NPR One: Editorial Lessons & Best Practices

NPR One is more than an app on our listeners’ phones. It is the engine that is driving digital listening experiences on various emerging platforms from smart speakers to smart TVs, including the refreshed news experience on Alexa. Using the tools, data and editorial judgment that form the backbone of NPR One, NPR is creating localized and curated flows of content that meet listeners wherever they are and deliver the local-national blend of content that we know the value. With this work, NPR One serves as a gateway to deliver your local content in new ways and creates opportunities for stations to expand their reach on smart speakers, phones, TVs and more. As the audiences on platforms that are managed by the NPR One engine grow, we want to be sure your station knows how to make the most of this opportunity.

Since NPR One launched, we’ve been able to learn some important editorial lessons from the data it provides. Here are some of these lessons that can help inform your thinking about what stories to produce for and include in your station’s NPR One presence. If you’re looking for some tips on programming your content in NPR One, head on over to this article.

Story Segments:
  • Great performing stories start strong. Make sure your introduction grabs listeners’ attention and tells them why they should care.
  • Here are some examples of the kinds of local stories that perform best in NPR One. As you choose which stories to feature, keep these categories in mind.
    • “Things are changing for us”:  Something that has a large impact on lots of people in your community.
    • “It explains why it matters”:  Makes the case for what is at stake right from the beginning
    • “The real deal”:  Get to the heart of what is going on and break it down.
    • “What the what?”: Uncover something unexpected or surprising.
    • “What we are”: Appeal to local pride. These are stories about something that impacts a community’s identity.
  • Great performing podcasts have these qualities in common:
    • They begin strong with a great first 5 minutes that draw the listener in with narrative suspense and a clear sense of what the episode/story is about.
    • They have a title that attracts listeners and gives a clear sense of what the episode is about. Here are some examples:
      • KPBS’s Rad Scientist, Body Odor. It’s Not the Pits.
      • KUOW’s Prime(d), Is Amazon Too Big to Trust?
      • KUT’s Two Guys on Your Head, Money, and Happiness
    • They are no more than 35 minutes long. It is very difficult to hold a listener's attention beyond 35 minutes.

The NPR One Editorial Team is here to help your station make the most of your presence on NPR One and all of the on-demand audio platforms we support. If you have any editorial questions or concerns please reach out to our Content Partner Lead, Emily Barocas or our Managing Editor, Tamar Charney

If your station doesn’t currently participate in NPR One, but you are interested in getting started, reach out to our Station Relations Team at

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