Clubhouse hired an NPR veterinarian as the information officer

But his fascination was not just for personal reasons. As USA Today’s senior engagement writer focusing on diversity and inclusion, Wellington Radel saw the potential for her colleagues to lead conversations on Clubhouse. The app, which was only accessible by invitation when it launched last year, but open to everyone in July, allows any iOS or Android user to manage an audio-only room. Participants are only visible by their profile photos and names and can request to speak or just listen.
USA Today has been one of the many newsrooms that have experimented with Clubhouse over the past year. The question now is whether the startup can maintain engagement as more workers return to the office and other in-person activities resume. And while the public is still interested in listening to and participating in live audio rooms, Clubhouse now competes with other copycat products on Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), Spotify (PLACE) and Reddit – to name a few.

One way Clubhouse tries to maintain and develop interest from newsrooms is to hire a new person. Nina Gregory, editor-in-chief of the NPR arts bureau, who had worked for the nonprofit media organization since 2006, joins Clubhouse as senior manager of news and media editors. Similar partnership roles are common in other social apps and newsrooms.

“This is the first job I applied for in 15 years outside of public radio. I never thought I would leave,” Gregory told CNN Business. “Corn [Clubhouse] aligns so much with not only our mission, but the audio nerd in me and us. ”

Why live audio

Gregory joined Clubhouse exactly one year before his hiring announcement on Wednesday. She said she immediately remembered NPR’s former call-out show “Talk of the Nation” which covered current events. She said the Clubhouse was more like “Talking about All Nations “because of the app’s global reach and participation.

Nina Gregory has been with NPR since 2006. She will be the Senior Information Officer for Clubhouse.

“As an audio reporter, [Clubhouse] aligned with what I have always believed to be the best medium. You don’t need to be able to read to hear the news on the radio. You don’t need to have an expensive subscription. You don’t need cable, “said Gregory.” Accessibility not only geographically, but socio-economically and culturally has always led me to the power of media. “

Wellington Radel of USA Today said she was also drawn to Clubhouse for its potential to reach different audiences.

“We see a lot of people of color using these social media platforms as their primary source of information so I want to be there and say, ‘Are we having conversations? Can they see our content?’” Wellington Radel said. .

In February, USA Today held its first official clubhouse room with two of its reporters and two doctors speaking about Covid-19 and its impacts on communities of color – a topic USA Today covered in a six-part survey published last year.

Matt Adams, audience strategist at NPR, said he’s been interested in the Clubhouse and the live audio format more broadly as a way to use social media beyond just sharing a link and texts. related.

“I’m ready to experiment with a lot of different ways that just meet our audience somewhere where we don’t just put a link in their face and tell them to read a story,” Adams said. “It’s like, ‘Okay, let’s discuss this. What are we missing?'”

NPR has experimented with Clubhouse, but it uses Twitter’s live audio feature, Spaces, more frequently now. Last month, NPR hosted a conversation about Hurricane Ida with reporters from New Orleans Public Radio. Adams said one benefit he has seen is that NPR reporters generate story ideas and meet new sources through the platform.
The 19th *, a nonprofit newsroom covering the intersection of gender, politics and politics, held its first Twitter Spaces conversation earlier this month. Niketa Patel, who recently joined the newsroom as senior director of partnerships and previously worked in press partnerships at Twitter, led a conversation on Texas abortion law.

“Even though we have a small newsroom, we strongly believe that we want to meet our audience and engage with them where they are, where they are most active,” Patel said.

“The barrier to entry is really pretty low,” Patel continued. “It’s about establishing what topic you might want to have a conversation about, who the attendees are and when it’s going to happen. No one needs to worry about hair and makeup. needs to be in a physical studio or something. “

Clubhouse vs Twitter Spaces vs IRL

Clubhouse has beaten Twitter in the market with live audio, but its longevity remains to be determined. Clubhouse could follow the lead of Meerkat, a startup that was also the first to market a live video app. Meerkat was spoofed by Periscope – a streaming video application which was acquired by Twitter and then integrated into the main product – and Facebook Live.

Adams of NPR said one of the reasons he turned to Spaces over Clubhouse is that they have already invested time and resources to build an following on Twitter.

Wellington Radel said USA Today has also invested more resources in Spaces recently, but has not “ruled out Clubhouse”.

“We want to include sources as best we can, and if they are already familiar with Twitter, it makes it easier for them to reach us,” said Wellington Radel. “They really add to the conversation.”

Anyone Can Now Join Clubhouse, the Pandemic's Hottest New Social Media App

Eric Zuckerman, who heads the US news partnerships on Twitter, said he meets several Twitter spaces on current events every day and listens to them a lot. “I get frustrated when I have a meeting and can’t listen to one of these Spaces,” he said.

Twitter allows Hosts to register their Spaces. NPR has chosen to save and reuse some. For example, NPR recorded a Questions and answers he hosted on Twitter Spaces with Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy about the Covid-19 vaccine recalls, and another conversation with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

Zuckerman said the product roadmap allows listeners to replay Twitter spaces later after the live event ends. Twitter is also introducing the ability for hosts to create paid events in spaces where Twitter users have to pay to access them.

But will there be a lot of Twitter spaces or Clubhouse rooms when more people return to the office or other places outside of their own homes?

“I think live audio has legs beyond the pandemic,” Patel said. “To me, live audio evokes that sense of timely authenticity, where real voices take center stage… In my opinion, live audio is the next iteration of live journalism.”

After accepting the position at the Clubhouse, Gregory said she was “optimistic” about the app’s future, whether it competes with Twitter Spaces or with in-person activities.

“For working journalists, I understand they have too many platforms to file for,” Gregory said. “But I think there are opportunities [on Clubhouse] for audience engagement which is essential in newsrooms to restore trust between news consumers and newsrooms when we have disinformation and disinformation, information deserts, lack of diversity in newsrooms. ”

Gregory said one of his goals in his new role is to encourage NPR member stations to use Clubhouse more. She also wants to train journalism students to use the app – maybe even try out their own version of NPR’s “Morning Edition”.

“I think there are new habits and new relationships that will endure,” said Gregory. “As more people find out about it, I think this sense of community will draw people in.”

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