All posts by Mia Lobel

TAL is hiring a producer in NYC, application deadline Nov 21

OK – this is not a freelance gig. But if you’re a radio nerd like me, this is big news, and a big opportunity. More info here and below. Application deadline Nov 21 (soon!). Good luck.  -Mia


The public radio program This American Life is looking for an experienced and inventive radio producer, someone with strong reporting skills.

What makes This American Life different from most broadcast journalism is that it’s a home for narrative reporting, meaning its stories are organized around plot. They have strong central characters, surprising twists, funny moments, emotional arcs and original ideas. Narratives on the show take many forms: interviews, personal essays, investigative reporting, comedy, fiction and audio diaries. The voice and approach of the show are distinctive enough that the American Journalism Review declared it’s “in the vanguard of a journalistic revolution.”

It’s also hugely popular, the most popular documentary radio program in America, heard by 2.2 million listeners each week on over 500 public radio stations in the U.S., plus Canada, Australia, Ireland and Germany. It’s also the number one podcast on iTunes most weeks, with more than a million downloads per episode.

Our staff producers create the stories on the show. Some they commission. Some they report themselves. Some they produce with contributors or the show’s host doing the reporting. These stories include small personal stories and reporting that takes on bigger national and international issues. Producers oversee tape gathering, edit audio, structure and write stories. They direct talent in the studio and do the final digital audio mixes that end up on the air, including scoring the stories with music. Producers take on occasional special projects: interactive web features, videos, print pieces, live performances. They generate ideas for stories and for full episodes. They design and produce entire episodes. An important part of the job is editing: listening to drafts of other producers’ stories and giving notes. The culture of our production team is very collaborative.

  • We will only consider candidates who have demonstrated experience doing journalism like the stories on our show. This means narrative journalism, stories that unfold with a plot and emotion and humor, with relatable, surprising, three-dimensional characters
  • At least three to five years producing radio, preferably for a nationally-distributed show. We’ll consider comparable film or TV documentary experience only if it involves crafting stories in a style similar to those on our show
  • Digital audio editing and mixing skills are essential
  • Ability to think about big picture approaches to covering issues and ideas, while also executing the many small details and tasks involved in producing a weekly show
  • A proven ability to meet deadlines and balance multiple duties at the same time
  • Ability to collaborate. Must work well with others
  • Knowledge of public radio and podcasts is a plus

This position is based at the This American Life office in New York City. Please include online links to your work (You Tube, Soundcloud, Portfolio sites, etc) in your cover letter. CD’s or MP3’s will not be accepted.

This American Life is produced by Chicago Public Media.

Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer that seeks diversity in the workplace.


Application deadline is Friday, November 21, 2014.

FC email subscriptions are moving to MailChimp

Hey folks. This move is long overdue and since I’m a one-woman show over here, I expect there to be a few bumps before I get it all sorted out. If you have any trouble with your subscription or things look weird, please let me know! You can reach me at mia [at] freelancecafe [dot] org. I’m also going to send out some test emails, so you might get a couple dupes today. As always, I welcome any and all feedback.

Latino USA Call for Pitches

Call for pitches from Latino USA. Go for it!


Below is a list of themes for Latino USA programs coming up in the next few months.

We hope they inspire some creative pitches! Story ideas unrelated to these themes are also welcome.

Please send your ideas directly to, with details about the story arc, characters, scenes and sounds you envision for your piece. Features generally run from 4-6 minutes long and pay $125 per minute.

Pitch meetings take place on Friday afternoons, and we try to get back to reporters early the following week.




Leda Hartman

Editor, NPR’s Latino USA



GIVE AND TAKE: Stories about gain and loss. They can be personal or not.


HOME: Finding home in unusual places. And just what makes home home?


TABOO: Crossing lines, saying things you wouldn’t ordinarily say, talking about things people hesitate to talk about.


QUALITY CONTROL: How do we evaluate whether something succeeds or fails? Stories can be related to tech or health, but don’t have to be.


LATINO ICONS: Sample stories in the pipeline include a musical about baseball great Roberto Clemente, and a California taco restaurant where Mexican-American leaders organized against discrimination.


PUERTO RICAN REMIX: All things Borinqueno.


AFRO-LATINO: History, music, culture, current issues and events.


NERDS: Stories about geeking out, tech, learning more, being a passionate devotee.




ON THE GO: Stories about transportation, being mobile, moving, changing, adapting.


HACKING: Not just tech, but using shortcuts and work-arounds, and coping generally.

$10k Community Stories Grant from Cal Humanities, deadline August 1

Attention CA media makers! Details below on the latest grants from Cal Humanities. Deadline Aug 1.

Got stories? Time to share!

Cal Humanities is accepting applications beginning July 1st for the August 1st, 2014 deadline for Community Stories, our ongoing competitive grants program.

Cal Humanities’ Community Stories grants program provides funding to support a wide range of community-initiated public humanities projects, including:

  • story-based performances
  • community forums
  • websites
  • video and radio documentaries
  • interpretive exhibits

Since 2003, we have made over 400 awards for projects that collectively illustrate the diversity and breadth of the California experience.

