How we work

The NPR Training team supports high-quality journalism and storytelling at NPR and member stations. We are making public media’s collective knowledge of craft more accessible.

Why do we exist?

We exist to create space for you.

You  NPR and member stations journalists  bust your asses every day to keep up with the news, to create compelling stories, to keep people informed, to engage audiences on NPR.org, to keep impatient fingers off NPR One’s “SKIP” button. Too often, that leaves no room for reflection, for growth, for experimentation.

We all need more time and space to focus on craft  both online and on air. Our team’s mission is to make that happen for you.

But …

There are only five of us. And we each have distinct expertise; we are not interchangeable training robots. So we need you  and your expertise! We have big goals  to help bridge gaps between radio and digital, to share the best of what we do throughout the public media system, and to give you the tools to tell great stories.

What we can do for you … and with you

For starters, anyone in public media (and outside public media, for that matter) can access our website. You can browse through best practices for audio, digital, social media and visual storytelling. And you can keep up with all of this by following us on Twitter and Facebook

We want to have an impact much larger than the size of our five-person unit. And how we do that will evolve over time. In general, we try to identify patterns and widespread needs and address them in scalable ways. Most importantly, we can help more people throughout the system have the same conversation and learn the same best practices (keeping in mind that there is a lot of room for variation and experimentation).

So what can we do for you?

At NPR

  • If you want inspiration from your colleagues, we organize a monthly event called “How We Did That.”
  • If you want meaningful feedback, or space to reflect and learn from your colleagues, we organize listening/critique sessions.
  • If you want to try something new, we can help you structure editorial experiments.
  • If you’ve just been hired, we’ll facilitate your orientation to all things editorial at NPR
  • If you’re an intern or fellow in the newsroom, we facilitate your editorial orientation.
  • If you need to run an editorial training session or conference, we can help you think through it, structure it, and, if needed, lead some of the training.

For member stations

  • If you want to learn new storytelling techniques  or just want inspiration  you can tune into one of our webinars. Topics have included introswriting through sound, and “How a small station made a big podcast.”
  • If you want in-person training, we can visit you and your regional stations.
  • If you want all of this information in one nicely packaged e-mail, sign up for our newsletter.

What we can’t do (though we may wish we could)

Given that there are only five of us, and we serve both the NPR newsroom and member stations, we have to be selective about the projects we take on. We don’t want to be jerks but if we were to say yes to every training request, we’d have a waiting list miles long.

Here are some examples of things we can’t do:

  • We can’t take all editorial training out of your hands. Nothing beats learning on the job, and shows, desks and other units still bear the responsibility of supporting their employees’ development.
  • We can’t do regular voice coaching. Sadly, the one-on-one investment needed for this kind of work is not something we are staffed to do. But we can offer tips like these from our website. And remember, good voicing begins with good writing!
  • We can’t create personalized coaching plans. No, Susie McReporter cannot have 6 weeks of lessons in digital production every Monday and Wednesday.  
  • We don’t do non-editorial training. No Kronos, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. We stick to topics that are central to audio and digital storytelling and journalism.

We may not always be able to help you directly. But we’ll do our best to find you the support you need.

Facilitators vs. trainers: Which are we?

Wellll, it depends.

You know best what you and your staff needs. So while we personally run training sessions and workshops, a lot of our work is done through partnerships with you. That means we will talk with you to understand your needs and then help you design and execute training. You’ll be in charge.

How to communicate with us

robotgiphy

(We are not training robots. But here’s what it would look like if we were.)

If you’ve read this far, you might want to know more about the members of our team

Serri Graslie (@sgraslie) knows all things social media and digital storytelling. She’s smart about finding sources, drawing eyes and ears to our stories, and getting them out there into the world in interesting ways. sgraslie@npr.org

Rob Byers (@robbyers1) is the team’s Production Specialist. He is an audio engineer with a strong background in production and telling stories. He works to help make your tools easier to use and your audio sound seamless.

Alison MacAdam (@ajmacadam) is our “preditor” — which means she is an audio producer who edits, and an editor who produces. She cares most about helping you use sound to tell stories, evangelizing about story structure, and making listeners care. amacadam@npr.org

Kasia Podbielski  (@eskapepod) is our project manager. She organizes editorial training for interns, fellows, and new employees. Among other things, she can help you make your conference run without a hitch. kpodbielski@npr.org


This “How We Work” document was inspired by our friends on the NPR Visuals team.