NEAL CONAN, host:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.
Last month a Philadelphia blogger started an online chain of outrage that put the story of a missing black mother onto the same cable news networks that followed the search for blonde teen-ager Natalee Holloway with such dedication. In London, after the bombings last month, cell phone photos put some of the first images of horror onto front pages across the world, and San Francisco now plays host to both the first podcast radio station and the first amateur video-based cable network, Al Gore's new venture, Current, which airs short pieces from amateur documentarians, like this one.
(Soundbite from amateur video)
Unidentified Woman: Premarital sex and abortion in Iran are illegal, and dating is not even allowed. But young people are finding ways to express themselves sexually without anybody else finding out. So I traveled to a couple of universities in Iran and found some students that were willing to speak out about sexuality, something that they would rarely do publicly.
CONAN: The new ways for ordinary people to share their voices with the world has acquired a new name: citizen journalism, and it's changing the media landscape, sometimes by partnering with traditional news sources such as newspapers, which post online forums for their readers; sometimes by going head to head, like the bloggers who exposed CBS TV's documents about the president's time in the National Guard as forgeries. The evolution of citizen journalism is a double-edged sword. Amateur reporters may uncover stories that mainstream media misses, but they also lack the editors, fact-checkers and struggle for objectivity that define most professional news organizations. Today we look at the changing definition of journalism and what this expanding tent means for the public in general. Later this hour, the CNN of South America has some very strange bedfellows, and new information linking the Madrid bombings of 3/11 to al-Qaeda.
But first, citizen journalism. If you're a news-oriented podcaster, blogger, video-maker or whatever, what do you add to the public knowledge? Why do you do it? What standards do you use? And for the rest of you as news consumers, have you changed the sources that you rely on? Why? Our number here in Washington is (800) 989-8255; that's (800) 989-TALK. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And joining us now from New York is Vin Crosbie, president and managing partner of Digital Deliverance. Also with us is Marc Glaser, columnist at the Online Journalism Review.
Welcome to you both.
Mr. VIN CROSBIE (President and Managing Partner, Digital Deliverance): Well, thank you, Neal.
Mr. MARC GLASER (Columnist, Journalism Review): Thanks for having us.
CONAN: And, Vin, let's begin with you. In your blog today you mention that citizen journalism is a return to how local news was covered 50 years ago. How come?
Mr. CROSBIE: Well, if you look back on newspapers 50 or even better a hundred years ago, what you'll find is the very nitty-gritty, hyperlocal reporting that people are now discovering in citizen journalism. You know, things that range from Mrs. Smith has just come back from a three-week vacation, to, `Oh, gee, they're tearing up the athletic fields. I wonder why. Has anybody looked into that?' And over the last 50 years, particularly as more and more local newspapers have been bought up by chains and those chains have cut back on their reporting staff, I think that local reporting has been lost because there's just simply not enough people out in the field to report it anymore.
Mr. CROSBIE: So we're rediscovering it.
CONAN: Mark Glaser, let me ask you, do you think the popularity of citizen journalism reflects a hunger for new voices for local news, as Vin was saying, or disillusionment with the other media?
Mr. GLASER: I think it's a combination of both things. I think that with the corporate cutbacks in media and the focus on the bottom line, there's been a lot of cutbacks on fact-checking and just the quality of what you're seeing. So allowing citizen media to come up and basically act as fact-checkers for a lot of the media has been totally valuable. And while there might not be a fact-checking mechanism in a place that's formal for these people, they do fact-check each other. Blogs will link to each other, and when misinformation comes out, it usually spreads pretty quickly when something is wrong.
CONAN: Yet again, is there a lower expectation for media that, well, don't publicly say--I mean, they don't have the fact-checkers and the editors that traditional news organizations--so people may be a little bit more tolerant of mistakes?
Mr. GLASER: That might be so. I think also you'll see that mainstream media organizations like the BBC and like MSNBC have their own citizen journalism sections, and they're adding in a layer of fact-checking or editorial layer that might not be there with completely independent citizen media efforts. So...
CONAN: Vin Crosbie, let me ask you, the--you know, we think of this as new, yet I think just about every image of every tornado we've ever seen was probably taken by an amateur moviemaker or video cameraman.
