Announcing first Reese Innovation Lab Fellow, Melody Kramer

Melody Kramer

The UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media welcome Melody Kramer to the Carolina Data Desk team. She is the first Reese Innovation Lab  Fellow helping local media outlets embrace and utilize data to create sustainable business models.

Kramer currently leads audience growth and development for the Wikimedia Foundation and writes a weekly column for the Poynter Institute on the future of the news industry.

She is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who has worked mostly in public media. At National Public Radio she was a digital product strategist, and created and led digital strategy at Fresh Air with Terry Gross. She also served as a writer and director of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and has written for publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine. From 2014-2015, she was a Visiting Nieman Fellow where she studied revenue and membership in public media.

With the Carolina Data Desk, Kramer will interview journalists and civic hackers (collaborators working to create open source solutions using public data and technology to solve a variety of problems) to determine the assistance they need to report and gather data. “We’re hoping to better understand how news organizations across North Carolina might collaborate with, or use data from, the Carolina Data Desk to report or gather data-driven stories,” she said.

The mission of Carolina Data Desk is to assist students with data-driven reporting that can help journalists in North Carolina tell stories by acquiring, cleaning, analyzing and presenting data. This effort can provide local news organizations with the capacity to do this kind of specialized reporting that informs their communities and supports democracy.

Kramer, who lives in Carrboro, added, “This is a user research-centered project designed to gather information and learn the best methods for the Carolina Data Desk to work with journalists across the state.”

Kramer will determine possible audiences for the Carolina Data Desk and make recommendations for both distribution channels and potential streams of revenue for a repository of North Carolina-related data.

Read some of Melody Kramer’s work: