NPR & Friends
Serri Graslie from ATC sends in this note about how easy, fun and rewarding it can be to get listeners into a conversation on Twitter:
Yesterday, at the end of the segment on the death of the Saturday morning cartoon, Matt had the idea to ask listeners to share their favorite show. It worked well!
We don’t have to do anything with these responses but they offer a nice way to interact with listeners [and pick up new followers on Twitter].
The Wider World
Tory Starr of PRI’s The World sends in this useful set of takeaways from ONA Chicago:
- To bridge the connection between engagement and impact, hold events with the local community — it will matter to people. Hold “solutions summits” and talk through ways to make an impact. (Lesson from CIR’s “Dissection F”)
- We are on Twitter. Our audience is not. Our audience is on Facebook. (Lesson from “Charting a Course Through The Twitter Tempest”)
- Create a bite-sized analytics report with info that matters to people. Don’t emphasize page views, but sharing and comments. (Lesson from “Read This First: Using Analytics To Improve Readership”)
- ChatApps are a huge time investment for little return right now. But their potential reach is massive. (Lesson from “Chat Apps: New Frontiers of Mobile Audience Engagement”)
- Attribution does not excuse infringement — if you want to display someone else’s images without written consent, ONLY embed or Storify will suffice. (Lesson from “Hey, That Photo’s Mine!”)
- Ephemeral content will become more mainstream in the next 24 months. Experiment with Snapchat or other ephemeral tools like Slingshot or Cluster. (Lesson from “10 Tech Trends in Journalism”)
Start using Twitter lists! That’s the advice from Gene Demby for people who want to tame the chaos of Twitter. Create lists of coworkers, industry peers and close friends. Lists allow you to see and enter conversations more easily. Check it out:
- How to create a Twitter list
- Lists created by Code Switch, including a staff list
- My list of current and former Social Media Desk staff
That is all for today. We’re all ears if you have any news or tips you want to share with us.
Tiger is a second generation Bodega Cat, he does his catting on 4th Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and he is one of the stars of Bodega Cats In Their Own Words: Episode 4.
I feel that this is a fair question. One answer is that it is a place that values cocktail napkins highly. Another is that Cashiers is where my cousin got married last night. One of my Atlanta cousins. Given away by her mother and father, who let me stay at their house in Buckhead back in February, when I began working on a story about OutKast’s festival tour. Who knew exactly where Stankonia is located (10 mins from their house), how many other studios are on Antone St. and what a big deal it was that I was doing interviews there (largely between the hours of midnight and 4 am, to everyone’s bemusement). After I got back from Coachella, where OutKast kicked off their tour, my cousin and her fiance grilled me, registered their feelings over Andre sporting a Lovett sweatshirt that night and again reaffirmed how broad and deep and personal the love for OutKast runs in Atlanta.
When, in June, OutKast finally announced Atlanta dates and they overlapped with my cousin’s wedding, I was 100% certain that she (and if not her, her dad) was going to reschedule.
I was wrong. But she and her husband sealed the deal last night, thoughtfully, which makes it possible for me (and quite a few other guests at the wedding) to drive down to Atlanta today for the last night of something important. The bond between that city and that group is special, rare, but it’s also a grand-scale version of the relationship we all have with the first group we really fell for. That first band that made us feel like we were hearing ourselves.
I’ll be talking to people at the show and following up on interviews with the musicians involved, and on Monday I’ll report on everything that went down.
I do get that this is a dream job.
This is the view from the backyard of the place where I’ll be staying tonight. Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio was kind enough to offer to let me stay in the farm house he and his wife are refurbishing. And, naturally, they have Adirondack chairs in the yard.
He helped me get my bearings, scratched directions all over a map and now I’m off to interview folks about the race for NY21 and more broadly their feelings about the direction the country is headed.
The life of an NPR correspondent does feature the occasional perk! And this one is courtesy of North Country Public Radio.
This is the first post of a new social sandbox series, “Socially Speaking,” where we talk to NPR reporters about their experiments in the social space. Have a suggestion about who we should interview next? Tweet me.
- Kate, social media intern
Socially Speaking: Gene Demby
NPR Desk: Leader Blogger, Code Switch
Twitter handle: @geedee215
The takeaway: Treat Twitter like a dinner party
Photo credit: Kainaz Amaria for NPR
Describe your morning social media routine.
