Digital


illustrations that mimic airplane safety instruction cards correspond with the headline-writing tips in the story

Write digital headlines both readers and Google will love

Here are some characteristics of good display and SEO headlines, plus some advice for chasing down an elusive muse.

A hand with a formula written on it is in the foreground in front of a laptop with a test question, implying that the test taker is referencing her hand to get the right answer.

Use this radio-to-web cheat sheet to write for digital with ease

Plenty of broadcast reporters and editors think of digital stories as an afterthought.

Build your audience with SEO descriptions and custom URLs

Custom URLs and SEO descriptions make Google happy and give your posts a boost in search.

The case against collocations, word pairs that stifle creativity

Tired of using “fearless leader,” “stony silence” or other hackneyed duos? You should be. Break the habit.

Nut graf and lead duos that point readers in the right direction

Certain pairings are better than others. We present some compatible couples.

Editors, keep your writers happy

Earn their love and respect, not their loathing and resentment.

For digital, flatten the pyramid and embrace the trapezoid

If you’re wedded to the inverted pyramid (or just don’t know any better), don’t get to the point — end on a flat note. Metaphorically.

despairing editorial calendar on top of a box of tree ornaments

If you do holiday service journalism, do this (not that)

It’s the time of year when few local and regional news outlets (including public radio) are spared. Here’s how to do it as best as it can be done.

Should you write a question headline? It depends …

There are right ways and wrong ways to write question headlines.

Friends don’t let friends use snowclones (like this one)

You’re probably using these ubiquitous journalistic crutches without even knowing it.

Take our playbook: NPR’s guide to building immersive storytelling projects

Hypothesis-Driven Design (and our step-by-step guide) can help you navigate uncharted territory in a complicated storytelling project.

How to develop a strong, sustainable local newsletter

Creating — and sustaining — an editorial email newsletter can be tough. We’ve identified three models that are delivering results in public media.

The steps to finding, developing and vetting news sources

Sourcing the news is getting harder all the time. For three seasoned NPR reporters, it involves careful vetting, delicate negotiations and, every now and then, cigars.

6 tips for catching your writing mistakes (and protecting your credibility)

No one is available to read behind you and it’s nearly time to hit “publish.” What do you do? Call on the copy editor within.

Beyond the 5 W’s: What should you ask before starting a story?

Print this poster, which has the six questions you should ask before starting a story.

3 simple ways to find story ideas

Next time you’re struggling to come up with a new story or just need a push in a more creative direction, read this.

A good lead is everything — here’s how to write one

The lead is the introduction — the first sentences — that should pique your readers’ interest and curiosity.

How to write short

Just because there’s a lot of online real estate available doesn’t mean every story is appropriate for long-form treatment.

You made good radio — now make good internet

Learn effective, low-lift ways to tell your stories online (without the dreaded “webifying”).

Want to start a newsletter? Read this first

A newsletter could be the first step to turning a casual listener into a super fan.

Plan your editorial project in 13 steps (and with lots of sticky notes)

You can use this process to shape a vertical, to plan a project, to plan newsroom-wide coverage or to plan a social strategy.

7 things we learned about our audience from the Iowa caucuses

Explainers did well on npr.org, for instance.

What it looks like when a radio story shines on the internet

People don’t like to read radio scripts that are only slightly modified for web reading. So do better.

How NPR covered the Paris attacks

A look at NPR’s reporting on the November 2015 terror attacks on Paris.

How to write great headlines that keep readers engaged

These tips and tricks will you help write stellar news and feature headlines.

This headline process can make your stories better

The exercise of coming up with a headline can also be a great way to come up with the right story idea.

9 types of local stories that people like to share

Learn about place explainers, crowd pleasers, curiosity stimulators and six other engagement-encouraging story types — all supported by data!

Acting on analytics: Using data to make editorial decisions

This document will help you use metrics data to make informed editorial decisions.

How a radio show can make great web content

Taking time to make show segments more web-friendly is not easy for many shows. To hear more about how one show does it, we turned to Jody Avirgan. At the time we spoke to Avirgan, he was a producer for WNYC’s midday talk show, The Brian Lehrer Show.

Basic analytics terms for understanding digital audiences

Unique visitor, returning visitor, arghhhhh. Finally learn what all these terms actually mean.

Digital inspiration for the stressed-out public radio reporter

We know it isn’t easy to adjust how reporters approach and produce stories. So we talked to a couple stations that are already doing it.

Tips for creating shareable, local content

Writing shareable local stories doesn’t have to be complicated.

How to pitch a digital project at your station

Convince upper management that your project is worth the time and effort!

Open copyright: How to find images, music and audio

How do Creative Commons licenses work — and how can you get sweet, sweet free art and sound with them?

With the right packaging, serious stories can be shareable, too

We’ve heard this a lot lately: Fun stories, not serious stories, work on social media. But we’ve found otherwise.

5 principles of web writing

Get to the point, summarize, add details and other tips for the radio-to-digital novice.

3 Google search tips from NPR’s Research Strategy & Archives Team

Everyone knows Google is a powerful portal to digital information, but a more daunting task is sorting through results to find the exact piece of information that will make your piece fuller and more informative.  The NPR Research Strategists are here to share three tips we use to get more precise and relevant results.

8 things to keep in mind when writing for the web

When you’re writing a piece for the web, get to the point quickly, be conversational and help readers navigate.