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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

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
NEWS

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
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
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