News Training

Russell Gossett

    

  Floods, fires and earthquake can make the world seem like it's coming to an end. Then, there are those man-made catastrophes that end people's lives with a gun or explosive. Between mishaps of celebrities and politicians, "breaking news" can seem like an overused term in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. But there are certain instances where an event is unfolding and people really need that news immediately. Having an understanding of who those people are and what they need can help guide your coverage, and help people who are affected. 

Stations Share Their #NPRKnight Thanks With the Knight Foundation on Twitter

Jun 25, 2014

Updated July 15, 2014 after #NPRKnight day of thanks.

After two years, our Knight Foundation funded digital news training with member stations is coming to an end. We've been able to work directly with 827 people from 68 stations from 35 states and the District of Columbia. That's not to mention the thousands of participants in our free online webinars.

Kasia Podbielski

In 2012, the Knight Foundation awarded a $1.5M grant to NPR in support of its efforts to expand the digital news capacity of NPR and NPR Member Stations. 

As we get ready to end the past two years of station digital news training funded by that grant, we thought we'd share some of the highlights that we've been able to accomplish thanks to collaboration between stations and NPR.

A quick snapshot of who has been reached in the past two years:

Subscribe to the Editorial Monthly Newsletter

Jun 25, 2014

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How Breaking News Handbooks Guide Member Stations

Jun 18, 2014
KPCC

  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.

A Peek Inside Emilie Ritter Saunders' Digital Life

Jun 18, 2014
Frankie Barnhill

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.

How Lean Newsrooms Cover Breaking News

Jun 16, 2014
@gracehood

  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. 

The Daily Circuit social media host Stephanie Curtis

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:

A Peek Inside PJ Vogt's Digital Life

May 22, 2014
Lori Vogt

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 coaching@npr.org or send us a tweet at @nprds.    

reddit.com

The website reddit can be a place for unique story ideas and a way to reach new audiences in your communities.

Ezra David Romero, Valley Public Radio

Valley Public Radio’s series Voices of the Drought explores the impacts of California’s historic drought by showcasing the many people that the drought touches, from snow surveyors to farmers.

A Peek Inside Catie Talarski's Digital Life

Apr 23, 2014
Johnathon Henninger

People involved in public media share how they wade through the digital news deluge. This month we spoke with Catie Talarski. Catie is Executive Producer at WNPR, focusing on original WNPR programs, working to develop new concepts, live events and content strategies. Catie also recently started the Public Radio Local Talk Producers Facebook Group, a resource for producers to share information, guests, ideas, best practices and more. Join her.

Six Questions About Tumblr, Answered by Tumblr

Apr 18, 2014
Background image provided by Jolie Ngo, 36x48.tumblr.com

When I think about which of the many social media platforms are tailor made for radio, Tumblr is the first to come to mind. In terms of ease of use, formatting, and even content, Tumblr can be just right for the time-crunched public radio reporter, producer, or for special projects.

I am sure there are Tumblr doubters out there, but like all tools, the power is in how and why you use it.

To help answer some questions we had about using Tumblr,  I spoke with Danielle Strle, Tumblr's Director of Product for Community & Content. I asked her to shed some light on some common questions we hear about Tumblr: 

Succeeding on Facebook isn't an easy task. Your station posts are competing with every other post from every other page that your fan has liked, from baby pictures to other local news outlets.

Davar Ardalan

Throughout the month of March, women from technology fields in Silicon Valley to South Africa live tweeted a day in their lives using the hashtag #NPRWIT.

Training on Demand: Audio Innovation

Apr 2, 2014
Andy Bowers

We are pleased to share with you the next series of webinars in our Training on Demand Series. This round is all about audio innovation. 

These webinars tackle the question: what’s next for audio? We have conversations with radio innovators 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars and the Executive Producer of Slate Podcasts Andy Bowers , as well as insight on the future of mobile audio from former Marketplace Digital Director Matt Berger and station wide innovation from WNYC’s Dean Cappello

As a way to make it easier to digest these webinars efficiently, each has been timestamped to highlight the key takeaways. While they complement each other, they are not intended to be consumed in a particular order. 

Rich Black / http://rblack.org/

There are lots of tools you can use to experiment with audio storytelling – radio, digital, social, community engagement, quizzes. With Audiograph, KALW found a way to combine all of that into into one unique project.

Audiograph is a weekly feature at KALW. It uses "the sounds of voices, nature, industry, and music to tell the story of" the Bay Area.

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