I usually go to Twitter, my RSS feeds, Feedly. I’ll look at the newest stuff going back an hour or so and then I’ll start sharing whatever I come across. Sometimes it’s specific to this beat, but sometimes it’s just stuff that’s interesting and newsy or fun.
What are the top five social media accounts you follow?
Mallory Ortberg (@mallelis) because she’s hilarious. I also have a Twitter list of people, including Joel Anderson (@blackink12) at Buzzfeed, Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) at Slate, Tracy Clayton (@brokeymcpoverty) at Buzzfeed and a few more. I’m always having conversations with those people.
What’s your favorite social media platform for sharing news?
Twitter. I tweet anything I find interesting. On Sunday afternoons, I’ll send out a tweet and say, “hey everyone, if you’ve created anything or written anything in the last week that has a link that you want to share, I’ll retweet it and give it a signal boost.”
Do you feel that helps you as a reporter?
Part of what you want your followers to do is to point you in the direction of stuff that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise, right? Everyone is sharing all kinds of stuff that wouldn’t necessarily be in your field of vision. And I think that’s sort of the joy of Twitter. There’s a serendipity of stumbling across something you wouldn’t see otherwise. Sometimes I just want to drink from the hydrant, and Twitter is that best way to do that.
Can you give an example of a time when you used social media to aid your reporting?
So right now I’m working on this piece on corporal punishment, and one of the things I wanted to do was to get the stories of as many people as possible…
(So he sent out the following tweet):
curious abt those of y’all who were raised in households where corp. punishment was practiced, and what you think of those experiences now.— Gene Demby (@GeeDee215)September 15, 2014
I didn’t know what I was going to use it for, I just wanted to ask questions. So I didn’t tweet out anything about my own opinions and I made a point to not retweet people who said “spanking is horrible” or “people who don’t spank are horrible.” (The responses) helped put a lot of things in context.
The main thrust of the final piece (Editors’ note: you can read his story here) is sort of about the themes I saw in the hundreds of responses I received on Twitter. The way people thought about this stuff was not just about spanking, but their parents. It was about the stories they tell themselves about their childhoods. The only way you can do that is to have a bunch of (responses) and look at that in the aggregate, and Twitter is really, really good at that.
(Check out MPR News’s Storify to view all of the responses Demby retweeted through his Twitter).
Was there anything you saw in the responses that surprised you?
Once you start asking the questions, you start to see shadings that you couldn’t anticipate. The conversation elsewhere has always been like “this is why spanking is wrong,” but in real life it’s always more complicated than that. It’s more like “I wouldn’t do this, but with these caveats…” That’s true of a lot of stuff in real life—we have conversations about pro and anti everything and in real life people are navigating more tricky terrain.
That’s interesting because some people view Twitter as a divisive space.
It doesn’t have to be, but it often is. There are lots of people who are sharing their stories. You just have to mindful about the way you ask the question. At Code Switch, we often talk about it like we’re having a dinner party, and we want everyone to talk.
So think of Twitter as one big dinner party?
This conversation has been edited and condensed.
Good afternoon! Here’s what we have for you today.
NPR & FRIENDS
Have you seen the Viz team’s Look At This Tumblr? It’s pink. It’s also home to some amazing posts. This is what you’ll find there:
These are stories about people and the things they make — and the byproducts of our obsessions. Sometimes having to do with photos and sometimes not, these are investigations into how you see the world.
Featured right now is a fascinating portrait project titled “What Do Homeless Vets Look Like?" Don’t miss it.
We all know Ari Shapiro is fun to follow on Instagram. Right now he’s in Scotland for the big vote and his account is a must-see if you’re interested in the story.
Dana Farrington shares some interesting news: WBUR is now on Google Glass! Glass Almanac has the details.
THE WIDER WORLD
Mel Kramer says we should all give some thought to how the “Fark.com NotNewsletter” highlights great user comments. The email points readers to the top-10 “funniest” and “smartest” comments from the previous week as voted on by the Fark community. That’s a great way to keep people coming back and staying involved. Highlighting top comments also allows everyone to see what’s valued by the broader community, hopefully fostering a better dialogue across the board.
