NPR Training
Storytelling tips and best practices


NPR’s Facebook Live guide

Since we jumped into Facebook Live, NPR has created more than 1,375 videos. We’ve broadcast from 23 states and 19 countries. And we’ve learned a few things along the way that we think you might find helpful. What is Facebook Live? Anyone can broadcast live videos on Facebook — from iPhone selfies to HD, multi-camera

5 things to do when programming Facebook

Media organizations, repeat after me: Facebook is not made for you. It may adapt somewhat to your presence, but ultimately it’s made for the 1 billion-plus people who are having a conversation on it. If you’re lucky, your story might sometimes be the topic of that conversation; if you’re smart, you’ll be engaged in the

An introduction to Snapchat

This guide will walk you through creating your first Snap and your Snapchat story. Your story is made of multiple Snaps, accessible to your followers for up to 24 hours. Getting started Download the Snapchat app if you haven’t already. Create an account and log in. Snapchat will automatically open the record screen once you’ve logged

How to weave audience engagement into your reporting process

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Kelsey’s 2015 guide, The News Is Served: A practical framework for newsrooms to connect with niche communities. Watch a related webinar and check out her list, Seven Questions For Engaging Stories and Projects. Ah, reporting. The bread-and-butter of the journalistic process. This might feel like we’ve just put

How to run a branded news account on Twitter

Hosting the Twitter account for your news organization is like spinning out a monologue. What are we reporting? What are people talking about? What do we know? What do we want to know? On the NPR feed, we want to serve our community with a steady stream of information about the day’s big news, the stories

Get a Twitter habit: 5 things to do every day until it sticks

The hardest part to becoming a Twitter regular is developing the habit of using it. Every journalist today should be on Twitter — the excuses are few and the benefits are many. It’s not just a place to share and find stories. You can also use it as an alternative to the news wires and/or to find sources.

Use targeted search terms to unearth sources on social

The next time you’re looking for a source on social media, consider the wise advice I picked up from Daniel Victor of the New York Times in this Medium post, The one word journalists should add to Twitter searches that you probably haven’t considered. Victor writes about how he was tasked with finding people who were on airplanes where Hasidic Jewish

How to find sources on Twitter: An exercise

Note: This guide was developed in September 2015. It uses the California wildfires as a subject, but you can substitute any news story. I recommend a breaking news story that has some central event in a place (i.e. a tornado instead of the Trans-Pacific Partnership). In this exercise we’re going to use one of the

A quick guide to getting started on Twitter right now

I wanted to answer some of the basic Twitter questions I often get. Keep in mind that the answers below have been written for individual journalists and may not necessarily apply directly to what we call branded accounts (official accounts such as @NPR, @MorningEdition, @NPRGlobalHealth).  Let’s get started:  What should I tweet? You might not

Find stories and sources on reddit, Instagram

When news breaks, you may instinctively reach for Twitter. And that’s a fine reaction! It’s a good place to start to find sources. (This guide/exercise will show you how to do that very thing). But if you’re looking for more sources and tips, and if you’re generally trying to stay on top of the news, you should

6 ways to use social callouts

In public radio, it goes without saying that the public – our existing audience and otherwise – should be at the heart of everything we do. One way to bring more of those people into our reporting is through social callouts, where we ask the wider world to share their stories, photos and thoughts on

Twitter tips for talk shows

Kerri Miller shared her tips and thoughts on using social media in her role as a former host of the now-defunct MPR show, The Daily Circuit. Kerri Miller tweets several times a day asking questions related to her broadcast, about the latest books she’s reading, and more to over 15,000 followers. She said that although it took a while to fit social media into

Use your guests to grow a social media community

If you want to reach more people who care about your work by using social media, leverage the resources you have right in front of you: the guests, institutions and organizations that are featured in your segments. It is a benefit to everyone: the guest’s audiences are probably interested in their work, guests (usually) want to

How to host a Twitter chat

What is a Twitter chat? A Twitter chat is a conversation about a specific topic, usually at a specific time using a planned hashtag. There are annual chats about everything from web journalism to agriculture. Organizations often use Twitter to hold one-time chats about specific topics, have Q&A’s, discuss news series, and much more. Why

How to engage your community with Instagram callouts

The NPR Visuals team has engaged with the smartphone-toting, photo-taking, audience by asking them to share photos around various themes, stories and series on social media. Instagram in particular has been a useful platform for these storytelling projects, NPR Visuals assistant producer Emily Bogle said. Emily shares when to do an Instagram callout, how to plan, carry one out, and many

Get closer to your audience with an audio callout

At Morning Edition we’ve had fun experimenting with audio callouts. Our listeners record their response with their smartphone’s memo app and then send them to us via email. We’ve asked listeners to share their stories on everything from the Paris “love locks” to the ambient sound of daybreak in their backyards. The responses are intimate, funny — full of

Twitter basics: Hashtags

Hashtags, love them or hate them, are important because they allow users to categorize tweets. When a user publishes a tweet with a hashtag, the tag appears as a link and allows readers to see the larger conversation around a topic or keyword. #butfirst, the origin of the [Twitter] Hashtag Hashtags sprung up organically during

How to grow a social media community from scratch

I spoke with Kat Chow, a producer with NPR’s Code Switch, about how she helped grow the blog’s social media presence from scratch when it launched in 2013. Think strategically about where to spend your time Code Switch focused a lot on Twitter when they launched because they knew they could have interesting conversations there with a diverse

The nuts and bolts of building a storytelling project on social media

Davar Ardalan is a former NPR producer.   Women from technology fields in Silicon Valley to South Africa live tweeted a day in their lives using the hashtag #NPRWIT in March 2014. The series was a big success, with over 7,900 tweets with the hashtag and millions of impressions, Davar Ardalan wrote in a post in NPR’s daily social media tips newsletter.

7 strategies for engaging your podcast (or show) audience

Editor’s note: Although the advice here is aimed at podcasts, it is equally applicable to shows.  One of the first projects assigned to me as a product intern was to assess audience behavior and levels of engagement with NPR podcasts on social networks. I focused on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, iTunes, reddit and YouTube. The podcasts

Make your Tumblr better with these tips

Tumblr has been used by NPR and many stations to do special projects, connect with audiences in new ways, and more. Danielle Strle, Tumblr’s director of product for community and content, shared a few best practices for using Tumblr with us in August, 2014. Here are a few of those tips to get you started: Think about what your content looks like on the

Get to know Instagram

Who Instagram users are “nearly as likely as Facebook users to use the site on a daily basis,” according to Pew Research Center. While there aren’t nearly as many users as Facebook, they are younger. Plus, there’s a lot of cross-posting between Instagram and other social networks — I’m sure you’ve seen an Instagram picture