Audio


How to keep a technical failure from wrecking your broadcast

“Weekend Edition” stayed on the air despite losing access to audio. These steps will help you survive — and avoid — disasters as well.

The ‘Short Wave’ staff knows how to keep a daily pod sustainable

Launching a daily podcast is one thing — keeping it alive, day after day, is another.

The show editor’s interview checklist

On a show, the interview is brief and it is the story. So much depends on preparation, and having an editor’s ear.

Trill, buzz, floss, breathe: Coach yourself to sound your best

Do your guests sound nervous, flat, sing-song or just plain blah? These guides will cure their vocal woes.

Protecting, cleaning and sanitizing your gear the right way

Keeping your gear safe and sanitary is not a one-step process. More like four to six steps. Get ’em here.

HAY-soos or hay-SOOS? Getting the accent right in Spanish

Unlike English, Spanish has rules of pronunciation that are simple and easy to learn.

A field guide to reporting on COVID-19 (bring plastic wrap)

Put on your mask and stock up on alcohol wipes — you’re going into the coronavirus-infested wilds.

Reporting from home: how NPR correspondents do it

Legions of journalists are now working from home. But NPR international correspondents have been doing it for years, even decades. Heed their advice.

The haiku of radio journalism: how to write a newscast spot

A spot must tell a complete story — no matter how complex or involved — in under a minute. It’s not easy to write, but we have guidance.

How they made it: the ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ elephant episode

In this series, NPR’s Training team asks reporters, editors, engineers and producers, “How did you make that?”

How to decide what to cut (or not) in an interview

It’s no secret that pre-taped interviews on public radio are edited, sometimes considerably.

Tips from the Twitterverse on surviving two-ways

Smile, remember to breathe and be prepared to improvise when you’re a reporter on a two-way.

Pronounce like a polyglot: saying foreign names on air

What if the pronunciation of a name has you stumped — and you have to say it on air? Here’s how to do it accurately and understandably.

A guide to recording spatial audio for 360-degree video

Here’s what we’ve learned from our experimentation with 360 audio recording.

How to mix: 8 steps to master the art of mixing audio stories

This step-by-step guide shows a straightforward method for mixing audio stories, podcasts and more.

The producer’s handbook to mixing audio stories

Whether you’re making a podcast or audio documentary, this in-depth guide will help you improve the quality of your mixes.

Want razor-sharp focus in your audio stories? This group activity can help

All you need is a story idea, an open mind and some friends.

Want to start a podcast? Read this first

Use these prompts and quick tips to get your creative process started.

A blueprint for planning storytelling projects

Fill this out when you’re getting started, for focus throughout the creative process.

Casting, coaching and cutting: A producer’s guide to ‘unmoderated conversations’

Conversations between nonjournalists combine the thrill of eavesdropping with the intimacy of the kitchen table — but they can be hard to pull off. We have some tips.

What’s in your bag, Josh Rogosin?

Josh engineers the Tiny Desk Concerts. His kit for recording stripped down, remote music sessions provides lessons in being prepared while staying nimble.

The journey from print to radio storytelling: A guide for navigating a new landscape

Print and audio journalism exist in the same world — but the terrain is different. Let this serve as your map.

How NPR’s David Greene learned a new ‘art form’ in radio

The “Morning Edition” host came to NPR from newspapers. His advice on audio: Forget everything you know.

You asked: How do you tell a story in 3 acts?

The three-act structure is the most basic organization a story can have.

The steps to finding, developing and vetting news sources

Sourcing the news is getting harder all the time. For three seasoned NPR reporters, it involves careful vetting, delicate negotiations and, every now and then, cigars.

What’s in your bag, Gregory Warner?

For this month’s What’s In Your Bag we reached out to Gregory Warner, host of the new NPR podcast Rough Translation. His work has taken him across Pakistan and Afghanistan, and now he is based in New York City after a long stint as NPR’s East Africa correspondent.

How to make local listeners care about your story

Using data from the NPR One app, we identified specific approaches to telling audio stories that can inspire your audience to sit up and listen.

What’s in your bag, Corey Schreppel?

