Steer Clear of These Five Science Reporting Pitfalls


Andrea Mustain

PRX has taken on big initiatives in the last few years to create original science programming, including our STEM Story Project open call for science audio ideas, our Transistor podcast which features many of those, the space podcast Orbital Path, and the Outside Magazine podcast on the science of survival.

We asked our science editor Andrea Mustain, who edited all of 2015’s STEM stories and is now also an editor for Orbital Path, to share her wisdom on science reporting.

Steer Clear of These Five Science Reporting Pitfalls
A (very short) guide for audio producers

by PRX Science Editor Andrea Mustain

Science reporting gives you entrée to a nearby yet rather mysterious country—a place with an arcane language all its own, that outsiders rarely get to visit. (This, to me, is what makes science reporting challenging and fun.)

It’s also a privilege that brings with it some pretty big responsibilities. You must bring back something of substance: a compelling narrative that is also informative, accurate, and clear. To that end, a few perils to note—and avoid.

1. The gee-whiz trap. Also known as the, “I just read the press release” trap.

This is a pretty obvious one. Always read the full journal article before you head into an interview. Press releases sometimes drift into dangerously hyperbolic territory. PR departments are tasked with drumming up coverage, and that can lead to scary words like “breakthrough” and “game changer.” This is not to say that communications departments are full of deceptive, conniving people. Many are staffed with deeply thoughtful and responsible science writers, steeped in the research that is coming out of their institutions. However, that is not always the case. Beware the too-good-to-be-true press release.

When you actually talk to the scientists behind a paper, their takeaways are sometimes very different from what you see in the press release. And if you haven’t read the research, you a) won’t be able to ask intelligent questions, and b) may come off as naive. PR departments are just trying to do their jobs. Make sure you do yours.

2. The scaredy-cat trap.

Scientists are people, too. Some are wonderful communicators, and others aren’t. Some are wonderfully gracious, and happy to explain something to you over and over; others may helpfully suggest you go take a physics class. So when you run into trouble understanding something, don’t get scared and give up after the third try. It never works to just drop some gorpy, technical tape into your story, and have the scientists “tell it in their own words.” If you don’t understand something, your audience won’t either. (If I’m running into trouble, I ask my interviewees to start over, and explain the concept as if they are addressing a 12-year-old.)

Keep asking for clarification or different explanations, even if you’re worried you’re being annoying or sound like a dummy—you must always be able to accurately explain every scientific concept in your story in your own words.

3. The trap that’s like a fried egg riding a watermelon airplane. Or, the terrible/wrong metaphor trap.

Metaphors are a powerful tool for science writing. A good one can instantly repackage a befuddling concept, and make the science both appetizing and digestible. A bad one can ruin your day.

A poorly constructed metaphor is dangerous. If it’s trite, or doesn’t conjure a helpful image, you’ve possibly bored your audience—or worse, confused them. If a metaphor is inaccurate, you have lied to your audience. It’s helpful to run through your ideas with researchers during your interviews, so they can help you fine-tune for accuracy.

Of course, it is your job to make sure that you also think the metaphor gets the job done. You can’t be entirely beholden to scientists. It is ultimately your decision; but you must be confident of your understanding of the science before you can craft an appropriate metaphor.

4. The “I’ll just Google it” trap.

The Internet is not a reliable fact checker. It certainly can’t take the place of verifying something with experts. If something in your notes strikes you as dubious, or if you are even the teeniest bit unsure of the meaning, check back with a researcher. To illustrate, a cautionary tale:

One of the stories created for PRX’s open call STEM Story Project in 2015 used a very impressive metaphor. Our producer got it from a scientist, and it was a great illustration of a particular phenomenon. But as we got closer to the final mix, something didn’t feel right. It was too impressive. But the dang metaphor appeared in several news stories; two different reporters couldn’t have gotten it wrong..right? And in fact, the producer insisted that, based on interview notes, the metaphor was accurate. I decided we had to triple check.

When I went back to the researchers, they said no, this comparison was actually not accurate at all. Reporters had (quite innocently) misinterpreted a simile the scientists had come up with themselves. As one researcher put it, “I think the science writer went a bit too far in the analogy.” Thankfully, they weren’t able to say that about the PRX story—we changed the script. The lesson here is, double-check your work during the reporting process. Find mistakes early.

