Snap Judgment’s Upcoming Themes

Call for pitches (and what makes a good story) from Snap Judgment. They get it. Now go for it. -Mia
 Lots of freelancers have been asking us what makes
a story right for Snap Judgment, and I think I can boil it down to
three criteria:

1)    Is the story not just a story, but a tale?  In other words,
does it have characters with wants and needs and hopes and fears,
scenes that play out in a chronological order in which said
characters make important decisions and discover new things, and some
kind of central tension that gets resolved in an unexpected way over
the course of a narrative arc?  If so, then it is a tale, and we are

2)    Is the story cinematic?  In other words, will it provide us
with scenes rich enough in detail that the listener can see events
playing out in their mind's eye?  Because we're not interested in
narratives in which things happen on an abstract level.   We want the
listener to be transported to a specific time and place.

3)    Is there something new about it? Every Snap Judgment story
needs to have an unexpected wrinkle, a new element, that makes the
listener stop what they're doing and pay attention.  Sometimes the
new thing is just the fact that you've discovered a great talker, but
nine times out of ten it's a unique premise or plot element. If we
feel like we've heard this one before (maybe not this precise story,
but something super similar) we'll probably pass.

Another litmus test, that perhaps sums up all three of the above
points, is: would your pitch make a good fictional story that just
happens to be true?  Sometimes people think Snap Stories are made up
– we take that as a compliment.

Okay, now the themes:

***Any Really Good Story***

I always say this but no one believes me.  If your story kicks ass we
will build a freakin' theme around it, people!

***Stages of Life***

In theory, we want to have one story for each "stage" in
chronological order.  Birth.  First kiss. Graduation.  Career.
Marriage.  Kids.  Mid-life crisis.  Retirement.  Anything, really.
The only things we've got covered are a honeymoon from hell and a
dispute over how one couple will spend their afterlife.  (So if you
have a good death story, we'll happily happy to produce it, but not
necessarily for this theme).

***Honor Among Thieves***

Stories of bad people nevertheless sticking to a code.  Or good
people doing a bad thing for a good reason.  Debts getting paid.
Snitches getting stitches.  Because there's the law, and then there's


Tales of inheritances gone wrong, genetic curses, or bizarre family
legacies.  Whether they grew up knowing about it or only discovered
it late, we want to meet someone who had to confront and (possibly)
clean up the family mess.  The same goes for ethnicity, tribe, etc. -
pick your own unit of bloodline.


Stories in which something comes back around.  What does that mean?
Well, stories in which people end up having to do something twice,
but in a different way.  Stories in which an event from long ago is
revisited at an unexpected moment.  Stories about karma taking it's
sweet ass time, because the book says you may be through with the
past, but the past, it ain't through with you.

***The Prophecy***

Stories about prophets (and prophecies) both true and false.  This
does not necessarily have to involve religion.  Any story involving a
specific prediction will do.

***Themes That Are Imminent, So We're Only Interested In Pre-Existing

Mother's Day
Living Legends

Please send all your pitches to

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Announcing two fellowships from AAWW, deadline May 16

Upcoming fellowships from the Asian American Writers' Workshop. Check it out! -Mia

Hey y'all!

If you're an emerging Asian American writer based in New York, get ready for a big hug. We're excited to announce the call for two separate fellowships tailor-made for you.

You may already know about our Open City Fellowship, now in its fourth year, which gives five writers the opportunity to write and publish short-form and long-form narrative nonfiction on the vibrant immigrant communities of New York City.

This year we're excited to announce a totally new fellowship: The Margins Fellowship, an all new opportunity for three emerging creative writers (fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction), aged thirty and under, to establish a home for their writing and a space to develop their careers.

All of our Fellows will receive $5,000, access to the AAWW space, publishing opportunities in our magazines, free workshops, and more. The Margins Fellows also receive residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, an innovative seven-acre artists retreat space at the former house and gardens of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. All fellows will serve as writers-in-residence with our online magazines, which have published Chang-rae Lee, Jessica Hagedorn, Ashok Kondabolu, Sarah Gambito, Jad Abumrad, and been linked to by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and The New Inquiry.

The deadline is Friday, May 16, by 11 pm. All the links you need are here:

And check back! We'll be scheduling info sessions with our editors soon. Good luck, peeps.


Your friends at AAWW

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Bay Area Happy Hour TOMORROW, April 24, 5:30-7:30pm + Data Journalism Training, April 29

Upcoming SPJ Norcal events. I'd be there if I could. -Mia

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Please join the SPJ-NorCal and the Bay Area Journalism and Women Symposium for a mixer. We'll enjoy cocktails (cash bar), bar nibbles (courtesy of TOAST), and interesting conversation with colleagues. Hope to see you there! 


