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John Scott Dryden takes a very unique approach to sound design for the fiction podcasts he produces -- he records on location. For "Q&A," the first season of Mumbai Crime from Radiotopia, everything was recorded in Mumbai. The result is a podcast that sounds more organic, less manufactured in a studio. John explains why on this episode of Sound Sch…
 
What's the best way for reporters to break out of their boxes and think creatively? Give them an unusual assignment and send them out into the world with microphones. That's just what happened during a week-long workshop Rob taught with 10 reporters in Slovenia. Hear the results on this episode of Sound School.…
 
The opening to a story, especially a long series, requires a dance. How much do you give away? How much do you hold on to? On this episode of the Sound School Podcast, I offer two examples: one that didn't hook me because it gave away too much, another that made me eager to hear the whole story. Find out what I think works and what doesn't.…
 
When you limit language, you limit thinking. When you limit thinking, you limit creativity. When you limit creativity, audio storytellers wind up making the same thing over and over and over again and that's not good. That's why producer James T. Green says we need new language to describe our work. And we can start by borrowing from art and archit…
 
Typically, what happens between an editor and a producer is private. In this archive episode of the Sound School Podcast from 2014, editor Viki Merrick and producer Will Coley offer listeners a gift taking us behind the scenes for the production of Will's first-person documentary "Southern Flight 242: Bringing My Father Home." As Viki put it, she h…
 
This is the first episode of the Sound School Podcast (formerly HowSound). It's still from PRX and Transom. Rob's still the host. And the show is still committed to digging deep on the backstory to great audio storytelling. Our first episode features NPR's education reporter Elissa Nadworny dissecting how she kept everything straight -- all the fil…
 
Some interviewees are shy. Others guarded. Yet, you need to talk to them for a story. How do you help them open up? Erika Lantz and Elin Lantz Lesser have a lot of ideas. They spent the better part of a year interviewing former nuns in Mother Teresa's order, the Missionaries of Charity, for The Turning: The Sisters Who Left. Their approach offers v…
 
Almost every reporting trip has its pitfalls. Andrew Leland's recent story for Radiolab had more than most: He reported people with disabilities participating in tests for travel in space. Along with the nausea and recording challenges in zero gravity, Andrew has lost much of his sight. On this HowSound, Andrew lays out how he navigated it all.…
 
Hillary Frank says middle school can be brutal. The bullying, the harassment, the homophobia, the racism, the sexism... it's all there, along with the complicated emotions of pre-teens. "Here Lies Me," a podcast Hillary wrote, directed, and produced, tackles it all and then some. Hillary lays out what made this podcast one of the best of last year …
 
Davia Nelson, one half of the legendary Kitchen Sisters, shares the pair's incredible news: The Library of Congress will acquire the Kitchen Sisters' archive, decades of innovative audio work. Davia also talks with Rob about collaborating with performance artist Laurie Anderson on "The Great Amish Pandemic Sewing Frolic," a story about the power of…
 
Erica Heilman's story "Finn and the Bell" is the best I’ve heard this year. It's a painful, graceful story about a young man's suicide in rural Vermont. Erica's heart is in the piece; you can hear it in every production and editorial choice. The story of how she made those choices is enlightening.By Rob Rosenthal/PRX/Transom.org
 
Headphones on for this one. Rob marks the passing of the groundbreaking composer and sound ecologist R. Murray Schafer with his colleague and fellow composer, Hildegard Westerkamp. This episode will crack open your ears and, hopefully, spark new ways of thinking about the sonic environment and your work as an audio storyteller and producer.…
 
On this episode of HowSound, a wide-ranging chat about writing for audio with one of the masters: Jonathan Goldstein of the Heavyweight podcast from Gimlet. From the importance of feeling what you write to Jonathan's penchant for courier font and a maneuver we jokingly dubbed "The Goldstein," you're bound to pick up a solid tip or three about writi…
 
Shapearl Wells says the truest form of journalism lets others speak their own truth. And that's just what she did as host and the main character for "Somebody," a podcast that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. "Somebody" traces Shapearl's search for the truth in the murder of her 22-year old son. On this “HowSound,” she recounts what it took to produc…
 
Creative audio journalism and storytelling is sometimes influenced by film, avant-garde music, and literature. But what about anthropology? Nanna Hauge Kristensen is a radio producer with an anthropology degree — a background and approach that influences her storytelling in fascinating ways.By Rob Rosenthal/PRX/Transom.org
 
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