18F ● Product, Communications, and Outreach ● February 2015-present
- Project lead on work related to onboarding and internal knowledge management at 18F, resulting in several new products that created better internal documentation, new potential lines of business, and a measureable increase in employee knowledge and satisfaction.
- Direct and lead projects related to open source evangelism.
- Consult and work with teams across 18F on audience engagement strategies throughout the product development process.
- Create and guide strategy for communications, website, blog, and social media to consistently articulate 18F’s mission and values.
- Direct communication and content strategy for several products, including static website generator and federal web design standards.
Poynter Institute ● Innovation Columnist ● February 2015 - present
- Write a weekly column focused on innovation in newsrooms outside of New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.
Media Public ● Founder and CEO ● August 2015 - present
- Founded and now lead an open source project to better connect local public radio stations with each other and the public. The product we are developing recently received a Knight Prototype Grant. I manage a P&L, the staff, product cycles, and communication.
Media Consultant ● Product, Editorial, and Audience Development ● February 2015 - present
- Develop and implement research-driven strategies for more than a dozen local news organizations across the country in areas related to product development, audience engagement, social media, archives, newsroom culture, and ideation in the product cycle.
Harvard University ● Visiting Nieman Fellow ● 2014-2015
- Developed a new model for public media membership to include non-financial forms of contributions and use of local stations’ physical space for community building. The goal of the project was to instill a sense of ownership and identity among users of public institutions and goods, allowing them to feel more connected to and invested in public organizations’ content, work, and mission. The project resulted in a report published by Nieman as well as a Knight Prototype Grant to continue work.
NPR ● Digital Strategist and Editor ● August 2013 - December 2015
- Directed NPR's audience engagement strategy on all social networks.
- Product lead on several experimental prototypes that increased newsroom efficiency and better connected NPR with its audience on social and web platforms.
- Product lead for NPR’s internal analytics dashboard, which resulted in better measurability of web content for NPR’s newsroom.
- Worked extensively with local member stations to increase audiences and engage their users in the newsgathering process.
- Managed team of developers and designers that released two experimental Twitter bots for NPR.
- Developed digital product for turning audio quotes into shareable images, resulting in a 30-40 percent increase in social shares.
- Launched and wrote a daily blog about digital and social strategy for media that attracted over 30,000 daily readers.
- Launched an archival Tumblr and Twitter feed that highlighted one piece each day from the NPR archives.
- Led tours for potential major donors and VIP visitors.
- Raised awareness of NPR through guest lectures at more than a dozen universities and through speaking engagements at conferences and workshops.
National Geographic Magazine ● Writer and Editor ● April 2013 - August 2013
- Wrote over 70 pieces for the National Geographic website and magazine.
- Edited over 100 pieces from writers for National Geographic website and magazine.
- Developed and led classes for magazine writers and editors on social strategy and audience engagement.
- Launched partnership between National Geographic Magazine and Reddit.
Fresh Air with Terry Gross ● Associate Producer and Director of Digital ● January 2010 - July 2012
- Developed engagement and outreach strategies that increased unique visitors to Fresh Air's website by 60 percent, at a rate twice as fast as NPR's flagship shows, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
- Launched, directed, and maintained Fresh Air's engagement and outreach strategies on all social media networks, developing robust communities of Fresh Air fans on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, G+, and Reddit. The Fresh Air Tumblr was frequently cited as an industry leader on the platform.
- Grew audience across all platforms to 500,000 from scratch.
- Wrote and produced all web content, including headlines and copy for Fresh Air's website, under daily deadline pressure.
- Wrote and produced on-air promos and top daily minute of broadcast.
- Led seminars in social media and web writing for numerous public media stations.
- Recognized by iTunes (Best Podcast of the Year), the Village Voice Web Awards (Best Professional Tumblr), Mashable (Tumblr), MediaBistro (Tumblr), the Shorty Awards (finalist for Best Tumblr), the Philadelphia Geek Awards (Best Social Media Campaign of the Year), and the Nieman Journalism Lab (profile).
