StateImpact won 3 of the 11 awards that NPR received in the Best of Digital Design competition last week from the Society for News Design.
SND recognition is among the highest honor awarded for news design. It’s especially notable since, according to SND, only the New York Times and Washington Post won more awards than NPR. Continue reading
Participating in local and regional events is a great way to build your relationship with your “core communities.” Sometimes these are events that we organize. But other times, we’re asked to be part of a panel discussion on a topic. And while these are great opportunities to interact with people who care deeply about the subject you cover, the role can be challenging for journalists.
Susan Phillips of StateImpact Pennsylvania, who gets asked to participate in many community events, offers some tips for how to navigate the role of “journalist-panelist”:
WHYY's Chris Satullo moderates a community event with Susan Phillips and Scott Detrow. Having audience members write their questions on index cards for the moderator to read is one way to maintain control of a program.
Shale drilling is a very polarizing topic in Pennsylvania. Each side throws out “facts” like confetti, hoping to plaster the streets with their view and no one else’s. So the StateImpact team here is often called upon to sit on panels as the “honest broker.”
We never sought this role. We usually say yes, although there’s never any compensation, rarely any food, and it often requires a long drive. That said, it does give you exposure and helps you meet potential sources.
So if you’re asked to be on a panel, here are some tips that I’ve picked up. Continue reading
Spotlight: An audio blockbuster to learn from
Many of you may have already heard This American Life’s ambitious two-part series about a Chicago high school. We’re interested in your feedback on it and how it applies to our work. Ken Rudin has started the conversation with his thoughts on the piece.
Goodbye from Sarah Gonzalez
Former StateImpact reporter Sarah Gonzalez left Miami last week and is now headed for WYNC, where she recently accepted a position as an enterprise reporter, covering Northern New Jersey. She wanted to take this opportunity to say bid us all adieu.
I miss StateImpact already. I adore the work you all do so much and I will keep visiting your Continue reading
We’re interested in your thoughts on a very powerful piece by This American Life.
It’s about Chicago’s Harper High School – a school that has been beset with shootings (some fatal), the constant threat of violence, and the omnipresence of street gangs. Throughout all the mayhem and the sadness, there are those at Harper – the principal, the teachers, the social workers – who have not given up hope, despite the odds stacked against them.
The school gave three reporters unprecedented access to its staff and students over an entire semester. The result was a two-part radio series. Part 1, which ran the weekend of Feb. 15, was an hour of riveting radio, excellent reporting and writing, unbelievable tape and a dramatic cliff-hanger. Part 2 ran last weekend.
Spotlight: Sharing Our Strategies
The NPR StateImpact team members have been working with the editorial staff at NPR Digital Services in Boston to exchange insights so that all member stations can benefit from what we’re doing. Last fall, we shared Digital Services’ research into the “9 Types of Stories That Cause Engagement,” a how-to for success on Facebook.
StateImpact team members and station leaders — including Chris Swope and John Stefany of NPR, Karen Holp of KGOU, Emily Donahue of KUT and John LaBonia and Dan Grech of WLRN — have shared their insights from the project with other station participants in the Knight Station Leadership Conference sessions. Continue reading
Spotlight: Building ‘Core Communities’
GWYNETH ANNE BRONWYNNE JONES / FLICKR
As teachers become more active on Twitter, StateImpact Ohio is working to engage them.
Learn about the shift away from using social media to simply promote content to an “audience” and instead use it to have a two-way dialogue with a “community”: Corralling Your Core Communities.
Around the Network
- What’s the difference between a heifer at a county fair and a box of Girl Scout cookies? StateImpact Idaho has the answer, proving once again that policy can be fun and interesting.
- Molly Bloom of StateImpact Ohio talks about seclusion room policy on a podcast of the Student Press Law Center.
- Emilie Ritter Saunders tells the blog “I Want Her Job” about working with people “who are innovative, smart and driven”: “My job with StateImpact Idaho is focused largely on digital reporting, but my background is in traditional broadcast. So, in the last 18 months, I’ve had to learn an entirely new set of skills and learn ways to apply traditional storytelling on a digital platform. That wouldn’t have happened without the pushing and teaching from my colleagues across NPR’s StateImpact network.”
- Jessica Pupovac and Chris Swope got to explore Concord, N.H., last week as guests of New Hampshire Public Radio. They spent the better part of two days planning stories with the StateImpact New Hampshire team and training reporters Amanda Loder and Emily Corwin.
Chris Swope, NPR
Reporters Amanda Loder and Emily Corwin, and News Director Sarah Ashworth, get Excel tips from Data and Digital Coordinator Jessica Pupovac.
Jessica Pupovac and Yan Lu have created lots of great new offerings in the StateImpact Toolbox:
In the past six months we’ve started talking about our “communities,” rather than our “audience,” to emphasize the two-way nature of our work.
As we’ve worked to engage with our “core communities” in person and on social media, one concern we’ve heard is: There really isn’t a community in [my state] talking about [my topic] on [social media network].
Which is why we’re excited about what StateImpact Ohio is doing. Continue reading
Marie Cusick is joining StateImpact Pennsylvania.
StateImpact Pennsylvania will soon be back up to full strength when Marie Cusick joins Susan Phillips in covering the state’s energy economy.
Most recently, Cusick was a multimedia reporter at WMHT in Albany, New York. She contributed TV, radio, and digital reports about the economy, technology, and state politics to public stations across New York for the Innovation Trail, a reporting collaborative between six stations. She appeared regularly on WMHT’s award-winning, statewide public affairs TV show, New York NOW. Her work has also aired nationally on NPR and in New York City on WNYC and WNET Thirteen.
Cusick already has some experience covering gas drilling in the northeast, including filling in for Scott Detrow in December. On her first day, she reported that Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett had taken a vacation paid for by a central Pennsylvania businessman with ties to the gas industry.
Cusick grew up in Lancaster, Pa., and graduated from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. She starts work Feb. 20 at witf in Harrisburg. You can find her today at @MarieCusick on Twitter.
What do earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas have in common with new teaching standards in Florida, Indiana and Ohio? They’re both topics about which people are looking for reliable information on their own timetables, not ours. Read our ideas for delivering News When People Need It.
Around the Network
- Molly Messick and StateImpact Idaho, with help from Danny DeBelius at NPR, produced an interactive quiz to help taxpayers understand the ins and outs of the state’s complicated “business personal property tax.”
- Molly Bloom and Ida Lieszkovszky of StateImpact Ohio used our new ScribbleLive platform to live-blog the long-awaited announcement by Ohio Gov. John Kasich outlining how he believes schools should be financed. Continue reading
Much of our reporting is designed to be consumed immediately — either heard over the air, read at the top of our sites or shared in the moment through social media.
But more than half of our site traffic comes from search engines, and few of users’ search terms are related to traditional spot news. Last week, only one of the five top terms was based on breaking news: is bigfoot real; fracking; keystone pipeline; earthquake; aubrey mcclendon.
“Earthquake” is a great example. Every few weeks there’s a small earthquake in Texas. Not strong enough to cause damage, but enough to send people to Google to find out what’s going on.
The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has risen dramatically in recent years.
Now, a 2.7 magnitude earthquake isn’t something the media would normally give a lot of attention to. But there is a story to tell: Some experts believe an increase in seismic activity in certain areas is related to how drilling waste is disposed of underground, and waste disposal policy is a natural StateImpact story. StateImpact Texas has had an earthquake topic page for months that has generated ongoing traffic.