Thread at Yale program to focus on storytelling in modern media

Thread at Yale — a new summer program for writers, radio journalists, and other storytellers — is now accepting applications for its first session, June 7–10.

“Storytelling today moves from one platform to another,” write the organizers. “The best magazines, like The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, have print editions but also offer podcasts, photography slideshows, and other multimedia content.” Thread at Yale, they note, “respects the new reality, by disrespecting the old boundaries. It is neither a conference, where you hear lectures, nor a workshop, where your work receives close, personal attention. Instead, it is both.”

An offshoot of the Yale Journalism Initiative (YJI), Thread at Yale offers a small group of storytellers from print, radio, and other media the opportunity to gather for three days and nights to learn from masters in the field — and from each other. The program is open to those aged 21 and up. Unlike some other journalists’ gatherings, there is no preference for “mid-career” applicants.

“We care deeply about narrative journalism, but we don’t care if it’s on paper, on a computer screen, on the radio, downloaded as a podcast, in photographs, or streaming as video,” said Mark Oppenheimer, a religion columnist at The New York Times, who is also director of the YJI. “We are thrilled to be launching this kind of program with no media boundaries.”

The program’s mentors and speakers have been selected for their diversity of work across platforms. They include leading storytellers such as Emily Bazelon of The New York Times Magazine, Glynn Washington of “Snap Judgment,” Catherine Burns of “The Moth,”and Steven Brill, renowned journalist and entrepreneur.

The day to day program will include:

  • Two conversations, every morning, with experts in cross-platform, multimedia storytelling.
  • An intimate, small-group workshop every afternoon. Thread will assign each attendee to a group of 10-12 students, and each group will meet for three hours a day, for three days, with one of the program’s faculty. The workshop teachers include veterans like Linda Gradstein, longtime NPR bureau chief in Jerusalem, and younger journalists like New Yorker writer and winner of the National Magazine Award, Sarah Stillman.
  • Evening parlor discussions where pioneering storytellers talk about their career journeys.

Thread at Yale builds on the vision of YJI, which was founded in 2006, with a gift from Brill, to encourage Yale students to consider careers in journalism. In addition to Brill, the initiative’s faculty so far have included Jill Abramson, Mark Schoofs, and Bob Woodward, and the initiative’s alumni, called Yale Journalism Scholars, now work at major storytelling platforms, including The New York Times to NPR, PBS, Slate, and Buzzfeed.

Enrollment is limited. Applications are being accepted and processed on a rolling basis. The deadline for applying is May 1.

For more information and to apply, visit

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Shana N. Schneider: [email protected], 203-436-5449