  • April 24, 5:30-7:30pm
  • 5900 College Ave, Oakland
  • RSVP at Meetup

TUESDAY APRIL 29: Data Journalism 101 (SF)

Whether you're a beat reporter on a constant deadline, or a journalist with time to do deeper investigations, data can make your reporting more powerful. And it's more abundant than ever. Plus, it's not rocket science! Anyone can learn. All you need is your computer and Excel. Come learn about the data journalism revolution and how you can use it to turbo-charge your reporting. Taught by AP data journalist Serdar Tumgoren. 


  • April 29, 6:00-9:00pm
  • Location TBD, San Francisco
  • RSVP at Meetup



APRIL 22 (Today!): Catch Up Before IRE 2014 (IRE Bay Area)
IRE's annual conference is coming to San Francisco in June. The local chapter of IRE is hosting a networking party on April 22 at Comal in Berkeley.

Details and Registration on Meetup.

APRIL 29: Create and Post Great Videos (SFBAJ)
How to shoot, post, and edit videos. At Lori's Dinner in SF.

Details and Registration on Meetup.



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Reminder – KALW news’ training program looking for applicants – Deadline 5/1

There are still spots available in KALW's News Audio Academy; deadline for applications is May 1. Details below!


Enrollment now open for the KALW News Audio Academy

KALW is calling for applicants for our 10-month radio journalism training program based at KALW public radio, an NPR and BBC affiliate station in San Francisco. This program is designed to give you a graduate level audio production education, tuition-free.

We’re looking for creative thinkers who are great writers and storytellers with a passion for covering diverse communities, and ideally have some knowledge of the Bay Area.

Audio Academy participants will be trained to produce feature reports for KALW’s award-winning daily news program Crosscurrents. Your voice and your work will be broadcast on KALW during your time in the Audio Academy.

Training will include:

Working closely with reporters on developing stories, producing original feature stories for broadcast, interviewing potential guests/sources, researching topics, fact-checking, script writing, recording sound for pieces in the field, and learning story structure, voicing, digital production, engineering, and sound design. The training will take place inside the collaborative and supportive community of the KALW newsroom. Our editors and engineers, along with other public media producers, will lead workshops on every aspect of production specifically for the Audio Academy. Previous featured speakers have been: Roman Mars, Hansi Lo Wang, Daniel Alarcón, Marianne McCune, and Jason DeRose (to name a few).

Selected participants will make a 10-month commitment (September 2014 to June 2015): minimum 20 hours per week (one six-hour shift at our studios and another 14 hours working in the field). The Academy includes a one-week break at Thanksgiving, a two-week break in late December, and a one-week break during the spring. Enrollment in a college or university is not necessary to participate.

To apply please send a cover letter, CV and any audio/writing samples to:

Application deadline: May 1, 2014, 11:59 PT

We look forward to meeting you!

KALW encourages a diverse pool of applicants from a variety of backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We value diversity.

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Call for Proposals on Data Journalism & Storytelling on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders

Thanks to Will Coley for forwarding this along!
Call for Proposals: Data Journalism & Storytelling on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders
// 18 Million Rising feed

Data-inspired journalism is seemingly everywhere these days, from recently-launched ventures like Vox, more established ventures like FiveThirtyEight, and even rapidly evolving sites linked with traditional media enterprises, such as The Atlantic Monthly’s, and Quartz ( and the New York Times’s forthcoming section The Upshot.


These enterprises attempt to use quantitative data as a tool to explore society, policymaking and electoral politics. But even with data, context is everything. And as we’ve frequently seen, one of the most critical areas in which a lack of representative diversity can produce distorted or misleading results — or an absence of content at all — is in the coverage of race, culture and ethnicity. A particularly glaring omission across the data-inspired journalism landscape is contextually rich content that relates to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).


With Asian Pacific American Heritage Month approaching, we are proud to announce the launch of a new platform that will develop and feature data-inspired feature writing and provocative short pieces relating to AAPI communities and AAPI experiences. The goal is to harness both the power of compelling data and the storytelling talent of the vibrant AAPI journalist, blogger and academic communities, to inspire more news coverage and public understanding of key aspects and features of our rapidly growing and changing AAPI populations.


To this end, we are openly soliciting pitches for contributions on the following themes for APA Heritage Month in 2014. While the contributions we’re seeking should be anchored in data and explore trends, patterns, nuances or exceptions to conventional wisdom that these data reveal, the style in which the pieces are written can range from analytic to creative, and from sober to humorous, and can range from short pieces (300-500 words) to longer-form, feature-length articles (1000 words+). Whatever the style or format, storytelling counts: Above all, we want to these contributions to be compelling, inviting — and provocative.


