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Feb 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive Winter 2015

Is your skillset stretching to its full dynamic range?

Would a prism of expert experience help
your story find its true colors?

Explore our Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive.

AIR’s Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensives started with Localore and Makers Quest 2.0, two experiments in public media that challenged a handful of talented, creative producers to come up with new ways of finding and telling stories.

The Full Spectrum curriculum emerged from AIR’s findings: the result is a week of intense training with curriculum covering community stories, experiments in writing and interviewing, sound in space and future audio. For Full Spectrum 2015, producers from Localore and other leaders in multimedia storytelling will share what they’ve learned in a weeklong series of immersive seminars. Indie producer and entrepreneur Kara Oehler (Mapping Main Street, Zeega, GoPop), will lead the charge.

These audio-first intensives designed by AIR in partnership with UnionDocs expose producers to a broad range of creative approaches to storytelling and an expanded set of technical skills.

Over the course of a week, a team of accomplished guest speakers — experts drawn from public broadcast journalism, network technology, and media art — will take up to 14 producers on an excursion through storytelling to sound processing to interactive design and more.

Guest speakers for our Winter 2015 intensive: Nancy Updike, Sean Cole, Lisa Chow, Christopher Allen, Sruthi Pinnamaneni, John Keefe, Ryann Grochowski Jones, Amanda Aronczyk and Jonathan Mitchell.

All classes take place at UnionDocs in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. There will be an evening excursion, a happy hour, and a lunch on Monday. Participation is encouraged, but optional.

December 14-18, 2015

Who is eligible?  

We are looking for mid to advanced level producers and story-first technologists from all walks of the media industry and beyond who have demonstrable skills in digital sound gathering, editing and mixing. Filmmakers and those whose primary focus has been visual or moving image are strongly encouraged to attend, as well. AIR membership is not required, though AIR members are eligible for a small travel stipend. A work sample is required with your application.

Please note: Participants *will not* be producing a piece during the week. Focus is on listening and discussion.

Applications are no longer being accepted for the December Full Spectrum

Sign up for the waitlist to learn about future workshops

+++Full attendance is mandatory. If you are unable to attend each day of the intensive, please do not apply. Class meets from 10AM – 5:30PM, Monday through Friday. Lunch is on your own except for Monday. Snacks provided.+++

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].

2016 Class Overview:
Subject to change 


To begin the intensive, we’ll get our ears and minds primed for the week, starting with inspirational listening and a discussion about what keeps us engaged and coming back for more. In the afternoon session, WNYC’s Amanda Aronczyk will take an advanced look at the ways we both listen and hear, and explore why radio is uniquely situated for storytelling

AM: Audrey Quinn, lead instructor

PM: Amanda Aronczyk (WNYC)



Start-Up Podcast makes business reporting extremely personal and narrative by shining a meta-lens on starting a new business. Start-Up co-host Lisa Chow will take us through the process of creating episodes and doing this very unique form of business reporting. She’ll also provide some perspective on the business side of podcasting. In the afternoon session, we’ll explore how to tell impactful stories about a community in many voices and over a long period of time. UnionDocs has been working on the expansive documentary Living Los Sures for the past 5 years.

AM: Lisa Chow (Host, Gimlet’s Start-Up)

PM: Christopher Allen (Artistic Director, UnionDocs)



There are thousands of ways to tell the same story. In this session, Nancy Updike will share techniques for making your writing more memorable, sharper and more engaged with the tape. In the afternoon session, we will illuminate methods for creating personal radio essay.

AM: Nancy Updike (Founding Producer, This American Life)

PM: Sruthi Pinnamaneni (Reply All)




The era of big data is upon us. But how can you harness it for better storytelling? We discuss different investigations in which reporters have used data to dig deeper and learn about tools and techniques to use in your stories.

AM: John Keefe (Senior Editor, Data News at WNYC)

PM: Ryann Grochowski Jones (ProPublica)



Our ears provide localization and direction. Amanda Aronczyk will take an advanced in-depth look at the ways we both listen and hear and explore why radio is so uniquely situated for storytelling. And Jonathan Mitchell will share techniques he uses in his podcast, The Truth, from scoring music to composing scenes with sound to mixing.

