Editing & Structure

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. What’s OK to take out? And when is it better to leave something in?

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.

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.

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

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

6 tips for catching your writing mistakes (and protecting your credibility)

No one is available to read behind you and it’s nearly time to hit “publish.” What do you do? Call on the copy editor within.

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.

A good lead is everything — here’s how to write one

The lead is the introduction — the first sentences — that should pique your readers’ interest and curiosity.

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?

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.

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.”

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.

How NPR covered the Paris attacks

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

How to edit with your ears

If you haven’t listened to a story and all of its sonic elements, you haven’t edited it.

Russell Lewis’ guide to fact checking

Corrections are bad. Try to avoid them. The end.

Vocabulary for an audio editor: 15 things to say … over and over …

Editors, try these questions and suggestions when working with your reporters.

An accuracy checklist to take with you

We all make mistakes — this checklist will help you make fewer of them.

Understanding story structure with the ‘Three Little Pigs’

In laying out a piece, the reporter should look for a story structure that keeps the listener paying attention.

Exercise: Imagining your story

Plan a story before going out to report it. Sounds counterintuitive, right?

How a long audio story is different from a short one

Longer pieces are not just stretched-out short pieces. If you’re going to keep people listening to you, you’ve got to work harder!

From pitch to story: These 32 questions can help editors guide reporters

This checklist of questions will make your reporter’s story better — and editing it easier.

‘Once upon a time’ and other devices for starting your story

Every story has its own style of adventure. Here are different ways to take listeners on a journey.