Expanding the Definition of Membership in Public Media
with Melody Kramer
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm
What does it mean to be a member of a public radio station in the United States? What could it mean? How could expanding the definition of membership instill a sense of ownership and identity among listeners, allowing them to feel more connected and invested in the work we do?
I am creating the framework for a new model of membership within public media that would offer membership to people who may not be able to donate financially, but would like to donate a skill or their time to their local stations. I suspect this will inculcate a sense of identity and ownership amongst listeners, allowing them to feel more invested in public radio’s content, work, and mission, while also transforming public media stations into public community spaces that continue to fulfill the original mission.
Melody Kramer is currently serving a two-year term appointment with 18F and frequently works on side projects within the audio, public media, podcasting, and civic technology space. She is also a 2014-2015 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a weekly columnist for Poynter, where she covers people who live outside of SF/DC/NY who are doing amazing things in the news business.
She is a Peabody award-winning digital strategist and editor who spent the majority of her career at NPR, where she launched and then managed projects involving breaking news, analytics, archives, social media and long-term editorial strategies. She sat firmly at the intersection of NPR’s product and editorial teams, and frequently spoke at conferences and universities about building newsroom tools with, by and for the audience.
She previously launched and then led digital operations at WHYY’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, where she increased unique visitors to Fresh Air’s website by over 60 percent in two years, at a rate twice as fast as NPR’s flagship shows. Before that, she directed, edited, ran social media and wrote jokes for NPR’s humor show, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and wrote for National Geographic Magazine. Mel is a recipient of NPR’s Kroc Fellowship, a full-year paid reporting fellowship given to three early-career journalists each year. She has attempted to go to medical school twice and dropped out both times.
Mel is also a frequent guest lecturer and speaker on topics related to social and digital strategy. Her work has been featured by The New York Times, iTunes, the Nieman Journalism Lab, Mashable, Poynter, the Shorty Awards, Knight-Mozilla Open News, USA Today, GigaOm, and the Village Voice Web Awards. She was recently the keynote speaker at the Social Learning Summit at American University and has lectured at the Columbia University School of Journalism, the University of Maryland, Drexel University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Ohio State, the University of Florida, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
She writes frequently about digital innovation for a variety of publications. At various points, she has had the #1 article on Medium, the #1 article on Hacker News and one of the top Storifies of 2014.
Outside of work, Mel volunteers as a teaching assistant at Python programming classes and frequently attends Code for DC, where she works on open-source web projects to benefit the District of Columbia. She also attends twice-weekly water aerobics classes at a public pool in DC, plays with her dog Sadie, reads quietly next to her partner A — who is not on any social media whatsoever — and tweets @mkramer.