New PRI.org highlights network’s focus on global news

By Andrew Lapin

PRI’s redesigned website includes new story “communities,” like Human Needs, which curates pieces focusing “on the road to health and wealth for all.”

PRI’s redesigned website includes new story “communities” such as Human Needs, which features pieces focusing “on the road to health and wealth for all.”

Public Radio International has revamped its website to absorb the web presence of PRI’s The World, reflecting the network’s aim to develop a higher profile in international news.

The new site gives greater prominence to international news from The World and other PRI programs. The World “is increasingly, for us, a journalism brand,” said Michael Skoler, PRI’s v.p. of interactive media.

Previously, The World had its own website at TheWorld.org. It now redirects to PRI.org.

PRI has combined the previously separate staff and resources for the two sites. Nine web staffers, with a tenth to join soon, are divided between PRI’s Minneapolis offices and the headquarters of Boston’s WGBH, which owns the network. Skoler plans to hire a permanent managing editor for PRI’s online content within the next six months.

Launched Sept. 24, the new PRI.org uses Drupal and features responsive design and greater integration of social media. Web-original multimedia content, including slideshows and videos, mixes with expanded versions of broadcast stories. Pages focused on particular topics present several stories exploring a question or idea and encourage feedback from web visitors.

Rather than try to make PRI.org into a global wire service, Skoler said, the new site will focus on “global storytelling” and probing explorations of issues with global reach. “Where we add value is showing the connections between people’s lives in this country and people’s lives all around the world,” he said.

The site is intended to appeal both to public radio listeners and to an audience that may be unfamiliar with The World and other PRI shows. “We’re trying to create an experience that is completely satisfying and interesting for people who may never hear our radio show or even know about our radio show,” Skoler said.

Unlike its predecessor, the site will no longer repost a wide assortment of content from all PRI shows, though it does provide a full list of PRI programs.

This American Life has great distribution of its stuff, and its fan base is well served,” Skoler said. “They don’t need a page and whatever the latest episode is on [PRI’s website]. Where we can provide value is when they provide important work that has that global-local connection.”

Like NPR’s website, the new PRI.org uses responsive design, which allows the site to smoothly adjust to different screen sizes across various platforms. PRI’s site was under development when NPR unveiled its new site last month, Skoler said. The streamlined back end of the site will help the team more easily share their stories across the Public Media Platform when it launches in 2014, Skoler said.

Questions, comments, tips? lapin@current.org
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