#13: Ashley Ahearn – Creator of the Podcast Series “Grouse” on the Art of Storytelling and Science Communication

#13: Ashley Ahearn – Creator of the Podcast Series "Grouse" on the Art of Storytelling and Science Communication Nature's Archive


My guest in this episode is Ashley Ahearn. Ashley is an award winning public radio and podcast journalist. She recently created and published the critically acclaimed podcast series called “Grouse”. Grouse explores life in rural America through the lens of the controversial Greater Sage-Grouse. The series also delves into Ashley’s own unique journey to sagebrush country, and tackles many of the competing interests that threaten the grouse.

You may also know Ashley from her work on the podcast “Terrestrial” – a show that explored personal choices in the face of climate change, and her many varied works for PRI and NPR. She currently runs Ahearn Productions, where she freelances for NPR and other clients, creates original shows such as Grouse, and helps others create quality podcasts.

Ashley Ahearn at work in Brewster. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

In this episode we speak extensively about Grouse and the art of developing and telling nuanced stories. We get into the weeds of the production process, including how to gain the trust of people who may be skeptical and initially unwilling to share their stories. We also discuss how to tell a story that stays true to multiple perspectives, and how to engage and connect people using audio as a format.

We also talk about Ashley’s journey from NPR to freelance productions and consultations. We have a great discussion about loaded terms such as “environmentalist”, and what fairness and bias means in the world of journalism.

Ashley also gives a sneak peek into her next podcast series.

I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion and learned a lot of useful nuggets to improve my ability to engage and communicate environmental stories, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Find Ashley @ashleyreports on Instagram and @aahearn on Twitter, or on her website at https://www.ahearnproductions.com.

Links To Topics Discussed

People and Organizations

Ashley Ahearn – creator of the Grouse series.

Liza Yeager – audio producer and sound designer for Grouse

Michael Schroeder – Greater Sage-Grouse expert featured extensively in the Grouse series

Whitney Henry-Lester – Ashley’s editor for Grouse

Books and Other Things

Note: links to books are affiliate links

Bundyville – podcast series from OPB that Ashley enjoyed

Death, Sex, and Money – Anna Sale’s podcast that Ashley enjoys

Grouse – The podcast series Ashley created, which led me to reach out to her for this interview

Home of the Brave – another podcast Ashley likes, by Scott Carrier

Music Credits

Opening – Fearless First by Kevin MacLoed

Closing – Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLoed

Both can be obtained from https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/

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