Best Practices for Web Writing [VIDEO]

Jun 13, 2013

Write like your hair is on fire!
Credit KatieKrueger / Flickr

This session examines techniques for webifying your radio story for the online audience. We also explore what makes a great web-native story. And we offer advice on when to choose one approach over the other.

We will also take a look at how to manage your time when producing content for several mediums. Some questions to ask: 

1. Who is my audience?
2. What is most relevant?
3. What is the best use of my time? 

If you're looking for some inspiration, take a look at the work of some of these excellent journalists in broadcast:

Mark Memmott, NPR's The Two-Way
Mark Brush, Michigan Radio Senior Producer
Nathan Bernier, KUT News Reporter
Julie Rovner, NPR Health Policy Correspondent
Allison Aubrey, NPR Correspondent and contributor to The Salt

And don't forget those headlines


Web Writing (June 2013) from NPR Digital Services on Vimeo.

Highlights (timestamped to the video)

  • 01:25 Brush up on headlines (the full webinar is here)
  • 02:05 The two types of web writing: webifying a radio script and the web-native story
  • 03:30 The midday peak in the online news cycle and what it means for when you file web stories
  • 04:05 When should you webify a radio story and when should you use a web-native approach?
  • 06:00 What approaches don’t work well? Webifying a radio story when the event happened much earlier in the day; transcripts; posting the audio with the text of the host intro.
  • 09:30 Why we need to write in an engaging style that’s appropriate for the digital audience and how the approach differs from best practices for the radio audience
  • 14:20 Choosing a relevant image or illustration
  • 16:35 What approaches work well? Creating a compelling story from a radio show segment; posting a story early in the day to maximize audience; focusing on content that you know is of interest to your audience.
  • 19:10 The three steps to webify a radio script: rewrite the lede; edit the quotes; add more context. Included are examples of stories by NPR’s Julie Rovner and Allison Aubry
  • 25:15 The five differences between writing for the web and writing for radio
  • 28:55 A few more takeaways: not all radio stories are meant to be radio stories; when you can, write the web text first and then the radio story; and if you’re not breaking the story, what can you add to your version of the story that will distinguish it?
  • 31:15 Seven best practices for web-native storytelling: web-only stories; links to relevant material; embed content; updated stories when there are new developments; curation information from elsewhere; making content easily scannable; let the format fit the story; listen and respond to your audience
  • 44:40 KPLU Case Study: how they developed a checklist to determine when to create a web-native story; how they think about the web and broadcast versions of a story; how stories that begin on the web may make it to the air
  • 50:15 Some ideas for advancing a story on day two


NPR Knight Writing for the Web June 2013 from nprdigital