NPR's Melody Kramer will miss the newsroom during breaking news. Also free books.
NPR's Melody Kramer announced Monday that she's leaving NPR and journalism, headed for 18F, "a skunkworks shop located within the federal government. It started up last spring. They build digital stuff quickly and they do it in a way that’s completely open." Kramer will work building digital products and services.
Kramer, a digital strategist at NPR, has earned a well-deserved reputation for her work in digital and social media at NPR. I spoke with her via email about what she'll miss, what she'll take with her and what she's happy to leave behind.
KH: What are you going to miss about working in journalism?
MK: I am a voracious news reader and have loved being a part of newsrooms in the midst of breaking news. I will miss working in a newsroom during election night and during breaking news, when everyone goes all hands on deck and pitches in. I will also miss the free books. I read a lot.
KH: What are you not going to miss?
MK: I can't think of anything specifically that I would say that's a negative.
KH: Are there skills, habits, cultures or things you just love about journalism that you'll take with you to your new career?
MK: I'm not thinking of this as a new career, but more like another step in my life. I've learned to be really detail-oriented at NPR, and to ask good questions, and most importantly, to listen. I'm a really big fan of listening. I also became really good at finding stuff on the Internet, or sourcing articles, and being a good Internet digger-upper is always a great thing.
KH: Same question, but with things you'll be happy to leave behind?
MK: This is a D.C. thing and not a media thing, but I really dislike when people ask me what I do as a first question. I like asking people what they like to do, and I think there's a big difference.
KH: One of my favorite recent things you've done is People Not in the News Commenting on the News. What did you learn from that? What should we learn from that? And are you going to keep it up?
MK: I love doing that and will continue to keep it up. (I'm a little email backlogged from the holiday.) I think it's really important to think about how people consume news. I was surprised, for example, to see everyone mention TV news because I never watch TV news. But millions of people do and it's important for us to think about that, and what that means.
Related: In December, Kramer came to Poynter and presented the Webinar "Social Media and Analytics: Strategies and Metrics You'll Actually Use" for Poynter's News University.