NPR Training
Storytelling tips and best practices

About us

From left: Alison MacAdam, Rob Byers, Kasia Podbielski, Serri Graslie and Keith Woods. (Bria Granville/NPR)

The NPR Training team is a key part of the NPR newsroom. We equip public media journalists with the skills to tell distinctive, memorable, audience-centric stories. Our mission is to elevate the quality of storytelling, wherever it reaches people.

We created this site for the journalists working in public media, but kept it open for all to use. In this constantly changing media world, it can feel impossible to find the time and space to hone your storytelling techniques, learn something new or experiment with new tools. The NPR Training team — and this site — exist to make that happen.

Take a look around. We suggest starting with our topics page, which will show you all of the most recent tips.

How to reach NPR Training

Follow us: On Twitter (@nprtraining) and Facebook

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Come say hi: If you’re at NPR HQ, we sit on the 3rd floor, south side, by the windows facing the Capitol.

The team

Rob Byers is the team’s Senior Production Strategist. He worked as a Broadcast Recording Technician at NPR from 2003-2008 and led the part of the audio engineering and operations team at Minnesota Public Radio | American Public Media through 2016. Rob joins the NPR Training team after developing a love for education while leading trainings, evangelizing for the use of loudness in production, and writing articles for the likes of Transom and AIR. At MPR|APM, Rob’s work contributed to a Pulitzer and a Peabody, where he also designed studios, helped produce major features from the field, and recorded countless music sessions. He’s an avid cyclist, a drummer, and a lover of jazz.

Twitter: @robbyers1

Serri Graslie is the team’s Director of Digital Training. She leads the content and design strategy for the Training site and creates training on digital storytelling. She got her start at NPR as a Kroc Fellow and later joined All Things Considered as a digital producer. While there, she pioneered the show’s first digital strategy, revitalized and expanded its social media presence, directed web programming for series and daily interviews and engaged thousands of listeners in callouts. She has also reported numerous stories on food and food waste issues. Serri was born and raised in Rapid City, S.D. Sometimes she gets to play the cello at work.

Twitter: @sgraslie

Alison MacAdam is the team’s Senior Editorial Specialist for audio storytelling. She arrived at NPR in 2003 to work as a producer at All Things Considered. As Senior Editor from 2008 to 2014, she helped guide hosts and producers through everything from breaking news to artist profiles to a story about putting real lipstick on real pigs. Alison got her start in 1999 at WBUR in Boston. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in American Studies. She was a 2014 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Alison grew up in Lexington, Kentucky — where she prepped for a career in journalism by playing soccer and performing in musicals. (There’s a connection. Really.)

Twitter: @ajmacadam

Kasia Podbielski is the team’s project manager. She assists with the design and development of training programs for newsroom employees, coordinates onboarding of dozens of NPR interns each year and manages special projects and events. She was also the project manager for the first season of the podcast Embedded. Previously, Kasia worked at the State Department, where she project managed a team of videographers producing and distributing digital content around the world. She received her Master’s from Georgetown University. She’s also a cellist performing with a local community orchestra and is an aspiring amateur baker.

Twitter: @eskapepod

Sara Richards joins the team for a limited time as a project manager. She started her career at NPR in 2007 at the Arts Desk and worked in the Programming Department for the following 7 years. She most recently worked at KUOW in Seattle as a social media and acquisitions producer and at C-SPAN in Washington, D.C., as a politics producer. In 2010, she completed a radio reporting fellowship in Duesseldorf, Germany through the Landesanstalt fuer Medien NRW. Originally from Tennessee, Sara studied at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts and lived in Germany before settling down in D.C.

Twitter: @sarasararich

Keith Woods leads the team as VP of Newsroom Training & Diversity. Since 2010, he has led the network’s diversity efforts and has worked with journalists at more than 30 member stations. He also subbed in briefly as Senior Supervising Editor of the Code Switch unit. Before NPR, Keith trained journalists in writing, editing and diversity at the Poynter Institute, where he spent 15 years, five as faculty dean. He was a sportswriter, news reporter, City Editor and editorial writer in 16 years at the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Keith has chaired two Pulitzer Prize juries and is co-editor of the 2006 textbook The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race & Ethnicity.

Twitter: @keithwoods

All photos by Bria Granville/NPR. This site was developed and designed by Mike Fussell and Russ Gossett at NPR Digital Services.