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NPR Partners With Quora to Cover Sochi 2014

72415v4-max-250x250Sochi 2014 is well underway now, and news surrounding the event, whether journalist complaints about hotel conditions on social media or traditional Olympics coverage, is pretty easy to find.

But to add another layer of context and value to the Olympics experience for the viewer at home, public radio broadcaster NPR is partnering with Quora. NPR is teaming up with the popular blogging/knowledge platform to cross-post interesting questions and answers created by Quora readers specifically related to this year’s Winter Games.

Kate Myers of NPR Business Partnerships announced the collaboration in a post on Quora last week.

“A key part of our mission at National PublicRadio is to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. That’s why I appreciate Quora: it helps foster that understanding with quality answers to your questions, small and large,” Myers wrote.

As part of the short-term project, NPR is borrowing a handful of thoughtful (and fun) Q&A pairs from Quora and reposting them on its Sochi blog The Edge.

The questions run the gamut, a trait typical of Quora users, and some aren’t super substantive (e.g. ‘What are some crazy stories about the Sochi Olympic village?’ … um, come again?). For the ones that require that “deeper understanding” that Myers is talking about, NPR has an excellent opportunity for quick story ideas. With the help of Quora’s questions, NPR can easily churn out a post for The Edge that is both informative and entertaining. It’s actually pretty brilliant.

Take this query, for example:

“For NBC’s time-delayed Olympic coverage, do the announcers call the events in real time, or do they insert their announcing after the fact when they know the result?”

Jim Bell, executive producer at NBC Olympics went ahead and answered that one thoroughly.sochi-2014_logo

That’s when Quora works as ideally as possible. But  just because there are bodies responding to whatever questions you have about the Olympics — ‘What happened to Bob Costa’s eye?’ some of us have wondered — doesn’t mean the answers the wise Internet gives you have any merit.

Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Quentin Hardy wrote about Quora’s function as a source of knowledge, noting that answers are ordered and filtered based on the votes of others and several other factors not related to who has answered the question most “correctly.” ‘What is the real value in Quora?’, he seems to be inviting us to consider.

Still, Quora’s method is good enough for NPR, and it has a place in today’s media landscape. For now, its place is the Olympics. How do you think Quora will grow?

What other media partners might benefit from Quora’s design?

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