5. The jazz hands trap.

In some hands, fancy production leads to incomparably beautiful radio. So it’s tempting to think that because some amazing shows (backed by a raft of talented staff) do this flawlessly, you should, too. A science audio story is just the place to bring your composer friend on board, and get crazy with the soundbeds. But be honest about the skills and tools you have at your disposal. You may be a phenomenal basketball player, but that doesn’t mean you can tap dance.

Besides, a story doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to move a listener. At the heart of any great radio—whether it’s highly produced, or just you and some tape—is a powerful story supported by strong reporting, excellent writing, and an invested narrator. No jazz hands required.

PRX and Transistor Podcast Introduce Trace Elements Series

PRX is thrilled to welcome a new special series of episodes on its podcast, Transistor. The episodes, called Trace Elements, feature hosts Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek as they take us on an off-road trip into the science that connects us.

Each episode explores something new. Whether it’s a medical mystery, the future of social robots, or implanting foreign objects into your body — Trace Elements is on it.

The first episode introduces us to a man who woke up from a hospital procedure and no longer felt any fear. Learn more and listen here, and get the official press release below.


PRX and Transistor Podcast Introduce Trace Elements Series

Cambridge, MA (March 10, 2016)—Award-winning public media company PRX is launching a new series of episodes on its popular science podcast, Transistor. The five special episodes, called Trace Elements, are produced by and feature dynamic hosts Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek. The series is meant to be an off-road trip into the science that connects us.

The episodes are part of PRX’s commitment to creating and distributing new science programming, especially from women, on Transistor. The podcast is supported with funds provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Quinn and Bruzek both work as journalists in the Boston area.

“Cristina and Alison’s style is what attracted us to these episodes. They ask the right questions about science, and their curiosity and chemistry make science stories utterly engaging,” said PRX Chief Content Officer John Barth.

Trace Elements launches on Transistor March 10 with an episode titled, “The Reset”. The episode focuses on a man who no longer feels fear following a hospital procedure. It’s part medical mystery, part psychological quandary, and it urges listeners to reflect on how fears can define us.

Trace Elements will be featured on Transistor every other week. Subscribe to Transistor on iTunes or transistor.prx.org/subscribe.

PRX’s other science initiatives funded by the Sloan Foundation include the podcast Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller, Blank on Blank’s animated series The Experimenters, the Outside Magazine podcast, and entries from the STEM Story Project.

About PRX
PRX is shaping the future of public media content, talent and technology. PRX is a leading creator and distributor, connecting audio producers with their most engaged, supportive audiences across broadcast, web and mobile. A fierce champion of new voices, new formats, and new business models, PRX advocates for the entrepreneurial producer. PRX is an award-winning media company, reaching millions of weekly listeners worldwide. For over a dozen years, PRX has operated public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio shows including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour and Reveal. Follow us on Twitter at @prx.

About Transistor
Transistor is podcast of scientific curiosities and current events, featuring guest hosts, scientists, and story-driven reporters. Presented by radio & podcast powerhouse PRX, with support from the Sloan Foundation.

About Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek

Cristina Quinn is a radio and TV journalist. She got her on-air start in Japan, hosting “Let’s English!” for FM-Aizu. Stateside, she’s been WGBH’s Weekend Edition anchor in Boston and became the station’s first midday news anchor. Cristina has done in-depth reporting on innovations in science, technology, and social issues. Her stories air locally on WGBH radio and TV’s Greater Boston, and have aired nationally on NPR News, PRI’s The World, and Innovation Hub. She has a journalism degree from UMass Amherst and a master’s in visual and media arts from Emerson College.

Alison Bruzek is a science writer and radio producer. Originally from the nation’s heartland, she has been known to occasionally reprise her Minnesotan accent. She is currently a freelance producer for WBUR in Boston. Prior to that, she worked as a video producer for WGBH. Before she came to radio, she developed science curriculum and science center programs with The HistoryMakers, an African American video oral history collection.

Case Study: Esquire Classic Podcast for Broadcast

Podcast to broadcast.

mundt
Todd Mundt

We kick around this notion all the time at PRX: can the stories and styles that work so well in the highly intimate podcast medium also work in the mass form of radio?

