About half of National Public Radio’s mobile visitors (about 700,000 to 800,000 per month) use iPhones, writes American Journalism Review. NPR Mobile, on the iPhone, provides new user-friendly options for listeners. “We’re thinking ahead to certain kinds of experiences we would design specifically for iPhone users,” says Associate Producer and blogger Lee R. Hill.
They’re distributing their content in another ambitious way: multimedia and audio slide shows, often utilizing the flash-based SoundSlides program. They appear, often exclusively, on NPR’s Web site. Soundslides, a rapid production tool for still image and audio web presentations, has a large forum of active users and hundreds of great productions
Adobe has reportedly confirmed it’s planning a version of the ubiquitous Flash player for use on Apple’s iPhone that could be available “in a very short time.”
NPR management is reimagining the company, and its journalists are learning to reimagine their stories.
NPR has an intense, seven-week training course in multimedia journalism that encouraged reporters to expand their repertoire of reporting and storytelling skills. As of October, NPR will have started or completed the training of about 40 editorial staffers in three groups, and aims to bring the other 410 up to speed in multimedia by next fall.
This summer, NPR launched an open application program interface (API), a set of programming tools that lets Web sites more easily interact and share content. The API will also let member stations choose NPR content focused on their regions and display it alongside their own local reporting. Web developers have already used the API to create widgets that showcase NPR content, including an NPR podcast player, on Facebook and an interactive world map that links to NPR stories.
Traditionally, customers have found NPR’s content through its member stations. Today, it must also serve audiences using digital devices that are station-agnostic.
“Back in the days that there was just radio, your station was the only point of entry to all this content,” says Robert Spier, director of content development for NPR Digital Media.
“You couldn’t get NPR except through your station because it was only available on radio, and radio was time and geographically bound.” Today, of course, “the user expects to be in control of his or her experience.”