On the internet, any media outlet can overcome its single-dimension status offline. Print outlets can excel in video, local TV stations can add text and stills, radio can get visual. When NPR.org relaunches overnight, it will add all kinds of features to enhance and extend its audio, including improved search, embedding and transcripts, and more multimedia. But at a time when others are pushing ahead with video, National Public Radio is standing still.
“We are not expanding, but we are not pulling back either. We are being selective in our use of video,” Kinsey Wilson, SVP & GM, NPR Digital Media, explained when we asked about the decision.
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller offered the NYT multiple reasons for holding back on video: it’s expensive and the value to NPR is uncertain. With that in mind, “We absolutely should not be heavily invested in video.” It also was a sore point with some member stations when NPR went more into video a year ago, before Schiller moved to NPR from the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) where she was general manager of NYTimes.com. There’s no small irony here, given that Schiller joined the Times from CNN, and before moving to the website, ran the joint venture Times *Discovery* Channel. She was an advocate of increasing video at NYTimes.com.
We’ll take a closer look at NPR.org as the relaunch takes effect. In the meantime, here’s an intro from NPR’s Scott Simon.