NPR is hosting its first Audio Storytelling Workshop, where talented public media creators will come together to pioneer audio journalism that breaks traditional formats and reaches new audiences.
In February, we invited member station staff and independent producers, working in teams of two to three, to pitch their best ideas for an audio storytelling project. It could be an idea for a podcast pilot, a new show, an in-depth story, a radio series, a social media experiment or something else. We partnered with AIR to solicit ideas from the best indie producers.
We we received over 100 applications and a committee of judges selected 12 teams. You can read about the teams and their ideas here or scan the list below.
Selected participants will spend June 1-3 at NPR HQ in Washington, D.C.
Teams will be paired with a public media mentor to shape their ideas. There will be hands-on training sessions, inspirational presentations and many opportunities to connect with other public media people. Each group will develop a project roadmap, which they’ll present to a panel for feedback at the end of the workshop.
Often times the hardest part of a project is knowing where to start. The goal of the workshop is to move participants from idea phase to execution — when the workshop ends, they should have everything they need to get started. After participants launch their project, NPR can help them find the right ways to share, promote and distribute their projects.
We’ve selected 12 teams — you can read about them here or below.
Here’s what looked for in ideas:
- Focus: It’s well-defined — the more specific the idea, the better
- Purpose: It’s meaningful to the audience(s) you want to reach
- Diverse and distinct: It tackles new topics, seeks new audiences, experiments with new formats and takes listeners to new places
- Teams: It’s conceived in teams — the application must be filled out in teams of two to three. We encourage teams that are diverse in skills and background
- Support: It has station leadership support to execute the project after the workshop
Indie producer teams
Pita Juarez, Carla Chavarria and Dominique Medina (Arizona)
A podcast by Latino millennials that speaks to the issues of their generation.
Kelly Jones, Claire Tacon and Chioke I’Anson (Charlottesville, Virginia and Ontario, Canada)
A podcast that explores people’s life choices — and what could have happened to them if they’d gone down a different path.
Member station teams
KERA (Dallas, Texas)
A podcast that explores the medicines millions of people take but know very little about.
Team: Lauren Silverman (Health, Science & Tech Reporter) and Seema Yasmin (staff writer at The Dallas Morning News and former disease detective with the CDC)
WAMU (Washington, D.C.)
A fresh take on a public radio staple: a podcast rounding up the week’s news, taking listeners beyond the beltway with diverse and unexpected voices and topics.
Team: Alexandra Botti (Senior Producer, The Diane Rehm Show), Rebecca Kaufman (Senior Producer, The Diane Rehm Show) and Gracie McKenzie (Digital Producer, The Diane Rehm Show)
KALW (San Francisco)
A podcast where race, identity, fun, funk and journalism come together to go deep into issues about black identity that aren’t always openly discussed
Team: Leila Day (Producer/Reporter), Hana Baba (Producer/Reporter) and Julie Caine (Editor)
WLRN (Miami, Florida)
A multimedia reporting project about the mental health implications of gun violence against young people in Miami.
Team: Nadege Green (Reporter/Producer), Sammy Mack (Reporter/Producer) and Alicia Zuckerman (Editorial Director)
KPCC (Southern California)
A podcast about the Asian American experience, told through Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley.
Team: Fiona Ng (Producer), Josie Huang (Senior Reporter) and Lauren Osen (Senior Producer)
Wyoming Public Media and Utah Public Radio
A radio series about the gender parity problem in state legislatures — told from states that rank close to last in percentage of female legislators.
Team: Caroline Mary Ballard (Reporter/Host, Wyoming Public Media) and Jennifer Pemberton (Reporter/Host, Utah Public Radio)
Alaska Public Media
A podcast about Alaska, produced in collaboration with the state’s network of station newsrooms.
Team: Zachariah Hughes (reporter, producer, and podcast co-host), Emily Kwong (reporter, producer, podcast co-host) and Ben Matheson (reporter, data and web producer)
KYUK Public Radio (Bethel, Alaska)
Radio stories about the conflict between the world’s largest proposed gold mine and Alaska natives.
Team: Anna Rose MacArthur (English Language News Reporter) and Adrian Wagner (English Language News Reporter)
KUT (Austin, Texas)
Audio stories from a pop-up bureau in a rapidly changing Austin neighborhood.
Team: Matt Largey (Managing Editor), Audrey McGlinchy (Reporter) and Syeda Hasan (Reporter)
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
An audio project about the shrinking population in West Virginia and the residents who are deciding to stay or go.
Team: Roxy Todd (Reporter and Producer for Inside Appalachia), Glynis Board (Reporter) and Crystal Collins (Digital Editor/Producer)
Thank you to all who applied. And a special thanks to our judges. From NPR: Izzi Smith (Director of Programming), Sara Sarasohn (NPR One Editorial Lead), Luis Clemens (Senior Editor for Diversity), Doug Mitchell (Next Generation Radio Leader), Becky Lettenberger (Visuals team Project Manager), Jacob Conrad (Supervising Editor for Morning Edition), Kat Chow (Digital Reporter, Code Switch), Jason DeRose(Western Bureau Chief for NPR News), Debbie Elliott (Correspondent). Also Rebecca Feldhaus Adams(Talent Director at AIR), Rekha Murthy (radio and podcast consultant), Jeff Emtman (producer and creator of the “Here Be Monsters” podcast) and Dmae Roberts (public radio producer).
We’ll keep you posted on the projects as they develop during and after the workshop.