September 8, 2010
Danielle Deabler, NPR




NPR, in collaboration with 12 NPR member stations, announced the launch of a dozen topic-focused news sites today, marking the debut of NPR’s ARGO Network – a new online journalism venture created to produce in-depth, local coverage on subjects critical to communities and the nation.

Topics selected for in-depth reporting include: global health, climate change, gentrification, public safety, education, politics, military, immigration and music. Each ARGO station chose its topic based on what was most relevant to the local community and a good match with the station’s strengths and aspirations.

"The ARGO project has launched a dozen independent, news sites of substance and immediacy, where people can deepen their understanding of the critical issues that affect both communities and the nation," said NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller. "By networking the sites, each station gains national perspective, audience and the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the others."

The ARGO Network will establish NPR member stations as definitive sources of news on each specialized subject, help fill the growing gap in local news offerings, and expand the online audience for each station. One of the key goals of ARGO is to create an online "niche" experience that invites an exchange of views across the community – bringing together people with different perspectives to explore ideas and solutions.

Rolled out in stages over the past six weeks, the ARGO stations will take advantage of common tools and platforms. The size of the group is optimal for testing and refining different editorial approaches and sharing lessons learned. The sites will be connected to each other through NPR’s Application Programming Interface (API), a sophisticated back end technology that allows the integration, free-flow and sharing of content among the ARGO stations and NPR. Content from the Argo sites will flow into the API, which broadens the distribution of the content to more places and more people, including third party sites and NPR member stations sties, and

Each ARGO site is anchored by a news-blog that features multiple stories each day, with an accompanying set of community features for audience engagement and curated content. The individual stations will decide how to integrate the ARGO site with their primary station websites.

NPR’s ARGO team consulted with stations to hire and orient skilled journalist-bloggers. All are based in the stations’ newsrooms, where each site is independently managed. The journalists' backgrounds vary -- from 20-year veteran print beat reporters to web native local news bloggers. The common thread among them is their passion for and intellectual curiosity about their particular topic.

The ARGO Network is funded by a $3 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The ARGO Network includes the following news sites:

CommonHealth: Where reform meets reality.

Climatide: Oceans, coasts, and climate change on Cape Cod.

Minnesota Public Radio
On Campus: Everything higher education in Minnesota.

Oregon Public Broadcasting
Ecotrope: Covering the Northwest's environment.

New York/WNYC
The Empire: Everything you need to know about New York state politics and governance.

The Key: Discover Philly's best local music

San Diego/KPBS
Home Post: The military in San Diego

San Francisco/KALW
The Informant: Cops, courts and communities in the Bay Area.

San Francisco/KQED
MindShift: How we will learn

Humanosphere: Charting global health and the fight against poverty

Los Angeles/KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)
Multi-American: Immigration and cultural fusion in the new Southern California.

Washington, D.C./WAMU
DCentric: The changing face of the District

About NPR

NPR is an award-winning, multimedia news organization and an influential force in American life. In collaboration with more than 880 independent public radio stations nationwide, NPR strives to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.