Story Workshop Spring 2013: In Session

April 8th, 2013
photo of TSW Spring 2013 class

Transom Story Workshop Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Update: It’s official. We just sent nine more Transom Story Workshop alums out into the world to make radio. Congratulations class of Spring 2013! Look for a feature highlighting their work right here on Transom in early June.

Update: Final Week – Students turned in their second pieces Monday afternoon. On Tuesday night, there will be two guest speakers at dinner: Jake Shapiro from PRX and AIR’s Sue Schardt will talk about how to find community and support as an independent producer and the network that their organizations provide. For those who can, please us for a public listening event on Thursday, May 23rd at 7:00 at Redfield Hall in Woods Hole to celebrate the accomplishments of the students from the Spring 2013 Transom Story Workshop. For the many of you who can’t make it, we’ll create a Transom feature soon.

Update: Week Six.The Story Workshop students spent the weekend with the mix-master extraordinaire, Jeff Towne who walked each student through a final mix of their first piece. One Tuesday Transom’s Viki Merrick joined the students for lunch to share some of her favorite radio moments and on Tuesday night, producer Ari Daniel Shapiro talked about how to make it as an independent. On Wednesday students played their sonic IDs for Jay Allison and Viki Merrick. Scripts for second pieces are due on Thursday. We’re in the final stretch!

Update: Week Five. First pieces were due on Monday. There was a listening session with an post-listening-session celebration on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, students spent the day thinking like a photographer under the guidance of shooter, Amanda Kowalski. Tuesday night, Amanda and audio producer, Samantha Broun talked about the multimedia work they do as SoundLight Media. Scenes and focus sentences for students’second pieces are due on Wednesday. This weekend, each student will meet one-on-one with Transom Tool guy, Jeff Towne who will help them with technical questions and to walk them through a final mix of their first pieces.

Update: Week Four. This week students are editing and reediting and reediting scripts for their first pieces. On Thursday, they will do a live read with Jay Allison. On Tuesday night, independent producer Sean Cole joined the class for dinner to share advice he wished he’d been given when he was just starting out. On Wednesday, Sean will sit on the class and, along with Rob Rosenthal and Sarah P. Reynolds, help students think through their second story ideas. On Thursday night, Rob and Sarah will talk with the students about life after the Workshop (there IS life after the Workshop). This coming weekend, students will voice their first pieces with Viki Merrick. Onward!

Spring 2013 students are totally tweeting (#radiostory) TSW:

Update: Week Three.

From Transom Story Workshop participant, Derek Hawkins:

The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to let people speak for themselves. Going into this program, I thought I knew how to do that. But after conducting my first interviews and writing my first scripts for radio, I realized how much I needed to change my approach.

I’ve worked several years as a print/web news reporter and I’ve become accustomed to having a lot of control over what ends up in my pieces. If a detail needs explaining, I’ll take a couple paragraphs to explain it. If I need to flesh out a quote from a source, I’ll give that person a call. That leeway doesn’t really exist in radio, or at least not in the same way.

I knew interviewing for radio would be different — that there’d be a greater emphasis on technique, for one — but I didn’t expect it to reveal to me so quickly how assertive I can be in conversations when it’s more important just to let my counterpart effuse a bit. You’re better served if you ask lots of questions and leave generous room for the person on the other end of the mic to respond. Instead of trying to steer the story, LET GO. People will talk more colorfully and more naturally if you give them space, and it’ll be easier to bring them to life in your story.

Update: Week Three. This week is all about writing for radio, scenes and focus sentences. On Wednesday, first drafts of scripts for Creative Life pieces are due. Story ideas for student’s second pieces are also being discussed. On Thursday night, NPR digital services guy Todd Mundt will talk to the class about audio innovations on digital platforms. And on Friday, Jay Allison will join the class for lunch to talk with them about Sonic IDs.

Update: Week Two. Week one was a resounding success. On Friday, students played their promos and vox pops for each other at the end-of-audio-boot-camp listening session. This week, students will jump into field work spending two days collecting tape for their first stories. All the while researching ideas for their second pieces. The class will also Skype with WNYC’s Marianne McCune who will talk with them about interviewing. And NPR’s foreign correspondent, Kelly McEvers will join the class as a guest for dinner to talk about her work reporting from the Middle East. And budding producer, Andrew Forsthoefel will share his insights from ‘Walking Across America.’ Busy, busy!

Update: Week One. It’s week one at Transom Story Workshop. Boot camp week. Students are learning how to use their recording gear, acquainting themselves with Hindenburg, producing vox pops and promos. Oh, and pitching their first stories to Jay Allison as well as doing voicing work with Viki Merrick, both of Atlantic Public Media. WCAI’s Sean Corcoran will be a Guest this week. Talking with the students about reporting on the Cape and Islands.


Welcome to the In Session notes for the Transom Story Workshop: an eight-week-long training for beginning radio producers. The spring 2013 Workshop started on April 1st and will run until May 23rd when there will be a public listening event – to which you are all invited (details to come). Rob Rosenthal is the lead teacher for the Workshop along with teaching associate Sarah P. Reynolds.

The nine students in this class come from all over the country. They are living together in housing we found for them right in the village of Woods Hole (with water views!). They share meals together twice a week.

At the end of the eight weeks, they will leave with a portfolio of pieces, audio editing software, and a well-practiced set of skills in interviewing, story-building, writing, editing, and mixing on digital audio workstations, along with connections in the radio world.

Guest speakers will join the students throughout the eight weeks including: WCAI’s duPont-Columbia Award-winning reporter, Sean Corcoran; award winning, WNYC staff reporter Marianne McCune; NPR’s international correspondent Kelly McEvers; Atlantic Public Media’s Jay Allison and Viki Merrick; Todd Mundt, Editorial Director at NPR Digital Services; independent radio producer Sean Cole formerly of Marketplace and Radiolab; multimedia producers Samantha Broun and Amanda Kowalski of SoundLight Media; Transom’s Tool Guy, Jeff Towne; independent radio producer, Ari Daniel Shapiro; as well as AIR’s Sue Schardt and John Barth from The Public Radio Exchange.

We will update this page from time to time with news from the Workshop. You can follow the student’s Twitter posts (hashtag #radiostory), check out images we upload to Flickr, and post your own comments and questions below. You can also follow us on Facebook.

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Story Workshop

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