Who’s eligible?
  • California-based nonprofit and fiscally sponsored organizations
  • local/state public agencies or institutions
What do we fund?

We support story-based public humanities projects that:

  • focus on collecting and sharing real stories of California’s communities
  • involve at least one humanities expert as an advisor
  • use the methods of analysis that inform the humanities as well as community-based research
  • produce work that is publicly accessible
How much do we fund?
  • Grant awards range up to $10,000
  • Matching cash or in-kind donations are required
Need more info?

For complete program information, including current guidelines, application materials and instructions, and descriptions of funded projects, click HERE.

A recorded informational webinar for this round is now available.  Click HERE to access it.

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.)

  • 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.

    New dates for next Radio Boot Camp @UnionDocs in NYC

    Don't miss this fantastic radio training session at UnionDocs, March 15 and 16. Details HERE and below.


    We're excited to announce the dates for our spring session of Boot Camp! This is a class for beginners, enthusiasts or print journalists – folks new to the world of Radio. Come learn the art and craft of producing radio stories from start to finish.

    Feel free to share with your friends and anyone else who's oh so jealous of your awesome career. A great holiday gift for the pub radio lover in your life. Space is limited to 12 so sign on up!


    Saturday, March 15, 2014: 10am – 6pm
    Sunday, March 16, 2014: 10am – 5pm
    UnionDocs, 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11211
    Tuition: Early registration is $285.

    You can register or find more info here:

    New Knight News Challenge – health/data/communities

    The latest Knight News Challenge on HEALTH. Details below. -Mia

    Today, we're sharing the details of the second Knight News Challenge for 2013, on health <>. Launching Aug. 19, the challenge will focus on this question:

    "How can we harness data and public information for the health of communities?"

    We have more details on our blog <>, including the timeline and the partners from health innovation and philanthropy who are joining with us on the challenge.

    Look forward to hearing your ideas.

    – John S. Bracken
    Director/Journalism and Media Innovation
    Knight Foundation

    2013 New Voices Scholarship at PRPC, deadline Aug 1

    Scholarships available to attend PRPC this fall. Details“>HERE and below. Deadline Aug 1. -Mia

    AIR's 2013 New Voices Scholarship

    at PRPC

    Who is eligible to apply?

    All minority producers and program makers are eligible to apply. The focus of the PRPD Programming Conference (PRPC) is radio/audio, but we welcome applicants from the full range of discipline. All ages are welcome, but applicants younger than 18 will need an adult sponsor to sign off on their application and handle funds on their behalf.

    What do you mean by "minority"?

    We are looking to attract individuals who represent groups that are typically under-represented at the PRPC and in the industry in general. This could be based, of course, on a candidate's ethnic or racial background. It could be that they come from a particular socio-economic group, or any number of categories. It will, ultimately, be up to the judgment of those screening applications to select candidates who bring a new and diverse mix to the conference, to the New Voices group, and to the industry in general. 

    How much experience are applicants expected to have?
    There is no specific requirement in terms of number of years of experience, but we will be especially interested in producers attending PRPC for the first time and are relatively new to working in public media. 

    What is the total cost of the conference?
    The cost varies, based on your geography, but PRPD generally estimates the cost at $1600 if you take a single hotel room, and spend $300 on your flight. The early bird registration rate for AIR producers and selected New Voices is $495 until August 9. Many of our producers room share, to further offset expenses. If you're selected, we can help facilitate this.

    Is there anything I need to do if I am awarded a scholarship?

    Yes. AIR requires you to attend several specific events at the conference. They include, at this time, AIR's member meeting on Wednesday, September 18 at 3:30 pm; a New Voice "mixer," on Tuesday before the opening reception; manning the AIR table; and a dedicated session at the conference (details to be determined). All fun. You will also be required to send AIR a brief report on your experience at the conference (750 – 1000 words) by October 1. If you are chosen for a scholarship, you will be given specific instructions on what to include in the report at that time.

    When will I know if I received a scholarship or not? 

    Final announcements will be made by early August.

    If I am awarded a scholarship, when will I receive my funds?

    Funding will be disbursed after the conference, as a reimbursement, 30 days after you submit a brief report on your experience at the conference and an invoice. 

    Learn more and apply.

    For more information on the 2013 PRPC please visit PRPD's website.

    BBC RFP for “Real America”, deadline July 22

    Great collaboration of public media orgs seeks proposals for a BBC program on Guns in America. Details HERE and below. -mia


    It went so well the first time out, the BBC is announcing a second round for the Real America partnership launched last year with AIR and a consortium of public media organizations. With AIR, this year’s group includes the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, WNYC/New York Public Radio, and American Public Media (APM).

    The theme is “Guns in America.” Many of you know Tony Phillips. He’s the editor this year, and he’s looking for three 17-minute features that, together, will comprise a one-hour special to be distributed via APM later in the year. The budget for each feature is $9000.

    The deadline for submitting your pitch is Monday, July 22 at noon ET.

    Full details, including instructions for submitting and a timeline for their decision-making process is at:

    You may want to have a look at our feature “BBC 101” published last June at