Articles about "NPR"

Barack Obama, Bill Clinton

Obama met with journalists before ISIS speech

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Obama met with journalists before Wednesday’s ISIS speech: “The group, which met in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in an off-the-record session, included New York Times columnists David Brooks, Tom Friedman and Frank Bruni and editorial writer Carol Giacomo; The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, Eugene Robinson and Ruth Marcus; The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins and George Packer; The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg and Peter Beinart; The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe; Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll; The Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib; and The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, a source familiar with the meeting told The Huffington Post.” (HuffPost)
  2. CBS won’t CNET CBS News: While the company’s news operation benefits from cross-pollination among news properties, it doesn’t have to worry about suits asking for more sinister forms of synergy, Alex Weprin reports: “[W]e are not going to be asked to do something that doesn’t fit for the news division,” Steve Capus says. (Capital) | Last January, Greg Sandoval left CNET after CBS forced it to remove a Dish Network product from its annual awards program, and also forced a revote of its Best in Show prize at CES. (Poynter) | It also forbade CNET from reviewing Aereo. (The Verge)
  3. NPR tries to boost revenue with live shows: “The most ambitious of three ‘NPR Presents’ series, ‘Water,’ will marry news reports, oral histories and conversation about topics such as the drought in the West and mudslides in Seattle with theatrical and musical storytelling.” (NYT)
  4. Anchor tells viewers he has six months to live: WCIA-TV anchor Dave Benton told viewers Thursday he has an inoperable tumor. (AP) | “Really, I just want to enjoy every day,” Benton says. (The News-Gazette)
  5. A tweet story: “The couple met where one might expect a social media expert and a technology journalist to meet: on Twitter.” (NYT)
  6. So that’s where Dean Starkman is going: The former CJR editor will cover Wall Street for the L.A. Times. (Capital)
  7. Longtime Philly Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth has died: He was 72. “Mr. Auth’s impressive portfolio – he produced five cartoons a week – was a Philly staple when breakfast meant coffee, bacon and eggs, and the morning paper.” (Inquirer, via | A gallery of his work. (Inquirer)
  8. A David Carr twofer: Two media columns Monday, or maybe they’ve finally cloned him. How Apple makes journalists applaud. (NYT) | Why sports villains aren’t the only ones who should fear TMZ: “As journalists, we like to think that the august platforms we work on and our learned interpretation of facts create value and credibility, but in an age of digital artifacts and digital distribution, the pure act of discovery can create big news.” (NYT) | If the NYT does start cloning journalists, who would you like to see two of? Email me!
  9. Front page of the day, selected by Kristen Hare: The Green Bay Press-Gazette does what the Jets couldn’t: It stops Jordy Nelson.


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Charles Dharapak will be Asia-Pacific regional photo editor for AP. He was a White House photographer. (AP) | Nia-Malika Henderson will write for The Fix at The Washington Post. Previously, she was a political reporter there. (Washington Post) | Jose DelReal is now a blogger for Post Politics. Previously, he was a reporter at Politico. (Washington Post) | Tracy Everding is now a creative director at All You. Previously, she was a creative director at Cosmo Magazine. (Time Inc.) | Amy Haneline is now a beer, wine and coffee reporter at The Indianapolis Star. Previously, she was a digital developer there. (‏@AmyBHaneline) | Kenny Plotnik is now vice president of New England Cable News. Previously, he was vice president of news at WABC in New York. (TV Spy) | Kat Meyer is now director of events and community engagement at Publishers Weekly. Previously, she was community manager and conference chair at the Frankfurt Book Fair. (Publishers Weekly) | Job of the day: The Associated Press is looking for a junior designer and front-end developer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more

1 Comment
Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 2.03.50 PM

Here are 9 kinds of stories you’ll see on NPR’s Local Stories Project

Photo by Kasia Podbielski/NPR

Photo by Kasia Podbielski/NPR

NPR’s Local Stories Project officially launched on Wednesday with a Tumblr homepage and a Twitter account. But the idea of sharing local stories with a bigger audience actually started a few years ago.

“The project itself has kind of been churning and gradually expanding since it began as a really tiny experiment in 2011,” said Eric Athas, senior digital news specialist, in a phone interview. Athas works at NPR Digital Services on the editorial coaching and development team.

That experiment started in 2011 with KPLU in Seattle. Athas and his team took stories from the station and shared them through NPR’s Facebook page, geotargeting them to people in the Seattle area.

“What we found is that the stories that we targeted did really well,” he said. “They resulted in record traffic to KPLU’s website.”

They were also widely shared, Athas said, and the stories generated lots of comments. As the experiment grew, they started looking at the stories that got shared and developed internal tools to help local stations think through their pitches, polish and edit. NPR now targets posts from 36 stations.

