Hi all- happy August! We hope everyone’s staying cool and enjoying the end of summer.

We have a lot to share with you this month, including highlights from recent training visits to KNAU and KAZU, links to great work from KUNC, WNPR, WGBH and Nashville Public Radio and the launch of our advice column, "Well, it Depends."

Do you have a story we should highlight or questions to ask? Let us know (or just say hi) by emailing us at coaching@npr.org. Get this monthly newsletter in your inbox - subscribe here.

Should Reporters Produce Stories for Radio and Web?

Aug 18, 2014
Original image via Flickr/donovanbeeson

The NPR coaching and development team works with NPR and member stations to help newsrooms and journalists reach a growing, multi-platform audience. As part of that 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. By making public radio’s collective knowledge accessible, we can continue to learn from each other.

All thoughts, questions and feedback are welcome. Share your feedback via email to tgorman@npr.org.

Submit your own questions for future installments of the advice column in this form.

Kim Perry

NPR Director of Editorial Coaching and Development

How Breaking News Handbooks Guide Member Stations

Jun 18, 2014

  Mass shootings, wildfires, floods and super storms are just some of the crises that have become regular news. Many public radio newsrooms prepare for such events by creating a breaking news handbook that outlines the chain of command, level of emergency, job duties, contact information and other essentials that take the guesswork out of the crisis.

How Lean Newsrooms Cover Breaking News

Jun 16, 2014

  Size is often considered an impediment to covering breaking news, but several newsrooms are using their resources strategically to provide information for the breaking news audience in times of crisis. In this webinar with West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Ashton Marra and KUNC digital media manager Jim Hill, we see key attributes of lean newsrooms that cover breaking news well. 

West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs/Flickr

In this month’s newsletter you’ll hear about our final Knight-funded conference, how West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s digital transformation helped them cover a massive water crisis, learn about the daily workflows of NHPR’s Brady Carlson and KUNC’s Erin O’Toole, and take a peek into the digital life of KPLU’s Martha Kang. Have something to share for next month? Let us know – email kpodbielski@npr.org or tweet us a hello @NPRDS.

Hector Herrera

Member station journalists gave us a look into how they balance their broadcast and digital workflows as their jobs evolve. We've heard from several member station reporters, digital editors and news directors discuss on air and online workflow as part of the NPR Knight training webinars. Now, we want to get to know how local hosts of the two flagship NPR news shows, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, balance their broadcast and digital workflows.

The days may be slowing down with the onset of summer, but news training is in full swing. Last month, we ended our fourth round of Knight training at the same time as we started our fifth; We conducted on-site training with KUT in Austin, and expanded our Local Stories Project.

Have a news training success story you want to share? We would love to brag for you. Send us an email to let us know.

A Peek Inside Jim Hill's Digital Life

Apr 22, 2013
Jim Hill

People involved in public media share how they wade through the digital news deluge. This month we spoke with Jim Hill. Jim is the Digital Media Manager for KUNC. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he has been a guest webinar host several times. 

How does a radio reporter balance the growing demands of a digital audience? It's not unusual for KUNC reporter Grace Hood to do the following for a story:

-gather audio
-take a photograph
-write and produce the radio story
-write the web story

As you develop your digital reporting skills, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. To avoid that feeling, Grace recommends the following:

It's perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed about how to add a digital focus to your workday (at first). But once you figure out the best workflow for your staff, you can be successful no matter how many people are in your newsroom. KUNC is a great example of a small station that has efficiently deployed it's limited newsroom resources in the digital world. The result? They've built a very successful digital footprint.

Correction: This post has been updated to clarify the broadcast coverage that was available to listeners at the beginning of the fire. 

On the morning of June 9, the Colorado High Park wildfire near Fort Collins was just 40 acres. By the end of the day, the fire had consumed 8,000 acres and was zero percent contained. This was one of the worst forest fires in the state’s history. 

KUNC had the additional challenge of having a major transmitter in the burn area. 

Hours into their coverage, KUNC’s main broadcast on 91.5FM was knocked out when power to the transmitter went out. Photos of the charred area surrounding the transmitter reveal just how much damage was done. KUNC was able to broadcast on lower-powered channels two days later, which reached most of their primary coverage area, but they were still without their strongest broadcast frequency for more than two weeks.

Listeners were able to get news about the fire through KUNC's mulitple broadcast channels. But it turns out that KUNC had another channel that people were tuning into in what turned out to be record numbers: KUNC.org