DIY TOOLKIT: How to report your own story

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Radio Rookies DIY: How to report your own story

This animated short is part of a toolkit of DIY videos we’re creating in partnership with the Hive NYC Learning Network to teach people to produce their own stories using digital media.  The short, along with the accompanying resources, will help educators teach students of all ages to report autobiographical stories about their own lives.

Here are a some questions to answer when coming up with story ideas:

  • what are you passionate about?
  • what do you have a unique perspective on?
  • is there a social problem you'd like to address in a story?
  • what stories and interview subjects do you have access to? 
  • what sides of a story are often ignored?
  • is there something that might surprise?
  • what's at stake? what do people have to win or lose?
  • what is a story that people don't know about, but should?
  • what is something you are very curious about and want to know more about? (ideally this is true for any story you tackle)

Food for thought: Suggested activities to get you thinking

1) Create a graffiti wall of ideas.

Pin up poster paper around the room and give students 10 minutes (no talking) to brainstorm story ideas by writing their ideas on the poster paper and adding their own +1 thoughts to interesting ideas others have written. Follow-up with a conversation about the stories, their angles, and who they would interview.

2)  Make a map of your world and identity and use that to identify possible story ideas.

-what’s important to YOU?

-what have you experienced that you now have a UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE on?

-what parts of your IDENTITY do you want others to understand?

-what problems do you see in your COMMUNITY?

Discuss identity maps in small groups. Each student writes down their 3 best ideas that come out of the conversation.


3)  Answer these questions for your top 3 story ideas:

       1. Who would you interview?   *keep in mind who you have access to

       2. What do you want to find out?

       3. What is your unique perspective on the subject? What is your point of access? 

        *For example, if I want to report a story on cyberbullying, I might have a unique perspective if I was the victim of cyberbullying who wound up switching schools as a result of it. 

4)  Need more food for thought? Watch this video about where good ideas come from.


Additional Resources:

A digital storytelling tool from Y-Press with interactive videos, links and examples to help young producers create radio stories. Topics include: - Subject & Angle - Research - Questions - Refining the angle

  • Generation PRX: Check out the discussion forums on Generation PRX to find answers on anything from recording equipment to curriculum ideas. Or pose your own questions to the group.
  • Cowbird: Tell your own story on Cowbird -- an online community that provides free storytelling tools and a beautiful platform to share your own or hear stories posted by others.


This DIY video was created in partnership with the Hive NYC Learning Network, a Mozilla project that was founded through The MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative to fuel collaborations between cultural organizations to create new learning pathways and innovative education practices together. Hive NYC is composed of forty non-profit organizations—museums, libraries, after-school clubs and informal learning spaces—that create Connected Learning opportunities for youth.