Last time around I mentioned that reddit’s search function can help you make sense of the many, many communities living there. At a meeting with NPR’s National Desk staff, Russell Lewis told us he recommends using an app to plumb the depths of reddit. His app of choice? Alien Blue.
That’s all, folks. Hit us on Twitter with your questions and suggestions.
Gone With the Wind Behind the Scenes Photo
Director Victor Fleming sits on the camera cradle preparing for one of the most famous crane shots in motion picture history. One of the most challenging scenes in the production was Scarlett’s search for Dr. Meade at the depot where hundreds of Confederate soldiers lay wounded or dead. The studio called for thirteen-hundred extras to report to the Atlanta Car Shed set, but the Screen Actors Guild could only provide 600 actors. Six-hundred dummies were constructed and a scenic painter added other soldiers after the film shoot. Selznick rented a 120-ton crane with a sixty-foot reach and one of the most famous crane shots in film history was completed in one take.
Photo by Wilbur Kurtz, historian and technical advisor for Gone With the Wind. For more, see Wilbur G. Kurtz: History in Gone With the Wind at the Atlanta History Center. On display July 2, 2014 - April 4, 2015.
By @coxionary “Tom Glavine #Bobblehead night at #atlantabraves and #mygettyoffice tonight. @Tom_Glavine @BaseballHall @gettysport #gettysport #gettyimages #braves #bravos #atlanta #atl #lefty #bobble #turnerfield #cocacola”
The Weird Wind-Rippled Surface of Mars
“Wind-blown features dominate the Martian equatorial region, often creating vast dune fields. But in this new observation beamed back from the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), planetary scientists are being challenged by how this particular type of aeolian feature could have formed.”
Read more from discoverynews.
NPR & FRIENDS
The ATC series about men has wrapped up and social was a big part of its success. Serri Graslie sends in these highlights:
ATC’s Men in America series has come to an end after three months and 57 stories. There have been some great successes, particularly where social media is concerned.
#menpr – A short hashtag that served us well across all social media platforms; we used it for both callouts and general promotion
How To Be A 21st Century ‘Gentleman’
- A week before Shereen’s piece aired, we did a Reddit AMA with WaPo advice columnist Steven Petrow. In addition to driving people to the previous stories and generating a great discussion that informed the last two-way in the series, it also had one of the longest engagement time of any AMA Reddit’s communications director had ever seen – 6:10.
From Axes To Razors, The Stuff That Makes You Feel Manly
- We again used one of Shereen’s pieces as a springboard to ask men (and women) about the objects that make them feel manly. We solicited answers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and were able to compile them all nicely with Storify. I think this worked, in large part, because of the amazing image Kainaz and Emily got for the first story.
Break Out The Hanky: Tom’s Got It Out For Your Tearducts
- We did an online and on-air call out about the “movies that make men cry” and received more than 3,600 responses. In reading through them, Colin Dwyer and I noticed a theme: Tom Hanks everywhere. The radio producer used that tidbit in the on-air letters segment and we wrote the web-only companion about the Hanks scenes people cited over and over again.
Other social media endeavors that worked well: This callout helped us collect a ton of movie/TV clips for intro montages, this callout helped Richard Gonzales find the person he profiled for a piece on older dads, and this commentary owes its success to the NPR Facebook, which gave it a “964% social boost” at one point and helped make it the #4 piece in the series.
THE WIDER WORLD
The Bitter Southerner is a new-ish publication out of Atlanta that you should eyeball. They’re about a year old and are focused on good storytelling that captures the South as it is today. Mainly they publish long reads, once a week.
But they’re using social to keep the wheels turning in between stories. It’s a smart model that gives them the space to craft their feature content without looking like they’re dead in the water in between stories. Their FB feed has a life of its own and they’re present on Twitter in a way that lets you know real people stand behind the brand. Check ‘em out:
Reddit can be a little overwhelming. One trick that’s useful for journalists and news organizations who want to see how their work is playing on reddit is to use advanced search terms, just like you’d do on Google. Examples:
After reddit returns the results, you can filter them for time, chronology, comments and subreddit. In fact, you can construct more complex searches via a series of advanced search terms. Have fun!