All about the StateImpact project — the mission, the team, progress, productivity and more.

Recent posts

Thank You, StateImpact Reporters!

Celebration! Stateimpact cake.

Danny Debelius / NPR

For two years the StateImpact team has used this blog to document best practices and discuss methods, to tout awards and take note of civic impact, to demystify data and plug cool tools. This post is none of that.

This is a love letter.

It is a warm hug and proud pat on the back to the reporters who made this project something to talk about. To John O’Connor, Sammy Mack and Sarah Gonzalez in Florida; Emilie Saunders and Molly Messick in Idaho; Kyle Stokes and Elle Moxley in Indiana; Amanda Loder and Emily Corwin in New Hampshire; Molly Bloom, Ida Lieszkovszky and Amy Hansen in Ohio; Joe Wertz and Logan Layden in Oklahoma; Marie Cusick, Susan Phillips, Scott Detrow and Katie Colaneri in Pennsylvania; and Terrence Henry, Mose Buchele and Dave Fehling in Texas. You’ve rocked this thing out, and it’s been such a treat to watch.    Continue reading

Four Takeaways From A Bountiful Awards Season


Gary Craig / Flickr

It’s been a good awards season at StateImpact!

Last weekend, we learned that two projects produced under our banner won PRNDI awards, given by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. StateImpact New Hampshire’s “Getting By, Getting Ahead” won first place in the multimedia category. And StateImpact Florida’s story on the use of spanking in Florida schools won first place in the nationally edited news feature category.

This came on the heels of more good news a couple of weeks ago. Two of our seven regional winners in the Edward R. Murrow Awards went on to win national Murrows. They were StateImpact Pennsylvania’s “Perilous Pathways” series on abandoned wells and StateImpact Indiana’s documentary “Progress Report.”

Numbers-wise, StateImpact has won 84 local and national awards so far. Every one of our eight state projects has been recognized for the excellent work they’ve produced.

Of course, awards are only one measure of editorial success. Not every meaningful story gets a plaque.

But if you look at the StateImpact work recognized this year, a few themes emerge: 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 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

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

StateImpact Network News: February 4 – 10

Spotlight: Building ‘Core Communities’


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.   
StateImpact training at New Hampshire Public Radio

Chris Swope, NPR

Reporters Amanda Loder and Emily Corwin, and News Director Sarah Ashworth, get Excel tips from Data and Digital Coordinator Jessica Pupovac.

Skill Sharpening

Jessica Pupovac and Yan Lu have created lots of great new offerings in the StateImpact Toolbox:

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StateImpact Network News: January 28 – February 3


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

Network News: January 21 – 27

States Collaborate to Explain New Education Standards

Florida, Indiana and Ohio are among the 45 states that are implementing new national standards for K-12 academics, a process that will require new curricula, textbooks and tests. So, the “Common Core” was a natural topic for the StateImpact education states to focus on for 2013. And just as the standards themselves are a national-state partnership, our project’s six education reporters are collaborating with each other and the team at NPR to explain how the new policies will affect students, parents and educators.

Their first joint project is called “Core Questions,” an effort to engage these groups in our coverage by inviting them to send us their questions about the Common Core. The reporters have created Core Questions topic pages on StateImpact Florida, StateImpact Indiana and StateImpact Ohio, and are inviting questions through their sites’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. They’ll share the work of answering some questions to avoid duplicating effort. Continue reading