sharing what we learn in the social space.

mel and wright

Good afternoon!

Where do young people get their news? Melody Kramer spoke to a class at Drexel University yesterday and did an informal poll of the students — mostly male, all under 25. They told her that they’re not on Facebook or Twitter. They get their news from reddit and, sometimes, YouTube. They’re also on Snapchat and Vine. This jibes with other informal, anecdotal evidence we’ve collected over the last year. Pew actually puts numbers to news usage. Here’s a November 2013 piece they did on “News Use Across Social Media Platforms.” The Social Media Desk’s advice is that you start spending more time on reddit and try to understand how the community works.

Do you want to go On The Road with NPR? Right now, our very own Scott Horsley, Don Gonyea and Arnie Seipel are filing to this adventurous Tumblr as they bike across Iowa for the second year in a row. It’s RAGBRAI and it’s fun! We’re always going somewhere — Jeff Brady just got back from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico — and we’d like you to go with us.

How do you get attention for your big announcement? The Man Booker Prize highlighted its 2014 longlist with this eye-catching and informative tweet.

Here’s your long read for the day. Over at the Carnival Of JournalismJonathan Groves rounds up a range of voices on “Finding The Way To Meaningful, Long-Lasting Journalism.” Good stuff on empowering audiences, making content findable and more.

Lastly, All Things Considered is now on Instagram. Be sure to follow them to see what they make of it!


Hi all,

Just a short note of praise today.

Kudos to Greg Myre and library intern Kimberly Springer for their collaboration last Friday in putting together this piece: A Brief History of Civilian Planes That Have Been Shot Down. Greg wrote about other civilian planes that have been shot down — and Kimberly searched the NPR archives to find how NPR reported them originally. The result is a piece that is well-reported and unique to NPR — with reports from Michael Curtin in 1983, Ira Glass in 1988, and Linda Weirheimer in 2001. 

If you’re doing a piece that could contain archival audio, please let Kimberly know. 

Related: It’s great to resurface old stories, but it’s also great to let readers know what you’re doing. (h/t Kimberly)

More kudos to NPR West’s National Desk intern Solvejg Wastvedt, who masterfully crafted a synopsis post of NPR’s immigration coverage over the past several months for the NPR Tumblr. This is wonderful for several reasons:

1. Highlights our great coverage

2. Isn’t a list

3. Easy to read

4. Lets people know about the variety and depth of our coverage.

We should do more of these for other topics! If you’d like to round something up for a Tumblr post, please let me know. 


Today the social media desk got a cellular phone! I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. So far I have added:

  • WhatsApp — number 202-731-4068
  • Kik — We’re nprnews
  • Snapchat — We’re nprnews
  • YO — We’re nprnews

This is what we’d like to do with these platforms:

  • find sources for our stories/reporters from all corners of the globe
  • relay information quickly and effectively on different platforms
  • figure out what it means to be part of a community on mobile 
  • have fun
  • source during breaking news events
  • share fun things from around the newsroom
  • say YO

Which platforms are we missing?

Anything you’d like to see us try on these?

A guest post from Lindsay Rae Myers, the digital content editor at WUWF. Thank you so much Lindsay!

Last week folks across the public media universe converged in Denver for PMDMC (Public Media Development & Marketers Conference) which launched its first digital only day, the day prior to the conference. Thoughtfully, Greater Public (who hosts the conference) has put the entire day’s sessions on soundcloud here.

A few ideas that surfaced in multiple ways:

We are in the digital now- we are not competing for the future, we are competing for the now- and future.

Nick White (@desertbunny) of posited that journalism startups need the freedom to be held to different standards than the legacy organizations they are attached to. Further, he thinks, they shouldn’t even be attached to legacy organizations because that won’t allow for the kind of disruption necessary to succeed and move forward.

Fountain also noted that journalists are trusted only slightly more than Congress because many have moved away from (or been forced from) core principles of journalism. He pointed out that news used to explain current events but has devolved into explainers-explaining-explainers. Users don’t necessarily know the kind of journalism they are missing out on. Our job is not necessarily to make news more interesting but to creatively cultivate interest and curiosity in the public so they seek higher quality journalism. Not an easy task.


Johnathan Perelman, VP at Buzzfeed says, “Content is king but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” 

Fountain highlighted that a key part of Buzzfeed’s strategy is to deeply understand and leverage distribution. At Daily Dot they have complicated-looking distribution plans for every story. Fountain says, “We believe every story has an audience and we have to put it where they go.”

Just today I read that USA Today has its reporters pretending they don’t have a homepage and distributing their material via secondary channels like reddit.

Distribution has been one of radio’s strong suits and this is one area where disruption will have to be most innovative and adaptive.

Focus Areas & Verticals

On a panel  (slides available here: featuring producers of KPLU’s Quirksee ( and WBEZ’s CuriousCity ( highlighted vertical blogs (think NPR’s “Monkey See”, “Code Switch”, or “The Salt”) that outperform their parent sites.

These vertical blogs position themselves as an authority in a narrowed field then facilitate conversation in that field. In turn, other outlets turn to their authority as well. This could be something like ESports (which Daily Dot saw as a lacuna) or Transportation.

Quirksee does it by being curiosity-driven, visually rich, and digitally native. (Fascinating fact: repacking audio on Quirksee gets many more listens than audio on the station page.) Curious City is very listener/user-involved. The topics are crowdsourced and those pitching questions rally votes to get their questions answered. If a user’s question is chosen that person accompanies reporters in the field which multiplies both the social media impact and “normal person” perspective.

This post-conference Monday those were my takeaways from the sessions I was able to attend. I would love to hear other takeaways from different perspectives.