We’ve dipped our toe into the world of reddit AMAs over the last few months with a series of sessions featuring NPR correspondents working overseas.
We didn’t know quite what to expect when we started. NPR has it critics and they can be vocal on occasion. Add to that the fact that our correspondents often cover conflict and discord of all sorts and you can easily imagine how an open forum might quickly go off the rails.
What we found, however, is that the reddit crowd was an interesting lot, with good manners and a ready supply of well-informed questions.
It’s been a catch-as-catch-can series, with each session bubbling up only as the opportunity presented itself during visits to NPR HQ by our participants. So far, we’ve put these four correspondents in front the reddit crowd:
The most active AMA we’ve done was the first. With its focus on the crisis in Egypt, Soraya’s page attracted 1,600 comments. The other three, which were not so much “on the news,” ranged from 150 to 276 comments.
But numbers, while something we do look at, were not really the story here. What impressed us, and our correspondents, was the vibrancy of the community, with questions like this one for Sylvia:
ssjh13: Let me first say that I love hearing you pronounce your own voice. Coming in second place is Lakshmi Singh.
Real question though: what’s the #1 thing you wish more Americans knew about Europe?
spoggioli: i wish they had a better understanding of the origins of the welfare state — not a product of socialism but an idea hatched by the conservative leaders of post-war Europe as a means to end the vicious civil strife of WW2.
And the reddit community, which has its share of NPR fans, can be playful. Here’s an exchange prompted by Ofeibea’s famous accent and sign off:
helveticaman: I love the way you say “Dakar” on the radio!
Ofeibea: Dieure dieux! Thank you in Wolof, Senegal’s lingua franca. Dakarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
So, what NPR gets out of these appearances on reddit is engagement with an informed community interested the topics we cover and an opportunity to meet our fans in a forum that allows the exchange of ideas. It’s a good place to meet the audience. Or, as Anthony said when wrapping up his date with the public:
I’m immensely grateful for your time, your interest and your support to NPR. … Thanks to all!