About the project
The code and tutorials that you find on this site were designed to enable a pilot group of 12 NPR member stations to curate and report on news about specific topics of local interest.
Funded by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Knight Foundation, each site is produced by a full-time journalist-blogger (or, in some cases, a combination of full- and part-time journalists). The sites focus exclusively on reporting and aggregating news about a single topic relevant to the hosting station's city. Stations feed their work into NPR's API, where participants have easy access to one another's work to inform, enrich and add context as they produce their stories. This common content-sharing infrastructure provides a solid platform to support stations' online publishing needs and to expand the power of the network.
Sites across the Argo Network are powered by WordPress, an open-source publishing platform. The technology was chosen in part to ensure that the themes, features and functionality of the Argo Platform could be easily used by individuals and others wishing to quickly build and launch topic-focused blogs. We encourage you to download and extend the tools in the Argo Platform, read through the tips and lessons we provide, and let us know what you think.
A blog from WGBH/WCAI on the environment
A blog from WBUR on health
A blog from WAMU on race and culture
A blog from OPB on the environment
A blog from KPBS on the military
A blog from KPLU on global health
A blog from KQED on education
A blog from KPCC on immigration
What types of sites are the Argo tools designed for?
The 12 sites the Argo suite was built for encompassed a range of topics, from climate change to local music. Overall, the sites share several key characteristics: frequent publishing, often with several posts a day; robust use of images; and a mix of curatorial and original material. Any topic-focused site that matches these criteria might benefit from our methods, themes or plugins.
Why is it called "Project Argo"?
The short answer is that it was an internal codename for the project that gradually spilled out into public usage. It's not an acronym for anything. It may have been a reference to the mythological ship that carried Jason and his shipmates on the quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece. When we started Argo, not many public radio stations had topic-focused news blogs. So perhaps Argo symbolized a merry band of adventurers sailing into the unknown.
Why are you giving this stuff away?
We benefited a lot from the open-source tools and lessons shared by others who've pioneered this type of work. It's only fair that we give back what we've created and learned. Besides, an open-source release was a condition of the grants that funded our work. So direct your thanks to our supporters - the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Knight Foundation.
What can I do with this stuff?
Anything you'd like. Download one of our themes and modify it to your taste. Install one or more of our plugins. Write a plugin yourself based on one of ours. Incorporate the lessons we've shared into a presentation. The default answer, though, is "build a successful topic-based news site."
Who developed this?
Joel Sucherman (project director), Marc Lavallee (technology architect), Wes Lindamood (front-end developer / designer) and Matt Thompson (editorial coordinator). But we owe a debt to the many others whose work we built on.
I have a question about the project. How do I contact you?
Please direct questions about this project to projectargo (at) npr.org. If you're having trouble using one of our plugins or themes, please submit your issue to the corresponding feature page on github.