Animated Explainer Adds Color to Gas Tax Debate

Three cheers for StateImpact New Hampshire’s Emily Corwin, who found a way to take conversations in the state legislatures about raising the gas tax to improve the state’s roads and found a way to make it interesting, engaging and even, dare I say, adorable. Emily collaborated with New Hampshire Public Radio’s Sara Plourde, digital producer extraordinaire, to create this animated video:

How on earth did they do it, you ask?

Well… Emily wrote the script and added notes throughout, denoting what sorts of visuals she imagined might help illustrate each segment.  Sara then worked her magic and added her own style to Continue reading

StateImpact Network News: March 18 – 31

Around The Network

  • WLRN announced that reporter Sammy Mack is joining the StateImpact Florida team.
  • Logan Layden and Joe Wertz of StateImpact Oklahoma led a discussion of water issues March 20 at a community “On Tap” event sponsored by KOSU.
  • The Yale University Center for Environmental Law and Policy invited Susan Phillips of StateImpact Pennsylvania to talk about “emerging issues in shale gas development” as part of its webinar series on public policy.
  • Chris Satullo and members of the web team at WHYY presented a webinar to public media managers highlighting how their NewsWorks site is adapting its strategy to deal with the challenges of a “sideways world.”
  • Terrence Henry had a New York Times byline (print and web) thanks to KUT’s partnership with the Texas Tribune. The article on wastewater disposal wells credited StateImpact Texas.
  • The NPR team doesn’t physically move until April 12, but our mailing address is now officially 1111 North Capitol St. NE, Washington, DC 20002
  • Continue reading

StateImpact Florida Adds Sammy Mack To Reporting Team

Sammy Mack

Sammy Mack will report for StateImpact Florida from Miami.

Sammy Mack is joining StateImpact Florida as a Miami-based reporter. She’ll collaborate with Tampa-based reporter John O’Connor in continuing the project’s award-winning coverage of education in Florida.

Mack has worked in just about every position in the WLRN-Miami Herald newsroom. She’s been a producer on the shows Topical Currents, the Florida Roundup, Under the Sun, and the Morning Edition newscasts. Most recently, as special projects editor, she oversaw the editorial side of the WLRN.org re-launch. Continue reading

StateImpact Network News: March 4 – 17

Just When You Think You Know Everything …

The StateImpact Reporters’ Toolbox site is where we post information to help reporters do their jobs better. And lately, there’s a lot of good new material there:

Continue reading

StateImpact Network News: February 25 – March 3

Spotlight: What To Do When Event Planners Want You

Susan Phillips gets asked to be on a lot of panel discussions, which is great for getting exposure for StateImpact Pennsylvania and creating dialogue on her topic. But she’s learned that no two events are the same, and asking some basic questions upfront can avoid surprises. Read her Nine Tips For Being a Panelist.

Hanging Out Online With Mose Buchele

Mose Buchele takes part in a Google Hangout organized by Minnesota Public Radio.

Mose Buchele of StateImpact Texas had a two-panel day last Tuesday.

During the day, he participated in a Minnesota Public Radio video discussion related to fracking. The panel was conducted via a Google Hangout. And despite some technical troubles (another one of the panelists had a bad internet connection), the result was a good example of how to use Google’s video conferencing tool to create a work of explanatory journalism.

In the evening, he moderated StateImpact Texas’ second live event in a month. This one brought four state legislators together to discuss ways of managing the effects of Texas’ oil and gas boom. More than 110 people came out to listen to the conversation and participate. “We got really awesome questions from the audience,” Mose said. Terrence Henry worked the mike through the crowd, while sending out snippets of the conversation on Twitter. Terrence filed a radio story related to the event, and audio and video from the event have filled multiple subsequent blog posts. Continue reading

StateImpact Wins Three International Design Awards

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

Nine Tips For Being a Journalist-Panelist

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 StateImpact event

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

StateImpact Network News: February 18 – 24

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

This American Life’s 5-Month Education Project

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 last weekend, was an hour of riveting radio, excellent reporting and writing, unbelievable tape and a dramatic cliff-hanger. Part 2 runs this weekend.

Continue reading

StateImpact Network News: February 11 – 17

Spotlight: Sharing Our Strategies

Chris Swope

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