“They’re a really specific type of story. It’s a story that’s unique, it’s interesting, stories that the local community cares about and stories that they’ll react to,” Athas said. “In curating these really unique local stories that are rooted and created by people at these stations, we discovered that many of these stories would be really interesting or relevant to a broader national audience.”

The stories are created, or tailored, for a digital audience, Athas said. And as the project ramped up, he and Teresa Gorman gathered the most successful, looked at the data from the stories and started labeling them. They found some similarities that, eventually, led to a framework of nine categories. He and Gorman wrote about their framework for Nieman Journalism Lab in 2012.

Courtesy NPR Local

Graphic by Russ Gossett

Here’s more on the framework of nine stories Athas, Gorman and Ki Sung have found work best and will be featured on NPR’s Local Stories Project. (They’re not the only kind, Athas added, but they do offer a guide for what they’ve found works.)

1. Place explainers: “Every city has mysteries or traditions or things that eveveryone who lives there knows about but rarely do people stop and ask why or how,” Athas said. “Place explainers take those things and simply explain them. They turn them around and tell people, here’s why we are the way we are.”

What It’s Like To Live In Walt Disney’s Childhood Home In Kansas City (KCUR)

2. Crowd pleasers: These include positive stories about a city, state or region, Athas said. Maybe it’s a sports championship, or when that city, state or region is ranked. “It’s something that gives people the opportunity to brag about their hometown.”

51 Things Everyone Should Experience At Least Once In D.C.(WAMU)

3. Curiosity stimulators: “These are just the weird, quirky, often times science or technology stories,” Athas said. “When you see them, you feel like it’s something you’ve never see before and you’re discovering something new.”

Why Was This Cake Decorated With a Zombie Ben Franklin Left on a Hyde Park Porch Overnight? (KUT)

4. News explainers: These stories take hard news stories and help make sense of them, Athas said. “It’s something that public radio has done really well in the past, providing clarity and explanation.”

7 Things We Know About the Chemical Spill in West Virginia (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

How Much Does It Cost to Live Comfortably in the Bay Area? (KQED)

5. Major breaking news: These are stories that impact an entire city, often weather events. These are “Stories that are so big that everything else kind of gets put aside.”

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Wisconsin’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban (WUWM)

6. Feel-good smilers: These stories make people smile, Athas said. “The bat kid story in San Francisco is a perfect example.”

From Ding Dong To Loco, Take A Tour Of Texas Towns With Strange Names (KERA)

An 11-Year-Old Provides Words Of Wisdom About Ferguson’s Underlying Problems (St Louis Public Radio)

7. Topical buzzers: When every one is talking about something that’s happening locally, it fits here.

Boston Marathon Bombings: They Picked On The Wrong City (WBUR)

8. Provocative controversies: These stories are about topics that people have strong opinions on.

ACLU, PETA Sue Idaho Over New Law To Punish Animal Rights Activists (Boise State Public Radio)

9. Awe-inspiring visuals: This one is kind of self-explanatory.

9 Incredible Pictures Of The Spooky, Surreal Clouds In North Texas March 27 (Video, Too

Often stories overlap in the framework, Athas said, but since creating the graphic of the framework in 2012, “we’ve used it regularly, training and coaching with NPR journalists and stations as a way to think differently about stories they’re telling.”

What’s exciting, he said, is seeing the collaboration between NPR and the 36 stations involved.

“The stations are the ones that know their local communities and they’re the ones creating stories. We’re working with them to refine them and make them work as best as possible and to get them to as many people as possible.”

Logo by Russ Gossett

Logo by Russ Gossett

Read more

NPR’s head of programming to retire


Ellen McDonnell, NPR’s executive editor for news programming, will retire at the end of the year, Eyder Peralta reported for the network today.

McDonnell had been at the network for nearly 35 years and was “a part of NPR’s DNA,” NPR Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson said in an internal memo quoted in Peralta’s story:

“She has touched and transformed nearly every aspect of NPR News, her creativity and zeal surpassed only by her generosity of spirit. When you describe Ellen the words you hear over and over are transparent and authentic. She is the real deal.”

In July, NPR’s senior vice president for news, Margaret Low Smith, left the network to join the Atlantic as president of the company’s events division. NPR got a new president and CEO in Jarl Mohn in May. Mohn was chairman of Southern California Public Radio. Read more

Diane Sawyer

After Sawyer’s final ABC World News broadcast, all 3 nightly anchors are now white men

mediawiremorningYo. Here are some media stories.

  1. Is the Yo app ridiculous or revolutionary? That’s the question Cory Blair asks. It’s definitely the former, but it has potential to be the latter, especially now that users can send links and not just notifications with no content. Robert Hernandez has an interesting idea for what news organizations like The Washington Post could use Yo for: “whenever an unarmed person dies at the hands of the police, or every time somebody is killed with a gun.” (American Journalism Review)
  2. Diane Sawyer anchors her final ABC World News broadcast: But she’s staying with the network. David Muir is her successor. “Now, all three nightly news anchors are once again white men,” Brian Stelter notes. (CNN)
  3. NPR’s Michel Martin heads to Ferguson: The former “Tell Me More” host will lead a town hall meeting today. (Poynter) | Yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Lynden Steele and Gary Hairlson spoke with Poynter’s Kenny Irby in a live video chat. (Poynter) | Kristen Hare’s ever-fluctuating list of journalists in Ferguson is down to 109. It peaked at 148 last week. (Twitter) | Related: Twitter was widely celebrated for breaking news during the protests, but Nick Bilton writes that “while those live streams were seen as an unfiltered window into events as they unfolded, they often bore little resemblance to reality.” (The New York Times) | Related: The first Ferguson dispatch paid for by Huffington Post’s controversial crowdfunded fellowship. (Huffington Post) | Previously: HuffPost’s Ferguson Fellow Mariah Stewart: “This is huge for me.” (Poynter)
  4. goes SFW: The new site will have a “safe-for-work look and editorial focus,” Ricardo Bilton reports. “More classic nude fare can be found on Playboy Plus, Playboy’s digital subscription service.” Sixty percent of Playboy’s traffic is social. (Digiday)
  5. A Sopranos saga: Is Tony Soprano dead? wrote that “David Chase finally answers the question he wants fans to stop asking” in a story Wednesday. ( | Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge (also a Vox Media site) was pissed that @SavedYouAClick tweeted the reveal of the story and “stole an experience” from readers. (The Verge) | And now Sopranos creator David Chase says the story by Martha P. Nochimson misconstrued his remarks about the show’s finale. (NYT/ArtsBeat)
  6. Facebook’s ‘algorithmic censorship’: Here’s Alex Hern on the frightening power Facebook wields when it tweaks its News Feed algorithm: “The lack of transparency around this isn’t just worrying for media types: it should be concerning for everyone.” (The Guardian)
  7. NYT subscriptions still have room to grow: A Re/code story this week by Edmund Lee indicated New York Times digital-only subscriptions have plateaued; Ryan Chittum argues otherwise: “On a year-over-year basis, digital subs were up 19 percent in the second quarter and paywall revenue was up 13.5 percent. That’s hardly hitting a wall.” But he emphasizes growth in digital ad revenue will of course be crucial for medium- to long-term success. (Columbia Journalism Review)
  8. Who’s the most evasive press secretary of them all? BuzzFeed’s John Templon tracks the number of “weasel phrases” used by White House press secretaries in 5,000 press briefings since 1993. (BuzzFeed)
  9. Newspaper front page of the day: The Duluth (Minnesota) News Tribune, selected by Kristen Hare. (Newseum)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Noah Chestnut will be the lead developer for BuzzFeed’s news app. He’s currently director of labs at The New Republic. (Capital) | Rob Mennie is now senior vice president of Gannett Broadcasting and general manager for WTLV/WJXX in Jacksonville, Florida. Previously, he was senior vice president of news for Gannett Broadcasting. (Gannett) | Ben Walsh will be a business reporter at The Huffington Post. He’s currently a writer for Reuters. (‏@BenDWalsh) | Kimberly Leonard will be a healthcare reporter for U.S. News and World Report. Previously, she was a health producer there. (@leonardkl) | Larry Abramson is now dean of the journalism school at the University of Montana. Previously, he was a correspondent for National Public Radio. Eric Whitney is now director of news for Montana Public Radio. Previously, he was a health reporter for National Public Radio. (The Missoulian) | Job of the day: KFSN in Fresno, California is looking for a news photojournalist and live truck operator. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would you like this roundup each morning? This week, please email me: You can reach your regular roundup guy at:

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

Correction: The headline in this post originally misspelled Diane Sawyer’s last name. Read more


NPR’s Michel Martin heading to Ferguson: ‘Talking is the one thing we can all do’

St. Louis Public Radio

NPR’s Michel Martin will moderate a town hall meeting at Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. St. Louis Public Radio reports that the event is open to the public and there’s no cost to attend. Martin, who was previously the host of “Tell Me More,” appeared on St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” on Tuesday.

“Talking is the one thing we can all do,” she said.

I think one of the things that we hope to do in our field … is show people that you can have these conversations, important ones, difficult ones, painful ones, but you can have them and have them in a way that are constructive. That’s gonna be our task going forward. That’s gonna be our task every day.

Also part of the conversation on Thursday will be Ferguson’s mayor and The Rev. Willis Johnson, pastor of Wellspring Church, who was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Aug. 14.

Read more


Obama is an ‘enemy to press freedom,’ Risen says

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. More journalists arrested, threatened in Ferguson: Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, Telegraph reporter Rob Crilly and Financial Times reporter Neil Munshi all reported being detained last night in Ferguson. (Poynter) | A cop told KARG’s Mustafa Hussein to turn off his light “or you’re getting shot with this,” referring, apparently, to the gun he was holding. Police told MSNBC host Chris Hayes, “Media do not pass us, you’re getting maced next time you pass us.” (Gawker) || St. Louis station KSDK apologizes for showing video of the home of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown. (KSDK) | Brown was shot 6 times, a private autopsy says. (NYT)
  2. Watch Twitter if you want to keep up: David Carr: “Twitter still carries a great deal of unverified and sometimes erroneous information, but for all its limitations, it has some very real strengths in today’s media climate. It is a heat map and a window, a place where sometimes the things that are ‘trending’ offer very real insight into the current informational needs of a huge swath of news consumers, some of whom traditional outlets often miss.” (NYT) || FWIW, Kristen Hare‘s Twitter list of journalists covering Ferguson was invaluable when we were watching coverage last night. | Related: Twitter is testing a “downright blasphemous” new feature: “Some users are seeing a few tweets in their timelines that have merely been favorited by accounts they follow. Other tweets are showing from accounts that your friends follow.” (The Verge)
  3. Ferguson reporters talk coverage: Previously arrested Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly told Brian Stelter, “Any good journalist who was in that situation, the exact same thing would have happened to them.” Previously tear-gassed Al Jazeera reporter Ash-har Quraishi told Stelter “I do feel like we were targeted.” (CNN) | Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor-in-Chief Gilbert Bailon were on “Meet the Press.” (NBC News) | MSNBC reporter Trymaine Lee was on “On the Media.” (OTM)
  4. James Risen talks about Obama: Many people “don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers,” he tells Maureen Dowd. “But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” (NYT) | Risen spoke at length on that subject in March at a talk I covered. (Poynter)
  5. Julian Assange will leave Ecuadorean Embassy at some point: His “bag is packed,” WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said, but he has no plans to turn himself in to police. (The Guardian)
  6. NPR puts editor’s note on story Glenn Greenwald challenged: Dina Temple-Raston‘s Aug. 1 story should have noted that intelligence agencies invested in the companies she reported on. | “I strongly agree with the critics that the story committed a fundamental failure,” NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos writes, but Greenwald “hears more in the NPR report than is there.” (NPR) | “[I]t shouldn’t take the ombudsman nosing around for NPR to admit that it screwed up.” (Jay Rosen)
  7. Washington Post didn’t intend to put “buy it now” button in article: “What a happy coincidence.” (Pando) | Copy editors insert the links. (Digiday)
  8. Mobile news apps don’t make enough of the devices they inhabit: “If mobile is to become the dominant vector for news, retaining readers will be much more challenging than it is on a PC or tablet,” Frédéric Filloux writes. “Why not envision a few more steps forward and take advantage of technologies now embedded in every smartphone?” (Monday Note)
  9. The driving delusions of journalists: “The fantasy that gets a lot of reporters out of bed in the morning is that if they expose a bad thing then the bad thing will stop,” Nick Davies says. (Capital)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: John Fraher is now executive editor for international government at Bloomberg Europe, Middle East and Africa. Previously, he was managing editor for politics and economics there. Ros Mathieson has been named regional managing editor for international government at Bloomberg EMEA. Previously, he was deputy managing editor for economy and government there. Andrew Barden has become deputy managing editor for politics and economics in Europe. Previously, he was a team leader for Middle East economy and international government. Craig Stirling is now the managing editor for economy in Bloomberg’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division. He was formerly a team leader for Western Europe economy at Bloomberg. | Bill Strickland is now editor-in-chief of Bicycling. Previously, he was interim editor-in-chief. (Fishbowl NY) | Cherry Yates is now vice-president of corporate communications for Fox International Channels. Previously, she was vice president of global communications for National Geographic Channels International. (Fox International Channels) Job of the day:The Willits News, a twice-weekly newspaper in California, is looking for a news reporter. (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more

Liberia West Africa Ebola

How journalists covering the Ebola outbreak try to stay safe

That tweet came from CNN international correspondent David McKenzie, who’s currently reporting on the Ebola outbreak from Sierra Leone. On Monday, McKenzie filed this story about how he and other journalists at CNN are staying safe while covering a story with worldwide health implications.

