Montana Nonprofit Association 2020 Annual Conference

The Montana Media Lab presented two talks at the annual Montana Nonprofit Association virtual conference in September 2020.

Talking to the Media

Long-time journalists Courtney Lowery-Cowgill and Anne Bailey from the UM School of Journalism discussed practical tips for conveying stories effectively to the media. Participants learned best ways to contact journalists, what to do when a reporter calls for an interview and what information television, radio and newspaper journalists need to tell compelling stories. Through practice and feedback, participants gained confidence in being interviewed, both on and off camera.

Using Social Media for Good, and Strategically

Participants learned how to better plan, organize and execute a social media strategy that reflects their organization’s mission and culture and keeps their audience engaged and informed. Attendees refined their organization’s social media strategy to focus on authenticity and impact, learned to use social media for connection instead of just marketing, and explored new tools to help streamline their social media strategy.

Check out the session recording:

Producing During a Pandemic

When COVID-19 hit, it brought a whole new set of challenges for the audio production industry.

In this workshop, Lacy Roberts, managing producer at Brooklyn-based Transmitter Media, provided tips on producing in the time of COVID. Attendees learned best practices for remote audio capture, and gained insight on ways to bring remote productions to life, even without field tape.

Here is a preview of Lacy’s remote workshop:

Podcasting 101

Everyone wants to make a podcast these days. You have a great idea, but where do you begin?

Lacy Roberts, managing producer at Brooklyn-based Transmitter Media, talked participants through the foundational questions they need to answer before setting out — from figuring out whether a podcast idea has legs, to setting a budget, to choosing the right equipment.

Participants left this workshop with a better understanding of how to take their podcast ideas from conception to launch.

Here’s a small preview of Lacy’s remote presentation:

National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Program

The Montana Media Lab has teamed up with The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program at the University of Montana to create video content that targets STEM-focused students, faculty and departments on campus.

The I-Corps program aims to accelerate the commercialization of research and innovative ideas in STEM fields by helping researchers and innovators identify target markets, conduct market research and evaluate market readiness.

Talking to the Media

Whether you’re a government official, researcher, business owner or non-profit staffer, telling your story clearly and concisely to the media matters.

In this online workshop, long-time journalists Courtney Cowgill and Anne Bailey discussed practical tips for conveying stories effectively to the media. Participants learned best ways to contact journalists, what to do when a reporter calls for an interview and what information television, radio and newspaper journalists need to tell compelling narratives.

Through practice and feedback, attendees became more comfortable being interviewed on camera and left the workshop with practical skills for better media engagement.

Audio Storytelling and Podcasting

In this five day workshop, NPR Story Lab senior producer Michael May and award-winning Montana Public Radio reporter Nora Saks taught participants how to produce a compelling audio story — from conducting interviews and gathering natural sound to story structure and script writing. Students also pitched podcast ideas at the start of the week and left with project blueprints to take those ideas from concept to launch.

All participants’ final audio pieces aired on public radio stations across Montana.

Interested in workshops like this? See what’s coming up next at the Lab.

Writing Well

Compelling, concise writing is an art. In this three-day workshop, University of Montana associate professor of journalism Jule Banville taught the fundamentals of solid writing through hands-on exercises and one-on-one edits.

From business and nonprofit communications to writing for the web and social media, participants learned the importance of sentence structure, grammar and writing flow across multiple platforms.

Interested in workshops like this one? Check out our upcoming workshops.

Writing Doesn’t Have to be Boring

Banville used the children’s book Where the Wild Things Are to demonstrate proper syntax, good writing, and simple storytelling.

More From Our 2019 Writing Well Workshop

BSDFF and Montana Media Lab Team Up for Filmmakers Forums

During the 16th annual film festival, the Montana Media Lab hosted a plethora of events related to BSDFF’s DocShop Filmmakers Forum. The lab participated in numerous events throughout the series including: From Audio to Visual: Taking Podcasts to the Screen, The Art of Sound in Documentaries, News Not Noise, and more.

BSDFF’s Filmmakers Forums

The Making of St. Louis Superman

Bruce Franks Jr., pictured below in the red sweater, sat down with the Montana Media Lab to discuss the film St. Louis Superman in which he was the subject. Franks Jr. is an activist who had a prominent presence in Ferguson, and a battle rapper. St. Louis Superman chronicles Frank Jr.’s journey into politics when he is elected to the Missouri House of Representatives.

Montana Media Lab Presents News Not Noise

This DocShop series captured the thoughts of the media producers and editors and how the use of short documentaries can help stories rise above the constant noise of the 24-hour news cycle.

Shining a Light: Investigative Journalism in Documentary Film

In Indonesia, a small group of activists have risked their lives to save enslaved fisherman— those that help feed the world with fresh seafood. Filmmaker Shannon Service discussed the trials and tribulations she ran into while making this documentary.

From Audio to Visual: Taking Podcasts to the Screen

Reporters and producers sat down and discussed what it takes to turn your podcast into a film.

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs at Big Sky High School

In the fall of 2019, the Montana Media Lab teamed up with Big Sky High School students and PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs to tell video stories about everything from climate change to teen pregnancy.

University of Montana School of Journalism students helped teach story development, interviewing, filming and script writing.

Interested in having the Montana Media Lab work with your school on a storytelling project? Get in touch!

Audio Tools for Non-Audio Storytellers

This three-day workshop taught photographers, filmmakers and writers how to add audio tools to their storytelling toolbox.

Participants received hands-on training with digital audio recorders, practiced capturing quality sound in the field, learned how to edit what they gathered and left with a fully produced audio story. Instructor Lacy Roberts, of Transmitter Media, also discussed writing for the ear and the idiosyncrasies of unfurling a narrative in audio—whether it’s a longform narrative or a minute-long news piece.

Interested in more workshops like this? Check out our upcoming workshops.