Mass shootings, wildfires, floods and super storms are just some of the crises that have become regular news. Many public radio newsrooms prepare for such events by creating a breaking news handbook that outlines the chain of command, level of emergency, job duties, contact information and other essentials that take the guesswork out of the crisis.
People involved in public media share how they wade through the digital news deluge. This month we spoke with Boise State Public Radio Digital Content Coordinator Emilie Ritter Saunders. According to her site, Emilie is a big fan of “data-driven journalism, artful storytelling, refinishing furniture and ice cream.” She previously was StateImpact Idaho’s multimedia journalist and before that Montana Public Radio’s Capitol Bureau Chief. Read on for more about how she manages her digital life:
Happy summer, all. We have a lot to share with you this month, including recaps of recent webinars on breaking news coverage for lean newsrooms, how to use the new Quotable social media tool, and spotlights on work at VPR, WHYY and WSKG.
How do you make an audio story travel even further on the web, which is a mostly-visual medium?
It’s a difficult question, and one that we struggle with on NPR’s Social Media Desk. Often, our audio pieces aren’t published with a photo we can use on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. So we started thinking: what would an image look like for a radio story? How could we make an image to help producers and reporters make their pieces more shareable?
We decided to experiment with letting the words speak for themselves -- by turning the best quotes and facts from a piece into a visual image that could be uploaded to social media and shared alongside a link to a piece. We call them "quotables," and it looks like this in action:
Adding an image to a tweet produces on average a 35 percent boost in retweets, according to a study from Twitter. Adding an image to a Facebook post, we found, has driven similar results. As we began turning our facts and quotes into images, shares, likes and pageviews on many NPR stories all went up.
This is because, we realized, people really like to share facts and compelling quotes with their friends -- and in a Twitter stream or Facebook newsfeed, images tend to stand out. We are hardly the only ones doing this. Buzzfeed’s True Facts Twitter feed spits out random facts that they discover from around the web. Another fact account, called UberFacts, has almost 7 million followers.
But there are a few best practices to think about when making images out of selected facts and quotes from your stories:
You can make pictures of facts or quotes as many times as you want on Twitter, but there is a limit on Facebook. After extensive testing, we realized that posting a quotable more than three times a week on Facebook has an adverse effect -- and people stop sharing and clicking. But on Twitter, which moves much more quickly, it is harder to overuse these images.
Include the link to your story in the caption of the Facebook post or in the tweet you send. Make sure to write a caption for the photo you upload to Facebook, just as you would a regular photo. That’s also where you should link to your piece. Both the caption and the link will travel with the image when people share it, leading to more people coming to your stories.
Think about what people might want to share. That’s the bit you want to pluck out for your image. Pick out the most compelling quote or fact from the interview, but keep it short. Shorter is better -- we’ve experimented with both short and long quotes and shorter quotes or facts are easier to digest and share. We’ve also found that editorial content works really well -- much more than marketing content. Using the images for both editorial and marketing content confuses people -- and they are less likely to share the quote or fact.
You can use just about anything to make these images for your pieces. You can even make these in something as simple as Microsoft Paint. For a start, here are 14 tools collected by Buffer that you can use to edit images for social media.
Size is often considered an impediment to covering breaking news, but several newsrooms are using their resources strategically to provide information for the breaking news audience in times of crisis. In this webinar with West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Ashton Marra and KUNC digital media manager Jim Hill, we see key attributes of lean newsrooms that cover breaking news well.
New secure payment forms application to replace Quick Pledge
Stations can look forward to a new service from Digital Services this year that helps stations reach revenue goals by deeply engaging with their audience through email, social, mobile and Web platforms. The new Digital Marketing Suite (DMS) is designed to be a flexible and modular software solution for those responsible for online membership and development revenue. The first application to be released is a new digital donation form application called, Capture.
Should a show host run their own Twitter account? During our Twitter chat about digital strategies for shows, that question came up several times. There's not a yes or no answer, but one show that has benefited from active social media accounts is The Daily Circuit, a daily three-hour long show on Minnesota Public Radio.
The Daily Circuit has a digitally savvy staff, including a social media host and two hosts that are active on Twitter. I turned to host Kerri Miller for her tips and thoughts on using social media as a talk show host.
Miller, in addition to one to three hours a day on air, tweets several times a day asking questions related to the show, about the latest books she’s reading, and more to over 11,600 followers.
During our chat, she said that although it took her time to fit social media into her schedule and to figure out what to tweet, it is now an integral part of her job at The Daily Circuit.
Here are five tips she shared from her experience:
People involved in public media share how they wade through the digital news deluge. This month we spoke with PJ Vogt. Vogt is the co-creator of TLDR, a WNYC podcast about the internet, and a producer for On The Media. Subscribe to TLDR here and read on for more on how Vogt manages his digital life.
In this month’s newsletter, check out KPBS and KPCC’s coverage of the San Diego County wildfires, see how Valley Public Radio engaged the public in its drought coverage, and learn about KERA’s new series The Broken Hip. Also, don’t miss the digital life of producer for On The Media. PJ Vogt. Sign up to learn about reddit and let us know what questions you have about all things digital in public radio. We have a new team email and, as always, enjoy hearing from you. Say hello to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a tweet at @nprds.
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