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What the F is Narrative? with Karen Given

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From podcast producers to public radio show runners, everyone’s looking for stories that are “narrative.” But how, exactly, do narrative stories differ from traditional radio reports? (Hint: the answer has nothing to do with music, sound effects or chatty narration.)

This workshop will deconstruct the elements of narrative storytelling and offer practical, real-world techniques to turn your “reporting” into “storytelling.” We’ll learn and try-out methods of getting interview subjects to speak in story, discuss options for structuring narrative features, and consider ways to shake out of old habits and embrace a different way of approaching our stories. (And yes, we’ll also talk about music, sound effects, and chatty narration.)

We recommend this workshop to anyone with experience in radio/print journalism who is interested in learning a long-form narrative style.



Karen Given is the Senior Producer of NPR’s Only A Game, produced by WBUR in Boston. She’s worked in radio since she was 16 years old, but only made the switch to narrative about three years ago, when she was tasked with transitioning Only A Game to a narrative/storytelling format. That transition required her to stop being simply a listener of narrative shows. Instead she started start dissecting them, to see how they work.

The transition to narrative has been successful for Only A Game – making it NPR’s fastest growing existing weekend show. And using her newly developed narrative skills, Karen won her second national Edward R. Murrow award for sports reporting in 2017.


The cost of this three-hour workshop is $75 for non-members and $65 for members of the Podcast Garage or members of the Harvard Ed Portal (i.e. any Allston-Brighton resident). Sign up below!

We're offering scholarships for this workshop. Learn more here.

Our programming is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit