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Research Guides@Tufts

MyTERN Podcast Project

Ethical Collaboration

A few guiding principles from the Ethical Practice from the Story Center are:

  • Center on storyteller wellbeing
  • Ethical engagement is a continual process
  • Ethical story distribution that center the needs of, and designed to benefit, storytellers and their local communities

It can be helpful to consider what guiding ethical principles will help guide your collaborations throughout this project.

Setting up a successful collaboration

Successful collaboration don't just happen.  They require thoughtful planning and intention.  Projects that are successful usually have consistent communication between group members, care for the project and each other and a common set of values that serve as the foundation of the project.  As designers of this project, how will you frame the ways you will approach the work?  

It's important to note that frameworks and process can be established prior to starting the project but the reality of the work may mean things need to be adjusted or scrapped all together.  As a starting place to establish what equitable collaboration will mean for your group, start by articulating roles, responsibilities and backup plans for each step of the process.  The following are a series of prompts to start conversations about what the group dynamic will look like for your project.  

Project Values

  • What are the values this project centers?
  • How will the group ensure decisions connect back to these values?  How will the group hold itself accountable to these values?

Sharing the work

There are a variety of ways to share the work - what matters is that everyone in the group agrees regarding how content is being determined and how labor and responsibilities are being divided. All members should monitor distribution of responsibilities and a channel for vocalizing concerns of imbalance should be established.  One way to divide up the work is to assign group members specialized oversight of a specific process.  Tasks to consider are:

  • Background research
  • Gathering sound/doing interviews
  • Gathering music
  • Working on voiceover copy
  • Audio editing

Another way to divide up the work is to have each group member research a particular topic.  Each member is the lead for integrating their research into the script.  

Accountability, key players and shaping content

  • Inevitably a deadline will be missed or an unexpected event will occur that will disrupt your anticipated timeline.  How will these situations be handled?  
  • Is this project about a particular community and if so, are you making space for the community to lead how the project unfolds?

  • Where do the ideas start and how do you determine content?

  • How do you create a welcoming space for generating and sharing ideas?  How will you ensure everyone's voice in the group is being heard and respected?
  • How will final editorial calls be made?

Brainstorming Themes and Topics

Your class will work together to decide on a broad theme for each episode of the podcast. This theme will tie the entire episode together, although each group member sharing a story may be sharing very different experiences and aspects related to the overarching theme.

Brainstorming can happen as a whole class, with people sharing any ideas that they are interested in.

Brainstorming can also start in smaller groups, with each group sharing ideas and then agreeing on on one final theme to share with the whole class.

Brainstorming can happen informally through conversation, you can use sticky notes to share and then organize ideas, or you can use strategies such as mindmapping to get your ideas flowing and organized.

Media Management Tips

Media management encompasses the organization of media assets from research and writing through sharing and archiving.  Below are some best practices for keeping track of files as you work on your project.


We recommend creating a shared Box folder to store all your digital assets.  You can share this folder with the members of your group as well as any other relevant stakeholders. Box offers an local application that can be installed on your machine to make accessing your files easier when recording and editing.  

External Hard Drive

External drives can help with saving files and moving your project file around between computers.  If someone in your group has an external hard drive it can be used for backup or for transferring media between group members. 


Staying organized is essential as you collect and create various assets for your project.  Organizing and naming all your files will help make collaborating smoother.  One example for organizing media could look like:

  • Project Title (folder)
    • Documents (folder)
    •  Original media (folder)
      • Interviews (folder)
        • GuestsName_Date (folder)
      • Narration (folder)
        • Section or Topic_Date (file)
      • Sound Effects (folder)
        • SoundEffectName_HostSite (file)
      • Music (folder)
      • Spreadsheet that lists out all the audio files with file name, source of file if downloaded, date recorded, licensing, consent forms, etc
    • Exports (folder)
      • Project Title_version_date (file)
    • Project Files (folder)


Always backup your media and project files in at least two locations!  It’s important to always back-up your media and project files in case your computer crashes or hard drive malfunction. All machines in the DDS are wiped weekly.

In Action

Use mind maps to start to brainstorm ideas for themes and the topics that each theme might encompass! Mind maps can be written on paper or online.

If creating a mind map on paper, start by writing your major theme idea in the center of the page and circling it. As your group thinks of topics related to this theme, write them around the main theme, circle each one, and draw a line connecting it back to the main theme.

Visit to create a mind online!