Mr. CROSBIE: Yeah, 'cause I think the fact is, there are more people than there are reporters.
CONAN: And the same goes for, I guess, if you go back to the famous incidents, the Rodney King incident. This was not a professional news organization that shot that video.
Mr. CROSBIE: Yeah, because the fact that the technology is allowing for people to actually be able to publish, report, videotape and air things online has brought about this huge change in how news is reported, at least the first parts of news.
CONAN: The first parts of news.
Mr. CROSBIE: The breaking news.
CONAN: The breaking news. Analysis of news, is that changing as well?
Mr. CROSBIE: I think it is, too, and I think the blogs have played a very important part in that in that maybe 90 percent of the blogs out there, the people that--citizens are publishing themselves is an analysis of news. It's people talking about what's being reported as opposed to actually doing the reporting themselves.
CONAN: Let me ask you sort of a theoretical question. Would you consider call-in radio sort of an extension of citizen journalism?
Mr. GLASER: There's no question.
Mr. CROSBIE: Yeah.
CONAN: Yeah? All right. Well, let's get some citizen journalists on the phone then: (800) 989-8255. If you'd like to join us, our number is (800) 989-TALK. You can also send us e-mail, email@example.com. And Mike; let's begin with Mike, calling from Portland, Oregon.
MIKE: Yes, I believe it's becoming more popular, the blogs and citizen journalism because people are looking for the truth, and I think that the regular mainstream news is sensationalizing the news just to gain ratings rather than giving us the straight talk, so to speak.
CONAN: When you say `sensationalizing the news,' a lot of people say, `You know, well, if they're trying to sell newspapers, clearly they're trying to give the public, their reading audience, what they want.'
MIKE: Well, yeah. I think that people want to be entertained more than they want the truth, in my opinion. And people that are actually looking for the truth have to dig a little deeper and find out the truth through other means.
CONAN: And how much time do you spend doing this, Mike?
MIKE: Well, I mean, I spend quite a bit of my time talking amongst people and reading newspapers via the Internet from other nations and stuff to get an overview of what people are saying, to try and read between the lines and get a sense of the truth myself. So I spend quite a bit of time trying to search for truth, I guess you could say.
CONAN: Is it truth, Mike? And I don't mean to be disrespectful, but--or are you just looking for an opinion you agree with?
MIKE: Yes and no. I mean, it's OK if people are giving me news that I don't agree with, as long as I believe it to be true. I can handle the viewpoints of other people that don't agree with me.
CONAN: Marc Glaser, let me put it to you. Obviously, the Internet makes it vastly more possible to search many more news outlets than previously--and people do look--there are so many readers now to the Guardian in the United States, for example.
Mr. GLASER: That's true. I mean, one of the wonderful things about the Internet is just giving people access to so many more sources of information that they didn't have before. I mean, just the addition of all the cable TV channels is one thing, but to be able to get news from other countries and in other languages is pretty amazing. And that really brings up the problem as well, and that's the info glut online. Where do you find things? Where can you pull up the things that are interesting to you? And that's what, I think, makes it possible for sites like Technorati, which help you search through blog content or Topix.net, which is basically aggregating thousands and thousands of newspapers and other media outlets and just focusing them on specific niches.
CONAN: Well, when we had fewer news media outlets available, fewer television network new programs, fewer newspapers in most markets than that are certainly now available on the Internet, there was sort of a centrism. Are we now atomizing into very small interest groups?
Mr. GLASER: There's no question.
Mr. CROSBIE: I think...
Mr. GLASER: Yeah, go ahead, Vin.
Mr. CROSBIE: Well, I was about to say, yeah, I think we are definitely. I think that's the major trend that's been going on in media in the last 30 years. And it's also brought about a shift in control of media, too, in that the users--the consumers, the readers, the viewers--now have more control over what they read as opposed to just the publisher and/or a broadcaster doing it for them.
CONAN: Mike, thanks very much for the phone call.
MIKE: Thank you.
CONAN: Joining us now on the line is John Temple, editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News. He joins us by phone from his office in Denver, Colorado.
Nice to have you on TALK OF THE NATION.
Mr. JOHN TEMPLE (Editor, President and Publisher, Rocky Mountain News): Thank you very much. I'm glad to be here.
