The news has come out at work today, so I should note it here too.
After a month of conversations, I’m assuming product development responsibilities for NPR.org, in addition to those I’ve held in the last nine months for our storytelling tools/CMS. I’m looking forward to it.
Our initial project to improve those story tools and flows has turned out well, and that project has been deeply collaborative. We’ve been able to build on groundbreaking changes in our blog tools, overhaul significant parts of our digital news systems — stories, aggregations, photos, URLs, and much more — and start to talk in a broader fashion about how we want to work in the future. The conversations involve everyone. Topics run the gamut as well. But there’s intriguing focus.
NPR has a separation of content and presentation like you would not believe. It’s skilled. Between API power and design prowess, you can ride a bus between our data layers and never know it. This capacity has allowed our editorial, design, development, and product staffs to push hard into different story approaches and platforms, even with limited resources. So, outward we’ve gone. Funny where that leads.
The more you press out, toward product diversity, content dispersion and story variation, the more you recognize the need to look inward.
What is the core of your production? Of your news identity? How does your core supply energy to the edge, allowing identity and product to travel? When your product is news, when your content is news, your core matters so much. I’m lucky to work with people who believe that. Wherever in digital they may stand, our people contribute to the core.
They put their arms around an idea (editorially or technically), pull it in, determine a potential, build toward that end, and then let it loose. The release of energy does what it does, and they observe the waves race away. Then they do it again. The observations of building and release come out in meetings, emails, analytics, assigned work tickets, formal and informal timings, and the variation of subsequent efforts because, again, we’re talking about stories and news and reality here. Process is sometimes bullshit, but when reality is within sight, you take it on. I am glad and surprised daily to see that act happen, readily, efficiently. NPR.org has thrived as a result, and it’s going to be fun to contribute.
I’ve gone on too long. What I mean to say is the responsibility is nice and sounds good, but it’s the universe in whole that blows me away.