“This is more about just having some basic things, like chlorine and water and all of this, to protect yourself, but also just to calm yourself down in what can be a very emotional and scary reporting trip,” he said in the video.

I’ve started a Twitter list of journalists covering the Ebola outbreak from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and nearby countries. Who am I missing? Please email or tweet suggestions to me at or @kristenhare. Here’s what I heard from other news organizations:

Associated Press — West Africa correspondent Krista Larson is covering the story for the AP, “drawing on our network of reliable stringers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Krista is based in Dakar, Senegal and has a wide knowledge of West Africa and long-standing working relationships with the stringers and her stories reflect that depth,” Andrew Meldrum, AP’s assistant Africa editor, told Poynter in an email.

Those stringers include Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Liberia, Clarence Macaulay in Sierra Leone and Sarah DiLorenzo in Senegal.

“Because of the dangerous nature of Ebola, Krista Larson has instructed all AP stringers not to put themselves in any danger,” Meldrum said. “This has been challenging for AP’s photographers and videographers. Often we have had to rely on images taken by groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, which have staff photographers at treatment centers. It is a challenging story – but one on which the AP’s Africa team and others around the globe have relished working together to report on a complex, serious story.”

A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading 'Burn all bodies' in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 deaths in West Africa as the World Health Organization on Thursday announced dozens of new fatalities. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)

A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading ‘Burn all bodies’ in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)

Los Angeles TimesRobyn Dixon is covering the outbreak from South Africa.

“In general, we try to take every possible precaution we can when covering dangerous situations,” Nancy Sullivan, vice president of communications with the Times, told Poynter in an email. “Each situation has its own specific nuances and, as such, we don’t have a formal one-size-fits-all policy in place regarding protection or pulling back.”

The New York Times — Adam Nossiter reported at the end of July from Guinea. Samuel Aranda is a freelance journalist. He’s covering the outbreak for the Times. Ben C. Solomon is a video journalist for the Times based in Kenya. He’s currently reporting from West Africa.

NPR– NPR’s Jason Beaubien was in Sierra Leone in mid-July, and Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is heading to Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Monday.

“Before Jason’s assignment, we consulted with the CDC and MSF,” NPR spokesperson Emerson Brown told Poynter in an email, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Doctors Without Borders. “We also had a number of conversations involving Jason, his editor, senior news executives and our international security manager. We agreed on a series of protocols to best allow Jason to do his reporting while minimizing the risk of contracting Ebola.”

Per Brown, those protocols include:

– Do not enter isolation units; avoid shaking hands; avoid funerals; avoid eating bush meat; avoid any obvious gatherings/demonstrations; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

– While he was on the ground, he was in regular contact by phone, text and email with managers in DC about prospective daily movements.

Brown said Quist-Arcton will follow the same protocol and that since leaving Sierra Leone, Beaubien is monitoring his health.

Wall Street Journal: Drew Hinshaw is covering the outbreak from Ghana.

Vice — Vice doesn’t currently have anyone covering the outbreak, but it did send Kaj Larsen to Liberia for a story that ran on June 26 called “Bushmeat in the Time of Ebola.”

Al Jazeera: Ahmed Idris is reporting on the outbreak for Al Jazeera from Nigeria. Tommy Trenchard is writing for Al Jazeera and other news outlets from Sierra Leone. Clair MacDougall is covering the story from Monrovia, Liberia.

BBC: Stanley Kwenda is covering the outbreak for BBC Africa.

AFP: Carl De Souza is covering the outbreak for AFP. Read more


NPR One app potential is huge

Public radio and podcasts have taken on an increasing role in my life. I listen while running, cleaning, cooking, driving long distances or taking public transportation, mostly times when I can afford to multitask, but can’t be looking at video or don’t want the added work of reading text.

I downloaded the NPR One app this week and listened to it twice during long morning jogs, and while I was riding public transportation and hanging out in airports. I’ll stop short of calling it a game-changer. But it’s clear that this app, or one like it, has the potential to become a content platform for news and culture audio, the way Amazon is for shopping or Netflix is for movies.

NPR One is like Pandora for public radio content. Because I already have an NPR account, even though I was in New York, it immediately knew that my local station was really WUSF in Tampa Bay.

NPR One began with a Guy Raz welcome and a request for access to my microphone (I’m not sure why). It then gave me the latest three-to-four-minute top-of-the-hour news update. Then it bounced through radio news, first from the last 24 hours of daily NPR shows Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Soon I started getting a mix of more evergreen content, blended in with the day’s news. I got a heavy dose of WNYC content, presumably because that’s where I was, but also because there is no content from my local market currently available.

