NPR Digital Services

Developing Special Projects: Think 'Audience First'

Jun 17, 2014
Marc Cornelis

In planning your next special project, think about your audience before you begin. In the PRNDI session "Thinking Audience for Your Next Big Thing," NPR Digital Service's Kim Perry and Eric Athas shared their 'user story' model and how two stations are already putting it into practice. 

KCUR and Vermont's VPR are using the model to attack the issues of a divided city and a state's drug problem. 

KCUR's focus on the stigma surrounding the eastern part of Kansas City has resulted in a community engagement team and a Tumblr page specific to the area. Donna Vestal, the station's Director of Content Strategy, says this has helped the reporters realize the stories they want to do may not be what their audience wants to hear.

Reprinted from the Nieman Journalism Lab and courtesy of Andrew Phelps

NPR has become a poster child for legacy news organizations’ ability to reinvent themselves for the digital age: Its website and mobile apps are used by millions of people, NPR Music is a runaway hit, office hack days are a model for other newsrooms, and the network’s news apps team is attracting top talent.

And then there are individual NPR stations, so many of which have no reputation for innovation. As consumers find more ways to get NPR in their ears, they have fewer reasons to tune in to their local broadcaster.