Corey Schreppel has been an audio engineer for the last 15 years — these are his go-to tools.

Get great sound every time with this field recording checklist

You return from a long day reporting in the field — only to realize you didn’t record ambience. Rats! This post will help ensure that you get the sound you need to tell great stories.

Aerobics for your voice: 3 tips for sounding better on air

To build a strong vocal presence for audio storytelling, you should practice a daily warm-up routine that involves body, breath and voice.

What’s in your bag, Elissa Nadworny?

What this reporter took to record aboard a fishing boat in Alaska.

Audio production FAQ: Headphones, levels, mics and more

Our readers have lots of questions about audio production. Find answers here about headphones, levels, microphones and more.

What’s in your bag, Tim Nelson?

This incredibly large and extensive kit allows Tim to be ready for most any situation the news can throw at him.

You asked: How can I get better at standups?

Doing great “stand-ups” requires thinking beyond the clichéd “I’m standing here…” approach.

What’s in your bag, Amanda Aronczyk?

What WNYC’s Amanda Aronczyk took with her to cover the presidential inauguration and women’s march in Washington, D.C.

The ear training guide for audio producers

This post will help you identify problematic audio, prevent the most common issues and recognize when it’s time to call for help.

Do you have the ears of an audio producer?

Being an audio editing wizard is not enough to tell great stories. You also need to have highly “trained ears.

What makes a good pitch? NPR editors weigh in

Pitching is hard. We compiled the best tips for getting to “yes” — and some common pet peeves — from NPR editors.

Put your audio to the test: Know when to use it or lose it

There are many ways audio can go wrong. Can you still use it in your story? This basic criteria will you decide.

Radio intros: 5 examples of success

A good radio hooks your audience. Here are five examples of great intros — and why they work.

What’s in your bag, Leigh Paterson?

What this reporter takes to report in Wyoming and Colorado, “besides a big ugly coat.

Beyond the 5 W’s: What should you ask before starting a story?

Print this poster, which has the six questions you should ask before starting a story.

3 simple ways to find story ideas

Next time you’re struggling to come up with a new story or just need a push in a more creative direction, read this.

How audio stories begin

At this hyper-competitive moment in audio, it’s essential to grab listeners at the very beginning of a story.

Which mic do they use? (Mics part 2)

Liz Jones (@KUOWLiz), a reporter with KUOW, contacted us with an idea after the Which Mic Should I Use? post published. She recommended we get the input of various reporters in the field to hear about what mics they are using and why.

Be prepared: How a production workflow can help you avert disaster

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

Score! Best practices for using music in audio storytelling

How can we use music to tell audio stories well, without manipulating listeners or sensationalizing our journalism?

Which mic should I use? (Mics Part 1)

“Which mic?” is one of the most common questions about field recording — and making a decision can be confusing.

The audio editor’s resource: Tips for shaping great stories

Editing is a specialized craft in itself. This post compiles NPR Training’s tips and tricks to help audio editors guide and elevate stories.

Front-end editing: The ‘secret ingredient’ of great audio storytelling

The best editing begins even before a story is assigned. What should the process look like? Check out this step-by-step guide.

Reporter two-ways: Improvisation within a structure

For many radio reporters — even some of the most experienced ones — the prospect of talking on-air with a host can be daunting.

Understanding story structure in 4 drawings

You can learn a lot from a few simple line drawings! NPR’s Robert Smith explains the structure of audio news stories — from basic to complex.

Six ways to run a listening session

Helping people listen critically to stories requires more than simply pushing “play.

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

We can all get better at talking to communities that are not our own. It requires listening, humility and the willingness to investigate our own biases.

How Joe Richman makes ‘Radio Diaries’

Joe Richman gives tape recorders to “ordinary” people and works with them to tell stories about their own lives.

A checklist to organize your story process

With so many different ways to tell stories, you need this.

How NPR covered the Paris attacks

A look at NPR’s reporting on the November 2015 terror attacks on Paris.

How to inject ‘documentary flair’ into your story

Infuse documentary-style radio into everyday reporting (even when you think you don’t have the time or material).

Audio truth killers: an approach to collecting better sound

The technical production of sound influences the editorial message in a piece.