Stuff & Things

6 Nuggets Of Multimedia-Reporting Wisdom…And What Comes Next

IMG_0454It’s my last day at Boise State Public Radio, and my last day (for now) working in public media. I’ve grown and learned so much over the last decade in public radio. And I know for sure the future is bright for public radio stations across the country.

Thanks, Idaho, for listening, for your support, and for helping me grow!

Here are six little pieces of wisdom I left my Boise State Public Radio newsroom colleagues. These are tailored to digital journalism, but really, these nuggets can apply to so many other worlds.

  1. Never publish your first headline. Headlines are mini works-of-art; take your time, write a bunch, riff with someone. Your headline is the window to your story. Sell it!
  2. Plan out the best way to visualize your post. Every story is different. Is it a visual story? Should you rely on photos/video? Should you use sub-heads? What about charts or maps? Let the contents of the story direct how you’ll present it. It won’t be the same each time.
  3. Pretend like you’re a copy editor. Go through each post with a fine-toothed comb to make sure you don’t have silly spelling errors or grammar mistakes. If what’s written doesn’t really make sense to you, the editor, it won’t make sense to someone else.
  4. Sell your content. Don’t assume people will just stumble upon your brilliant post on their own. Use Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. — whatever tool works best — to drive eyes to your content. Remember that old saying, “if a tree falls in the forest…..”
  5. Pay attention to details. Double check how your story is categorized, tagged, add external links, and related content.
  6. Experiment. You won’t break the Internet. Digital journalism is changing rapidly. Don’t be afraid to try new tools. See what works. Learn from mistakes. Make it better the next time. Have fun!
As for what’s next, starting later this month I’ll be the Communications Director for Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau.

6 Tips For Making A Multimedia, Dual-Newsroom Series Succeed

Audrey Dutton contributed to this post. This post first appeared in the Idaho Press Club newsletter.

In October, Boise State Public Radio and the Idaho Statesman launched a collaborative, multimedia series exploring Idaho’s fragmented mental health system. The collaboration was the first of its kind for our two organizations. Instead of simply sharing content, the series was a true cross-platform collaboration where both of us crafted stories specifically for three platforms: Print, radio, and online.

The idea of the collaboration started – as many of these things do – when we were having drinks back in June. We both were eager to take on a big project, but felt with our regular workload that adding a multimedia series and diving into Idaho’s mental health care system was too big a job for one person. We settled on mental health care because it’s a subject that is under-reported and is in the midst of systemic change in Idaho.

Digital Training For NPR: Debunking Those Top 10 Lists

One of the best parts about working at NPR and at a NPR member station is the continual availability of professional development opportunities.

I spent a couple of years as a senior economic reporting fellow with NPR, and eventually became a leader in creating shareable digital content.

Here’s a training session I led on the importance of debunking listicles and using those top 10 lists as a source for discovering in-depth stories.

My Profile On ‘I Want Her Job’

I Want Her Job was founded by a fellow University of Montana Journalism School graduate.

It’s a website that profiles women who have kick-ass careers. It’s an honor to be counted among these women!

The challenges are what make my work invigorating and exciting. My brainpower is tested regularly and that’s what I value most in a career.

Read the profile, here.

Being A Public Radio Host Is Harder Than It Sounds…

Fellow Boise State Public Radio colleague Jodie Martinson came up with the brilliant idea to sit random people in the master control studio chair, hand them copy they’d never seen before, open the mic, and turn on the camera.

During the station’s September grand-opening event, Martinson captured some one-of-a-kind candor with willing would-be radio hosts. She pulled some of the best stuff and edited it together.

I added some post-production effects to give it that old-timey feel, added some music, and voila — it really IS harder than it sounds to be a radio host!

Thank You, Paul Simon

Paul Simon performs at Seattle's Key Arena Feb. 19, 2014.

Paul Simon performs at Seattle’s Key Arena Feb. 19, 2014.” credit=”Wonderlane / Flickr Creative Commons

When I count on one hand the greatest experiences of my life, this easily falls into the coveted top five. Paul Simon and Sting’s mini-tour just happened play Seattle, and I miraculously won tickets through the public radio station KPLU.

Live On The BBC…

A tragic ordeal ended with a spot of good news as rescuers found a kidnapped California girl who had been abducted to the Idaho wilderness.

If you live in the western U.S., you may have gotten an Amber Alert on your iPhone this week with details of Hannah Anderson’s kidnapping. I got the alert. I never would have thought the multi-state, multi-agency search would end in Idaho and captivate a global audience.

I covered the story for Boise State Public Radio, NPR, Northwest News Network and the BBC.

Here’s the live segment that aired on the BBC World Service:

The Gem State Bids Adieu To StateImpact Idaho

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Courtesy: NPR StateImpact

StateImpact Idaho signed off last week. The two-year collaboration between Boise State Public Radio and NPR took an in-depth look at Idaho’s economy, state policy, and the people being directly affected by both.

In my humble opinion, we rocked it. My co-reporter Molly Messick and I moved to a new state, asked a lot of questions, covered a lot of ground within the beat, and produced award-winning journalism. I hope our archived website will remain a resource for the people of Idaho.

I could spend 2,000+ words detailing what I learned over the course of StateImpact Idaho’s multimedia reporting project. Recounting our successes, struggles, and in some cases — failures. But Lewiston Tribune editorial writer Marty Trillhaase did part of that for me.

Marty was kind enough to allow me to post his editorial — in full — right here: