Audio Storytelling & Audio Profile Project

Week 7 Plan

  1. Reminder: Blog Post 4 – Journalistic Web Story due tonight by 11:59 p.m.
  2. In-Class Assignment: Audio Stories
  3. Review of Popular Audio Storytelling on StoryCorps, NPR, and Podcasts
  4. In-Class Assignment: Your Future in Podcasting
  5. Review of Blog Post 5 – Audio Profile (Raw and Edited)

In-Class Assignment #1 for Week 7: Audio Stories

On a piece of paper, answer the following questions. When you’re done, pass your answers to the person next to you. Quietly read their answers. Then, talk about any differences or similarities that you and they have in your answers.

  1. What can make audio stories more powerful than written stories or visual stories?
  2. What are some challenges about audio stories?
  3. What information would you like to remember from Ch. 6?

Overview of Audio Storytelling Unit

Journalism oftentimes gives a voice to the voiceless. With audio journalism, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio storytelling.

Note that for the upcoming audio assignment, you will do an audio profile on someone. You will interview someone for 5 minutes and then edit the audio to 2 minutes. You will also take their portrait and include their portrait on the respective blog post. This assignment is designed to introduce you to:

  1. The planning and forethought that go into audio stories
  2. The technical and editing skills that go into audio stories
  3. The storytelling and narrative skills that go into audio stories
  4. Portrait photography to supplement an audio profile on someone

Story Corps

Story Corps is one example of powerful audio storytelling from everyday people. Let’s watch the introduction video on this page.

Let’s listen to some stories that you could use for inspiration.

William Lynn Weaver

Amy Sherald and Elise Pepple

Check out other stories as well.

National Public Radio

NPR provides the best audio journalism in the United States. Here’s an example of their reporting. Notice the journalist’s narration, the sources’ quotes, and the audio of specific examples relevant to the story.

First though, let’s read the print story. Then, we’ll listen to the audio story. We’ll compare the stories and discuss the differences as well as the similarities.

What feels different about the audio vs. text versions?

What do you like and dislike about the different versions?

What are the audio version’s strengths and weaknesses? What are the text version’s strengths and weaknesses?


Podcasts are also increasingly important for journalists and communicators to grow an audience and a brand. Let’s read a primer about podcasting and journalism.

You can also find advice about journalism itself on podcasts.

Advertisers and public relations professionals have also noticed that podcasts provide an opportunity for trusted podcast hosts to pitch products and services.

Let’s take a look at Pew Research Center data on Audio and Podcasting.

Do you have a favorite podcast?

If you’ve never listened to a podcast, here are some to search: NPR Podcast Directory, Wyoming Public Radio Podcasts, and iTunes.

My personal favorites are:

In-Class Assignment #2 for Week 7: Your Future In Podcasting

Now that know more about the logistics and benefits of podcasting, let’s brainstorm a way that YOU can use podcasting in your future career.

Whether you plan to be a freelancer (i.e., independent media content creator), a journalist, a public relations representative, or an advertising copy writer, there is a niche for powerful podcasting.

Please take about 10-15 minutes thinking and researching these questions.

  1. What are your future career possibilities that you’ve considered?
  2. To what extent would producing a podcast help you in your career goals?
  3. To what extent are there podcasts that exist for your preferred career field?
  4. To what extent would regular listening to podcasting help you learn about your industry?

Audio Profile Project

Please download the instructions for Blog Post 5 – Audio Profile (Raw and Edited) and we’ll review what you’ll be accomplishing with audio!

Also, let’s listen to a student example of a raw interview and then the edited interview (Nicholas Robinson interviewing Jordan Blazovich).

Here’s one more example of a raw interview and the final interview (Acadia Munari interviewing Jeremy Vincent).


About The Author

I'm an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Wyoming. In my ninth year at UW, I regularly teach multimedia production, web design, political communication, quantitative research methods, and media, science, and society.