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BPL patrons and staff learn audio storytelling skills in order to amplify the stories of their neighborhoods and themselves. A man and a woman recording a podcast

Overview

Brooklyn’s story needs to be told in the voices of Brooklynites. This workshop will empower participants to create personal narratives or locally reported stories for podcasts and radio. Students will complete one piece to debut on “Borrowed,” BPL’s podcast, and gain skills to help their future stories find bigger audiences.

Over the course of three months together, fifteen BPL patrons and staff will learn the skills of nonfiction audio storytelling. Participants will come in with little or no knowledge about what it takes to make a podcast or radio story and leave with a polished final narrative that can debut on “Borrowed” or on other audio platforms. “Hear Me Out” will use the library as a place to create and find narratives of life in Brooklyn. Part of the aim of the program is to diversify the kinds of stories we hear about our borough. New York City has recently seen the closure and shrinking of local news outlets, which has left some media professional wondering who will be left to tell Brooklyn’s story. With more news, information and storytelling happening on podcasts and radio, giving our patrons and staff the tools to be heard will enrich our community, increase audio literacy, and encourage participants to look at their own lives and experiences as stories that deserve to be heard.

Among library staff and in the broader Brooklyn community, there are many people who want to start a podcast but don’t know how. “Hear Me Out” will fill that gap. It will be a start-to-finish, comprehensive audio program that covers writing, recording, editing and storytelling, all for free, with the aim of deepening the kinds of stories Brooklyn tells about itself. Participating in “Hear Me Out” could also help staff start their own podcasting programs at their branches.

Desired Outcomes

Participants will become more familiar with recording equipment, editing software, and the basic tools and structures of good storytelling. A portion of the workshop series will also provide information about platforms for continuing their audio production interests, whether that be starting their own podcasts or continuing to produce stories for “Borrowed” or public radio outlets. 

This proposal was prepared for the Central Library. 

Sources:

https://www.cjr.org/special_report/local-news-new-york-city.php

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/whos-left-covering-brooklyn-with-the-big-newspapers-in-retreat/570073/

https://www.podcastinsights.com/podcast-statistics/

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