Contributors will be paid at competitive online rates (see details below); stories will be published on AAPI Voices, a new and experimental platform developed jointly by and, and potentially via other partners and distribution channels as needed to maximize their exposure to both media and audiences at large. AAPI Voices will provide data analysis and visualization support as necessary for accepted pitches.


Our Schedule


May 1 to May 5: Are AAPIs "One, Two, or Many?” Stories that use data to explore and grapple with questions related to whether and when Asian America should be considered a collection of parallel ethnic worlds, a coalition of many cultural communities or a single emergent pan-ethnic “race” — and that touch on issues like evolving racial, ethnic and cultural categorizations (e.g., Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders; multiracial and multiethnic; transracially adopted and other emerging identities).


May 6 to May 12: Health: Stories that use data to explore health access, issues, outcomes, and policies, including mental health — including stories on the impact of ACA, on the intersection of culture and healthcare, and on the landscape of AAPI health practitioners.


May 13 to May 18: Immigration: Stories that use data to look at historical waves of migration and contemporary issues like temporary workers, undocumented AAPIs, the impact of AAPI immigration on changing demographics in different geographical locations, and topics related to immigration policy (H-1B visas and the digital economy, family reunification, LGBT marriage and immigration, visa backlogs, deportations, DREAMers, transnationals, students and parachute kids, etc.).


May 19 to May 25: Age and Generational Differences: Stories that use data to put a lens on issues related to youth, age and generational cohorts, including the growth of the AAPI senior population, cultural trends and preferences among 2nd generation AAPI youth, culture shock and language barriers, childhood and parenting.


May 26 to May 30: Education: Stories that use data to illustrate and explore disparities in educational attainment across national origins; Affirmative Action; language schools and other attempts to cope with loss of Asian language ability; the racial climate on college campuses, and curricular issues, bullying, segregation, the impact of testing and the effect of “specialized” and charter schools on AAPIs in the K-12 system.


In any of the topics above, dimensions of difference such as ethnicity, AA vs. NHPI, gender, LGBT identification, etc. may be considered as relevant and important.




  • 300-500 words or 1 photo/image with accompanying text of approx 150 words: $75
  • 800+ words or a series of multiple images with accompanying text of at least 500 words total: $150
  • Submissions must be original pieces of content that are currently unpublished
  • Selected writers will be compensated within 30 days of publishing date

Selection Process


  • will manage the editorial assignment process.
  • Proposal submission will be managed via Google Forms, link forthcoming.
  • All submissions will receive a response (accepted or rejected)

Proposal Deadlines


  • “One or Many”: Friday, April 18
  • Health: Friday, April 18
  • Immigration: Friday, April 25
  • Age and Generational Differences: Friday, April 25
  • Education: Friday, April 25 will select and inform writers within 3 days of each proposal deadline.


Editorial Process


After being accepted, contributors will receive relevant datasets/datapoints and accompanying basic analysis as appropriate for their particular week, including any data that will be turned into infographics for that particular week. Contributors may request more customized data, based on their proposals; these requests should be sent to the editor within 48 hours of receiving the initial data. Final drafts should be submitted to the editor on the following dates: April 27 for the first two themes, and May 5 for the last three themes.


Editors will work with contributors to provide editorial suggestions and/or copyedits, before approving them for publication.


Usage Rights


AAPI Voices retains a perpetual license to publish and feature the contribution across all platforms, with usage governed by Creative Commons standard licensing of attribution, non-commercial use, and “share alike.”


Submit a Proposal!

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CDS summer courses / AIR stipend

One of few programs tailored for both beginning and mid-career/veteran producer types. I WILL attend one of these days! Details below. (Note, the travel stipend is for AIRsters only, so if you're not yet a member, now is a good time to join.) -Mia

Spring’s here and it’s time for the annual invitation to our weeklong intensives, aka “summer radio camp for grownups,” here in Durham, NC. Our pair of more-than-decade-old courses, one for relative beginners (Hearing is Believing, July 13-19) and the other for more advanced folk (Making It Sing, August 4-9), are on their way to filling up and we do often turn people away so don’t wait too long. Between those two on the calendar, our friends at Big Shed are again offering Digging In: An Artist’s Retreat (July 27-August 1), a chance to come and get work done on that favorite project of yours alongside other creative types. 

AIR is offering members a $100 travel stipend to attend our advanced course, Making it Sing. Five stipends are available, though I believe a couple have been claimed. To apply for the AIR stipend go here: If you know someone who's NOT an AIR member who might benefit from this opportunity, tell em to join AIR. 

We have a brilliant roster of guest instructors, all AIRsters. Lulu Miller, who’s made great work for Radiolab among others and is now with NPR, will be our guest teacher/presenter for Hearing is Believing (the intro-ish course). For Making it Sing it's veteran editor Loretta Williams, long with NPR and more recently working on indie projects like The DNA Files, Burn: An Energy Journal, and The Great War Project. And as always the inimitable Shea Shackelford of Big Shed will be here along with me for both Hearing is Believing and Making It Sing — and of course for Digging In.

