The story of NPR.org as a leader in online journalism is a remarkably short and powerful one. Go back a dozen years and you’ll see that the npr.org url was home to an audio file library and nothing else.. It was a place to go and listen to segments from Morning Edition or All Things Considered, after they had been on the radio.
Today, NPR.org is a vibrant news site that serves millions of users each month, provides a growing audience with new and interesting perspectives on the world and innovates in digital journalism. Last fall, we completed a radical redesign of our website in which we abandoned the conventions of a grid-like layout that is common in websites and mimics the column format of newspapers. Our site now offers a rich, inviting scroll experience whose only organizing principle is the radical notion that content comes first. We present our stories, our visuals our audio pieces not in categorized blocs of information but instead as individual experiences that put all the emphasis on the journalism itself. The result has been steady growth in audience engagement and in simple traffic terms since the launch.
But truly, the testament to our leadership in digital news is in the entries we’ve submitted to this year’s ONA awards. We know the competition is tough and we don’t expect to win them all, but we are extremely proud of the range and depth of our work as exemplified by this collection of pieces. Gene Demby, whom we’ve nominated for commentary, represents a new kind of digital journalist in the best way. He’s powerfully thoughtful, deeply attendant to his audience, a conversation driver on his topic and a plain old good reporter who finds stories nobody else has. We have produced a new kind of interactive news experience with our Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt project, where we elegantly combined video, data and written storytelling in one compelling experience that connects audience and story in a truly unique way. We a Tumblr project called Running Toward Boylston in which we covered the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing by creating a space for a handful of runners to write about their training in the months leading up to the race.
There are other entries in other categories but we respectfully submit that the strength and breadth of our best work is the very definition of excellence in online journalism.