The Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive


JUNE 25-29, 2018

At UnionDocs, Brooklyn, NY



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 our findings. The result: An audio-forward week of intense training with workshops covering experiments in writing and interviewing, sound in space, community stories,  and the future of audio.

Where: UnionDocs in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York
When: June 25-29, 2018

The Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Meet our instructors or look at our Summer 2018 Curriculum!


Summer 2018 Preview

From multimedia journalism to branded podcasts to live events, storymaking is pushing the boundaries. Now more than ever before, independent producers are in demand. But in order to succeed in a quickly evolving and growing media space, independent radio producers need to do everything from editing to branding, live event planning to contract management, and fact-checking to sound design. Over the course of this week, you’ll learn skills from an interdisciplinary group of specialists that will help to position you for the bright and exciting future of radio.

Full Spectrum will expand your definition of what storytelling can be, while imparting concrete skills to add to your producer tool kit. Lead instructor and 2014 New Voice Scholar Emanuele Berry will draw from her work with various shows at Gimlet Media. She will head an interdisciplinary group of accomplished specialists to take you on a journey from storytelling to interactive design to composing. Our instructors come from RadioLab, This American Life, The New York Times, Gimlet Media, independent backgrounds, and beyond.

The week will be a combination of hands-on instruction, workshops, lectures, pitch sessions, experiments—and even an excursion or two. We’re looking for producers with the desire to expand their skills and their minds.


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


June 25-29, 2018

Full attendance is mandatory. If you are unable to attend each day of the intensive, please do not apply. Class meets from 10 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Lunch will be provided on Monday and light snacks will be provided throughout the week.


Who is eligible?

We are looking for producers and story-first technologists from all walks of the media industry and beyond who have demonstrable skills in 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 producers outside of the New York area are eligible for a small travel stipend. A work sample is required with your application.

Please note: Participants will not be producing projects during the week.

Full Tuition Scholarship

AIR and UnionDocs are proud to offer a scholarship to one Full Spectrum attendee who can demonstrate financial need. Please submit your request for the scholarship, which waives the full tuition for the Intensive, on the Full Spectrum application form.


Application Period: April 9 – April 27, 2018
Tuition: $850

Additional Travel Reimbursement for AIRsters

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

If you’d like to join AIR to become eligible for the travel stipend, visit here. 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

Full payment from those accepted to Full Spectrum is due May 18, 2018. After May 18, tuition is non-refundable.

To learn more:

Questions? Contact Program Director Tran Vu at

Summer 2018 Curriculum Overview

Emanuele Berry, The Nod, Gimlet Media
So you’ve perfected the craft of the four minute story. Maybe you’ve tried your hand at a seven minute feature, but can you keep listeners engaged for 30 minutes? Now more than ever, media outlets are making more space for long-form projects. How do you make the transition from breaking news to long-form? Instructor Emanuele Berry went from covering breaking news in Ferguson, Missouri, to creating documentary-style podcasts at Gimlet Media. She discovered that the biggest difference was the stories she pitched and how she pitched them. In this session, you’ll learn how to determine if you have a long-form story or a short feature. We’ll also explore how to hook people using narrative skills, how much prep work you should do, and how to cater your pitch to different outlets.

Lisa Chow, StartUp, Gimlet Media
We like to think of people as being good or bad. But bad guys can do good things. And good guys can do bad things. Lisa Chow will offer guidance on telling stories about problematic central characters, and how to structure a series around an uncooperative subject.

Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times
Journalistic investigations have the potential to make significant impact—but only if the work is engaging enough to make people listen. In this class, you’ll learn how to synthesize months of reporting into little morsels of intrigue that will make your audience feel like instant experts, while also making them crave more of what’s inside your notebook. You will learn how to connect your findings with a narrative arc, using characters and scenes to make for richer and more suspenseful stories that will stick with your listeners long after they hear your work.

Alex Lewis, Independent Radio Producer and Localorian
For Localore: Finding America, AIR asked independent producers like Alex Lewis to collaborate with citizens to help tell a new story about the rich diversity of America today. Alex will share insights to change the way you think about telling stories from your local community and building deeper connections within the community you serve.

Alex Overington, Radiolab, WNYC
Learn how to use music and sound design to turn radio pieces into true compositions. Alex Overington will lead this session on how to score your pieces with music—and other sounds. You may never need to resort to the Free Music Archive again.

Tobin Low, Nancy, WNYC, 2014 New Voices Scholar
The piloting process for a new podcast is tricky. It’s a daunting process of pitching a show and then culling down the endless possibilities of what your show could be to find out what it actually is. Tobin Low will use his experience piloting Nancy to take you through developing a new show and finding its distinctive voice and sensibility.

Christopher Allen, Founder, UnionDocs
Alison Kobayashi, Multimedia Artist
Christopher Allen and Alison Kobayashi will present the first act of Say Something Bunny, an immersive performance based on found audio, followed by a presentation and discussion of UnionDocs’s expansive documentary production Living Los Sures.

