Argo Project Milestone: Launch of Open Source Site

Jan 18, 2012

We are pleased to announce that we’re making a new resource available to public radio stations to support your efforts to drive digital audience: the Project Argo open source site at http://argoproject.org.

On the site, you’ll find:

--The Argo blog platform being used by the pilot stations available as a free download.

--Tools and best practices for building local news beats online.

--Training videos, tips, and guidance on building an effective news blog and online news strategy, and more.

You’ll recall that the Argo project was launched two years ago to demonstrate how stations could build editorial authority and online audience around selected beats. The project has met with great success and 11 of the original 12 pilot sites are planning to continue their blogs after the initial grant support runs out at the end of March. With the release of the Argo open source site, the tools that supported that effort are now available to stations throughout the system.

News directors will notice how easily new information can be posted to an Argo site, allowing stations to respond quickly to breaking news as well as to build in-depth coverage around topics of local relevance. Tech developers will see how smoothly it combines original station reporting with other third-party content and social media features in one display. (To see how the NPR pilot stations have made use of the Argo blog platform, visit one of the Argo station blogs, listed at the end of this note.) 

The Argo platform, which is integrated with the NPR API, is part of a broader suite of tools that we’re making available to stations to expand their digital presence. Stations with established websites may choose to add an Argo-style local news vertical as a companion to their existing sites. Other stations might use the Argo template to take their first steps into building a robust local news vertical, or tomake plans to do so.

The release of the Argo tools is a major milestone in the Argo project, which is now in the final months of the pilot. It fulfills a key requirement of the grant we received from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supported this work with the understanding that the technology and lessons-learned would be shared widely. Argo was jointly funded by the Knight Foundation, CPB, NPR and the participating Argo stations.

While the new site is “self-serve,” NPR Digital Services will be supporting project Argo going forward and will be working alongside all interested stations to facilitate the use of the Argoresources. With time, the features that made the Argo platform distinctive also will be integrated into Digital Services’ Core Publisher platform. If you’re curious about how the resources might benefit your station or have questions about anything you see on the site, please contact Eric Athas at Digital Services at 617-622-5433 or Eathas@npr.org.

In the meantime, we invite you to visit the Argo open source site – and spread the news within your station – to see how your station might benefit from it.

Argo Pilot Station Sites

The following station sites were built using the Argo platform.

Boston/WBUR
CommonHealth: Where reform meets reality.

Boston/WGBH-WCAI
Climatide: Oceans, coasts, and climate change on Cape Cod.

Minnesota Public Radio
On Campus: Everything higher education in Minnesota.

Oregon Public Broadcasting
Ecotrope: Fresh ideas on nature and community.

New York/WNYC
The Empire: Everything you need to know about New York state politics and governance.

Philadelphia/WXPN
The Key: Discover Philly’s best local music

San Diego/KPBS
Home Post: The military in San Diego

San Francisco/KALW
The Informant: Cops, courts and communities in the Bay Area.

San Francisco/KQED
MindShift: How we will learn

Seattle/KPLU
Humanosphere: Charting global health and the fight against poverty.

Los Angeles/KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)
Multi-American: Immigration and cultural fusion in the new Southern California.

Washington, D.C./WAMU
DCentric: Race, Class, the District