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