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Finding the Story with Audio: Antoine Jenkins, 14-year-old campaign canvasser

November 8, 2012

As may know, lately I’ve been exploring digital storytelling through audio. I’ve been curious about how nonprofits and foundations can learn from the expertise of public radio producers in creating compelling stories.

With that in mind, I created this recent experimental piece about Antoine Jenkins who I met recently  on a canvassing trip to Las Vegas. As soon as I met Antoine, I knew I’d found a great “character” for a story.

While recording Antoine, I kept thinking about an excellent presentation by Planet Money’s reporter Robert Smith at the Third Coast Audio Festival. Smith carries a diagram of a story structurein his wallet: a story “embryo” by Dan Harmon, the creator of the TV Show “Community.” See the stages in the diagram on the left.

I realized that for a better story, I needed to record Antoine  going somewhere and doing something. So I made a point of following him as he canvassed for the Obama campaign. Antoine had already entered an unfamiliar situation and had to adapt to it. I included all the door knocking to show the drudgery of the task and how unfulfilling it could it. In the end, Antoine meets an actual voter. But how did Antoine change in the end? I think he felt more confident and like he contributed something important to Obama’s campaign. For me, this was an exercise in constructing an effective story. Let me know what you think.

If your organization wants to do the same, how would you put together a compelling story about a supporter or the community you serve?

Read more on these blogs that shared my audio story. 

Wrapping up a @SoundCloud Demonstration Project to Create & Curate Audio Content

October 26, 2012

For the past ten weeks, I’ve been working on a project supported by a 2012 SoundCloud Fellowship. “Working Now” is all about the working lives of people in the US and around the world. It’s also an homage to the great Studs Terkel and his book “Working” which will be 40 years old soon.

Here’s my audio recap of the project:

Read more…

Video: 6 Ways to Share Effectively via #SocialMedia (via Google+ Hangout on Air)

October 2, 2012

Google+ Hangout on Air:

Example of Integrating Easy Content Creation into Your Social Media Strategy

Today as part of the SPIN Academy in New York, I did a presentation on how to share effectively via social media. I invited folks from the excellent Undocubus/No Papers No Fear to join us via a video chat: B. Loewe, Marisa Franco and Tania Uzueta. Here’s the link to my prezi: 6 Ways to Share Effectively. This was my first experience using a video chat in a live presentation… so I apologize for the shots of the back of my head.

I’m excited by Google+ Hangouts on Air because it’s a great tool for easily recording interviews with folks without assigning them to write or make something for you (see # 6 in my prezi).  And after all, even CNN and the LA Times are using webcams these days!

Here’s a step-by-step checklist for recording your own Google+ Hangout on Air: Read more…

New project with @SoundCloud Fellowship: @WorkingRadio on #WorkingNow

August 22, 2012

The audio-sharing website, SoundCloud, recently selected a project that my Transom Story Workshop classmates and I proposed as a SoundCloud Fellowship. Our idea “Working Now” is to create and share stories about the working lives of people today in the US and around the world. We also want to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the book “Working” by oral historian/radio producer Studs Terkel. Read more…

Audio: @SoundCloud Hero Chats with Audio/Music Producers in Los Angeles

August 7, 2012

As part of my work with SoundCloud’s Heroes program, I interviewed two people I know who are using SoundCloud as part of their art.

Stay tuned for more interviews with other “Soundclouders” in the near future.

Storytelling for Social Change in the South: Social Media Trainings at SPIN & @SEIRN

July 17, 2012

I just got back from two and half weeks in Georgia and North Carolina where I was part of two great gatherings:  the first-ever SPIN Academy in the South and the Southeast Immigrant Rights Conference in Raleigh, NC.

You can check out my Prezis from the conferences here:


Read more…

New Audio: Interviewing My Neighbors for “The Green Door to the Future”

May 1, 2012

Prompted by the Third Coast & Everyblock ShortDocs challenge, I made this radio story about my neighbors in the Village Trailer Park. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!

Check out other great stories that were made for the festival here.