AM: Amanda Aronczyk (Reporter, WNYC’s Health Unit)

PM: Jonathan Mitchell (Host and Producer, Radiotopia’s The Truth)

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:

10:00a    Warm up, inspiring references, listening exercises, ear training.
11:00a    Presentation
12:00p    Exercise / Hands on / Tutorial
12:30p    Share / Discuss Exercise
1:00p     Lunch (on your own – lunch will be provided on Friday)
2:00p     Seminar Presentation
3:15p     Seminar Discussion
4:00p     Workshop Exercise
5:00p     Workshop Critique
5:30p     End

Instructors and Guest Speakers

KarabioKARA OEHLER is a documentary artist, radio producer and media entrepreneur. Over the past decade, Kara has been leading innovation at the intersection of storytelling,  technology, and interdisciplinary collaboration. She is the Co-Founder of GoPop, an app for juxtaposing GIFs, photos and videos; Zeega, the revolutionary interactive storytelling platform and AIR’s technology partner for Localore 2013; metaLAB (at) Harvard, the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio; Yellow Arrow:: Capitol of Punk; and Mapping Main Street, the collaborative documentary produced with NPR as part of AIR’s MQ2 incubator.  Her Peabody award-winning radio work has aired on shows including “RadioLab,” “Marketplace” and “Morning Edition,” and her interactive storytelling projects have been exhibited at MoMA and SFMoMA. She’s been a creative advisor at the Sundance Institute’s New Frontiers Story Lab, a judge for the Knight News Challenge, a Film Study Center Fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a Rockefeller Fellow with United States Artists. Currently, Kara is working on a film about a family in Summers County, West Virginia.

Amanda-final-160x160AMANDA ARONCYZK has been a public radio reporter and new media producer for over 15 years, and has worked at Radiolab, Marketplace, Weekend America and The Next Big Thing. As a freelancer, she has produced podcasts for the The New Yorker and Slate, as well as reported and produced for a variety of programs, including the BBC World Service, Freakonomicsand Studio 360. She’s also an adjunct faculty member at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a Soros Justice Media Fellow, and is currently working on The Cost of Crime, a multimedia investigation, into the financial repercussions of imprisonment.

LisaChowLISA CHOW hosts StartUp, a documentary-style, serialized podcast focused on entrepreneurial life. The podcast is produced by Gimlet Media. Before joining Gimlet, Lisa worked as a senior editor at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s relaunched site under ESPN, and as a reporter at NPR and New York Public Radio. She has a BA in applied mathematics from Brown University and an MBA from Columbia University.

SeanCole-160x160SEAN COLE began his radio career as an intern at Boston station WBUR in 1997, and went on to work as field producer for WBUR’s “Morning Edition” and then as a reporter for the documentary series “Inside Out.” Over the years, he’s contributed to lots of other public radio programs including “Radiolab,” “Marketplace,” “Studio 360,” “All Things Considered,” “99% Invisible” and “This American Life” where he is currently on staff. Sean’s awards include an Overseas Press Club citation for his documentary “South Africa’s Kwaito Generation – Inside Out” and a UNITY Award for his story about P.B.S. Pinchback, the first African American governor in U.S. history. He has also published two short collections of poetry and a full-length volume of postcard poems titled “The December Project.”

JohnKeefe-160x160-1JOHN KEEFE is the senior editor for data news and journalism technology at WNYC, New York Public Radio. Keefe infuses WNYC’s journalism with data reporting and interactive news applications, including census analysis, map mashups, news charts and SMS-based crowdsourcing projects. Previously, Keefe led WNYC’s news operation for nine years and grew its capacity for breaking news, election coverage and investigative reporting. His career also includes time as a police reporter at two Wisconsin daily newspapers, as science editor for Discovery Channel Online and as president of a small digital production company. He tweets at @jkeefe.

sruthi_twitter (1)Sruthi Pinnamaneni is a producer at Gimlet Media’s Reply All. Her work has aired on Studio 360, Radiolab, Freakonomics, Marketplace and Love + Radio. She worked on the award-winning feature film, Kumare.  As the audio/video correspondent at The Economist, she traveled between cities and villages in India to produce a series on rural education and the informal economy in slums. Sruthi grew up in South India. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.

