sharing what we learn in the social space.

mel and wright
@mkramer and @wrightbryan3

Hi everyone,

Last Friday, Laurel Dalrymple asked our Facebook audience for feedback. Here’s what they said. Take a read through. It’s interesting. I really like when we’re transparent like this.

Here’s 10 things I learned from coworkers or at the Online News Association conference this past weekend. (Did you learn something at ONA or another conference? Please send it our way for inclusion in the newsletter!) 

1. The BBC has readers use emoji to respond to stories in WhatsApp. The emoji allow the audience to tell how they feel about a story, not just what they think. 

2. The Department of Making and Doing is a design/fabrication shop in Philadelphia that encourages learning through making stuff. This is the highest form of engagement there is: when your audience uses your platforms/space/information to transform something and then make something.

3. How to build for inclusive community participation — a speech by LaurenEllen McCann (Related: How Arts Groups are creating opportunities for active participation (pdf))

4. Creating Online News Quizzes  by the Engaging News Project 

5. People in Hong Kong are using a chat app that doesn’t require Internet access to communicate amidst government shutdowns (h/t Wright Bryan

6. Vox took the best parts from This American Life’s Goldman Sachs episode this past weekend and made a really informative post.  (h/t Eric Westervelt

7. The code for WBEZ’s Curious City project is open sourced and up on Github

8. The lines between journalism and PR are rapidly becoming blurred as businesses start up their own news organizations 

9. It’s Time for a Real Debate on Reader Privacy

10. Reddit’s traffic last month? 135m unique visitors and 5.5 billion page views: that’s more than CNN, BBC, ESPN

See something? Working on something awesome? Let us know!


We — wrightbryan3 and melodykramer — publish everything we’re thinking about NPR’s internal digital and social strategy here. (It’s also an internal newsletter at NPR.)

Here are some of our best posts, to get you started. Feel free to share this with your newsroom. And if you see something neat on the Internet, find a great tool, or see something great on social, please let us know! 

Best of social sandbox:

1. Using Reddit to find Story Ideas 

2. How to make Instagram Photos look like native Twitter images on Twitter 

3. Geolocating tweets during breaking news 

4. A guide to NPR’s social media platforms 

5. How NPR is using Pinterest 

6. Really great Facebook groups and listservs to join 

7. Exploring Twitter chats (with Bob Mondello) 

8. The best ways to tweet your stuff

(Here’s my powerpoint presentation for my Analytics talk on Friday at 11:30 AM)

Howdy everyone,

NPR AND FRIENDS: Looking for a few people on the road again

Wright Bryan is looking for reporters on field reporting trips to blog for the On The Road tumblr. If you’re heading out domestically or internationally and would like to contribute, please email him. (Here’s a list of all of the trips we’ve taken so far.) 

Kudos to Patti Neighmond for taking the Twitter plunge and to Gisele Grayson for tweeting up a storm today! Help em out! Follow your coworkers! (h/t to Rachel Ward for passing along Gisele’s tweets.)

How Serri Grasile is using the same hashtag over a period of time to create continuity within a digital series. 

Serri Grasile: "With the relaunch of the [ATC] Cities Project, we wanted to do a callout that would bring people into the first theme: where we live and how nature interacts with our urban spaces. On InstagramTumblr and Facebook, we asked for photos/stories of nature reclaiming its space and have received over 600 images so far. Emily Bogle posted this great one on the NPR Instagram yesterday and says it’s already one of their most-liked photos ever. I’ve also started to collect them in a Storify, which lives on this page on

Part of the success here comes from the multiple hits in multiple places with a single hashtag, #nprcities.

Here’s our timeline:

Thursday – posted original photo on NPR and ATC Instagram, NPR Tumblr, ATC Facebook, ATC and Cities Twitter

Friday – posted user submission on ATC Facebook and Instagram and NPR Twitter

Sunday – posted on NPR Facebook

Tuesday– posted Storify on NPR and ME Facebook and homepage, posted another user submission on NPR Instagram

Wednesday – Storify still on homepage, will post on ATC Facebook and Twitter again

TBD future – we plan to do a little on-air segment related to the callout results that will again ask for submissions”


Russell Lewis and Tamara Keith both sent along this new curated section on the NYTimes homepage. It’s *very* interesting to think of a homepage or place as a central repository of what the NYTimes considers important. 


I’m in Chicago for the next few days at the Online News Association conference. The hashtag is #ONA14. I will pass along any cool tricks, tips or projects I see. If you’re also at ONA and see something for the Sandbox, please let us know so we can share it with the rest of the news organization. (For that matter, that goes for any conference you attend: if you send it to us, we can circulate to the rest of NPR.)

See something? Learn something and want to share it with the group? Pass it along!