How NPR News Pulls it all Together

While exploring almost every corner, and every in-and-out of NPR’s website, app, and various social media pages, I can confidently draw the conclusion that NPR does their readers a big favor by providing them with every angle, form of storytelling, and type of news, that I can think possible. While I know that, yes, NPR does not cover every single angle there ever was on a particular topic, they do a pretty good job at pulling different views, and telling those stories through different methods.

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Sound, Photos, and Video 

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My first observation of NPR News is their dynamic use of platforms. I, for example, am a visual learner, with a relatively short attention span. I like reading quick stories, and stories that get my interest fast. The first corner of NPR that I chose to explore was their radio aspect. NPR, or National Public Radio, of course is known for this. Another aspect I appreciated, I was able to view images, read caption, and listen to intelligent journalists tell a story, all at the same time. This form of alternative storytelling appeals to me, and I’m sure that NPR’s extreme use of sound, photos and videos appeals to others seeking an alternative storytelling method as well.

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Division of Sections

When topics aren’t divided up well, or organized in any way, how could a news outlet expect any of their readers to find their articles? Some news sites that I have clicked onto in the past are definitely not the most organized. Therefore, when it is hard for me to navigate a website or app, rather then taking the time to figure it out, I am more likely to just find another source. This is something that NPR has taken into account, and does a really good job at addressing. Sections, subsections, and easily navigated categories are a huge part of what makes NPR a trusted and popular news site. Sections that have been previously highlighted in my posts are just a few ways NPR accomplishes this on both their website, and app.

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Angles

In my first NewTrack blog post, I discussed that, as part of NPR’s mission statement, they hope to highlight more than one stance when covering a controversial topic. Instead of being a right or left-winged news source, NPR provides an array of articles that swing one way or the other, or sometimes both or neither. This means different opinions are taken into consideration, making NPR a trusted and credible news medium.

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Through my NewsTrack assignment, I have gained another trusted news site in my back pocket. And, not only a reliable one, but one that is enjoyable to read or listen to. I will keep up with following NPR to the best of my abilities, since NPR definitely has piqued my interest.

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How Breaking News Breaks on NPR

NPR is a trusted online medium for news, including breaking news. NPR choses to break down their stories, both print and audio, into categories. NPR titles their breaking news section, “The Two-Way”.

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Upon entering The Two-Way, you are given to option to browse national, or international breaking news. However, the most recent stories are featured at the very top of the page– national or international.

Another option a reader is given once clicking into The Two-Way is to browse by date. This option is unique, as NPR readers are given the opportunity to read breaking news stories as they were told when they first broke, and have an easy and organized way to access those stories.

Additionally, on the NPR app, you can select the option to “allow notifications”, in which NPR will send updates to your phone, many of those being breaking news stories.

What is unique about NPR and their breaking news section, is that while all the stories on The Two-Way can be considered news stories, many of them are lifestyle articles.

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This is refreshing for a reader to have the ability to read breaking news regarding common lifestyle phenomena, in addition to what is going on in the world.

 

NPR uses Time-lapse to tell a story

The word “time lapse” is not new to the English Language. However, the term, “Time-lapse” as a means of digital and mobile storytelling is a new and innovative idea.

Time-lapse is a video format where the recording device is left in one spot over a typically longer period of time. The device captures the scene– whether it be a setting sun or a building being built. Once the activity is over and the device has stopped recording, you play back your time-lapse video and are able to watch the whole scene, which could have been several hours or days long, in just a few seconds or minutes.

Since becoming such a popular means of digital storytelling, Time-lapse videos can be recorded on popular hand-held devices like iPhones, iPods and Androids.

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How is Time-lapse a device for storytelling? Time-lapse is a storytelling method mostly used to show a story that covers a longer period of time. For example, Saturday Night Live posted a video to their YouTube page of their entire taping session, that has been condensed to two minutes using time-lapse.

NPR has begun to use time-lapse videos to add to, and overall enhance their stories.

One example of how NPR does this is when they posted a story regarding smog that took over the skies in Beijing. NPR begins their headline for this piece with “WATCH”, to emphasize that this story has visual content.

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Within the story, NPR attaches a clip of a time-lapse. The video, that is only 13 seconds long, shows 20 minutes of smog devouring the city. NPR posts this time-lapse through an extension of Twitter. The video actually comes from a Twitter uses who captured the video in Beijing. While NPR uses this time-lapse to enhance their own story, by posting the video through Twitter, they are giving full credit to the owner of the time-lapse.

Time-lapse as an alternative storytelling method has introduced a revolutionary way to tell long stories in short-form. In this generation, consumers of news and stories have shortening attention spans, only allowing minimal time before losing interest. Time-lapse videos provides a visual, and quick method of storytelling for today’s generation of news consumers.

