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WNYC Announces Search for the Next Great Podcast

WNYC’s Podcast Accelerator to Give New Voices A Pathway, a Platform, and a Pilot

Winning Pitch to be Selected at the Online News Association Annual Conference in September 2015 in Los Angeles

June 25, 2015 – New York, NY — WNYC, home to top podcasts including RADIOLAB, FREAKONOMICS RADIO, and HERE’S THE THING with Alec Baldwin, is looking for new talent, new ideas, and new voices for the next wave in what’s been hailed as “a golden age of audio.”

Launching today, the WNYC Podcast Accelerator will give both established talent and up-and-coming storytellers the opportunity to pitch their big podcast idea and potentially win the chance to produce a pilot. Modeled after successful tech accelerators such as Y Combinator, the WNYC Podcast Accelerator is the first of its kind in the dynamic podcasting space, providing production advice, industry connections, mentorship and a platform for creating remarkable audio content.

The application period will run from today until July 15. Five finalists will then be paired with producers from top WNYC podcasts including Freakonomics, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s The Thing, and Studio 360 who will mentor and train the candidates, helping them hone their pitches – including storylines, character development, sound, texture and voice — throughout the summer. On September 25 in Los Angeles, at the 2015 Online News Association (ONA) Conference – the world’s largest gathering of digital journalists — the finalists will make their pitches to a panel of judges. The winner gets the chance to produce a pilot episode with a WNYC producer.

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A focus on community engagement at ONACamp Indianapolis

Over 100 journalists from around the Midwest came out for ONACamp Indianapolis, a full-day digital journalism training hosted at the Indianapolis Star on June 12. With a focus on community engagement, the workshop provided practical tips and best practices for reaching audiences through social media, video, mobile devices and more. A big thanks to the Gannett Foundation for their generous funding for this event, which was free for all participants.

Here, we’ve collected resources from our expert presenters so you can learn from their excellent tips.

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Engagement Strategies for the Tiny News Desk

This is one in a series of blog posts from the 2014 class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Apply for the 2015 fellowship here.


Illustration by Flickr user Andy Bright

The hardest task for a small news startup — probably for most news organizations — is prioritizing. We can’t do everything well, so what can we do for the highest return on investment?

That’s the question I’m thinking about every day at Chalkbeat, a news startup that covers K-12 public schools in four states. A few months into my job, I was tasked with devising an engagement strategy. Everyone was doing cool stuff; I salivated over ProPublica’s “Get Involved” page and praised the Center for Investigative Reporting’s coloring books about earthquake safety. These were valuable examples to learn from, but I had to be realistic about our capacity and what we could achieve. We expect highly contextualized, nuanced enterprise reporting and breaking news to be published every day, and yet we only have an editor and two to three reporters in each of our locations.

Two years and many experiments later, the foundation of our engagement strategy is based on what we know works and what we think is promising. We love when our staff experiments beyond these strategies, but a clear prioritization plan helps keep things focused when we’re asking our reporters to do so much.

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Understanding your audience … then growing it, part 2/2

This is one in a series of blog posts from the 2014 class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Apply for the 2015 fellowship here.


Note: This blog is the second in a two-part series by Fellow Anika Anand, Director of Product at Chalkbeat, an education news network based in New York City. Her first post, published June 2, chronicled ChalkBeat’s need to develop a robust audience research project with a small team. That discussion is continued here.

As we planned for our project, I couldn’t find many good resources on how small newsrooms can do quick, effective audience research.

Below, we share a few of our research methods and takeaways in hopes that other newsrooms will chime in with their own suggestions. It is important to note we did not hire a professional researcher for this project, and these tools were not meant to be as detailed as a proper scientific survey. That said, we received useful feedback for better understanding our audience.

Illustration by Flickr user Giovana Milanezi

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ONA opens 2015 MJ Bear Fellowships for under-30 digital journalism stars

WASHINGTON, DC — The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, today opened applications for the 2015 MJ Bear Fellowships for early-career digital journalists, in honor of founding member MJ Bear.

For the fifth year, the search committee will again select three promising, up-and-coming digital journalists — two in the United States or Canada and one internationally, in partnership with MSN International — who are just beginning to make their voices heard in the industry.

Each selected Fellow will receive virtual coaching sessions with a Personal Advisory Board; a free three-year ONA membership and an expense-paid trip to the Online News Association Conference & Awards Banquet, Sept. 24-26, in Los Angeles, where they’ll have a chance to share their fresh perspectives.

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