CONAN: I understand the Rocky Mountain News has launched a separate Web site and print copy called Your Hub. Tell us a little bit about it.
Mr. TEMPLE: Yeah. YourHub.com is an effort to extend our journalism way deeper into the community, and to allow--actually not to allow--to enable citizens to participate by telling their own stories. It's really us creating the platform that the readers can use to tell their stories about the community, and then we reverse-publish from 40 community Web sites for the seven-county metropolitan area. We produce--we're up to 13 print sections, and we will have completely rolled out--by August 11th, we'll have 15 print sections with a circulation of about 408,000.
CONAN: A lot of newspapers now struggle with decreasing circulation, budget decreases. Is there a sense that you're being forced to encourage public participation in the process of reporting to re-engage a slipping reader base?
Mr. TEMPLE: Yes, I think that's one aspect. But--I think `forced' is one way to look at it, but also I think what it is is that we now have the tools available to us and to our readers to do things that were unimaginable before. And why not, as the newspaper which always was a glue, can be a binding force in a community--why not create the platform to let the community share its stories and to provide a place where people in the community can go to find information about their specific community? For example, I'm on the Denver hub right now. I happen to live in Denver. We link to stories from all over the world about Denver. So in fact, the LA Times has a story on my Web site today, on YourHub.com, because they've written something about Denver. And so we're not only--we're linking to competitors. We link to The Denver Post, we link to TV stations in the metro area. What we're doing is we're saying, `We're going to find the most interesting news stories, the important news stories about your community every day, and those links will be on our Web sites.
CONAN: Can you stay--we have to take a short break, Mr. Temple. Can you stay with us for a moment?
Mr. TEMPLE: Absolutely. Happy to talk to you.
CONAN: All right. We're going to take a short break, and by the way, if you'd like to join this conversation about citizen journalism, our number is (800) 989-8255; (800) 989-TALK. E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Back after the break.
I'm Neal Conan. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
(Soundbite of music)
CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.
We're talking today about citizen journalists--podcasters, amateur photographers and video-makers, online forum participants and bloggers. The spectrum of sources for information about our world has expanded astronomically, but does newfound powers come with great responsibility? For accuracy, reliability and bias, the mainstream media has struggled with problems in these areas throughout its existence. Today we ask how the newcomers are handling it. Of course, you're invited to join us as always: (800) 989-8255; e-mail: email@example.com. Our guests are Marc Glaser, columnist at the Online Journalism Review, and Vin Crosbie, president and managing partner of Digital Deliverance. And right now we're talking with John Temple, managing editor for the Rocky Mountain News. He's also the editor and president of that newspaper. And he's talking about a new venture called YourHub.com.
And I wonder, do you fact-check, sir, the input that citizens put in?
Mr. TEMPLE: Well, great question, and we have different layers of standards. So what we do is anybody can post anything and we don't fact-check it, except that we have a filter that screens for words that we wouldn't want on our Web site.
CONAN: Or on this radio station.
Mr. TEMPLE: Or on the radio show. However, an editor decides what to post to the home page of each of the 40 community hubs, so that's one level of filtering. The editor may say, `Well, it's fine that somebody posted this, but who cares?' or `I don't believe it,' so they're not going to post to the home page. Then when we reverse publish to the newspaper--you can't post without registering. In other words, you can't tell a story on our Web site without registering in which we give an authorization code. We send it back to a legitimate e-mail address. We have your phone number. And when you post a story that we want to print in one of our print sections, we then contact you the same way we do with a letter to the editor, determine that you did write the story, you know, and then we start looking at the accuracy.
Mr. TEMPLE: And of course, our print sections are a combination, as are our Web sites--they're a combination of citizen journalism and staff-generated journalism.
CONAN: Well, I wanted to throw in this e-mail that we got, and, Marc Glaser, I wanted to get your response as well. This from Janet O'Neill(ph) in Redding, California: `I work for a daily newspaper that features blogs on its Web site. The bloggers include the editor and the editorial page editor, reporters, people from marketing and online departments and a couple of citizens. Subjects range from politics to local issues to world issues to the weather. No blog is edited or vetted before it's posted. It used to be that personal opinions for reporters in particular were something that never saw the light of day. Do you think we should be compromising our journalistic integrity by this practice? Is there a danger readers could be confusing what they see on the blog with fact-based news as it appears in the paper?'
