Story Workshop Spring 2019: Pieces

photo of the spring 2019 Story Workshop class

Intro from Jay Allison: Get your ears on. We have nine new pieces from our latest Story Workshop class. Lead teacher, Rob Rosenthal and teaching associate Schuyler Swenson led nine students through the nine-week course, and the students produced stories about everything from northern long-eared bats to suicide-by-cop to adult swimming lessons, and much more. We hope you’ll take the time to listen to their work, and if you're looking to hire from a diverse pool of freshly-trained talent, here they are.

"Unspoken" by Matthew Alvarez

photo of Matthew Alvarez
Matthew Alvarez

There was a sense of fear when I was told I would be pitching my second story to Ira Glass because I realized that I had no solid idea. I did know that I wanted to write about the type of hardworking Spanish-speaking people I grew up around, but there was one problem – I don’t speak Spanish.

Read more and listen.

"The Real House-Foxes of Woods Hole" by Michael Falero

photo of Michael Falero
Michael Falero

At some point, in an editing group with Rob and other students, I realized I needed to follow my tape. And more importantly, I needed to follow the feelings I was having about my story.

Read more and listen.

"An Adult Man Takes A Swim Lesson" by Martín Gonzalez

photo of Martin Gonzalez
Martín H. Gonzalez

I didn’t think I’d come to Transom to make a story about myself OR to take a swimming lesson. But life is full of surprises!

Read more and listen.

"Nantucket Shuffle" by Redmond Grybauskas

photo of Redmond Grybauskas
Redmond Grybauskas

I stuck out my thumb and hitchhiked along Route 28 telling everyone I met what I was doing. A guy in a beat-up pickup truck heading out of Mashpee gave me my first break: “You want housing insecurity? I’m going to drive you to Hyannis and you’re going to get on the boat to Nantucket. You’ll find what you’re looking for there.” He was right. I did.

Read more and listen.

"Full Circle" by Anna Isaacs

photo of Anna Isaacs
Anna Isaacs

One of the things that’s magical about the workshop is that it gives you new ears. You begin to listen differently, to dissect the stories you love and figure out exactly why you love them, what makes them so damn good.

Read more and listen.

"The Chasm Is Not Closed" by Kamilah Kashanie

photo of Kamilah Kashanie
Kamilah Kashanie

Reporting on an event involving so much information left me feeling overwhelmed. Everyone I spoke to had an angle they wanted to get across, and wanted to make sure I understood all the nitty gritty of their opinions. Because my piece came with a racial element, there were also a lot of feelings involved.

Read more and listen.

"1983 – 2006" by Erin Kelly

photo of Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly

Before I started reporting this piece, I wondered if I would be doing more harm than good by pursuing this story. I was asking a man to talk about the worst day of his life and the pain of living without his son. And for what? My own education?

Read more and listen.

"Mist Nets And Long Ears" by Rebecca Nolan

photo of Rebecca Nolan
Rebecca Nolan

Find something about your story that really pulls at your heart strings: an image, a sound, a feeling. Something to remind you why you liked that story in the first place. Because there are going to be a lot of times during production when you hate absolutely everything about your piece.

Read more and listen.

"Take It Or Leave It" by Kyle Vass

photo of Kyle Vass
Kyle Vass

You don’t come to a workshop like this to convince everyone that you’re right and they’re wrong. The sooner you shed your tendency to do this, the sooner your piece will come together.

Read more and listen.

About Rob Rosenthal, Lead Instructor

photo of Rob Rosenthal
Rob Rosenthal

Rob Rosenthal is an independent producer and a teacher. He’s the host for the HowSound podcast on radio storytelling — a joint project of PRX and Transom. He started and then ran the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies’ radio track for 11 years. And, he is now the lead teacher for the Transom Story Workshop, which launched in the fall of 2011.

About Schuyler Swenson, Teaching Assistant

photo of Schuyler Swenson
Schuyler Swenson

Schuyler Swenson is a radio and multimedia producer based in Brooklyn, NY. She’s a former producer for WNYC/PRI’s Studio 360 and is currently developing podcasts and video for The New York Public Library. She’s taught radio and audio storytelling at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and Story Center. Schuyler is a proud graduate of the Transom Story Workshop (Spring 2013). You can find her at

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