A Peek Inside Amita Kelly Digital Life

Nov 24, 2014

Credit Shefali Kulkarni

People involved in public media share how they wade through the digital news deluge. Find past Digital Life features here. 

This month we heard from Amita Kelly, NPR’s Washington Desk digital editor/producer. Among many other responsibilities, you can follow the NPR Politics Tumblr that Amita runs. Before the Washington Desk, Amita worked on the show Tell Me More. Read on for her advice for succeeding on social and to learn what she calls “social StoryCorps.”

Three podcasts you listen to regularly/just discovered?
SerialSnap JudgmentThis American LifeWWDTM

Three people you follow (online) regularly
NPR’s own Michel Martin (@nprmichel) & Gene Demby (@geedee215) who tweet and write about everything people are talking about and everything we should be talking about. Raju Narisetti (@raju), who does strategy at NewsCorp, is a long-time digital news leader and is always forward-thinking about digital while keeping the journalism.

Three accounts you'd pay to follow on Twitter
@mindykaling because she’s hilarious.
@bonappetit or @nytfood for recipes.
Maybe @iyanlavanzant for some 140-character inspiration.

I’d also pay to follow any of the above three.

Three guilty pleasures online
Advice and etiquette columns (Dear Prudence, The Ethicist and anything by Steven Petrow). Maybe it’s schadenfreude?

Humans of New York, it’s like social StoryCorps

Upworthy, especially when the videos are as good their headlines would imply

First thing you check in the morning
My work e-mail.

Last thing you check at night
That my phone is plugged in. Waking up with less than 20 percent is the new waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

Favorite news consumption time saver
I like Flipboard, but I actually don’t think there’s a really good replacement to going out and scanning a bunch of news sources myself. Facebook curates a lot behind the scenes and Twitter is also not representative
Go-to local news source
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch. For the latest on the park-and-ride expansion, lost dogs and other local suburban controversies.

Your most used mobile reporting tool or app
Twitter if I want to see where the conversation is happening or whose story is getting the most buzz. And I like Evernote because it keeps all my notes saved and accessible on all my devices. My paper notebook and pen are pretty mobile too.

Words of wisdom for stations as they go forward with their digital efforts
I like to think of digital as another way to further public radio’s mission: to create a more informed public. Promoting your stories does that, but so does posting about news, stories or facts that don’t make air.

Also, let your personality (or your show’s) come through. We wouldn’t have robots tell stories on air, so let some humanity show digitally or on social media too.

And, becoming digital doesn’t have to take that much time, especially if your show or station doesn’t have a dedicated digital or social media producer. Think about what will make the biggest bang and spend time on that – more isn’t always better.

And set up analytics so you know if your digital experiments are actually reaching people the way you think or want.