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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

When newsrooms don’t own their data, other companies profit

Last Friday, the head of Bloomberg Media told The Guardian that publishers are “feeding on the scraps” of Facebook’s ad business. Justin Smith said that Facebook makes a lot more from ads in its News Feed than publishers do from linking content on the social network: It’s a problematic situation. On its current trajectory this could not end … Read More
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How scientists at the South Pole get their news

I found out that there was a newspaper at the South Pole during my senior year of college. I went back to my dorm room and immediately applied for a job there. I didn’t get the gig — they suggested I reapply once I had some more science clips under my belt — and then life got in the way. Read More
NEWS

Ad tech is broken. Here's how newsrooms can help fix it

Aram Zucker-Scharff, a developer who works at Salon, was recently testing an ad unit when it broke the page he was on. He then went on Twitter and published an essay about his views of the ad tech industry today. I reached out to Aram and asked if he could expound on some of his tweeted remarks because I … Read More
NEWS

Before using third-party tools, publishers should ask themselves these questions

Datensparsamkeit is a German word that refers to collecting only the minimal amount of information necessary to complete a task. I learned about datensparsamkeit from a colleague who was creating a confidential survey tool. I thought about it again recently while considering what information news organizations may collect and store from users, either through themselves or third-party tools. March … Read More
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Why isn't there a Fitbit for news?

People can now track how many steps they take, what they eat, their sleep habits, their air conditioning usage and their finances from their phones. But there are still relatively few ways for folks to track their news consumption across publications from their mobile devices. Most news analytics packages are still aimed at newsrooms to help them learn about their … Read More
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It's time for news organizations to embrace Creative Commons

For the past several years, Cards Against Humanity has been Amazon’s No. 1 bestseller in the “Toys and Games” category. But the card game, which has raked in millions of dollars and inspired dozens of imitations, is also available for free on the Cards Against Humanity website. Anyone can download, remix, or share the game, which is licensed … Read More
NEWS

Here are 27 ways to think about comments

About a year ago, I gathered some really smart people who don’t work in news together in a room. I set out some index cards and some beer and told them we were going to think about new ways to design a news homepage. Over the next few hours, the group came up with dozens of new ways to … Read More
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Looking to reinvent your storytelling? Look to civic hackers for inspiration

The city of Miami has a detailed map, created by its downtown development authority, where anyone can see planned and proposed real estate development projects in the city. I learned about Miami's map while attending Open Data Day, an annual international event that’s held in dozens of cities around the globe. In each, people come together to brainstorm … Read More
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At Stream Lab, broadcast journalists team up with students to examine West Virginia water

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has thrown water quality issues into the spotlight. But Flint isn’t the only place in the U.S. struggling with water quality. Two years ago, the Elk River in West Virginia made national headlines when the coal scrubbing chemical called MCHM spilled into the Elk River, leaving 300,000 West Virginia residents without drinkable water. Read More
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'Radio Atlas' transports podcast listeners around the globe

I often listen to audio while doing something else: driving or working or cleaning my house. Because my attention is divided, I listen to podcasts or audio stories recorded in English for the sake of convenience. Of course, not all podcasts are recorded in English. But until recently, it’s been hard to find and listen to offerings from non-native speakers. Read More
NEWS

Want to follow the New Hampshire primaries tonight? There’s an app for that.

One of my favorite hobbies is to Google various phrases and see what the giant search engine returns before I ever have to click a link. Search for New Hampshire, for instance, and Google returns a paragraph containing information about specific cities and points of interest within the state. Google Bernie Sanders, and the search engine shares some images, his … Read More
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How Iowa media covers the Iowa caucuses

Every four years, the national media’s attention turns to Iowa. In the past few months, The New York Times has published over 150 articles on the upcoming Iowa caucuses, which take place next Monday. ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC all have national reporters embedded in the state who attend … Read More
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A new podcast from Wyoming is turning hosting on its head

Public radio producers spend a lot of time prepping their hosts. This can include anything from taking notes on a book to writing introductions for segments to writing out interview questions for the host to use during a pre-taped or live interview. This isn’t surprising, given the number of interviews and segments that … Read More
NEWS

You can steal Sara Simon’s sewage bot...and everything else she makes

There were a lot of sewage spills last summer in Vermont. Unfortunately, the state website that reported those spills was somewhat hard to navigate — people who wanted to know if their water was safe to drink had to manually refresh a website and then check to see if their … Read More
NEWS

Making a Bingo card for news

I was at the public library last week picking up some books when I saw a giant display in the window. It was called Library Bingo and it had categories for books people might pick up at their local library: non-fiction, mystery, travel, etc. It also had suggested activities for people: rate your favorite book in the catalog, find new … Read More
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