working on another version. I suggest finding ways to limit the narration and letting the subjects tell their own stories more. Also, look at the adjectives chosen to describe the piece..."inspiring, sentimental and This American Life-esque." So far, it's none of those....But it could be. Definitely worth working on this piece more...

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Review of Riverside Church Barber

Great concept executed fairly well. For some reason I wasn't as drawn in to this as I feel I should have been. Maybe it's missing something. Maybe it's me. Some of the voices in the program could be edited a bit to tighten the piece up.

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Review of Riverside Church Barber

A wonderful picture of how life can work, indeed how it does work, when folks respond to the call to serve, to lift each other up, to have a hand in giving somebody else a chance. Lots of understated grace, little inspiring stories, and a rare opportunity to look down into the corner of a musty church basement and see people working at the good Lord's work. Our narrator's matter-of-fact tone is a sharp contrast to the underlying human interest story that keeps this piece from drifting toward sentimentality.

Broadcast History

Aired once in September 2003 on local Long Island community station.

Transcript

Producer/Reporter: Joel Meyer
Riverside Church Barber
**Warning** This piece ends on actuality. Host should read outro live.

HOST INTRO
The Riverside Church is known for its community outreach and social justice programs. But it’s not known for it’s haircuts. Each week, dozens of people walk out of a barber training school in the church basement looking just a bit better than when they walked in. And every six weeks, a handful of student barbers emerge from the same room with a free education.

AMB (Thomas and student): These two fingers up here are to guide the clippers…these two fingers here…guiding the clippers whichever direction you want it to go.

NARR: Dennis F. Thomas Sr. is a certified master barber. He has trimmed thousands of Harlem residents, including a certain former president. The Vietnam veteran went to barber school on the G.I. Bill and for nearly 30 years he h...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

**Warning** This piece ends on actuality. Host should read live outro.