According to Nieman Journalism Lab, NPR will be launching its Argo Project on September 1. Local member stations are to collaborate to strengthen coverage on both a local and national scale and become hubs for different issues. Thus NPR's On campus: Everything higher education in Minnesota news source will blog in conjunction with NPR's The Key: Discovering Philly's best local music. A list of "network highlights" will be posted on each member's website, which will function to promote the smaller news units across NPR.
The interesting point about NPR's Argo project is the dynamics of the member stations' interaction. Nieman Journalism Lab comments "NPR is made up of its member stations, and there's long been tension between the growth of the national organization and the health of the individual stations who comprise its membership and rely on the network for much of their programming. For the mothership to be supporting local programming -- even if just on the web -- could smooth over what has at times been a contentious relationship."
This $3 million dollar endeavor will experiment with the blogging craft for a web based audience. While the project is yet to go online, Matt Thompson has been training the 12 NPR member stations on the art of blogging through an open blog, offering tips since February 2010. Some of the recent posts include "The art of the link roundup," "A blogger's morning ritual: 5 points to keep in mind," and "The Twitter Diet: a simple, three-point plan for Twitter dominance." Nieman Journalism Lab writes "Even though the blog is meant for NPR staff, it's a useful read for anyone interested in the future of news or in best practices for launching a news blog." Thompson also lists some general themes for creating a blog, which include creating a plan, learning from successful blogs, and study the effective techniques of blogging.
The foundation of the Argo project blog appears to be solid, and the success of the network will be interesting to follow as NPR seeks to pull national relevance out of local trends.