Don’t get snowed in, get engaged!

I like to talk about a reporter who exemplifies the characteristics needed not to be snowed in online.

Bob Boilen host of NPR’s ‘All Songs Considered’  he has created and produced the Tiny Desk Concert series for NPR Music; hosting intimate performances at his office desk, with bands like The National, Ben Folds, Adele and Madison’s own PHOX.

What I find throughout Bolien’s work is his voice, a distinct personality when he is writing about music. Every writer has a style that comes off in his or her work, in one way or another, some journalist must keep their voice in the shadows to try to keep bias out. However, in the case of a music critic, his voice is arguably the most important aspect of their job. A reader will keep coming back to a reviewer, even if they disagree if it makes them think or feel. I respect Bob Bolien’s work because I can see that his opinions are his own and that he thinks out his ideas when he writes.

The way he expresses his ideas within his articles is worth of praise. I really admire the way Bolien communicates with the reader in his work, he makes easy to well constructed and easy to follow arguments.

Beyond this is his use of analytics to drive content is worthy of praise. As stated in the written by 

Three types of analytics that are important to take into account when integrating analysis in the workflow…

  • Rudimentary – offers a certain amount of data, but lacks cohesiveness with newsroom organization and culture;
  • Generic – multiple analytics tools are used, but the newsroom’s structure and mindset are optimized for short-term results;
  • Editorial – bespoke tools, supported by an organization and culture focused on short-term and long-term data-informed decisions, and flexible to evolve as the industry changes

The Tiny Desk uses the editorial data they receive from NPR’s in-house analytics platforms to select artists that fit within their popular music content to perform.

But as stated in the Media Shift article Bob Bolien does a good job with community outreach. He tries to use his twitter account to engage with his audience to either share something he believes fits into his content or respond to audience questions.

In music journalism, there are a lot of voice all shouting “read me!” It is easy to get snowed in, but the saturated market does not mean you can’t carve out a niche for you develop your audience. Bob Bolien truly has created a loyal engaged audience base that is expanding as he makes smarter social media choices as he receives new analytic data.


Tiny Desk Concert

Media Shift


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