Storytelling for Podcasts

This workshop focused on non-fiction narrative shows – the documentary-style, often serialized, story-driven podcasts like Serial, Missing Richard Simmons, and Wind of Change that are known for telling expansive, immersive stories. The best ones leave listeners feeling like they’ve been on a journey, and maybe even with a new perspective on the world. This workshop delved into the choices that go into structuring a narrative show that keeps listeners hitting the play button every episode. Instructor Lacy Roberts guided students through the elements of narrative. Participants looked closely at the narrative structures often seen in serialized storytelling. Lacy deconstructed great narrative shows to uncover just what makes them so good, and derive lessons participants could use in their podcasting endeavors. This class also demystified the process of creating a narrative show, discussed what kinds of stories make good narrative podcasts, and provided students with actionable next steps if they think they have a great show idea.

Talking to the Media

In this online workshop, long-time journalists Courtney Cowgill and Anne Bailey discussed practical tips for conveying a story effectively to the media. Attendees 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 from to best tell a story. Through practice and feedback, instructors helped participants become more comfortable with being interviewed, both on and off camera.

Podcasting 202: Marketing Your Show

Lots of people are making amazing podcasts. But there are more than 2 million podcasts and 48 million episodes today. It can be hard to make a show stand out amongst the rest. In this course, Arielle Nissenblatt shared tips and tricks for getting a podcast out to the world. Participants discussed getting featured on Apple Podcasts, pitching shows for in-app placement, using social media to effectively market and reach potential listeners, pitching to blogs and for editorial placement, and how you to get mentioned in podcast newsletters. Arielle also covered monetization and cross-promotional efforts podcasters can use.

Instructor Arielle Nissenblatt

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:

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.

Intro to Adobe Premiere

Montana Media Lab director and multimedia journalist Anne Bailey introduced participants to the basics of video editing in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Using provided footage, participants learned project organization, importing, cutting interviews, assembling sequences, working with b-roll, incorporating text and exporting final projects.

This intensive, online workshop gave attendees the editing skills to turn video footage, photos and audio into polished, professional videos.

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

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.