The app draws from a big pool of NPR-owned products including podcasts, Joel Sucherman, NPR senior director of digital products said. The algorithm blends machine learning and editorial curation to ensure users don’t end up in a filter bubble, he said.

When you like something, you can tag it interesting. When you don’t like something, you click the forward triangle, and it skips to the next story in the queue. Soon, the app was delivering Planet Money reports, Scott Simon interviews with interesting musicians and stories about books and authors. I clicked past a Terry Gross interview once, because it was really long, and I never heard from her again, even though I wouldn’t mind the occasional film director interview. Some of the most pleasurable stories came from something called Vintage NPR, a collection of ‘driveway moments’ that manage to stand up over time.

NPR staff currently tags all NPR content as it goes into their management system, Sucherman said. A second level of NPR One editors then determine what “buckets” that content should go in. Those buckets determine how long the content will be available on NPR One and how and when the app will match it to customers.

NPR One was publicly available Monday for Android and IOS. They won’t say how many people downloaded it, but it was in the top three free apps in Apple’s App Store all week. Jeremy Pennycook, NPR One product manager, described the debut as more of a preview than a launch. Developers perfected the software enough so that users could open it up and press play. Many additions and improvements are in the works, he said. Eventually it will learn what time of day or days of the week users prefer shorter, newsy content to longer feature content.

The developers specified that all the audio listeners hear on the app will have “that NPR sound.” But they didn’t say how that will happen. Content like This American Life, that is heard on NPR stations but not owned by the NPR network, isn’t currently available on NPR One. There will be interesting negotiations about the pricing and licensing, considering that This American Life has recently gone out on its own. NPR One’s success is contingent on it being the go-to mobile platform, at least for public radio stories and shows, but maybe for an even broader array of audio content. How or even if independent content that seems as natural fit, as well as the good stuff from Public Radio International and American Public Media, isn’t clear.

“It’s a big ecosystem and the edges are very fuzzy,” Pennycook conceded.

(Disclosure: I have weekly media segment on WUSF and also a side podcast; neither are available on NPR One.)

NPR worked closely with six big local stations in the initial development and then later brought in a broader working group of large, midsize and smaller stations Sucherman said. While the app was smart enough to know what my local station was, it couldn’t recognize that I was already a donor. Thus the occasional instructions to press the “donate” button seemed annoying in a way that doesn’t bother me when I hear the same plea on the radio. When I did press that button, I got an email with “give now” button that sent me to my local station’s pledge page.

In order to capitalize on the opportunity, staff at local stations will have to load their “segmented audio” into the NPR One content system. That should be an incentive to the notoriously thinly staffed mid-size and small stations to create such content and produce it in a way that in conforms with the technical requirements of the app. Local stations will be rewarded with data about public radio listeners who may not be donors, including who their listeners are, where they go, when they listen and what they are most interested in. That kind of data will be a goldmine for local stations.

Sucherman and Pennycook pointed out that NPR was conscientious to connect users to their local station, which by design are crucial to NPR’s revenue model. With money from their pledge drives, local stations pay their own bills as well as pay the fees to license NPR shows.

“We had the best interests of the network and local stations in mind,” Pennycook said. “We are disrupting ourselves so someone else does not come in and eat our lunch.”

For me, the user experience was slightly addicting. Unlike the Public Radio app, NPR One can run in the background, so you can text and surf while you listen. It downloaded enough ahead of time that even in New York City, on the notoriously spotty AT&T connection, it didn’t drop as I ran through the streets. On an airplane I was able to listen to four or five stories after my phone lost its connection.

The most notable glitch was repetition, which Guy Raz promised in his introduction wouldn’t happen. The app delivers two quick sponsor messages in a row, which often repeated one right after the other as I continued to listen. I heard a few of the same stories the second time I used the app as well. Also, it drained my battery quickly.

Whether NPR One becomes a true platform, as opposed to just an app, will depend on the mix of content, transparency and sophistication of the algorithm. The reason Amazon works is because consumers can get to the variety of what they want, in a environment where Amazon controls for quality. That ‘NPR sound’ that both Sucherman and Pennycook mentioned can be a bit like Starbucks: It’s consistent and reliable, but sometimes you want a local vibe that is completely different.

Of course, there’s a natural evolution for all platforms.

Facebook had three distinct phases for me. First there was novelty. Then, as more and more people that I cared about joined, I felt a true connection to the platform because it enhanced my life by giving me information I wasn’t getting anywhere else. Lately, as it has become harder to find the content that actually enhances my life, that connection to Facebook has waned such that it’s more an indulgence than a necessity.

