Audio Journalism

From “All Things Considered” to “Serial,” much of America’s most innovative new journalism is audio storytelling. The J-School offers solid training in the expertise students need to produce outstanding audio across media platforms: Terrestrial radio. Podcasting. Satellite radio. Internet radio.

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What was once called “radio” has been reinvented as a powerful, nimble and increasingly indispensable medium. Audio platforms are evolving, but the immediacy and intimacy of storytelling with sound make digital audio a dynamic vehicle for the best in journalism – locally, nationally and internationally.

The J-school’s audio training has evolved as well.

Berkeley's radio program began in 1983 under the tutelage of Professor William Drummond.

Old-fashioned reel-to-reel tape recorders have given way to high-speed computers and the latest audio-based software. In 2014, Continuing Lecturer Ben Manilla was named Academic Coordinator for Audio.

Intro to Radio students produce a weekly news-magazine show called North Gate Radio. This award-winning radio program can be heard here.

In addition to Intro, there are courses in Advanced Radio, Audio Storytelling, and Podcasting. One student podcast is The Bell Curve.

Audio students produce hard-news stories, investigative reports and cultural features. Plus, each and every J-School student receives basic training in capturing sound and creating audio narratives.

The program emphasizes professional editing, technical skills, and public interest journalism, along with top-quality documentary production, and helps with professional placement following graduation.

J-Grads have secured positions at major radio stations both public and commercial, podcast companies, and networks. In 2012 and 2015, alumni were selected for prestigious Kroc Fellowships at NPR.

Radio students learn their craft in the Madeleine H. Russell Radio Lab, using advanced digital editing equipment. From controlling and projecting their voices to writing concise and crisp audio scripts, the J-School prepares students to become audio journalists.

Advanced Audio students create their own podcasts, documentaries, or features. Established media outlets eventually broadcast student projects.

Students who elect to focus on audio story-telling are encouraged to pursue distribution partners by the fall of their second year and secure approved distribution partners by spring of their second year. The master's thesis project is incorporated into the curriculum of Advanced Audio.

Led by Peabody Award-winning producer Ben Manilla, the J-School course instructors have included Kelly McEvers (NPR), Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva (The Kitchen Sisters), Victoria Mauleon (KQED), Joshua Johnson (KQED), Anna Sussman (Snap Judgment) and Claire Schoen (Rise).

Regular guests have included Daniel Zwerdling, Tamara Keith, Neal Conan, Roman Mars, and Jad Abumrad.

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