Mr. GLASER: Well, I think that's a really good question. That's something that I think the traditional news sources have struggled with, whether to edit blogs, not to edit, to edit afterwards, to edit before hand. And I think that it's something that needs to work itself out with both the audience participation and the newsroom, figure out, you know, are these sources losing credibility by not editing them, what kind of problems crop up and just deal with them as they happen and hope that, you know, the worst doesn't happen.
CONAN: John Temple, your hub sounds a little bit different, but similar problems.
Mr. TEMPLE: Well, I have blogs on our Web site. In fact, I have a blog myself. I post all the time to the Web on my own blog. And we're experimenting with blogs, and I think it gets a little more complicated because it depends what you're covering on your blog. For example, why not have your food writer blogging about recipes and sharing with readers about recipes? That seems pretty innocuous. But would you want your state Capitol reporter saying that the governor is a liar on his blog? I don't think so.
CONAN: I don't think your lawyers would either.
Mr. TEMPLE: Actually, with a public figure, we could probably get away with it, but--so we sort of have a policy that I think you could apply to the Internet, which is that when news reporters go on the radio or television to talk about news events, they do not go beyond what they reported in the paper. They do not express an opinion, but what they can share is what they've seen and heard without expressing an opinion. Now that is not the easiest thing to do, and some hosts are not as effective and polite as you, and they try to force you into opinion even if you're a news beat reporter. But I think if you can apply that to blogs, I think there's a lot of room for mainstream journalists to do blogs. We have a sports columnist who blogs every day and interacts with readers, and I think that could be really effective. We're looking at health and fitness as an area where you could blog, and I don't think you'd run into these problems. Might be other problems, so...
CONAN: Just one little question: Do you have spell-check? I'm in radio; I can't spell anything.
Mr. TEMPLE: We do have spell-check, yeah.
CONAN: Well, good.
Mr. TEMPLE: You can write everything in Word and just paste it into your blog. I happen to be a decent speller, but I can tell you, one thing I've learned on the blog, the Internet is a free-for-all, and I think we should embrace that free-for-all quality, but I have made mistakes on my blog as a result of buying into the free-for-all aspect of the Internet.
CONAN: John Temple, thanks very much for being with us today.
Mr. TEMPLE: Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.
CONAN: John Temple is editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News. He joined us by phone from his office in Denver.
Let's get another caller on the line. This is Greg, Greg calling from Sebastopol in California.
GREG: Yes. I host a show. I author a show called the "Raider Nation" podcast, and the reason I started that show was the mainstream media didn't give time to the Oakland Raiders, even the Bay area, here in the Bay area, which is mainly a 49er-based media group. And even though the 49ers are in the toilet as far as their team is concerned, the Raiders don't get any respect or news.
GREG: So it's funny. I started my podcast. There were no podcasts for the NFL at all. There were two podcasts for the Raiders, and I was one of them. Now there's 32 podcasts for all team--there's one for each team at least. And what I find--what's disturbing in the last--you know, the mainstream media's trying to take podcasting--they are trying every which way they can to kind of lasso it in and bring it into their little nest. I myself have been approached by media outlets saying, `Well, you know, you can have this content, but, you know, we wouldn't want to pay for this or that.' As far as funding is concerned, you know, I do it for free.
GREG: It's my thing, and I do it that way because I do not want anyone telling me what to post or how to post it or how to say it. And it's great free press is what it is, and my facts are checked by myself, and if I'm wrong, believe you me, my fan base lets me know immediately on e-mail. And it's a great way to let news out the way it used to be back in the day in the village press where you knew the people letting the news out, you knew the town, you knew the community. Now...
CONAN: Let me bring Vin Crosbie into the conversation.
Vin, even victimized Raider fans--We talk about atomization--but there are all kinds of interest groups, not just "Raider Nation." Obviously, last year we kept hearing about the Sons of Sam Horn, the site that a lot of Boston Red Sox fans posted to and a lot of the players.
