Apply Now to Join the Local Stories Project

Sep 10, 2013

Last spring, we launched the first round of applications for the Local Stories Project. We added four more stations in May and we promised another application round in the fall.

Guess what? It’s fall. Well, close enough, and we’re launching the new application round today.

Apply at the bottom of this post. The application deadline is September 27.

What is the Local Stories Project? You may have heard of the "NPR Facebook project" - it’s the first execution of our vision to find new ways to distribute quality local stories, grow audience and make stations stronger in their communities. We're working with 22 stations in 19 cities distributing shareable, meaningful stories, which we publish to geo-targeted segments of the NPR Facebook audience.

We designed the project with three objectives: to leverage the reach of the NPR Facebook page, with its 2.7 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.

And we can report success. The project has driven 1.2 million visitors to station web sites since it launched. It’s exhilarating to watch the digital editors share story ideas and tips with each other every day in their private Facebook group. And because we gather data on every story we publish, we’re building a deeper understanding of the types of stories that resonate with online audiences.

Let me draw a bright red circle around that last sentence. This is about more than Facebook; it’s about understanding and serving your digital audience on all your platforms. You can think about it this way: we have a 40-year track record of understanding what works with our radio audience, and now we’re learning the same things about our online audience.

Now, about the application process: it’s a simple form, but we will be selecting stations based on criteria we carefully defined. 

  • Each station must have a full-time digital journalist who can devote time daily to the project, work with an editor at NPR Digital Services  and who has a demonstrated ability to create digital stories. This person must be involved in the day-to-day editorial management of your station's web site.
  • The NPR Facebook page must have at least 5,000 likes in the station's local market (we’ll run the numbers for your market). 
  • Stations must participate in the NPR Digital Services Station Analytics Service, 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.

After the September 27th deadline, we’ll select stations for the project and begin our training bootcamp in mid-October.

Want to know more about it before you apply? Eric Athas writes about how the Local Stories Project works. Teresa Gorman shares tips we got from stations for creating great stories. And this is a Nieman Journalism Lab piece about the project, and our research into what stories drive audience.

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

Here are the digital editors who are a part of this project. I consider them to be among the best in the system when it comes to crafting stories for digital audiences.

KPLU: Martha Kang

WBUR: Nate Goldman

KQED: Katrina Schwartz

KUT: Wells Dunbar

KPCC: Kim Bui and Michelle Lanz

KUNC: Jim Hill

WAMU: Chris Chester

WLRN: Elaine Chen

OPB: Rebecca Galloway

WHYY NewsWorks: Shannon McDonald

Michigan Radio: Mark Brush

KUOW: Bond Huberman

St Louis Public Radio: Kelsey Proud

KTOO: Heather Bryant

MPR News: Michael Olson

WESA: Ryan Loew

WFPL News: Joseph Lord

KCUR: Briana O’Higgins

WXPN: John Vettese

Boise State Public Radio: Emilie Ritter Saunders

KUER: Brian Grimmett

KALW: Audrey Dilling

NPR Digital Services: Eric Athas and Teresa Gorman