Some do, some really don’t, and I am skeptical of podcast-to-broadcast working in every case. But KUOW in Seattle is one of those daring stations that’s willing to try something at least once. A few weeks back Todd Mundt, managing producer at KUOW, reached out to PRX saying he’s a big fan of the Esquire Classic podcast that we produce with Esquire magazine.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.58.46 PMEvery two weeks, Esquire editor Tyler Cabot, host David Brancaccio (and anchor of the Marketplace Morning Report from APM), producer Curtis Fox and I select a nonfiction story from the Esquire archives. The Esquire Classic podcast then dissects the story and its background—the assignment, editing, twists and turns—and its newfound context in the 21st century. Cindy Katz, an actor, usually reads excerpts live and David interviews an expert: the article’s original  author, editor, or someone else who really knows the material.

Todd suggested trying an episode for broadcast in Seattle. “The larger KUOW view is that we find, curate and present the most interesting content from wherever we can get it,“ he said. That mindset attracted him to an episode about a Tom Wolfe story profiling Silicon Valley pioneer Robert Noyce. Noyce was a major developer of the silicon chip, and helped create the entrepreneurial culture that we now associate with innovation. Brancaccio interviewed acclaimed tech reporter Kara Swisher of Re/code for the podcast.

Noycesq
Robert Noyce

“It was a moment to present a story the [Seattle] audience would find interesting,” said Todd. “This was a creation moment for Silicon Valley, the whole ethos of it, and Kara is in a unique position as a chronicler. With Brancaccio known to the audience, you have it all come together.”

The challenge was to take a 30-minute podcast and make it sound right on air. Todd worked with producers Caroline Chamberlain and Curtis Fox to break the podcast into four sections. Caroline had to craft tight and contextual host leads that really fit each excerpt. “We chose to serialize [the podcast], and that is harder. As you get deeper in, you get to parts two or three or four, and you have to do more backfilling of information in host intros, which we try to keep to no more than 25 seconds,” said Todd. He and Caroline went through many drafts. The Esquire Classic excerpts ran on consecutive days within a cutaway in All Things Considered (ATC). “It worked because I think of ATC as a bit of a step back from the day’s news. Plus our listening is high then.”

PRX is interested in working with other stations on this notion of podcast-to-broadcast. If you are station that’s game for surprising your audience with newly contextualized, original content, please get in touch at john@prx.org. You can find all the Esquire Classic episodes on PRX.org.

Written by John Barth, chief content officer at PRX.

New Podcast: Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller

orbitalpath-500x500

Please welcome the newest podcast from PRX, Orbital Path.

Hosted by NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller, the series takes a look at the big questions of the cosmos and what the answers can reveal about life here on Earth. Space, stars, the universe, and us — for space lovers or just the curious.

The debut episode features the infamous Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy, as Michelle and Phil talk about why aliens get the credit for almost everything unexplainable. And episode two is in the works with another guest you won’t want to miss.

Subscribe on iTunes and beyond.

Orbital Path is produced by award-winning reporter Lauren Ober based at WAMU in Washington, DC. Many thanks to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for making the show possible, along with PRX’s STEM Story Project and Transistor, our podcast featuring science stories from reporters near and far.

Thank you, also, to Carl.

Announcing this year’s STEM Story Project grantees

PRX is pleased to announce the grantees for our third annual STEM Story Project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The STEM Story Project is an open call for science, tech, engineering, and math pitches. Over the summer, we asked producers around the world to share their ideas with us. Then, a team of scientists in various disciplines, plus a team of radio professionals, screened the over 100 proposals we received. As you can imagine, the final decisions were incredibly difficult to make!

The stories below (titles subject to change) are being created right now, and will be available on PRX.org starting in mid-November. Stations and shows on PRX can license the stories for air, and they will also be featured in the upcoming season of our science podcast, Transistor.

Past years’ STEM stories aired on many stations, PRX Remix, Here and Now, All Things Considered, and Studio 360, to name a few. So don’t be shy if you’re with a show or station and not yet on PRX. Get in touch.

Without further ado, the grantees of our third annual STEM Story Project are…

The Words are a Jumble from Tobin Low.
Vissarion Shebalin was not a great composer. But his music could unlock an important truth about how the brain processes music and language.

