News Training

Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour/Flickr

If you’re still pulling together your election coverage or are looking for more ideas, we shared a procrastinator’s guide to a digital election coverage plan in a webinar Sept 27.  

Within the guide are  10 steps to think about, along with lots of examples of how public media have used those steps in their own local coverage. Here are those examples, along with several others that participants shared:

Recapping the NPR Knight Leadership Conference

Sep 28, 2012

Leaders from  stations KERA/KXTKUT,VPRWABE, WBHMWESAWKARWLRN, and WUWM recently met at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. to kick off their 11-week intensive news training (and get in a little site seeing.)

Like any digital news conference, there was a lot of live-tweeting and resources shared. We've compiled them using Storify. Follow the jump to scroll through, or find Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 at the links. If you're interested in participating in a similar training, applications are open for 2013 here.

 Election planning is in full swing in newsrooms across the country. As a service to all the procrastinators out there, we shared some ideas, tips and tools in a webinar on Sept. 27.

You can watch the full webinar or click through the slides below.

Jennifer Strachan from KPLU shares her stations' experience with making the often painful and necessary changes to see success emerge with digital innovation. A couple of key things I took from this article: 1. Follow data and best practices; not your gut. 2. Your station's digital experience may not look exactly like your on air experience; that's okay. 3. Fancy tools won't help you succeed; your station's commitment to execute will. 4. Be open and quick to change course when you know something isn't working.

A Peek Inside Melody Kramer's Digital Life

Sep 14, 2012
Sam Briger/Fresh Air

As part of our new monthly newsletter, we'll talk with people involved in public media about how they wade through the digital news deluge.

This month we spoke with Melody Kramer.  Mel recently left WHYY’s Fresh Air, where she was the associate producer for online media, to pursue a medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine. If her name sounds familiar, we’re not surprised. Kramer’s online prowess has been featured in Nieman Journalism Lab. She also led a social media webinar for Digital Services, which we recommend you watch here. She kindly answered our questions before getting lost to the world of studying and classes.

We're back with our second newsletter.  Each month we will provide a 'best hits' of station spotlights from our blog, a quick look at trainings you can join this month and a behind-the-scenes look at the team.  (Last month's newsletter.) 

UPDATED: OCT 25, 2012

11-week Intensive Training
We launched our next 11-week Intensive Training in September with 10 stations.  This is our second group in the Knight Foundation supported training initiative – just five more training sessions left!  Apply today for a spot in 2013. 

Thanks to our spring training group we have a better program lined up for the fall. We’ve refocused our photography sessions and added more critiques for stations. Stations that took part in the spring training shared some nice words about our work with them.

“The NPRDS/Knight training proved to be invaluable to our work at KUNC. We not only got the chance to connect with other like minded stations at the leadership conference, but the 11-week training sessions brought both a broad overview of the digital strategy and a practical application of it to our newsroom staff & management.” - Jim Hill, KUNC Digital Media Manager

We’ll continue to update and modify our training curriculum to better serve stations!

Fall 2012 11-week training participants: KERA/KXT, KUT, VPR, WABE, WBHM, WESA, WKAR, WLRN, and WUWM.

Spring 2012 11-week training participants: Delmarva Public Radio, KCUR, KETR, KUNC, WFPL, WFSU, WNIJ,and WSKG

Follow the Fires With New NPR App

Sep 7, 2012

The NPR News Apps team has built a really useful application that lets your audience track wildfire danger on a daily basis. The Fire Forecast app looks great on the desktop but it's designed to be a star performer on mobile platforms. Users can geo-locate to track wildfire forecasts nearby, as well as follow NPR stories about wildfires.

While we're on the subject of lessons learned from the Argo Project... here's a link to last week's webinar about how stations used blogs focused on specific topics to build audience, credibility and impact in their communities and beyond. ( requires password access)

screenshot of MindShift, KQED

We’ve been assembling a large cache of resources about digital beat reporting and its progenitor, the Argo Project.

The Argo Project collaboration between NPR and select member stations has come to an end but many of the stations are continuing their blogs. And Digital Beat Reporting is just getting underway at other stations around the country, as they consider the success they can achieve when they smartly cover an important topic, build authority and credibility, and engage their community - a community that might be national or international.

Dark Secrets of the Online Overlords [VIDEO]

Aug 24, 2012

Fans of NPR's Matt Thompson (and who isn't a fan?) consider this presentation to be one of his best, which is a high bar.

Dark Secret of Blogging #8: Illustrate Everything

Aug 24, 2012

Marinate, for a moment, in the glorious ugliness of the Huffington Post. I’d say that HuffPo’s been more successful than any other news site before it in adapting the sensibility of the tabloid newspaper to the Web. Drudge led the way here, but HuffPo has nearly perfected its imitation of the irresistible pull of those sensational supermarket scandal rags, screaming at you with their blaring, saucy headlines, daring you not to look.

Dark Secret of Blogging #7: Comments are Content

Aug 24, 2012

This isn’t controversial anymore. We know that a strong community is a huge asset for any site. And as I mentioned previously, the Argo-blogger’s use of her crowd is going to be an essential component of her site’s success. But if we accept that comments are content (or more accurately, that community is content), what does that actually imply?

Answer: It implies we treat comments as content. And what are some of the things we do for content?

Content gets assigned.

Dark Secret of Blogging #6: Explain, explain, explain

Aug 24, 2012

Classic news folks have this habit of being flabbergasted when they discover their audience members don’t understand a topic they’ve been covering. “But we did a big explainer on this two weeks ago!” they say. After the health care reform battle finally reached its climax – the signing of the bill – reporters said they were astonished by their audiences’ hunger for explanation of what had just passed into law.

They shouldn’t have been surprised. Having watched how content gets picked up, I’m convinced that the hunger for explanation is inexhaustible.

We know we can’t easily break the world down into neat, manageable patterns. But I’ve never met a great beat reporter who didn’t try.

As we gain expertise in a subject area, we can’t help applying patterns to it - establishing the most influential players, identifying related schools of thought, discerning trends unfolding over years. This is the mental model that enables great beat reporters to determine what constitutes news, to figure out promising avenues for investigation, and to stay ahead of a topic so they can distill it for their audience.

Dark Secret of Blogging #4: Learn the Art of the Quest

Aug 24, 2012

Since basically the dawn of storytelling, we’ve known the power of the quest narrative, a.k.a. the hero’s journey. Our most popular and enduring stories have been quests; e.g. the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Dark Secret of Blogging #3: Headlines are Hooks

Aug 24, 2012

Just admit you read the title of this post and thought, “Duh.” Of course headlines are hooks. That’s News 101.

OK, fine, but headline-writing for the Web is enough of a distinct art that it must be re-emphasized: Great bloggers write great headlines. And that should be qualified: great bloggers write great Web headlines.

Dark Secret of Blogging #2: Numbering is Narrative.

Aug 24, 2012

Take a moment to peruse PopURLs – one of my favorite snapshots of the Internet zeitgeist – and you’ll notice a recurring pattern – people love lists. The words “top 10″ or “5 best” or “3 most” just seem to hit some sort of primal switch in our brains, triggering us to devour and redistribute content.