Local Stories Project
10:31 am
Wed April 17, 2013

The Local Stories Project Launches, Apply to Join Now

More than a year ago, we launched an experiment known as the NPR Facebook project. It was the first execution of a vision that seeks to find new ways to distribute quality local stories, grow audience and make stations stronger in their communities.

We're now calling it the Local Stories Project. I'd like to give you an update on our progress and announce an application process for stations to join the project later this spring.

Apply here.

We're working with stations to create shareable, meaningful stories, which we publish to geo-targeted segments of the NPR Facebook audience. We've designed the project to leverage the reach of the NPR Facebook page, with its 2.6 million followers, to find a larger local audience for station stories, to improve collaboration on stories among stations throughout the system, and to provide lessons about creating stories that stations can use to build their digital audience overall.

We started our experiment with KPLU in late 2011, and we saw great results. Here are more details. Last fall, we added four stations: WBUR, KQED, KUT and KPCC. And early this year, we added thirteen more: KUNC, WAMU, WLRN, OPB, WHYY’s NewsWorks, Michigan Radio, KUOW, St. Louis Public Radio, KTOO, MPR News, WESA, WFPL News and KCUR. 

We’ve chosen stations based on criteria we carefully defined. Each station must have a full-time digital journalist who can devote time daily to the project, and who has a demonstrated ability to create digital stories. They will work with an editor at NPR Digital Services to make sure submissions have the greatest impact. The NPR Facebook page must have at least 5,000 likes in the station's local market, and stations must participate in the NPR Digital Services Analytics System, so we can measure the results. Stations accepted into the project participate in a training "bootcamp" to learn how to create compelling and shareable stories, based on our research.

Now, it's time to open the doors a little wider. Beginning today, you can apply to be one of the 10-15 stations in the next round in mid-May. First, make sure you meet the criteria. Then, fill out the form below and hit the submit button. We’ll make our selection by May 15, with the training bootcamp to begin shortly thereafter. And yes, we're planning another application period in the fall.

Read this piece by Eric Athas for more details about how the Local Stories Project works for stations.

If you have questions, feel free to contact your Station Relations Representative, or drop me an email: tmundt@npr.org

Criteria for the Local Stories Project:

  • A full-time digital journalist who will serve as the primary editor for this project. This person is most commonly a blogger, web producer, or digital editor. This person must be involved in the day-to-day management of your station's web site and must have the ability and desire to create digital stories.
  • One newsroom staff member to serve as the backup when the editor is out.
  • Participation in the NPR Digital Services Analytics System.
  • A desire to work with Digital Services to improve how you create digital stories.
  • Daily demonstration of digital story creation that goes beyond radio script webifying.
  • The NPR Facebook page must have at least 5,000 likes in the station's local market. (Digital Services will make this determination).

Interested? Fill out this application (deadline to apply is April 30):

Questions? Feel free to contact your Station Relations Representative, or send an e-mail to tmundt@npr.org