The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Audio Skills Bootcamp

This short, five-session course will be an introduction to audio journalism basics. In it you will learn the basic concepts and tools of writing and production that you need for all forms of audio storytelling. We will use phones as recorders, though participants with professional gear are welcome to use their own equipment, though they must know how to operate it.

Class size: max 12 people.

Technical Requirements

This course will need you to have the following software/apps/tools on your computer:

  • Hindenberg (Free trial access will be provided as part of the course)
  • Zoom app. During these sessions it is often useful for participants to be able to share their screen: if you are on a work computer, or other device which has screen sharing on Zoom disabled, please consider getting the restriction lifted for the duration of this course. We use the facility to enable the trainer to solve problems as they arise; if you can’t share the screen, it makes it much harder to solve problems and learn.
  • Camera and audio

This course will be hosted on Zoom. To find out more about how we use Zoom, please check out our Zoom InfoSec page.

Course Structure

Short exercises will be provided to supplement the training between sessions.


Our training is not recorded: if you miss a session, it is lost – you cannot watch a recording of it, nor will you be allowed to attend that session at a later date.

9 January 2023 – Introduction & How to Write for the Ear

Reporting for radio and podcast is different than writing for print. One is writing for the ear and the other for the eye. To see how different, just open a newspaper and read it out loud. The difference is so extreme, you often have to throw away all the rules you’ve spent a lifetime learning and start from scratch. In this first lesson, you’ll learn key rules of the craft; how to write with and for tape, how to use your voice as a tool and about the importance of the host intro. You’ll get an introduction to different styles and formats and learn mistakes to avoid.

10 January 2023 – How to Interview for Audio

Today you will learn essential audio interviewing skills. You’ll learn what good tape is as well as strategies to employ with dry experts and best practices for sensitive sources. Also, audio is a visual medium – podcasts and radio programs are like movies for the ears. We’ll cover how to paint pictures with sound using scene tape and discuss how to think creatively about capturing that sound when sources are only available via phone or Zoom.

11 January 2023 – How to Edit Using Hindenberg

Class will begin with a short debrief to discuss your interviews and what you learned during the process. Then, you will learn the basics of editing audio tape using Hindenburg: cut, copy, paste and fade. We’ll discuss the ethics of audio: when is it ok to make internal edits to tape or not to identify a source by name? And, music packs a powerful emotional punch which could sway your audience. When is it ok to use? You’ll learn about file types and how to export a mix; how to organize your raw tape and session as well as the overall process and workflow for producing a story from transcript to final script.

16 January 2023 – Feedback on Your Work

During this class you will receive feedback on your work during a group critique.

20 January 2023 – Final Critique

After implementing the feedback from the previous session, you will present a final version of your work to the group for additional feedback.

Sally Herships

Sally Herships is an award-winning journalist and director of the audio program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She covered the pandemic and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for NPR’s National Desk, has been a frequent contributor to NPR’s “Indicator” podcast and has reported for multiple other shows and outlets including Marketplace, the BBC, The New York Times, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
  • 9 January 2023 14.00–15.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 10 January 2023 14.00–15.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 11 January 2023 14.00–16.00 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 16 January 2023 14.00–16.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 20 January 2023 14.00–16.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
Location: Zoom meeting