Wednesday roundup: NPR ads respond to voices; Knight backs development efforts

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NPR introduced voice recognition–enabled ads this week on its smartphone app in an attempt to connect its nearly one million mobile listeners with sponsors, Adweek reports. The 15-second audio spots ask listeners to say “Download now” or “Hear more” after hearing an ad that sparks their interest.

• The Knight Foundation has awarded a joint grant to the nonprofit newsrooms Voice of San Diego and MinnPost to help them develop plans to grow membership. The two-year, $1.2 million grant will be divided evenly between the news operations, who will collaborate on using membership data more effectively. Nieman runs down how the sites will use the grant.

• The Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University featured a Q&A with NPR news-app developer Jeremy Bowers about what being a data journalist is all about. And at PBS’s MediaShift blog, former NPR social-media strategist Andy Carvin chats about why journalists should stop trying to build their “brands.” “I’d rather think of myself as a journalist with a strong community backing my play, instead of a personal brand trying to increase page views and unique visitors,” said Carvin, now working with First Look Media.

• AARP has partnered with documentary filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders to produce The Boomer List, a documentary that will look at 19 iconic baby boomers born each year from 1946-1964. The Boomer List will premiere this fall on PBS’s American Masters series. Portraits of the boomers will also be featured in a companion book and a nine-month exhibit at Washington, D.C.’s news history museum, the Newseum. Notable figures interviewed in The Boomer List include musician Billy Joel and novelist Amy Tan.

• CPB and Youth Speaks announced Monday a youth hip-hop and spoken-word contest, Raise Up. The nationwide contest, which will be promoted through pubmedia stations as part of the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen campaign, will address education. Youth ages 15 to 22 can enter at Raise Up’s website through June 30. Winners will perform at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and receive $5,000 in educational scholarships from project partners.

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