Video Now: NPR


Kainaz Amaria: One of the things that we have going for NPR is our voice, is our sound. We know what NPR sounds like. And the visuals team, our job is to translate that, to figure out what NPR looks like.

Ben de la Cruz: They always talk about these driveway moments, where you're stuck in your car and you cant leave your car because of, you know, the story. So that’s what we're trying for here. We're trying to create that sort of storytelling that enables people to want to sit through six or eight minutes.

Brian Boyer: This is a device that was can use to create empathy. Which is something that really lines up with what we do with audio here.

Ben de la Cruz: I think we find that with our radio pieces, for instance, they're not exactly translatable to the web sometimes, in terms of putting them in text form. I think there’s still a lot to learn.

Brian Boyer: What we're trying to figure out is: what's web native storytelling? There’s a very different type of video you would make for television than you’d make for YouTube. What’s that video work like when its truly part of a web page?

Ben de la Cruz: Increasingly on the web, people can watch more videos. Just because the habits of people watching Netflix or Hulu are changing.

Kainaz Amaria: If you have something that’s good, that’s worth watching, people actually are going to watch now. Our delivery mechanisms are so much faster and better that now people are really engaging with it.

Ben de la Cruz: We don’t do a lot of videos, because we're not a daily newspaper in the sense that we have a big video department.

Kainaz Amaria: There’s no reason for us to try to compete with the daily breaking news videos. It’s just not something that we're interested in doing.

Ben de la Cruz: When we choose to cover something, its because we think its interesting enough. We're only going to do a few videos a year, compared to other news organizations that are going to produce that many in an hour.

Wes Lindamood: Not every experience needs to be a video-driven experience but in the case of the Planet Money project, we knew the emotional heart of that story was told through video.

Kainaz Amaria: You know, we’re doing original reporting, we're making something tangible. Our audience helped pay for it. How could we not go in this direction?

Brian Boyer: If we only told the story with video, we would not have informed people as well. If we had only told it with text, we would not have informed people as well.

Kainaz Amaria: What this project did for us, is it sort of merged our news apps and our multimedia team. To be really strong visual storytellers, we're going to have to collaborate a lot more.

Brian Boyer: Our team is made up of software developers, GIS experts- people that make maps; information designers-people who are amazing at charts and presenting data visually; user-experience interaction designers, graphic designers, photographers and videographers. We briefly thought about calling it just The Good Internet Team.

Brian Boyer: We're actually, our team is in the process of trying to figure out what it is exactly that we care most about, right? I’d love to see a long time onsite, that is fantastic. How do we measure if we made people care? It probably has to do with sharing on social networks, it has to do with comments.

Ben de la Cruz: I mean, the average age for the NPR radio audience, skews a lot older than what we hope to reach with some of the multimedia stuff. So we are trying to expand our reach into new audiences by using mobile platforms, you know, putting stuff on Instagram.

Wes Lindamood: A very successful part of the t-shirt project were the Instagram photos, where we asked someone to take a picture of themselves wearing the t-shirt and tag it #seedtoshirt. That was awesome to see this aspect of the story: after the story had been reported, there was this whole other layer of the story that continued to grow and evolve.

Brian Boyer: We look at the reaction that people had on Instagram, for instance, when we asked them to send us a picture of their t-shirt. And we just got hundreds and hundreds or pictures of people with their t-shirts, they just loved it.

Ben de la Cruz: We always want to attract our core audience, but we're also trying to reach this younger market.

Wes Lindamood: In the distracted world of the web, I think grabbing someone's attention in a discrete way is important. And that also makes the discrete pieces more shareable.

Brian Boyer: I mean, we're not like the number one news website. So how is our work building for new audiences?

Kainaz Amaria: I think if you’re going to add anything to the media landscape, it better be something different at this point. We can’t just cobble together something and put it out there and expect that people will appreciate it.