Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blogging experiment succeeds for KQED, KAWL

A one-year grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Knight Foundation to pay for bloggers for 12 public radio station websites will expire at year’s end. But what’s called the ARGO experiment has proven to be a success for those stations, including San Francisco’s KQED and KAWL, according to Andrew Phelps of NiemanLab.org.
    “Really, by hiring just one person, you can build an audience, build engagement, and demonstrate knowledge of a particular topic,” said Joel Sucherman, the project’s director at NPR. The first year of traffic for the whole Argo network surpassed published traffic numbers for startups such as the Texas Tribune and the Bay Citizen in their first years, he said. … 
    KQED and KPBS [Los Angeles] were the top performers, each averaging more than 100,000 monthly visitors. Both stations have committed to keeping the blogs alive next year. … 
    At San Francisco’s tiny KALW, for example, Rina Palta covers cops, courts, and communities for The Informant. Early on, Palta caught a good story: California was short on sodium thiopental, the lethal drug used for executions. She became a leading reporter on the story, not by writing one big investigative piece but by filing frequent, incremental updates, Thompson said. (Even Stephen Colbert cited her work.) Thompson calls it the quest: The body of work makes a bigger impact than any single post.

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