Rodney Learns to Fly from Ari Daniel.
Rodney grew up selling dope and guns. But he’s always loved caring for birds. The drugs landed him in jail. The birds helped set him free.

Ovarian transplant is the surgery on infertility’s cutting edge from Robin Amer.
Twins Carol and Katie are physically identical in every way but one: Katie was born without ovaries. Carol donated hers to her sister so she could start a family.

Imagine All the People from Pien Huang.
Meet a four-year-old with a LOT of imaginary friends. What do fake friends do for us as kids and adults?

HIc Sunt Dracones: The Art of Polynesian Wayfinding from Lily Bui.
Ancient Polynesians relied on three core faculties to navigate: knowledge of the stars, understanding of the environment, and—above all—their memories.

Owning the Clouds: Fears, facts, and the future of weather from Steven Jackson.
Can we harness clouds to counter drought, stop storms, and fight climate change? And if we can, should we?

Peeing in My Pants, Everybody Does It from Lauren Whaley.
A personal and research-driven journey into the science, technology and emotional sides of pelvic floor dysfunction.

From Frogs To Wands of Destiny: The Evolving Science of Home Pregnancy Tests from Anne Noyes Saini & Amy Gastelum of the podcast Mother.
Trace the evolution of modern pregnancy testing from when tests entailed injecting frogs with women’s urine, to the first reliable home pregnancy test kits.

Many Humans, One Music? from Katie Burke.
Is music a universal language? A new study says music worldwide shares features like rhythm & group performance.

The Science of Protecting Cities from Floods from Jenny Chen and Ellen Rolfes.
Head to the scene of forensic flood science, where engineers are doing detective work to rebuild cities to be more resilient to climate change.

CSI Bee Squad from Megan Molteni.
A look inside a tiny crime scene — investigating a bee kill.

That Bowl Was Delicious from Hannah Marshall & Quentin Cooper.
Swear your coffee tastes better from your favorite mug? You may not be imagining it.

The Noisiest Species from Kerry Klein.
How our vrooms, clangs and thunks are harming natural ecosystems — and ourselves.

Tick Tock Biological Clock from Marnie Chesterton.
Women in their late 30s are told their fertility falls off a cliff. The truth is more surprising.

Three Letters Met on Broom Bridge from Samuel Hansen of the podcast Relatively Prime.
Every October, hundreds of devotees gather to walk across a bridge in Dublin — for math.

The Ghost in the MP3 from Emily Richardson-Lorente.
What’s lost when a song is compressed into an MP3? To the untrained ear — perhaps nothing. But to one composer, it’s the source of stunning and ghostly ‘lost sound’ compositions.

Cosmic Ray Catchers from Ross Chambless.
Something out there is hurling powerful particles at Earth, and a team of scientists have found a hotspot near the Big Dipper.

Radiotopia Shows Make up 1/3 of Third Coast Winners

Winners of the 2015 Third Coast Audio Festival/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition — honoring the best new audio works — were announced today. Three of the nine winners are from Radiotopia, PRX’s podcast network. Congratulations to all!

The category in which each winner falls (like Best New Artist, and so on) will be announced on October 24th during the awards ceremony at the Filmless Festival in Chicago. Take a listen to the winning episodes from Radiotopia shows below:

695BGK (USA)
Produced by Lauren Spohrer and Phoebe Judge for Criminal

The Living Room (USA)
Produced by Briana Breen with editing, mixing and scoring by Brendan Baker for Love + Radio

Structural Integrity (USA)
Produced by Joel Werner and Sam Greenspan with editor Roman Mars for 99% Invisible

Welcome Maggie Taylor!

DSC_1753

Hi everyone! My name is Maggie Taylor and I am very excited to be joining PRX as the new Director of Marketing, and to be making my first foray into both the public media and nonprofit spaces.

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Public Relations from the University of Rhode Island. Since then, I have built a marketing background that’s heavy in tech and start-ups, in both the B2B and consumer spaces. I love working directly with consumers, and using PR, influencers, and social media tools to help grow brand awareness and adoption. I enjoy representing the voice of a brand, and the opportunity to facilitate new customer exposure. I’m also an avid reader and writer, and like to create engaging pieces of content and experiences. I love public radio and listening to podcasts; I remain in constant awe of their ability to create such intimate relationships between host and listener. It reminds me of a quote from the book “All the Light We Cannot See”: “Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.”