Maybe that’s natural evolution for all platforms. At first cable TV was so cool, then it was so pointless, but eventually it brought me unique content from MTV’s “Real World” to “Mad Men.” At first Netflix saved me time, then I couldn’t find anything I wanted to watch, and now I have “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards.”

It’s obvious that there is an audience for this type of news and culture audio and I think a need for a platform, outside of terrestrial radio, to deliver it. If NPR One doesn’t grow into that platform, something else will. Before Facebook there was MySpace.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Guy Raz’s last name and Terry Gross’ first name. Read more

CC USA Medien

Employment tumbles again at newspapers, and First Look’s plans shift

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 (OK, maybe not exactly 10) media stories.

  1. The newspaper business lost 1,300 employees last year: “The overall revenue figure, as measured by the Newspaper Association of America, was down 2.6 percent in 2013, close to an even match with the percentage of news job cuts for the year,” Rick Edmonds writes. (Poynter) | One small bright spot: Minority employment was up, after years of stagnating. (Poynter)
  2. An update on First Look Media: “We have definitely rethought some of our original ideas and plans,” Pierre Omidyar writes. (First Look Media) | Jay Rosen: “For First Look the way to a large user base isn’t ‘one big flagship website’ or an ‘everything you need to know’ news app to go up against, say, the Guardian or” (PressThink) | Mathew Ingram: “More than anything else, what Omidyar is describing sounds like a real-time journalism lab, one that will test out different ways of interacting with readers around a topic — albeit a lab that happens to have a quarter of a billion dollars behind it.” (Gigaom)
  3. Margot Adler, R.I.P.: The NPR reporter died at 68. She “helped shape a lot we would call the NPR sound today – human, curious, conversational,” David Folkenflik says in his report. (NPR) | Adler “said that being a Wiccan priestess and an NPR reporter ended up working out ‘pretty fine,’ but there were times where she felt discriminated against.” (WNPR)
  4. The New York Times will use online panels as part of its polling: “This is a very big deal in the survey world,” Pew Research Center director of survey research Scott Keeter says. (Pew)
  5. Paper runs wrong photo: The New Zealand Herald ran a photo of dead “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn in a story about Staff Sgt. Guy Boyland, an Israeli soldier who died in Gaza. (L.A. Times) | Editor Shayne Currie: “I would like to reiterate how seriously we are taking this error and apologise again.” (The New Zealand Herald)
  6. Stephen A. Smith apologized for remarks about domestic violence: ESPN says, “As his apology demonstrates, he recognizes his mistakes and has a deeper appreciation of our company values.” (@richarddeitsch) | Tom Ley: “Horseshit Apology.” (Deadspin) | Richard Sandomir: “If he is not suspended, it suggests that we need to understand ESPN’s discipline handbook. How offensive need someone be to earn a week or more off? (NYT)
  7. More sports media: Washington Times Editor John Solomon says the paper’s content partnership with the Washington Redskins will be transparent: “You’ll know what the Washington Times did, and you’ll know what comes from the Redskins.” (The Washington Post) | Washington, D.C., station WJFK-FM ran a promo for newly promoted host Chad Dukes that featured him calling a rival host a “fag.” It removed the promo after Dave McKenna wrote about it. (Deadspin)
  8. Not everyone reads on a tablet: News sites have to somehow go “mobile first” without “underserving the 9-to-5 audience that’ll probably be looking at a big screen for some years to come.” (Nieman) | Sam Kirkland wondered a similar wonder a while back: “Do mobile-friendly redesigns run the risk of frustrating desktop users?” (Poynter)
  9. Ira Glass finds Shakespeare unemotional: Tim Carmody: “Will bespectacled literary nerds have to choose between Chicago’s adopted son Ira and our old friend Stratford Billy?” ( | Alyssa Rosenberg: Our “contemporary conversation about Shakespeare would be a lot more interesting if, rather than using the Bard’s name as a synonym for unimpeachable greatness, we could talk about what works of Shakespeare we like best, which do not resonate with us and why.” (The Washington Post) | DRAMATIC TWIST INVADES ROUNDUP ITEM: As it happens, in October, Mike Daisey plans to perform a series of monologues about why Shakespeare’s work matters. “I mean, it would be a little odd in any event,” Daisey writes, “but of all the people to have made it a little uproar…” (Mike Daisey’s Facebook page) | Related: Glass is a total gearhead. (Gizmodo)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Fareed Zakaria will be a contributing editor with Atlantic Media starting in September. Zakaria will remain the host of “Fareed Zakaria GPS” and continue to write for The Washington Post. (Poynter) | Bob Cusack has been named editor in chief of The Hill. Formerly, he was managing editor there. He will replace Hugo Gurdon, who will be editorial director at the Washington Examiner. News editor Ian Swanson will succeed Cusack as managing editor and lobbying editor Dustin Weaver will replace Swanson as news editor. Scott Wong, Politico reporter and author of The Huddle, will be joining The Hill covering congressional Republicans. Diana Marrero, a former national account executive for The Washington Post, will be director of content partnerships at The Hill. Shannan Bowen, formerly an audience development manager at Atlantic Media Strategies, will be director of audience engagement at The Hill. (The Hill) | Jon Auerbach is executive producer at CNN’s Reliable Sources. Previously, he was a supervising producer at “John King, USA.” (TV Newser) | Shana Hale has been named creative director at Better Homes and Gardens. She had been art director there. ( | Malika Touré has joined Ad Age as a reporter. Formerly, she was an intern at Creativity. (Ad Age) | Job of the day: The Seattle Times is hiring a Microsoft reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Corrections? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more

