Stuff & Things

Storify: Making The Most Out Of Digital Storytelling

The new NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The new NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.” credit=”Emilie Ritter Saunders

I just got back from a three-day digital leadership training hosted by NPR and the Knight Foundation.

It was great to get a refresher on many of the digital storytelling strategies that have been deployed by NPR StateImpact (and StateImpact Idaho), and I also came away with new ideas.

Bonus: the training took place at NPR’s shiny new headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Don’t mind if I do!)

I Storified the highlights:

Are All Your Friends Giving Birth To Boys? There’s A Reason…

That's my husband, Josh. We were both born in 1985 along with 3,760,561 other babies.

That’s my husband, Josh. We were both born in 1985 along with 3,760,561 other babies.

It seems like everyone I know has recently had a baby, or is expecting one. My Facebook feed has shifted from wedding photos, to baby photos.

I’m completely horrified nervous to even begin thinking about having my own kid, even though the deluge of photos of chubby cheeks and Michelin man arms are pretty darn cute.

The closer I paid attention, the more I realized everyone I know who has had a baby this year (or is about to), have had boys! BOYS! I was seriously contemplating if we were on the verge of a national girl shortage.

I went straight to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics reports and the U.S. Census Bureau for answers. It turns out, there are a lot more boy babies born each year than girl babies. The CDC has a whole column in its report called “excess males” (awesome, I know).

The Band-Name-Game For ‘Idaho Reports’

IR Screenshot

Credit: Idaho Reports / Idaho Public Television

A new tradition may have been borne out of the 2013 Idaho legislative session. You might be familiar with the ugly ties that reporters drag out near the end of the session. Or the limericks and songs written by reporters and lawmakers during the session’s waning days. This year, it was legislative-style band names.

An Idaho Public Television producer asked me to be part of this super fun feature for the final 2013 episode of ‘Idaho Reports‘. The video should help explain…

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

  1. After a stressful day, some people retreat to the gym, the great outdoors, or a bar. Me? My zen spot is Target, or any good craft store or retailer with a solid collection of office supplies.
  2. I’m left handed, but right footed (a downside of my childhood soccer career).
  3. I used to tell people my dream was to be on Saturday Night Live. The dream eventually faded, but I do a mean impression of Will Ferrell as Harry Caray.
  4. I LIVE for the details. One of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten was a label maker. Seriously.
    I turned this old armoire into a desk/crafts smorgasbord.

    I turned this old armoire into a desk/crafts smorgasbord.” credit=” 

Turning My Family Holiday Tradition Into Radio (And An Accidental ‘Delicious Dish’ Outtake)

Grandma Boland's Russian Teacakes -- almost done!

Grandma Boland’s Russian Teacakes — almost done!” credit=”Emilie Ritter Saunders

It’s not Christmas at my house until there’s a plate of Russian Teacakes sitting on the counter.

These buttery, confectioners sugary, walnut-y, one-bite cookies have been a holiday staple at the Ritter house since before I could remember. The cookies come from an old family recipe, passed down from my mom’s mom, to my mother, and to me.

Back in 2008, when I was a reporter at Montana Public Radio, we all decided it’d be a fun Christmas-eve show to each interview a family member about that one recipe Christmas just isn’t the same without.

My grandmother died several years ago, so I interviewed my mom about Grandma Boland’s Russian Teacakes.

Boise TV Station Capitalizes On The Idaho Statesman’s New Paywall

This week, USA Today publisher Larry Kramer said his paper isn’t “unique enough” to charge readers access to its online content.  Kramer, quoted in The Wrap, said, “There is so much national news out there…“I think we would lose more than we would gain.”

Paywalls started going up at newspapers and magazines years ago as the internet became one of the top destinations for information. Many people, especially people under 40, don’t spend money on print subscriptions like they used to. That’s forced newspapers to explore different ways to make money. But the debate over whether charging readers for access to online content is a smart business strategy, or a sustainable model, continues as big brands weigh in.

In Idaho, at least eight daily newspapers charge readers for web access.  The most recent paper to shift to a paywalled system is the state’s largest paper, The Idaho Statesman.

That move inspired Boise’s NBC affiliate, KTVB, to take direct aim at The Statesman with this spot:

Old-Timey Diner Brightens Up Downtown Burley, Idaho

Credit: Emilie Ritter Saunders

Downtown Burley, Idaho is a little rundown.  A lot of the buildings are empty or older.  Many appear like they haven’t been touched up in a while.  But then I found this gem.  Just off main street is a diner straight out of the 1950s.  It’s like it was begging me to take a photo.

Martha Would Be Proud

So, I recently went on a lovely fall hike near McCall, Idaho.  I kept seeing these gorgeous, perfectly-shaped pine cones, and my craft wheels started turning. Luckily, my friend had a couple of doggie-doo bags in her pocket, because this is what I came up with:

This one’s for you, Martha.

The End Of Summer In Glacier National Park

Glacier Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  It’s especially beautiful at the very beginning of fall, right before leaves start to drop off the trees — and just as all the foliage starts to turn color.

It’s also the best time to visit because all the roads are still open and most of the summer tourists have gone home.

My husband (then boyfriend) lived less than an hour away from Glacier for two years, so we got to visit the park frequently to hike, drive the steep, narrow roads, and take it all in.