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Posts by Melody Kramer

About Melody Kramer

Mel leads audience growth and development for the Wikimedia Foundation and frequently works with journalism organizations on projects related to audience development, engagement, and analytics. She has 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, and later served as a digital strategist at NPR, where she launched and directed projects that helped NPR build and engage audiences on and off-air. She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where she studied alternative membership models in public media. Mel lives in a small town in North Carolina with her family. You can reach her at melodykramer@gmail.com or @mkramer on Twitter.
NEWS

What if newsrooms treated every day like eclipse day?

I loved coverage of Monday's solar eclipse. Here's why: It showcased the creativity of newsrooms across the country. As Kristen Hare pointed out, newsrooms came up with really original ideas to cover the celestial event, ranging from working with kid reporters to flying drones to designing delightful front pages. One reporter from Idaho went camping. Read More
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One woman was inspired by Death, Sex & Money to create a breakup survival guide for everyone else

Traditionally, we think of fandom as people writing fan fiction about "Star Wars" or "Twilight," or people who sport Quidditch T-shirts or attend Comic-Con. In other words, people who converge around particular fictional TV shows or movies or books, and occasionally remix or transform the content to create entirely new works based on the originals. But there are also fan-created … Read More
NEWS

Want readers to start trusting you again? Stop stalking them across the internet

Last year, Steven Englehardt and Arvind Narayanan at Princeton University looked at the top 1 million sites on the internet and found that news organizations generally have more third-party trackers on them than other types of sites. The trackers, they wrote, impede HTTPS adoption, which is offered by less than half of news sites. And the … Read More
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Her dog died. So, she took her journalism career on the road (and landed a new job)

Last March, freelance writer Jen A. Miller wrote a beautiful piece in The New York Times about losing her dog Emily to cancer. Miller had adopted Emily soon after becoming a fulltime freelance writer, and she often wrote her running columns with Emily by her side. With Emily gone, Miller felt unmoored — from her house, her neighborhood and … Read More
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A new newsletter helps listeners discover podcasts produced in flyover country

Kelly Moffitt lives in St. Louis, where she works as an online producer at St. Louis Public Radio. Until recently, however, the podcasts she listened to were very much a bicoastal affair. “One day, I looked down at my phone and realized all of my regular-listening podcasts were from New York or Los Angeles,” she said. “I was stunned.” … Read More
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Pushing messaging platforms beyond their boundaries

In 2003, Vin Crosbie wrote a Poynter column suggesting that news organizations “should get ready to use mobile telephone Short Messaging Service (SMS) for news delivery and as a micro-transactions processor.” This prescient column was published four years before the iPhone launched; Crosbie based his prediction on foreign news organizations, which were already … Read More
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You think Chris Christie's beach photos were great? Just wait until drone journalism really takes off

By now, you’ve probably seen the pictures: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, surrounded by his family and friends, sitting on a public beach that had been closed to the public amidst a state government shutdown. In a write-up for the (Newark, New Jersey) Star-Ledger, which published the photos, photographer Andrew Mills described how he caught the governor by … Read More
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NPR is reinventing itself. Here's how it could change for the better.

About six weeks ago, I asked two people to play fantasy NPR with me. Both Adam Ragusea, who runs the insidery public radio podcast The Pub, and Nicholas Quah, who chronicles the podcasting industry for his newsletter Hot Pod, were game. I asked them to envision what NPR would look like if it tripled its bureau chiefs from … Read More
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Apple's new stats could revolutionize the way we find podcasts

The news moves so quickly these days that a podcast published on Thursday might not be relevant on Monday. But it’s hard to tell which news or political podcasts have the latest information just by scrolling through the iPhone app. The iTunes store categorizes podcasts by “top episodes” and “top podcasts” in certain genres, but it’s difficult to figure out … Read More
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99 things that I’ve learned, discovered, and uncovered over the past 2 years

In honor of my 100th column for Poynter, I thought I would list 99 things that I’ve learned, discovered, and uncovered over the past two years: If you have a podcast, it’s probably a good idea to also ask your audience to do something and report back to you — which makes them more engaged and also gives you … Read More
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5 ways to make your journalism job descriptions better

As journalists, we tell stories, weaving layers of detail into narratives that engage the public and help them make sense of their larger world. And yet, our melodic ledes and carefully woven bits of prose rarely translate to the way we craft our job descriptions. I’ve read a lot of journalism job descriptions that start off with a dry description … Read More
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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
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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
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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
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