Jonathan-final-160x160JONATHAN MITCHELL is the creator and producer of The Truth, a podcast that makes short films without pictures. He’s contributed a wide range of pieces—documentaries, fictional stories, non-narrated sound collages, and original music— to all sorts of public radio programs: Radiolab, Studio 360, This American Life, Hearing Voices, Fair Game, The Next Big Thing, and All Things Considered, to name a few. His work has won many awards, including the Peabody, Third Coast, and the Gold Mark Time Award for Best Science Fiction Audio. He studied music composition at University of Illinois and Mills College, and lives in New York City.

Ryann (1)Ryann Grochowski Jones is a data reporter at ProPublica. Previously, she was a data reporter for Investigative Newsource/KPBS in San Diego, Calif. She received her master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where she was a data librarian for Investigative Reporters and Editors/National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Ryann started her career as a municipal beat reporter for her hometown newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Nancy Updike_CREDIT_David Blumenfeld_180NANCY UPDIKE is one of the founding producers of This American Life. She has reported from Iraq, Egypt, the West Bank, Israel and Gaza, as well as the United States. Her Iraq reporting won a Murrow Award and a Scripps Howard National journalism Award. She was executive producer of This American Life’s second television season, which won the Emmy for outstanding Nonfiction Series.

Christopher-final-160x160-1CHRISTOPHER ALLEN is a founder of UnionDocs and is currently the Artistic Director. After graduating from Columbia University and studying at Trinity College Dublin, Allen worked as a social entrepreneur, documentary director, and new media artist. His individual works and collaborative projects have been exhibited at the MoMA, Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, the Volksbühne Theatre, DirektorenHaus in Berlin, Independent Film Week, Sonár, DIVA, and Conflux Festivals, among many other venues. He directed the interactive documentary Capitol of Punk, which was part of “Design and the Elastic Mind” at the Museum of Modern Art, and he is currently in post-production on the feature Diamond Vehicle, shot in Tibet, China, Nepal, and India. Christopher was founding-partner of Counts Media, and played a leading role in the invention and execution of many art & entertainment concepts there, such as The Ride NY, a live theatrical and cinematic experience on the streets of the city, and Yellow Arrow, a place-based storytelling project exhibited online and in galleries and museums internationally.

AIR is a vibrant, tightly networked association of more than 900 journalists, documentarians, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists spanning 46 states and 20 countries worldwide. Founded in 1988, AIR has emerged as a force for identifying, cultivating, and deploying talent to accelerate public media innovation and expand service to more citizens across the U.S. AIR’s mentorship and training programs, unique in the industry, were launched in 1995 with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation and continuing support from the National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


The fee for the intensive follows the schedule below. A deposit of $75 is due upon application to the program. The balance is payable by Nov 6.

Winter Session Deposit Deadline/Rates:
$75 – Deposit by October 19
$850 – Full Tuition by Nov 6

Please note: If you pay by PayPal, you will be charged a 3% processing fee. Check is accepted by mailing it to UnionDocs at 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn NY 11211.

AIR members living outside of NYC are eligible to receive a stipend ($100) to help underwrite fees and travel. First come, first served. If you’ve received a stipend or mentorship opportunity in the past two years from AIR, you may not be eligible.

Participants coming from outside NYC are responsible for their own transportation and room and board during the intensive. UnionDocs can provide assistance in locating housing and guidance for getting around town for those not native to New York.

Refund Policy:
If you are not accepted into Full Spectrum, you’ll receive a full refund of your deposit. Should you pay the full tuition and need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until November 24.

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].


Feb 16, 2017
7:08 pm

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