November Editorial Newsletter

Nov 24, 2014

Greetings! As we get ready for the upcoming holiday season, we would love to hear what’s new at your station. Email us at to tell us the latest. Perhaps you have a fun holiday series you’re working on?

In this month's newsletter, we highlight examples of great journalism told in a variety of ways from KPCC, KERA, and OPB. Do these examples give you an idea for your own station? Well, read on, because we have tips for how to pitch digital projects in our latest installment of our advice column “Well, it Depends.” Plus, don’t miss our popular feature “Digital Life.” This month we hear from NPR Washington Desk digital editor Amita Parashar.


KPCC investigation reveals rats and run-down schools

Despite millions in funding, a KPCC story found that a local school district is in rough shape. The story revealed that "conditions at some schools are unsanitary, and in some cases unsafe." The piece, which was based on first-hand accounts, interviews and documents, describes rats in a gym, faulty fire alarms, water damage and dirty bathrooms. After the report was published, the school district announced plans to clean up many of the problems KPCC reported on.

KERA launches comprehensive project on immigration and children

Take a look at the Dallas station’s interactive project called Generation One that focuses on immigration through the lens of children living in Texas. "In Texas, one in three children has a parent who’s an immigrant -- or they're immigrants themselves," the project's intro page says. "They have to learn a new language, adapt to a different culture and try to fit into a community that may not embrace newcomers." Generation One will tell stories for digital and radio over the course of eight weeks.

Pot in Oregon, explained expertly by OPB

Oregon voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana on Nov. 4. Before the vote took place, Oregon Public Broadcasting put together a comprehensive series on the issue. The series, which can be found here, used photos, explainer videos, audio and text to help people understand the state of marijuana in Oregon.

An advice column from NPR's coaching & development team 

As part of our 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.

Question: I have the idea for a blog for my station. How would one convince upper management that this project is worth the time and effort? What tips do you have for pitching digital projects?

Since every station is different, there is no absolute best way to pitch a project. But no matter where you are or what your idea is, there are a few things to think about before pitching a project to your manager. We asked several people who have successfully pitched digital projects at their stations for their answers. Here are a few highlights from their answers:

When you pitch your idea, pitch it in the language of [your station’s] strategic plan. In other words, figure out how your idea helps your station fulfill goals that your leadership team has already articulated. That way, you're helping your station win a battle it has already chosen-- not suggesting a new battle.
- Andi McDaniel, Director of Content Strategy and Innovation, Twin Cities Public Television

Have a timeline and process for assessing success, so management feels comfortable knowing when and how you will determine whether the blog is successful.
- Briana O’Higgins, Digital Content Editor, Alyson Raletz, Social Media Producer, KCUR.

Being able to balance spontaneity and preparedness can help your pitch become a reality.
- Dave Mistich, Digital Coordinator/Editor, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Keep it short. If you can't do the elevator pitch in two minutes and describe your project in one page, it's too long.
- Scott Finn, Executive Director and CEO, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Read the full answers on our blog. Have advice to share on this question? Tweet it to @NPRDS or email it to Submit your own question for this column in this form.

In case you missed them, or just want to revisit the knowledge that was dropped, check out these webinars:

Stay tuned for upcoming webinars by following @nprds and the hashtag #pubtraining.