Melody Kramer


Some of the tools and projects that I’ve worked on or helped build over the past 10 years.

Media Public: I founded and now lead an open source project to better connect public radio stations with each other and the public. You can follow progress through our newsletter. The project recently received a Knight Prototype Grant. I manage our budget, prioritize our backlog, lead our tiny staff, and conduct all social and outreach efforts.


Social Sandbox: I created and then ran a blog for NPR that shared what we learned in the digital, social, and product space. The blog had some 30,000 readers, including folks working in libraries, universities, the State Department, the White House, and many other news organizations — and was written up by GigaOm and profiled by Jay Rosen for his Studio20 blog.


News for Betty I worked with a developer to build a news website for my then 89-year-old neighbor Betty. The resulting website, News for Betty, has been applauded by accessibility advocates as well as senior citizens.


64 ways to think about a homepage I led a design workshop to rethink what a news homepage can be. The resulting ideas were recently cited by Quartz as an inspiration for their redesign.


NPR analytics dashboard: As the product lead and manager, I researched, designed, and then led an internal user-centered research project to create an analytics dashboard for NPR’s newsroom, I wrote about the process for Knight-Mozilla Open News’ Source.


Quotable tool: I came up with the idea and then helped develop NPR’s Quotable tool, which increased social sharing by upwards of 30 percent. Many other news organizations forked the tool after it was created; the Vox Meme builder is one such example.


Dolores Landingham: I came up with the idea and then led a team to create a Slackbot that would trickle out messages to people over time. Fashioned after a newsletter drip campaign, the bot would allow a team or manager to disseminate information to people through scheduled messages. At 18F, we use the bot to help new employees onboard. Other organizations have since adapted the Slackbot, which can be used for any type of training or messages that need to go out to every person on a specific schedule. The program is open source and can be adapted by any organization; you can read more about the bot in this piece by lead developer Jessie Young.


Fresh Air archive work: I am helping Fresh Air with Terry Gross create free access to its 38+-year collection of the Peabody Award-winning national radio program. The show recently received a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. With that grant, we are adding substantial metadata to the collection, and thinking about what metadata could be added by the public to make the collection more discoverable and usable.


Checklistomania: While leading onboarding work at 18F, I realized we needed a centrally-managed checklist that would allow us to set deadlines relative to completion of other items. I worked with developer Tony Garvan to create Checklistomania, a checklist that allows users to focus on actionable activities while making it easy to set due dates for individual tasks. The program is open source and can be adapted by any organization.


Fresh Air digital properties: My job at Fresh Air involved writing the daily minute-long billboards at the top of the radio show, helping write intros for segments, and writing and producing everything seen online: from headlines to text to captions to our entire social media presence.

This was a deadline-driven, fast-paced job. I often had to juggle four segments, each with their own Internet presence — not to mention thinking about future segments and our social media accounts. The effort paid off: the show became the most popular public media show on social media, and traffic to its web presence grew at a much faster rate than NPR’s other offerings. Nieman Lab profiled my efforts, and the show received recognition from iTunes (Podcast of the Year), as well as the Shorty Awards, the Philadelphia Geek Awards, the Village Voice Web Awards, Mashable, and MediaBistro.


Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me: For a few years, I directed, edited, produced, and wrote for Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. (It was fun.) I also managed the show’s social media properties. We were one of the first shows in the country to have a substantial presence on Facebook — through Carl Kassell’s page — and received writeups in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times.