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Taylar Dawn Stagner

Taylar Dawn Stagner

New Voices '23

Tell us about yourself:

Tous! I grew up on a cattle ranch in central Wyoming where I read as many books as I could and gained an appreciation for the power of storytelling. After acquiring an associates in acting, I went on to get two more degrees in American Studies, an interdisciplinary field that interrogates American history and literature. 

I started my writing career at Wyoming Public Media in 2018 with an internship and have been a journalist ever since. 

I have won an Edward R. Murrow Award for a podcast episode on rural drag queens in Wyoming. I also mentor young audio journalists for NPR’s Next Generation: Indigenous. 

Currently, I have received an Uproot Environmental Journalism Fellowship and a Wyoming Art Council’s Native Art Fellowship in Creative Writing and Journalism. 

A piece of yours or project (in any medium) that you'd like to share.

Currently, I’m working on a novel about our relationship with buffalo and environmental futurisms. It also deals a lot with anger and what peace means while piecing out your Indigenous identity. It's something I, and a lot of other Indigenous creators, wrestle with.

What draws you to storytelling?

I love storytelling because it brings people together to learn, to listen, to understand. Being understood is something I struggle with, so to flesh out an idea in writing and to read others' work is very exciting and rewarding. No matter the medium. But audio has that intimate quality to it, right?

What excites you the most about being a New Voices Scholar?

Getting to meet so many audio storytellers has been so exciting! I’m over the moon to be able to converse with such thoughtful people with great ideas for podcasts that are going to make our world a better place. 

It brings a tear to the eye to see so many passionate people come together as so many layoffs have been happening in recent years.

What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?

I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I’m getting through The Wheel of Time series. A great fantasy epic about the cyclical nature of time and connection.

As for music, I've been enjoying some hardcore and metal bands. Indigenous melodic hardcore band Heart Museum is one that I was recently made aware of, and Indigenous black metal outfit Blackbraid is also in my queue. Alien Weaponry is also good.

As for podcasts, I love NPRmageddon because it's funny and quippy delivered in that classic NPR style you hear on Morning Edition, except with mutant rats. 

I also just listened to the newest season of Cocaine and Rhinestones, a great history podcast about country music.

What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?

Transcription services you don’t have to pay for!

What is something you want to see more of in the industry?

I wish more Indigenous people in the podcasting world. Telling your story is hard, and sometimes it feels like when you get picked up for audio jobs, whosoever paying you wants your story. Even if it hurts to tell. 

I think more Indigenous audio producers would help alleviate that impulse that settlers have to pressure people into, excuse the visceral language, bleed for them. 

Who/What are your radio/audio inspirations and why?

NPRmageddon is a delight and I wish there was more like that out right now. Very Welcome to Night Vale. They remind me of Christopher Guest and the Zucker brothers movies, but you know, for the ear.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Protect your stories. Especially the ones that mean a lot to you.

Connect with Taylar on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.