NPR News in the US aims to double its online audience – in part by building a closer relationship with people who already love NPR. Dick Meyer, NPR Digital Media’s editorial director, calls them NPRistas. He says in the American Journalism Review:
“Folks who listen to NPR think of themselves as NPR people … The biggest goal that I have personally for the next six to 18 months is to really create a community for NPR people that hasn’t existed before…We want to create an environment where NPRistas can comment on stories, can share stories with each other easily, where they can ask questions of the reporters and producers who work on the story, where they can talk and have an honest conversation with those people and where they can talk amongst themselves…We want to do it in a way where the smartest, the most civil, the most enthusiastic commenting floats to the top. And where it’s easy to be seen by the rest of the user community.”
What this means for other companies: NPR’s social media goals are familiar. If you don’t understand them, figure them out. Fast. Or get some help. But there’s something much bigger and harder you’ll also need to figure out. This may make you and your management team squirm. Who are your people? Who loves your products? Who are your groupies? Who are your istas? If you don’t have any – work on that first. In the U.S., Americans express deep distrust and dissatisfaction with their media. NPR is a shining exception. They prove that media with passion and purpose can thrive even as business models and consumption patterns change.