Breaking News Webinar Recaps, Spotlights on VPR, WHYY & WSKG and How to Use the Quotable Tool

Jun 18, 2014

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. 

Station Spotlight

Chronicling Drug Addiction in Vermont With the Help of the Community 
Bucolic Vermont has become an unexpected location of a heroin epidemic that's cut deep into its communities. To cover this epidemic in a new way, Vermont Public Radio is reaching out to people afflicted by drug addiction and encouraging them to share their stories and photos through their Traces project. People can call or write, or even print VPR's posters to encourage more people to share their stories. We’ll be staying tuned to see the results of the project as they come in  -- you should, too.

Listen to This Audio That Plays Tricks on the Brain 
Former WHYY radio reporter Zack Seward’s story about an audio illusion received more than 25,000 listens. The piece was pegged to an exhibit about the brain at the Franklin Institute, a science museum in Philadelphia. But it was the mind-bending 50-second clip that got the attention of BuzzFeed. Their story with the clip has over 50,000 views, according to their site. You won't hear things the same after you listen.

Photographing Local Festivals Can Be Compelling Storytelling 
Festivals are held in communities all the time, but these photos by WSKG’s Joshua Ludzki really stood out on Facebook. The character of the upstate New York community was beautifully captured in a series of photo albums posted throughout the weekend of the Ithaca Festival. Ludzki also photographed the station's mugshots campaign from earlier this year. Why not share some great images from local events this summer on social media and your site? It is a good way to practice photography, and connect with your community online.

We Can Answer That 
We’re looking for some frequently asked questions from staff at stations. It can be on anything from digital workflow to starting a podcast to managing interns. What questions do you have that you’d like answered? Submit your question in this form and stay tuned for more on this in the next few months. 


How to Make Stories More Shareable on Social Media With ‘Quotable’ Images
NPR Member Stations now have access to a new tool called Quotable, created by NPR’s Social Media Desk, Digital Services and Member Partnership. You can use this tool to spread intriguing facts and quotes from your stories in a shareable format on social media: an image. The tool brands the image with your station’s logo and resizes it for both Twitter and Facebook. NPR’s engagement and reach have increased by using their version of the tool selectively and with an editorial mindset. There are a few best practices to think about when making these images, including not over-using them – you can find them on our blog. Additional instructions and tips are available on the tool’s page

In case you missed these webinars or just want to revisit them, here are some highlights: 

How Local Stations Can Use Reddit
In this webinar, reddit’s Director of Communications Victoria Taylor gave an overview of the reddit ecosystem. She recommended the following course of action: explore first, follow the 9/10 Rule, be transparent about your motives and who you are, see what people are saying about your stories and try an AMA (Ask Me Anything).

Credit Russ Gossett/NPR

How Lean Newsrooms Cover Breaking News
Crises can happen anywhere and take multiple forms, from the natural to the man-made. In this webinar, KUNC's Jim Hill and WVPB's Ashton Marra shared how their lean newsrooms cover breaking news on social, web, radio and tv. 

How Breaking News Handbooks Guide Member Stations
Some communities are affected by the same crises on a seemingly frequent basis: fires, floods, mass shootings, chemical spills. Some of these crises can be catastrophic for the community and newsroom. Having a breaking news handbook in place can help newsrooms of all sizes organize themselves amid the chaos. In this webinar, KPBS's Suzanne Marmion and KPCC's Kristen Muller shared their breaking news plans.