Audio Storytelling Basics

Learn to develop, record, edit, and produce compelling audio documentaries.

© Sarah KramerAt the heart of most compelling, provocative or surprising stories is an interview with the subject or subjects of the story.  In this workshop, we'll discuss finding those stories, interview techniques, what questions to ask, how to convince reticent subjects to speak, and what makes for "good tape".  We'll put the tools we've just learned to work on each other with short interviews. We'll delve into about ambient and scene sound — how to identify it and capture it, and how to structure a story, using interview and ambient tape. By examining some successful pieces, we'll figure out why they worked, how they were achieved and how audio fits into multimedia stories. You will be asked to find a story prior to attending the workshop, and you will then dedicate the second part of the week to recording your story and editing it. The course will include the technical aspects of recording audio on professional equipment as well as audio editing and mixing on the industry's standard software - ProTools. No previous knowledge of digital editing is necessary.


Selena Simmons Duff

Selena is a Production Assistant at NPR‘s Morning Edition. Her freelance reporter pieces have aired on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend All Things Considered. She’s reported on everything from parking meter technology to Ricky Martin’s comeback album.
She cut her teeth as the News Director of Stanford’s radio station, KZSU. She went on to report at a bay area paper, study documentary radio at the Salt Institute, and intern at All Things Considered, while being managing editor for Intern Edition.
Sandwiched in there was a six month stint in East Africa: first at an HIV testing NGO in Mbale, Uganda, then outside of Arusha, Tanzania teaching about HIV in primary schools.
She lives in Washington, DC. She draws and paints in her spare time, and is working on her first illustration project. She also sings and is learning to play the piano.

Rob Rosenthal

Rob Rosenthal Photo By: Ed KashiRob Rosenthal launched the nationally- reowned radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and has taught there for over ten years. He teaches production at the University of Southern Maine and has taught audio production and storytelling at many workshops including the annual immersion workshops run by the National Press Photographers Association.

Rob is also a freelance radio producer. He's produced audio tours, documentaries, podcasts, public service announcements, and commercials. "Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold" is Rob's latest documentary at It received a first place award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters. Rob also produces Saltcast, a podcast about radio storytelling at And, he's currently working with photographer Ed Kashi producing audio slideshows for the Open Society Institute.