Mr. CROSBIE: Yeah, 'cause I think the issue here is that most broadcasts, like this one, or, for that matter, most newspapers, have to put out the same edition to everybody. And although we do all have some common interests, you know, like the weather or maybe the war in Iraq or something, we all each have very idiosyncratic, individual interests. And technology now is letting us satisfy that interest. That atomization is just simply matching the content to the appropriate person.
CONAN: And, Greg, look forward to the year. You got a couple of pretty good receivers out there this year.
GREG: Oh, very good. I look forward to it, too, and please tune in to it, 'cause "Raider Nation" podcast rocks.
CONAN: OK. Thanks very much, Greg, and we appreciate the unsolicited advertising.
GREG: Thank you so much for having me.
CONAN: The phenomenon of citizen photography, people taking pictures with their cell phones and sending them to newspapers or Web sites, has become increasingly popular and important for news outlets. Kyle MacRae is managing director and founder of Scoopt, a Web site that will be launched soon to solicit newsworthy amateur pictures. He joins us by phone from France.
Nice to have you on the show.
Mr. KYLE MacRAE (Managing Director and Founder, Scoopt): Hi. Thanks very much. Nice to be here.
CONAN: What's new about Scoopt?
Mr. MacRAE: What's new? Well, we're the first--essentially, it's a traditional picture agency, but we are representing amateur photographers, and by amateur, I mean anybody walking around with a camera phone who just happens to be on the spot when something newsworthy happens and gets a Scoopt peek.
CONAN: So whether it's a bomb explosion or Brad Pitt, they could send it to you and you would buy it from them?
Mr. MacRAE: No, we don't buy it at all. The way it works is, first of all you have to join Scoopt in order to submit any pictures, which kind of ties in with the whole fact-checking and disclosure of that, that you were talking about earlier. We will only accept pictures from members, so that first of all, we can verify the details. You can then send in the picture by e-mail, MNS or direct upload to the Web site. And we vet it. We have a fairly strong--well, very strong--internal editorial policy. We have to then make the decision whether we think the photo is hot enough to sell, either to a daily newspaper or a weekly, or possibly a magazine. If so, then we sell it on, and we split our proceeds 50-50 with the member, and that holds true with the first fill and all subsequent fills...
CONAN: And how's it working?
Mr. MacRAE: ...including our syndication rights, worldwide licensing rights.
CONAN: Yeah. How's it working?
Mr. MacRAE: Very, very new. The official launch of Scoopt is actually tomorrow, but we did a soft launch. We just announced Scoopt to a couple of blogs at the very beginning of July. I got a lot of strong interest there. We've spoken to many, many picture editors on newspapers and magazines, and they're very, very eager to buy the product if we can supply it. The great unknown and the great experiment and the great excitement about all of this is just what kind of photos will people take when there is a route to a paying market? We've already seen--I mean, there's a great deal of evidence that people are taking fantastic pictures and are prepared to share them on their own photo blogs, sharing sites, the likes of Flickr. That's tremendous. What we're trying to do is open up a route to a paying market so that the amateur walking along with a camera phone can get treated in exactly the same way as a professional photographer.
CONAN: Kyle MacRae, good luck to you.
Mr. MacRAE: Thank you very much.
CONAN: Kyle MacRae is managing director and founder of Scoopt, and he joined us by phone from France. Gotta be cooler in France than it is here in Washington at the moment.
He raises an issue, Vin Crosbie. Are most of these people--like our iPodder for "Raider Nation"--nobody makes any money at this.
Mr. CROSBIE: Yeah, and they're not gonna make a lot of money if somebody's taking 50 percent. I question whether a professional photographer would pay that as an agency fee, although, on the other hand, many of the amateurs here don't necessarily know who to sell it to. So maybe Kyle's service is a good one at that rate. I don't know.
CONAN: Is--Marc Glaser, is the issue of people are trying to solicit advertising on some blogs--clearly, Al Gore's new TV outlet is hoping to make a profit someday.
Mr. GLASER: There's no question that there is a commercial aspect to it. And this is the worry of people who are doing it independently, that you got media companies kind of swooping in and trying to take it over, kind of exploit or co-opt it, but there are also people independently trying to make a go of it, people like Josh Marshall, who runs Talking Points Memo blog, who basically, you know, runs it himself and pulls in donations or advertisements or whatever, you know, revenue that he can get.
