Social Media

6 Ways Stations Can Use Social Callouts [VIDEO]

Apr 29, 2015

In public radio, it goes without saying that the public – our existing audience and otherwise – should be at the heart of everything we do. One way to bring more of those people into our reporting is through social callouts, where we ask the wider world to share their stories, photos and thoughts on any number of topics.  

Come join us for the second all-station Twitter chat on Friday, October 24 from 3-4 p.m. ET!

#NPRChats is an informal way for NPR Digital Services to talk with and answer questions from our Member Stations about a different topic or theme each month.


The NPR Scoop newsletter recently summarized the many ways NPR is covering Ebola, including work with station journalists and newsrooms. KERA in particular has been all over the story on-air and online since the first patient to be diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. showed up in Dallas.

Original photo via Robert Scoble, Flickr, CC

The Online News Association is a membership organization for digital journalists. Their yearly conference is one of the biggest gatherings of digital minds from across the country. 

In this webinar, we shared 10 things we learned at ONA. Find the full video and a summary below. Want even more digital and social media tips? Click through our Editorial section, and don't miss daily tips from NPR's social media team in the Social Sandbox. 

There's no question that mobile is on top of journalists' and newsrooms' minds. Click through the notes on panels that talked about mobile at ONA here.  Then try this self-audit from Amy Webb's 10 Tech Trends for Journalists talk to learn more about what works on mobile and what doesn't. Pick 5 stories a day and interact with them in different scenarios and on different devices. 

Russ Gossett

Audio stories are full of interesting moments, but we rarely see those moments shared widely on social media. In a webinar on September 11, 2014, we talked about how NPR Digital Services and stations are experimenting to create shareable sound. We also heard from Nashville Public Radio's Mack Linebaugh and Emily Siner about how their newsroom creates social audio.

Watch the webinar below:

Should Reporters Produce Stories for Radio and Web?

Aug 18, 2014
Original image via Flickr/donovanbeeson

The NPR coaching and development team works with NPR and member stations to help newsrooms and journalists reach a growing, multi-platform audience. As part of that work, we’ve found that stations share many of the same questions and concerns with us.

This advice column is one way to help make those questions and answers more public. By making public radio’s collective knowledge accessible, we can continue to learn from each other.

All thoughts, questions and feedback are welcome. Share your feedback via email to

Submit your own questions for future installments of the advice column in this form.

Kim Perry

NPR Director of Editorial Coaching and Development



Come join us for the first all-station Twitter chat under the hashtag #NPRChats on Thursday, August 14 from 1-2 p.m. ET.

#NPRChats is an informal way for NPR Digital Services to talk with and answer questions from our Member Stations about a different topic or theme each month.

Background image provided by Jolie Ngo,

Tumblr has been used by NPR and many stations to do special projects, connect with audiences in new ways, and more. Danielle Strle, Tumblr's director of product for community and content, shared best practices for using Tumblr to build community and share stories. Watch the recording of the discussion below. 

clockwise from top left by Instagrammers @plainviewcrowe,@pmarlin, @kaleykim, @mitzianab

The majority of Americans are now carrying cameras wherever they go - in their smartphones

The NPR Visuals team has engaged with this smartphone-toting, photo-taking, audience by asking them to share photos around various themes, stories and series on social media. Instagram in particular has been a useful platform for these storytelling projects, NPR Visuals assistant producer Emily Bogle said in a recent webinar with us.

Emily shared when to do an Instagram callout, how to plan, carry one out, and many more tips. Watch the recording of the webinar, click through the slides and read through a summary below.

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.

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

  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:

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.

Six Questions About Tumblr, Answered by Tumblr

Apr 18, 2014
Background image provided by Jolie Ngo,

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.

Jason Howie/Flickr

You’ve set up a Twitter account for your show, and started tweeting. You have a Facebook page and you’re posting to it regularly. You've read about how to get your show started off on the right foot with social. Now, you might be asking what the next step is to help make your social media efforts resonate with your audience.

Jody Avirgan

One of the issues we hear show producers struggling with again and again, is how to find the time to do digital content justices in the midst of a tight production schedule, especially if there is not a dedicated web producer. 

To find some possible solutions we turned to Jody Avirgan, a producer for WNYC's midday talk show, The Brian Lehrer Show. Jody is responsible for the majority of the show's digital presence, but also is a full time producer for the show, and has experimented with how to make the web succeed with the limited amount of time he can give to it. 

Jody recently joined us for a webinar to share how he tackles the challenge of creating great content and balancing his on air and online responsibilities. You can find the full recording as well the slide show from the presentation below.