On the personal side, I hail from the Seacoast area of NH, but had the pleasure of living out a West Coast adventure in San Francisco for two years, and returned last summer via a cross-country road trip. In my spare time I love traveling, food, reading, and spending time with my friends and family. I also have a penchant for song memorization and, consequently, karaoke.

I’m delighted to join this intimate and passionate team to help craft and spread the unique PRX story to a large, diverse audience. I’d love to personally connect with all of our readers and listeners, so please feel free to reach out and introduce yourself: maggie.taylor@prx.org.

Julie Shapiro Selected as New Radiotopia Executive Producer

Drumroll please… After a highly competitive search, Julie Shapiro has been selected as the Executive Producer for PRX’s Radiotopia.

Julie’s leadership, creativity and commitment to excellence will drive Radiotopia’s success as a leading podcast network at a moment of growth and opportunity for the industry as a whole.

Julie will help lead overall strategic planning for the network, establish and oversee production standards and best practices, develop and manage creative collaborations, and set and meet audience and revenue targets.

We are thrilled to welcome Julie as the newest member of our stellar team.

Check out the press release below for details.


PRESS RELEASE

Contact Kerri Hoffman, COO
Email kerri@prx.org
Website www.prx.org

Cambridge, Mass., September 1, 2015 — PRX is pleased to welcome Julie Shapiro in the new role of Radiotopia executive producer.

Radiotopia is at the epicenter of the newly expanding galaxy of podcasts. Since launching in February 2014, Radiotopia has accelerated to 8.5 million monthly downloads across a growing roster of 13 programs, including 99% Invisible, the celebrated show on design from Roman Mars, and Criminal – a new breakout hit from Lauren Spohrer and Phoebe Judge. In May 2015 the Knight Foundation awarded $1M to PRX to support the development and strengthening of Radiotopia.

Julie will bring editorial vision, creativity and leadership to Radiotopia’s expanding portfolio of top programs. She will work closely with PRX, Roman Mars and the Radiotopia producers to grow the shows, cultivate relationships with talented producers and partners, and build sustainability of the podcast medium.

Julie co-founded and was artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival (TCIAF) for thirteen years. As the creative engine at TCIAF, Julie did everything from co-producing the biannual conference and Filmless festival, to co-curating and editing the Re:sound podcast, to leading strategic direction and public image of the organization.

In 2014, Julie left TCIAF to become the founding executive producer of the Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Creative Audio Unit (CAU), where she led a team in establishing two weekly, national shows and set the strategy and vision for the unit. She is a thought leader and a determined advocate of creative pursuits. Julie originally coined the term “Radiotopia” in a speech at the Third Coast Festival, describing it as a place where awesome stories live.

“Julie has championed the work of hundreds of independent producers and has demonstrated the passion and bold thinking we need to make Radiotopia thrive.” said Kerri Hoffman, Chief Operating Officer of PRX.

Julie is also known for her dedication to diversity and gender balance in public radio, and wrote the influential ”Women Hosted Podcasts” article which had a major impact on the public media industry.

Radiotopia co-founder, Roman Mars said, “Julie Shapiro will provide leadership and vision for both Radiotopia and for the emerging podcasting industry as a whole.”

About PRX
PRX is an award-winning nonprofit public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring compelling stories to millions of people. PRX.org operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering tens of thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, Sound Opinions, State of the Re:Union, Reveal, and the Radiotopia podcast network. PRX Remix is PRX’s 24/7 channel featuring the best independent radio stories and new voices. PRX was created through a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media, and receives support from public radio stations and producers, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and Knight Foundation.

Meet The Sarahs: A New Audio Fiction Competition

It’s time audio fiction had its own red carpet

Introducing The Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award

The Sarah Awards will celebrate and reward the best audio fiction works from around the world with $3,500 worth of prize money and an awards ceremony in New York in Spring 2016.

Get the guidelines, then get creative!

The early bird submission timeline is Nov. 23 – Dec. 21, so you have plenty of time to dig in and put your best fiction forward.

The Sarahs also includes:

BONUS: Winners of The Sarahs and the Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Contest will be featured on PRX Remix — PRX’s 24/7 stream of the best independently created audio stories — airing online, SiriusXM 123, and broadcast stations around the country.

Starting June 1: Open Call for Your Science Audio Story Ideas

PRX is back with our third annual open call for science radio ideas — the STEM Story Project. STEM Stories from 2013 and 2014 aired on Here & Now, All Things Considered, Studio 360, our science podcast Transistor, PRX Remix, and numerous other podcasts and public radio stations around the country. We’re excited to do this again.

Starting June 1, we’ll accept proposals to create radio stories inspired by STEM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). We have a pool of funding from the the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to distribute among multiple projects.

Our goals are to:

• Unleash highly creative, STEM-based original stories and productions
• Educate and excite listeners about STEM topics and issues
• Tell stories and explain STEM issues in new ways

Have an idea for a story? We will accept proposals between June 1st and July 1st, 2015. Here are the application guidelines. Be sure to check them out, and stay tuned to #PRXSTEM on Twitter, via our handles @TransistorShow and @prx

Have questions? Comment below or email your questions to stem@prx.org. But please refer to the FAQ below and application guidelines first!

May the force be with you.
-John Barth & Genevieve Sponsler

The PRX STEM Story Project Team

____________________________________________
FAQ

What is PRX’s STEM Story Project?

An open call for proposals to create radio stories about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In the past two years, PRX has funded the creation of 29 STEM stories. They’ve aired on national shows like Here & Now, Studio 360, All Things Considered, our science podcast Transistor, and PRX Remix, in addition to being aired on stations throughout the country.

TIMELINE

What are the dates?
PRX will accept proposals online between June 1 and July 1, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Accepted proposals will be announced in early September. Producers will then have two months to create their stories and publish them to PRX.org by November 1, 2015.

ELIGIBILITY

Who can apply?
We welcome any producers or writers with audio production experience to apply. Producers can be independent or station-based.

What if I don’t have audio production experience but want to submit a story?
We recommend that you work with an audio producer to come up with a story proposal and to provide audio samples.

If I already received a grant last year, can I apply again this year?
Yes.

If I applied last year and didn’t get a grant, can I apply again?
Yes, but you must apply with a different story than the one you submitted last year.

I have a podcast/an idea for a podcast. Can I submit my podcast as a proposal?
We cannot fund an entire series, but you can submit an entry for a single episode of your podcast. For example, in past STEM open calls PRX has funded single episodes of Criminal, 30 Minutes West, and Destination DIY.

THE APPLICATION

What do I need to include in my application?
We’re looking for a proposal of your story idea, two audio samples of your previous work, and a proposed budget.

How long should my proposed audio story be?
We generally ask that the stories be 10 minutes or less. Shorter stories are more shareable online and more likely to get picked up by national shows, podcasts, and stations. Past stories we’ve funded have ranged from 6 to 18 minutes long, but again, with the majority being under 10 minutes.

How will proposals be chosen?
We will work with a team of science advisors and radio advisors to select proposals that best fit the project’s goals.

BUDGETS

What should I include in my budget?
Producer fees, engineering fees, travel expenses, and editor fees. If your proposal is chosen, we will contact you to revise your budget, if necessary. See the application form here for details.

How much funding do you tend to provide for each story? What is the average budget?
The total pool of money we have is about $50k, and in the past we have broken that up over 15 or so applicants. However, that being said, we don’t share more budget info than that. We want the flexibility to work with producers on stories that may surprise us, and change what we do year to year. Some stories require travel or big expenses, and some do not. So we want to see your budget, your freelance rate, etc. And then if we want to work together but the numbers aren’t quite doable, we talk about it with you.

I’m wondering how you go about funding station-based reporters. Does it go straight to the reporter, based on the time spent on the STEM story? Or does it go to the station?
We set this up based on whatever rules/process you have regarding employment at the station and the nature of the story. If it is a station-based story that is one thing; if it is a total freelance thing, that might mean something else. If you are allowed to do freelance work and keep 100%, we do that. If stations get a cut no matter what, we have to abide by that. If stations demand 100%, we have to respect that. Let us know in the budget section of your application.

PRODUCTION

Will you be giving me any guidance during the production process?
PRX requires at least one mandatory check-in during the production period to go over initial script drafts.

POST-PRODUCTION

What happens after the stories are done?
PRX will work with you to get the pieces licensed to different stations within our network as well as placed on blogs + other digital platforms.