Friday, March 14, 2008

Inside digital NPR (and other good stuff)

Yeah, yeah. I'm a lousy executive editor of The Convergence Newsletter.

We have good stuff in two issues, and I forget to flog it. So let me make up for that.

In the February issue, Editor Brad Petit begins a two-part conversation with Maria Thomas, senior vice president of digital media at National Public Radio, about the public broadcaster's digital strategy. A sample:

The Web site plays a variety of different functions, one of which is simply to make radio not ephemeral. ... So on some level, we are representing the stories that are told on the radio so that they can live on in an archival form. That’s a very basic element. Beyond that, if we think of these people in NPR News as storytellers, eventually we’ll want to move to a place where we think of them as storytellers or journalists and not necessarily affiliated with one platform or another.

I hope you'll check it out. The second part of the interview will be in the March issue (that link will work early nest week when we get it up). (Also, see a good story on NPR and its future from the Christian Science Monitor.)

Also in the February issue, check out Sid Bedingfield's The Problem with Broadcast News on the Web. Sid, who spent many years with CNN -- and before that UPI -- dissects why the current broadcast news package formula doesn't work on the small screen.

The package format has been the workhorse of broadcast news since the days of Murrow and Friendly. It is an efficient means of visual storytelling. In skilled hands, it can pack an emotional wallop. In the passive environment of television, where viewers “lean back” to watch the news, the package works well. On the Web, however, users “lean in” to engage with the content. There, the broadcast format falls flat.

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