Nadia Reiman, This American Life
You can have the most interesting story in the world and it can come off boring in the telling. Similarly, you can have the simplest narrative in the world and you can make it very compelling. It’s all in the editing—what do you keep, what do you cut, and how do you write in a way that engages (hint: less is more, but only if it’s sharp). In this class we’ll talk about how to edit something—how to listen for those moments that you should keep, how to write around tape to make it pop, and how to shape a story in the first place to make it as engaging as possible. Any story needs this, and you can apply this even to short segments on a news show. We’ll unpack secrets from editors and we’ll talk about what your editors want—and when to know you’ve found a good one.

Summer 2018 Instructors and Guest Speakers

Biography Headshot

Emanuele Berry, lead instructor

Emanuele Berry has told tales from the mitten state, wandered around St. Louis with a microphone, and taught English in the Vegas of Asia. She is currently a producer and reporter for the Gimlet Media’s podcast The Nod. Before joining the The Nod, she worked on Gimlet’s Undone and StartUp. In the past, she told stories as a public radio reporter, covering everything from the World Dwarf Games to protest in Ferguson, Missouri. Emanuele is a 2014 AIR New Voices Scholar. She is also the recipient of a 2015 Fulbright award to Macau, China.

Biography Headshot

Christopher Allen

Christopher 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.

Biography Headshot

Lisa Chow

Lisa Chow is host of Gimlet Media’s StartUp, a documentary-style podcast series on entrepreneurial life. Before joining Gimlet, she was a senior editor at FiveThirtyEight and a reporter at NPR’s Planet Money and WNYC. She graduated from Brown with a degree in applied math, and she has an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Biography Headshot

Caitlin Dickerson

Caitlin Dickerson is a national immigration reporter based in New York. Since joining The Times in 2016, she has broken news about changes in deportation and detention policy, and profiled the lives of immigrants, including those without legal status. She frequently appears as a guest on The Daily podcast, and has filled in as its host.

Biography Headshot

Alison S. M. Kobayashi

Alison S. M. Kobayashi is a visual artist working in video, performance, installation and drawing. She has exhibited and screened work widely in North America and overseas at venues such as Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Jakarta International Film Festival, The Power Plant Contemporary, Anthology Film Archives, Bilbao International Film Festival, and The Flaherty International Film Seminar. In 2012 she was commissioned by Les Subsistances (Lyon, France) to develop and stage her first live performance. Her most recent project is the extremely popular performance Say Something Bunny!, based on two audio spools hidden inside an obsolete wire recorder purchased at an estate sale. She was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario and is currently based in Brooklyn.
Biography Headshot

Alex Lewis

Alex Lewis is an independent radio producer and musician based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s currently the Senior Producer of Saturday Night & Sunday Morning: The Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul – an audio documentary project with WXPN and The Dig, a podcast from Jacobin Magazine. For the past decade, he’s made radio features and audio documentaries for public radio programs and podcasts. Recently, he was the Lead Producer of Every ZIP Philadelphia, a Localore: Finding America collaboration with AIR and WHYY.

Biography Headshot

Tobin Low

Tobin Low is the co-host and co-managing editor of Nancy. He also served as a producer on the first season of More Perfect. His work has appeared on Marketplace, Studio 360, and the Codebreaker podcast. Tobin is a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop, and was selected by the Association of Independents in Radio to be a New Voices Scholar in 2014. Special skills include moderate circus tricks and a truly awful British accent.

Biography Headshot

Alex Overington

Alex Overington is the composer and Technical Director of Radiolab Presents: More Perfect. Before joining More Perfect, he produced and co-created Peabody Award-winning Meet the Composer for WQXR. He also served as in-house composer for WNYC Studios, helping to launch several shows including Nancy and 2 Dope Queens. After graduating from Oberlin Conservatory, Alex apprenticed under Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost at Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Biography Headshot

Nadia Reiman

Nadia Reiman has been making radio since 2005, when she started covering Capitol Hill with a minidisc recorder and no journalism experience for a small Spanish-language politics show. She then worked for many years at StoryCorps, where she and other team members won a Peabody Award for their 9/11 coverage. Nadia was also the Senior Editor at NPR’s Latino USA, where her work received the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Ñ Award among others. She’s also written about music for online publications and has translated both fiction and nonfiction.

UnionDocs (UnDo) is a Center for Documentary Art that generates and shares big ideas. We bring together a diverse community of experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, critical thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.

AIR is a vibrant talent network of more than 1,200 makers powering public media, audio, and podcasting. Founded in 1988, AIR identifies, cultivates and deploys storymakers who create innovative work, challenge and inspire other media makers, and find resources in digital, broadcasting, and podcasting. AIR’s programs activate talent to accelerate public media innovation and expand service to more citizens across the U.S.

NYSCA Logo - Black

Major funding for Full Spectrum is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.