NPR Training
Storytelling tips and best practices

2017 Story Lab Workshop: Agenda and links

The 2017 NPR Story Lab Workshop was held at NPR HQ in Washington, D.C., March 1-3. During the workshop, 10 public media teams worked on audio storytelling projects with mentors from across NPR, while attending workshops designed by the NPR Training team to foster innovation in journalism and storytelling

We used the hashtag #nprstorylab. Follow the workshop participants via this Twitter list.

You can find related NPR Training material and the agenda (with links to slides) below.


Related NPR Training material

A blueprint for planning storytelling projects  also available as a PDF and Google Doc (go to “File -> Make a copy…” to save an editable version on your own Drive)

It’s important to begin any storytelling project with intention. Before you start making things, you should have a clear sense of who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to say and the scope of your project (on all platforms). This blueprint is designed to help.

How audio stories begin

There are so many ways to start a story. Whatever you choose, it’s important is to be deliberate. Be able to articulate why you’re starting in the style and place you are. Why does it serve the story — and the listener — to begin this way?

Managing project workflow

This document guides you through questions that will prepare your project for a smooth workflow.

You made good radio — now make good internet

It’s not easy to translate audio stories to digital ones. The standard “webify” method of turning radio scripts into web text is a bad approach that results in boring, confusing stories that often have major reporting holes.

Score! Best practices for using music in audio storytelling

Music is a tool that can be used to call attention to underlying themes or emotions, spotlight your best tape, control the pacing of your story and even help create a sense of time and place.

Don’t ‘radiosplain’ and other ways to report on communities that aren’t your own

We know that one way to present more culturally-balanced stories is to create more diverse newsrooms. Still, we all need to get better at talking to people in communities that aren’t our own.


Agenda

Wednesday, March 1

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast

9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Welcome and intros

9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
How an audio project gets invented … and reinvented

Shankar Vedantam, Host/Correspondent, Hidden Brain
Tara Boyle, Supervising Producer, Hidden Brain

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.
Break

11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Strategies for designing an awesome project
Serri Graslie, Sr. Digital Strategist, NPR Training
Liz Danzico, NPR Creative Director, Digital Media
Note: This session was an introduction to the project blueprint, referenced above. 

11:45 – 1:00 p.m.
Working time with mentors

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Lunch

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Break

2:15 – 3:45 p.m.
Working time with mentors

3:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Break

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Finding and shaping characters

Meghan Keane, Producer, Invisibilia
Alix Spiegel, Host, Invisibilia

5:00 p.m.
NPR building tour

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Happy hour reception


Thursday, March 2

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast (with benefits)

Rob Byers, NPR Training’s Production Specialist, will be on hand for questions you have about recording, production and mixing

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
How audio stories begin
(slides)
Alison MacAdam, Sr. Editorial Specialist, NPR Training

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Breakouts I

Digital inspiration for your audio project (slides)
Serri Graslie, Sr. Digital Strategist, NPR Training

Managing project workflow (slides)
Rob Byers, Production Specialist, NPR Training
Rebecca Feldhaus Adams, Editorial Project Manager, WAMU
Jim Gates, Senior Editor, KUOW
Mathilde Piard, Project Manager, NPR Programming

Storytelling and diversity: Beware the unicorn and the cliché
Shereen Marisol-Meraji, Correspondent and Host, Code Switch

How to use musical scoring to tell stories
Michael May, Senior Producer, NPR Story Lab
Nick DePrey, composer (and NPR One Product Manager)

12:15 – 12:30 p.m.
Break

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch panel: Strategies for reaching your audience

Tamar Charney, Managing Director, NPR One
N’Jeri Eaton, Sr. Manager, Programming Acquisition
Mathilde Piard, Project Manager, NPR Programming
Bianca Quintana, Marketing Manager
Hugo Rojo, Publicist, NPR Media Relations

1:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Break

1:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Working time

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
Break

3:30 – 5 p.m.
Breakouts II

Digital inspiration for your audio project (slides)
Serri Graslie, Sr. Digital Strategist, NPR Training

Managing project workflow (slides)
Rob Byers, Production Specialist, NPR Training
Rebecca Feldhaus Adams, Editorial Project Manager, WAMU
Jim Gates, Senior Editor, KUOW
Mathilde Piard, Project Manager, NPR Programming

Storytelling and diversity: Beware the unicorn and the cliché
Shereen Marisol-Meraji, Correspondent and Host, Code Switch

How to use musical scoring to tell stories
Michael May, Senior Producer, NPR Story Lab
Nick DePrey, composer (and NPR One Product Manager)

5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Working dinner with your team


Friday, March 3

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast (with benefits)

Rob Byers, NPR Training’s Production Specialist, will be on hand for questions you have about recording, production and mixing

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Final working time (prep for presentation)

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Project presentations
5 minutes of presentation, 5 minutes of questions and feedback

Structure of the presentation:

  •  Introduce your project, using ideas generated in your blueprint
  • Describe something about your project that changed over the course of the workshop
  • Talk about one challenge you face post-workshop (other than finding time!)

12:30 – 12:45 p.m.
Break

12:45 – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Closing and review

2:00 p.m.
Group photo


Questions? Want to know more? Tweet at us (@nprtraining) or email trainingteam@npr.org.