Photos Depicting Global Warming in Boston on 2/23

This past Thursday, February 23rd, Boston experienced a record high temperature for the month of February. With a quite unusual high of 66 degrees, Boston residents took advantage of this rare occurrence of global warming.

In addition to this drastic shift in weather, Boston residents also experienced a shift in attire and activity.

NPR Features Real New on “Fake News”

Two words have been buzzing around the internet and television screens all over America. “Fake News”. Usually, news outlets tend to swing their articles in one directions — either left, or right winged. However, when the term Fake News is searched in the NPR search bar, a range of articles are returned.

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Just from the 3 examples in the image above, you can get a good idea for how NPR covers controversial hot topics like “fake news”. The articles presented on NPR’s website do not represent only one political side, rather an array of opinions.

This coincides with NPR’s mission statement to present equal representation of discussion topics, particularly those in the public’s eye.

One article in particular, entitled, “5 Ways Teachers are Fighting Fake News“, embodies NPR’s goal. This article addresses the current issue of being able to differentiate real from fake news, and also provides tools to help teach those skills.

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This article does not appeal exclusively to Republicans or Democrats, and instead it offers an outlook that anyone could potentially benefit from.

While some articles that report about “Fake News” are clearly pro or against President Trump, there is indeed a range of opinions and topics.

 

NPR spreads itself across social media

When you click onto a website, specifically a news outlet, what attracts your eyes? Your answer was most likely, ‘the article with pictures or cool images’, right?

A smart online news platform knows how to use images to their own benefit. They use a combination of photography, graphics, GIFs, cartoons, etc.

Small words are not what draw us to clicking onto an article, and NPR knows that. NPR uses mainly photographs on their website, connecting multiple photographs to each story. Before clicking a story, each headline has a corresponding photograph– so you can see what you are about to click.

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Some photographs are larger than other– the larger images usually used for more headlining stories, as pictured below.

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NPR also has a section on their website under Arts and Life called, The Picture Show: Photo Stories from NPR. Once you click into The Picture Show, you are offered an array of photo stories. A photo story, similar to flipping through a photo album, includes a series of photos and captions. A more effective option for more visual people, photo stories is just another form of innovative storytelling.

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In addition to their own website, NPR also has active social media platforms. Popular among millennials, Instagram is a photo sharing social media platform. NPR posts to their Instagram account, that has over 600 million followers, almost everyday (sometimes twice!). Their posts not only include snip-it’s of the articles featured on their main website, but also contests, small photo stories, and cartoons.

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A terrific example of NPR’s use of photo stories that will catch the mind of a millennial is a photograph featured on their Instagram account of a pig farmer. The photo is accompanied by a caption that includes a very brief synopsis of the story behind the photo, and includes a link to the full story on their website.

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Through Instagram, a user will see the image, before reading the caption. Therefore NPR has to ensure that their photo-content is eye-catching and can really tell the entire story just thought one photo. The above example captures the story of Ryan Kress, the pig farmer, and will leave viewers curious.

Snapchat, another popular photo-messaging social platform, has begun featuring news outlets and other companies on their platform. Since over 100 million users use Snapchat daily, news outlets have decided to form these partnerships to reach their target audience. NPR was featured on Snapchat, and had a live feed going where Snapchat uses could tap onto the story at anytime and view all NPR content from that day!

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NPR doesn’t have to worry about not catching anyone’s eye– their use of graphics, photography, and images truly work to their benefit in new and innovative ways.

Was the Super Bowl Political? Take a listen…

In a successful attempt to cover this past weekend’s Super Bowl Sunday events, NPR combines spoken interview, conversational debate, and visuals to highlight the many ways that Super Bowl 51 was, in fact, pretty political.

While many articles and tweets have been put out declaring how refreshing it is to watch the Super Bowl without any political statements or jokes being made, NPR makes it their duty to point out that there were, in fact, many hidden political statements in Sunday night’s televised event.

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NPR uses video content, like the starts of Hamilton singing “American the Beautiful”, and an It’s a 10 commercial, in addition to screen grabs of the millions of tweets on twitter regarding the Super Bowl and it’s hidden political statement.

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In addition to providing this visual content, NPR has attached a 4 minute audio clip of an NPR host discussing the social media hype and controversy over Super Bowl 51 with Amy Trask, former CEO of Oakland Raiders. Trask declares how she believe that making political statements during the Super Bowl is “an individual decision”.

In this clip, NPR uses sound bites from both President Donald Trump endorsing Tom Brady, and half-time performer Lady Gaga discussing her views on the current state of the Country.

Many Twitter users even compared the outcome of the game to the 2016 Election — pointing out the statistical similarities, in addition to jokes regarding the popular vote.

NPR attributes many of this political connection to Twitter users, and draws many similarities to Twitter and the 2016 Election.

As pointed out by NPR, not even the Super Bowl could escape our current political climate.