To register or to read more about all these courses, and a few others offered by CDS in video, photo, and writing, go here:

Any questions, write to

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Freelance Cafe West gathering TOMORROW, April 17, 7pm, SF

The time is nigh! I’m in the Bay Area for a quick visit and would love to see the FC West crew, new and old. 

Join me on Thursday April 17 for a screening of Sam Grant’s documentary, A Fragile Trust at the Roxie in SF at 7pm, followed by drinks at Dalva - 3121 16th St at Valencia. 

We may move elsewhere if Dalva is too crowded so text me if you can’t find us and I’ll redirect you. 
Looking forward to it! (Understatement.)
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    Indy publishing seminar May 12

    SF event on self-publishing. Details below. -Mia

    Want to become an indy publisher of your own work but still have questions on how to do so? Book editor and designer Bonnie Britt returns 7 pm, Monday, May 12 to the Media Guild, 433 Natoma Street, 3rd floor,to discuss how other self-publishing authors are doing t and what it takes to convert your book into print and digital formats. Send advance questions to to ensure yours will be answered. 

    With moon and stars properly aligned, she will live demo wrangling a manuscript into an ebook that may be uploaded for sale at as many online stores as you wish.

    The session is free to members of any Guild unit; $10 for everyone else.
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    Theme list for upcoming Re:sounds

    From the fine folks at Third Coast.

    As we plan upcoming episodes of Re:sound, Third Coast's weekly radio/podcast, we'd love to hear your story suggestions. Re:sound is Third Coast’s mix of audio stories and sonic gems that we curate from around the world. The show is hosted by Gwen Macsai and produced by Dennis Funk, and each episode explores a subject or idea through a variety of intriguing angles. The show airs weekly on WBEZ here in Chicago, and select episodes are broadcast all over the U.S. You can listen by subscribing to the Third Coast Podcast, or on our website: 

    Some themes for upcoming Re:sounds are below – we invite you to suggest stories that would fit well (directly about, tangentially connected to, or even metaphorically symbolized by the theme…). These can be your own stories, or suggestions of others you’ve heard and particularly enjoyed – especially if they haven’t received wide air/podcast play. Note: Third Coast pays producers a “rebroadcast fee” of $12/minute.

    You know that “global system of interconnected computer networks” you spend so much time in? Where we are right now? Privacy, immortality, seduction, addiction…we’re looking for stories about this mighty force in our lives.

    Stories of things that are made (or attempted) from scratch…

    Found in the Want Ads
    The back of the newspaper, Craigslist, the personals, online dating, and more. WANTED: stories about ads placed, numbers called, surprising connections made.

    Send your suggestions, and links to the audio, to: resound [at] thirdcoastfestival [dot] org.

    Thanks, and happy listening!


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    POV Digital Documentaries seeks submissions, deadline May 30 + Firelight Media’s Producers’ Lab mentorship program (for future reference)

    Two links for you filmmaker types. 

    Now Accepting Submissions: POV Digital Documentaries // POV Blog

    POV announces a new set of initiatives to re-imagine digital storytelling with an investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (modified from original post) 
    As part of this initiative we are now formally seeking to co-produce digital documentaries from independent media creators and technologists that push the boundaries of nonfiction media for co-production. Co-productions will be funded in the range of $15,000-$50,000 and producers do not necessarily need to be based on the United States. Funded projects are more likely to be focused on mobile and emerging technologies.
    POV is also seeking to license short web-native documentaries or chapters of web-native documentaries. These productions must be based in the United States, and will be funded in the range of $2,500 to $10,000.
    Funding Available: $2,500 – $50,000
    Submission Deadline: May 30, 2014
    Application Form Link:

    Submit and find out more at

    Also, the folks below aren't currently accepting applications but it's a good group to bookmark for future reference.

    Producers' Lab

    Firelight Media’s Producers’ Lab is a mentorship program for talented and independent producers of color. Participating producers work with award-winning filmmaker, Stanley Nelson, and his team of senior producers, writers, editors, new media, and fundraising specialists to complete their projects for a national broadcast. The Lab also provides monthly workshops and seminars to our producers on relevant and contemporary topics. Firelight Media started the Producers’ Lab as a way to provide infrastructure support for diverse producers to help overcome some of the barriers to completing their film or video. Services include support and consultation in the areas of writing, treatments, budgeting, script development, editing, and other areas as needed. In the future, we will have editing suites, a screening room, and a safe place for producers to create and complete their work. Click here for profiles of current Producers’ Lab filmmakers and their projects.

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