CONAN: We are talking with Vin Crosbie of Digital Deliverance and Marc Glaser, columnist for the Online Journalism Review.
You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
And let's get another caller on the line. Steve--Steve calling from Philadelphia.
STEVE (Caller): Hello.
STEVE: Yeah, I was calling because I write for a political blog here in Philadelphia and we helped drive a story onto the national news, the story of a missing woman, La'Toya Figueroa.
CONAN: We mentioned this at the top of the program.
STEVE: There you go.
CONAN: And how long did that take?
STEVE: Well, we first--it was mentioned first on the blog on the 22nd, both by our blog and by Atria Seskitan(ph), who is a good friend of ours, and another of those blogs that is raising money itself and making a go of it as his moneymaker. And then nothing happened, so we raised it in much more pointed and sarcastic manner and challenged our readers to write to CNN. And it all of a sudden got news and pretty soon we were asked to--at least I was asked to come on national talk shows or whatever. It was quite a ride there.
CONAN: Marc Glaser, this is--this story is an example of these alternative new media outlets, well, breaking a story.
Mr. GLASER: No question about it. And the way that you can get a community involved in doing investigative research on the story like the Jeff Gannon story that broke, the Daily Kos liberal Weblog, basically, there was a call-out, `Let's find out--there's a guy in the White House press corps; he's asking really soft questions. Who is this guy? Where does he come from?' And they dug up some pretty interesting photos of him from a male escort service and things like that. So...
CONAN: Discredited him would be a mild description of what happened. Steve, what are you working on now?
STEVE: Oh, right now? I'm getting ready to go and teach tonight. I'm not working on much tonight. In fact, actually, there is quite a community of bloggers here in Philadelphia who get together for happy hour Tuesday nights, and I miss it every week because I go teach. So I'm more trying to elicit their input on what happened, what's the reaction to this last week's blogging thing, because a few of us actually sort of have started a metaconversation on how blogs work in talking to each other and so on. So we try to do that sort of theoretical work as well.
CONAN: Have a good time in class.
STEVE: OK, thank you much.
CONAN: Appreciate the phone call.
And let's see if we can get Lily on the line. Lily's calling from Lancaster in Pennsylvania, not too far away from Philadelphia.
LILY (Caller): Thank you for taking my call.
LILY: I'm enjoying the show. I--so far from the conversation, I've gathered that the main issue seems to be truth and, for me, forgive me for sounding ignorant, but I feel like the mainstream media is something that I can trust, and I feel overwhelmed by the information from blogs, and your one guest even said that he had put incorrect information on his blog because of other blogs that he had read. So my question is: How do I get through all the information and really find out what is the truth? And I'll take my question off the air. Thank you.
CONAN: All right, Lily. I would add that truth is a sometimes elusive concept and accuracy a more achievable goal but, Vin Crosbie, what do you think?
Mr. CROSBIE: Oh, it's a big question. Is this cacophony or is this just more information? I think if you look at it--and the number of blogs out there, yeah, just as Marc had said, that the truth will come out. Well, at the same time you get all these rumors swirling around the blogs and can often take a very long time, if ever, for those to go away. So it's a double-edged sword.
CONAN: Marc Glaser, your thought?
Mr. GLASER: Well, I think you have to really take a little extra time to figure out who you trust when you're reading a blog or you're looking at citizen media efforts or a podcast. Once you start listening to it, once you start reading it, and you realize this person has some credibility, they're an expert in their field, then they become a little bit more trustworthy over time, but if you look at the numbers on credibility for mainstream media, it's somewhere hovering around the used-car salesman level, so it's not really that high so, you know, you don't have that far to go down.
CONAN: And you may get some angry letters from used-car salesmen. But we appreciate your time today. Thanks very much for being with us.
Mr. GLASER: No problem. Thank you.
CONAN: Vin Crosbie, thank you for your time today as well.
Mr. CROSBIE: Thanks, Neal.
CONAN: Vin Crosbie, president and managing partner of Digital Deliverance, joined us from our bureau in New York. Marc Glaser's a columnist at the Online Journalism Review, and he joined us from our studio in San Francisco.
When we come back from the break, the launch of a new South American news network, Telesur, and new information on the network behind the March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid.
I'm Neal Conan. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.