Medical Marijuana Kids

NYT will take pot questions at 4:20 today

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 or so media stories.

  1. BuzzFeed fired Benny Johnson for plagiarism: “After carefully reviewing more than 500 of Benny’s posts, we have found 41 instances of sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites,” BuzzFeed EIC Ben Smith wrote Friday night. (BuzzFeed) | Smith’s memo to staffers. (@brianstelter) | Johnson’s lifts offend “not only readers but Web journos everywhere who fiddle to no end with their copy to guarantee originality, who link neurotically to eliminate any suggestion of misappropriation, who close and reopen and close and reopen their posts before publishing to re-inspect this little thing or that little thing, and who finally hit ‘publish’ with a plume of palm sweat.” (The Washington Post) | The 34 sources from which Johnson lifted. (Gawker) | BuzzFeed stands by a January piece in which Johnson quoted anonymous intelligence sources who said they’d like to kill Edward Snowden. (Pando)
  2. Legalize pot, NYT editorial board urges: “Repeal Prohibition, Again” (NYT) | The NYT will continue to drug-test employees: “‘Our corporate policy on this issue reflects current law,’ the spokeswoman said.” (HuffPost) | Judy Woodruff: “When I think of grass I think of something to walk on, pot as something to put a plant in.” (Mediaite) | Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal will take questions on Facebook at 4:20 p.m. Monday (NYT Facebook)
  3. Sarah Palin launches subscription-based online channel: “The conservative pol’s online network is modeled on TheBlaze, the online-video network and website that ex-Fox News host Glenn Beck launched in 2011.” (Variety) | “no half-term package?” (‏@SteveFriess) | Palin calls The Washington Post’s leadership “wusses” (Sarah Palin Facebook)
  4. The National Enquirer wants to win again: Joe Pompeo writes about the newspaper’s struggle to claw back from financial and editorial struggles. “Anyone who has information and wants to get paid, call me,” Editor-in-Chief Dylan Howard tells Pompeo. “My checkbook is open.” (Capital)
  5. Michel Martin writes about childcare: Women of color “often face additional pressures that white women are far less likely to encounter” when balancing work and family, the NPR host writes. “One reason I am so disappointed about the cancellation of Tell Me More, which will have its last broadcast Aug. 1, is that the show has allowed me to prioritize these discussions on my own terms.” (National Journal)
  6. News, but with ambient sound: Tools to lighten your text-heavy articles. (
  7. Reddit wants to improve its advertising business: “‘Reddit is a 1998 product, trying to have a 1998 business model,’ said Gina Bianchini, chief executive of Mightybell, a social networking start-up.” (NYT)
  8. Tweet of the weekend: “BREAKING: Col Allen out, J. Jonah Jameson in at New York Post.” (@harrysiegel)
  9. Here’s today’s world news, edited by Kristen Hare: Media regulators say the BBC’s Jeremy Clarksondeliberately used a pejorative racial term to refer to an Asian man on BBC2’s Top Gear, causing offense without justification and breaching broadcasting rules,” Jason Deans reported for The Guardian. The incident took place in March during an episode of “Top Gear.” | In a Sunday editorial, The New York Times said censorship and pressures on the press have returned to India. | Here’s the front page from Apple Daily – Taiwan edition, in Taipei, Taiwan. (Beware the shopping cart.) Front page courtesy Newseum.


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Joe Flint will be a media reporter at The Wall Street Journal. He’s currently a media reporter for the Los Angeles Times. (@JBflint) | Danielle Knox will be an anchor and reporter at WSVN in Miami. Formerly, she hosted a show on Lifetime. (TVSpy) | Tammy Cohen and Lori Cohn have both been named executive beauty directors at Self. Formerly, they were both executive beauty directors at Lucky. (FishbowlNY) | Job of the day: The Kokomo Tribune is hiring a sports reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more