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Posts by Melody Kramer

About Melody Kramer

Melody Kramer spent the majority of her career in public media, where she directed, produced, edited, and wrote stuff for several shows, including Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me and Fresh Air with Terry Gross. More recently, she worked as a digital strategist at NPR, where she launched and then directed projects that helped NPR make better decisions and build audiences online and on-air. She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and just received a Knight Prototype Grant to build out Media Public. Mel has a newsletter where she shares stuff she's learned. She lives in Carrboro, NC.
NEWS

Want to bring in younger audiences? Partner with your local library.

You can read any story about the future of libraries and substitute the word "newsroom" for "library" and many of the stories are still applicable. The same is true in reverse: substitute the word library in thought pieces about the evolution of news in our digital age, and many of them still make … Read More
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How bureaucratic language strangles journalism's accountability

Dissidents “were executed.” Bodies “were later found.” The man was killed in an “officer-involved shooting.” All of these phrases are what writer Colin Dickey would call prime examples of the “bureaucratic voice.” The “bureaucratic voice,” he says “makes use of both active and passive constructions, but its purpose is uniform: to erase and efface any active agent on the … Read More
NEWS

In North Carolina, these 2 women are bringing journalists closer to the public

On a cold, rainy day at the end of April, more than 30 people gathered at a co-working space in Charlotte, North Carolina for a public conversation about the future of news in the state. Five days later, more than 50 people got together for a similar conversation at a jazz club in downtown Durham. At both events, attendees — … Read More
NEWS

How journalists should handle the next 100 days of Trump's presidency

This past Saturday marked 100 days since Donald Trump became president, and many news organizations marked the occasion with data-intensive packages that measured his progress and made it really easy for the public to understand what's happened so far. Some highlights: The Guardian published an interactive making it really easy to … Read More
NEWS

A new game puts the public into public radio archives

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and later led to the creation of both PBS and NPR, also recognized the importance of archiving public broadcasting material in the United States. It stipulated that CPB should: ...Establish and maintain, or contribute to, a library and archives of noncommercial educational and cultural radio … Read More
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Comparing parental leave policies in American newsrooms

Last year, I received an email from someone who worked in a mid-sized newsroom. She explained that she would soon be having a baby, and she was concerned about the paid parental leave policy in her organization. A policy existed, but it wasn’t great — and she wasn’t sure how to compare the policy with other newsrooms, or even if … Read More
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Journalists around the world are working together more than ever. Here are 56 examples.

On Monday, The Panama Papers — the giant collaborative investigation spearheaded by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. The Panama Papers may be one of the world’s largest collaborative efforts between journalists at different news organizations, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Back in 2010, Democracy Fund's Josh Stearns … Read More
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Inside the 8-month reinvention of an unprofitable college newspaper

Last summer Betsy O’Donovan, the incoming Executive Director of The Daily Tar Heel, wrote an essay on Medium charting the dire financial situation of UNC-Chapel Hill’s student newspaper. It started pretty bluntly: “The Daily Tar Heel is a news organization, and we don’t dodge the facts: This 123-year-old institution has two years to figure out its finances.” The … Read More
NEWS

Here are 42 ideas for your newsroom's next newsletter

Every so often, I like to dream about how we could think differently about the building blocks of the news industry. So far, I’ve tackled headlines, homepages, bylines, analytics, podcast ideas, comment sections and ideas for covering the President; in today’s installment, I’ll list some new ideas for newsletters. The nice thing about … Read More
NEWS

NPR has created a team devoted to covering President Trump's conflicts of interest

How have news organizations covered Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest? Very creatively, so far. The New York Times created a series of circular graphics showing how Trump’s business efforts potentially intertwine with the federal government. Buzzfeed logged more than 1,500 people and organizations connected to the Trump family and their advisers, which independent designer Kim Albrecht turned … Read More
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Meet the wildly popular blogger chronicling President Trump one day at a time

Matt Kiser worked in news for many years, and now he works as a product manager at an algorithm startup in Seattle. But every day, Matt spends upwards of six hours working by hand on his single-subject blog, which launched in January. Starting a new project to track what the fuck just happened today. Read More
NEWS

Here's how to cover President Trump's tweets

I love On The Media's Breaking News Consumer Handbook, particularly the image that they post on social media whenever breaking news occurs. It reminds people that every breaking news event unfolds in much the same way, and it makes them aware how quickly misinformation can spread. News is moving very fast these days. Here are … Read More
NEWS

How do we design the news for people who are burned out?

Since the election, many people I know who don’t work in news have taken a break from the news, social media or some combination of the two. This is healthy and normal. Taking a small break from the news is recommended by psychologists who study the negative health effects caused by constant bad news. The American Psychological Association … Read More
NEWS

What does a news organization optimized for trust look like?

After White House advisor Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s "Meet the Press" to say that the White House put forth "alternative facts" to counter what media organizations had accurately reported about inaugural crowd sizes, her phrase made its way into headlines on dozens of news sites — which may have been her intention in the first place. Her … Read More
NEWS

Not just 'Trump's America': These journalists will spend 100 days digging into Appalachia

Since Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty in the early 1960s, Appalachian journalists have grappled with the portrayal of the region in the press. In his foreword to photographer Roger May’s book "Testify," the Kentucky journalist Silas House lamented that "only the poorest folks got into the newspapers and magazines, perpetuating the stereotype that everyone in the … Read More
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