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Conference Sessions

Dive into scores of Third Coast Conference sessions offering wisdom - on everything from production skills to journalistic ethics - from the best makers on the planet.


Shop Talks (Thursday afternoon small sessions!)

Between 2pm - 4:30pm on Thursday afternoon, producers can take their first dip into the Third Coast Conference with Shop Talks. Shop Talks are a chance for producers to take part in small sessions in business, education and more.

  • 2017
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What Happened When I Stopped Making Radio... and Started Listening

Last year, after 15 years of making Radiolab, and more recently More Perfect, Jad Abumrad took a break. Some time off to think about things. About what's next. And during that gap - which happened to come at a time when a lot of us were asking ourselves basic questions like... does what we do matter anymore? - he began to collect some stories. Small little tales about the power hidden in the mundane aspects of telling stories. In this session, he'll share those stories.

  • 2017
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Beyond the Green: Radical Encounters in Interviewing

What can radio journalism learn from performance art? A LOT. Multimedia-maker Sook-Yin Lee and audio artist Veronica Simmonds share art-world practices that can re-invigorate the standard radio interview. In this session they introduce unconventional inspiration for their CBC podcast Sleepover. From Bela Tarr's seven-hour cinema provocation to documentarian Allan King’s fly-on-the-wall disappearing act, find out how time + space + face-to-face durational encounters with strangers = exceptional stories.

  • 2017
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Seven Things I’ve Learned

This American Life host Ira Glass talks about seven things he’s learned. Narrative theory, how to interview kids, how to talk normal on the radio, how to fail productively, how to go in the most efficient possible way from a dozen hours of uncut interviews to a set of quotes in an workable order and a story structure. Also: things he learned from his colleagues on Serial and S-Town . Important warning: he may discuss more than just seven things.

  • 2017
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The argument of “objectivity”

Is traditional “objectivity” in journalism on its way out? Journalist Lewis Wallace thinks abandoning old notions of supposedly objective, neutral reporting is a good thing for the industry—and a necessary part of making journalism more diverse. News director and editor Alicia Montgomery believes that the principle of objectivity is critical to rebuilding trust between citizens and the media, but that journalism leaders must begin to apply it across the newsroom consistently. The two will hash out points of agreement and disagreement with a focus on audience participation, creating space for debate about the future of journalistic ethics, voice, and representation.

  • 2017
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AIR's Bitchin' Pitch Panel

A bonafide Third Coast tradition, this session pulls back the curtain on one of the most difficult and important skills every producer needs to master: how to pitch. AIR’s Bitchin' Pitch Panel puts pitchers directly in front of a power panel of editors, selling their stories with a little help from producer Leila Day, co-host of The Stoop podcast.

  • 2017
  • 0

2017 Provocations

A series of short talks from producers who hope to dare and ignite.

  • 2017
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Complicated Characters

Dov Charney, the founder and ex-CEO of American Apparel, built the company through his charisma and force of will. But he also slept with employees, faced multiple sexual harassment suits, and was ultimately fired from his company. Lisa Chow and her team at StartUp produced a 7-part series documenting Charney's controversial past and his attempt to start over. She’ll offer guidance for telling stories about problematic central characters, and how to structure a series around an uncooperative subject.

  • 2017
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How to become an investigative reporter with one simple trick: Ask a good question

Madeleine Baran and Samara Freemark of In the Dark, love the intimacy of radio and the power it has to transport us into other people’s lives. But as producers of an investigative podcast, they think audio storytelling can do more. They’ll teach you how to use the power of a good question to transform your reporting and writing, and how to turn slice-of-life stories into impactful investigative journalism.

  • 2017
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The Confessional: When is a Personal Story Worth Sharing?

You'd like to turn the mic on yourself to share your most personal story, but how do you ensure others will want to listen? Also, should you bare your soul, and, if you do, how do you maintain journalistic integrity while doing so? Through a retracing of the making of As Many Leaves, a highly personal meditation on loss, producers Alan Hall (Falling Tree) and Sally Herships (Independent) share the challenges they faced crafting a personal tale meant to resonate broadly, as well as the approaches they honed along the way.

  • 2017
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Reality Check!

In June of 2017, Third Coast hosted a frank discussion about what it takes to make it in today’s podcast landscape, featuring: Jenna Weiss-Berman (Pineapple Street Media), Alex Blumberg (Gimlet Media), N’Jeri Eaton (NPR) and Julie Shapiro (Radiotopia).

  • 2017
  • 01:55:01

Bitchin' Pitchin': The Art of the Pitch / Day 2

A bonafide Third Coast tradition, this session pulls back the curtain on one of the most difficult and important skills every producer needs to master: how to pitch a story.

  • 2017
  • 01:16:58

The Bigness of the Small Story

From the 2016 Third Coast Conference... celebrated author, filmmaker and radio journalist Alex Kotlowitz talks about the power of a finely crafted intimate narrative.

  • 2016
  • 01:16:42

The Sound of Breaking News

You’re sent to cover breaking news – a natural disaster or a large-scale accident or crime. You don’t have much time, or much warning. How do you bring back sound-rich, interesting tape, that makes listeners perk up their ears?

  • 2016
  • 01:15:56

Audio Educators Swap Meet

Get ready to steal from the best. Your educator colleagues at Third Coast have a fount of wisdom to offer, from hard-won mentoring insights to crafty teaching hacks. (Note: Audio will not be available.)

  • 2016
  • 0

The Pit of Despair

For some people, making great radio is easy. Ben Calhoun has no idea what those people are talking about! For him, making radio is hard, beset by self-doubt -- and he finds it’s often easy to get stuck.

  • 2016
  • 01:19:41

First Off... This is in Really Good Shape

In this session for editors - or anyone who wants to help someone else shape a story – Gimlet Media’s Jorge Just explores the delicate art of making good things better.

  • 2016
  • 01:28:46

Compose yourself: a producer’s guide to working with musicians

It’s becoming more common for podcast producers to work with composers to create an original soundtrack. At this session, producer Michael May and composer/producer Nick DePrey share their techniques for bringing a piece to life with music and sound design.

  • 2016
  • 01:15:20

Mudslide: The Election of 2016

With the ink on the ballots still wet, Third Coast dives into the past year of political reporting. How were journalists most - and least - successful covering the presidential election and its voters? And: where do we go from here?

  • 2016
  • 01:26:31

Bitchin' Pitchin': The Art of the Pitch / Day 1

A bonafide Third Coast tradition, this session pulls back the curtain on one of the most difficult and important skills every producer needs to master: how to pitch a story.

  • 2016
  • 01:15:20

Chapter and Verse

A guide to constructing a serialized narrative from Julie Snyder, co-creator of Serial and former senior producer of This American Life . (NOTE: Audio will not be available.)

  • 2016
  • 0

Blockbuster Sound

Danish-based producer Tim Hinman, of the podcast Third Ear, finds inspiration for his exquisite sound design at the movies, and in this session he shares how it’s done.

  • 2016
  • 01:20:32