‘The Pub’ #102: Why WHYY retired its NewsWorks site

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Rebecca Smith and Gabriel Coan

What is a public media station online? In many cases, its identity is its call letters followed by dot-org. But why? On-air, most stations are a mix of national, international and local programming. So why make the only digital home for those stories share a brand with something that many people in the market think of only as a source for NPR, BBC or PBS programming?

“There’s no website in the world that will solve every problem for every person,” says WHYY digital product manager Rebecca Smith.

Seven years ago, WHYY decided to offer its audience different websites for different purposes: The station put its local news under the URL newsworks.org. But this month, they consolidated it back under WHYY.org. Why? That’s what we explore in this episode of The Pub, with Smith and Gabriel Coan, WHYY’s VP of digital strategies and services.

And in the Opening Shot, a question about geography, and what we get wrong when we create names to put on a map. Where is this “Trump Country” that we’ve been hearing about for two years? Is it near Flyover Country? Does it share a border with the Old, Weird America? In light of Brian Mann and Ken Stern’s debate in these pages, I get out the atlas and point out that maybe “here” and “there” really aren’t that far apart.

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We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at gabe@gabebullard.com and on Twitter @gbullard; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at mike@current.org; and you can contact Current generally at news@current.org or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.

Gabe Bullard is the senior digital producer for 1A.