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Karen Fratti

Karen Fratti is a media and technology writer based in New York City. You can follow her at @karenfratti.

PBS NewsHour and The Atlantic Partner to Broadcast Cover Stories

The AtlanticThe Atlantic and PBS NewsHour announced this morning that they are collaborating to bring stories from the magazine to the news broadcast. The first premieres tonight with NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and The Atlantic‘s Hanna Rosin, whose story on teenagers and sexting is on the November cover.

It’s a first in a series of bringing Atlantic cover stories to broadcast television. In a statement the two news organizations said:

“The NewsHour” and The Atlantic plan to broadcast reports on a wide range of topics over the next six months. The partnership combines the strengths and sensibilities of both brands: The Atlantic’s ideas-driven journalism on issues of import, and the editorial depth and broadcast expertise of PBS “NewsHour”…This is the first broadcast venture of The Atlantic in a year when the brand has been experiencing record audiences and revenues. The Atlantic is having its most successful year in its history, has set new traffic records across all digital platforms, and has seen single-copy newsstand sales grow by more than 25 percent.

The show premieres tonight on PBS.

Just Vote Already! How One Newsroom is Encouraging People to Vote in the Midterm Elections

justvotealreadyI may be a bit of a public radio fan girl, especially when it comes to New York’s WNYC and the Brian Lehrer Show. I’m not going to apologize for this. Because they do really fun, smart things in their newsroom. This fall, they’re taking on the midterm elections. A lot of pundits and newspeople will tell you that the scariest thing about midterm elections is that no one even knows there are elections in the first place. And isn’t our job as journos to inform the electorate?

The Brian Lehrer team is taking that seriously, especially since there’s a district in the Bronx which has the most registered non-voters, people are signed up, but they won’t rock the vote. Enter “Just Vote Already,” a series where they are talking to political insiders, data nuts, and even sent a reporter out to that district to leave “Just Vote Already” cards on their doorsteps.

The best part? They created a little widget where you can robocall your non-voting friends (in NYC only, unfortunately) and guilt trip them into voting come November 4th. There are about four different versions you can listen to here, but the main idea is this “we don’t care who you vote for, just vote! And sorry for the robocall.” If you live in NYC, you can send a friend a robocall below. If you don’t, I want to know how your newsrooms are covering the midterm elections. Tweet us @10,000Words.

A Radio Revolution: Radiotopia Announces 3 New Shows and Hits Kickstarter Goal

For podcasters, it’s been a busy month of fundraising. First, “Snap Judgment,” reached their fundraising goal to produce the best next season ever and then, this Tuesday, Radiotopia reached their Kickstarter goal with 23 days left to go.

Maybe it really is a radio revolution — centered on good storytelling and journalism. PRX has estimated that it takes about 50,000 core subscribers to ensure a podcast will be of interest to sponsors and pay its staff. By relying on listener support, philanthropy, and subscriptions, Radiotopia has grown substantially since its launch this past year. So when did radio become cool again?

PRX CEO Jake Shapiro says that:

It hasn’t been until really in the last two years that podcasting has become a mainstream audience format, it was always a niche format, because it was hard to use as a user. But now that everyone has been trained to think about on demand media, like Netflix, audio has now had this huge opportunity to become a mainstream platform of news and entertainment. Read more

BBC Launches WhatsApp ‘Ebola Lifeline’ Service in West Africa

BBC-NewsThe BBC has launched a WhatsApp service in West Africa to spread information, news alerts, and provide what they’re calling a “lifeline” to people in the affected areas. It will be available in both English and French; you can access it at  +44 7702 348651.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in Africa and while it’s the first time the BBC has used it to spread information on health news, it has used WhatsApp and other messaging services like BBM and WeChat in the past for breaking news alerts. In a statement, Director of the World Service Group Peter Horrocks said:

This outbreak of Ebola shows no signs of abating. Myths and misinformation about Ebola are still widespread – and life-threatening. The BBC is trusted by millions of people in the affected countries, so we are stepping up our efforts to reach people with timely information, whether they’re listening to the radio, watching TV or using chat apps. We’re committed to playing our part and will continue looking at new ways to reach audiences, for example by developing programmes in local vernacular languages.

Read more

New Brookings Essay Examines ‘The Bad News About the News’

brookingsessayThere’s always more and more bad news about the news, which is the theme of a new Brookings Institute essay by Robert Kaiser.

“The Bad News About the News” is available here, but brace yourself. It’s a long, well researched look at the decline of newspapers. The juiciest bits come from a memo Kaiser wrote to his bosses in 1992, which you can read here. Some highlights:

Design the electronic classifieds now. Figure out how to capture and organize the digital computer information that we already create for each day’s classifieds into a user-friendly data bank. Explore software alternatives. Figure out how this could be launched. Make sure all would-be competitors know what we’re doing. But reserve the right to postpone implementation until a moment when we’re confident we’ll make more money (or deter a competitor) by launching the electronic product.As part of the same effort, explore the feasibility of a Post electronic Yellow Pages for the Washington Area. Why not seek to become the dominant provider of electronic advertising and information in our region?

Read more

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