Wait Wait Don't Tell Me ● Associate Producer and Director ● May 2007 - December 2008
- Directed the live weekly broadcast, booked guests, and wrote jokes and other material.
- Edited the show prior to air.
- Designed, developed, and maintained social media strategies for the show. Received recognition from The New York Times, Business Week and the Chicago Tribune for launching and maintaining Carl Kasell's Facebook page.
- Recipient of 2008 Peabody Award.
NPR ● Kroc Fellow ● August 2006 - May 2007
- One of three early-career journalists selected for full-year paid fellowship at NPR.
- Wrote and produced on-air stories and spots under daily deadline pressure for national broadcast.
- Researched and reported on a variety of topics for npr.org.
- Produced and edited stories for the Science Desk.
- Booked guests and helped produce Where We Live, a daily public affairs call-in show in Hartford, CT at member station WNPR.
University of Pennsylvania ● Bachelor of Arts ● August 2003 - May 2006
B.A. magna cum laude in English, minor in History and Sociology of Science.
I worked as a writing tutor at the Kelly Writer’s House and in the Rare Books Library as a research assistant. I also ran the campus humor magazine, wrote a weekly humor column in the student newspaper, and played trumpet in the university marching band.
Applications and Expertise
- Specialized Skills
- User Research, Usability Testing, Product Management, Writing, Editing, Documentation, Technical Writing, Web Analytics
- Audio Editing
- Final Cut Pro, Adobe Audition
- Humor Writing, Social Media, Content Strategy
- Bylines include pieces in Esquire Magazine, Nieman Lab, Knight-Mozilla Open News’ Source, Gizmodo, National Geographic Magazine, and NPR.
- Write frequently on the future of news: http://melodykramer.github.io/notes/
- Clips available at http://melodykramer.github.io/writing
Speaking and Outreach
- Frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities, including Columbia University School of Journalism, the University of Maryland, American University, Drexel University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Harvard University, the University of North Carolina, Ohio State, the University of Florida, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
- Regular presenter at journalism conferences, speaking on topics ranging from analytics to audience engagement to product development strategies. Invited speaker at: OrdCamp, Newsgeist, Spark Camp, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Poynter, the Online News Association, the State of North Carolina, SRCCON, Mozfest, the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists’ Association, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Weapons of Mass Creation, the Asian-American Journalists’ Association, and the City University of New York.
- Mentored students in the ONA14 Student Newsroom and interns at NPR.
- Full list of speaking engagements available at: http://melodykramer.github.io/speaking
Press and Honors
My work has featured by The New York Times, iTunes, the Nieman Journalism Lab, Mashable, Poynter, the Shorty Awards, Fast Company, Federal Times, the Nerdette podcast, It’s All Journalism, the American Journalism Review, Knight-Mozilla Open News, USA Today, GigaOm, and the Village Voice Web Awards. Ideas from my newsletter have circulated everywhere from newspapers in Alabama to the Stanford School of Medicine.
- Reader, Knight News Challenge: Libraries (2016)
- Knight Prototype Grant, 2015
- iTunes (Best Podcast of the Year, Fresh Air, 2012)
- Village Voice Web Awards (Best Professional Tumblr) 2012
- Mashable (Best Journalism Tumblr) 2012
- MediaBistro (Best Tumblr) 2012
- Shorty Awards (Finalist for Best Tumblr) 2012
- Philadelphia Geek Awards (Best Social Media Campaign of the Year, finalist) 2012
- Peabody Award, 2008
- Nora Magid Prize for Creative Non-Fiction, 2005
- Phi Kappa Sigma Fiction Prize, 2005
- Daily Pennsylvanian Columnist of the Year, 2005
- National Association of Newspaper Columnists, Columnist of the Year (finalist), 2005
- Columbia University Scholastic Press Association, Gold Circle Awards, General Column Writing (1st Prize), 2005
Volunteer Work and Service
- Code for America, (Washington DC; Boston MA; Raleigh NC)
- Python Teaching Assistant, Hear Me Code (Washington, DC).
- Volunteer Fundraiser, Matthew Shepard Foundation (Denver, CO).
- HIV Tester, Mazzoni Center (Philadelphia, PA).