Tag Archives: crowdsourcing

Phoenix Jones, Open Newsroom, Scanning Photos: Tips for Editors

Prompt of the Day
Does your town need a superhero to fight crime? Make a reference to Phoenix Jones, the self-styled superhero arrested in a paper spray incident in Seattle. Jones's names is at the top of the Google hot search list early Tuesday morning. Here's the rest of the round up of editor tips (short url's includede to make sharing easier).

Open newsroom
Call it budget, sked or newslist – when newsrooms turn process into product and plan in the open, everyone wins: http://bit.ly/ptWxaK The Guardian has started publishing its news budget on the web, letting readers in on the process. From Dan Roberts, a Guardian editor – Have Your Say:

What if all those experts who delight in telling us what's wrong with our stories after they've been published could be enlisted into giving us more clues beforehand? What if the process of working out what to investigate actually becomes part of the news itself?
It might seem a minority pursuit, but the experience of covering breaking news already suggests otherwise. Like many websites, we are discovering some of our best-read stories are the live blogs that report events as they unfold, often with brutal honesty about what we don't know or hope to find out.

What do we learn? The Guardian business news desk is kicking of the earnings season with a report on Alcoa's earnings and a politician's plan to crackdown on internet porn will be subject to a "reality check." It turns out the hidden plans of a newsroom gain nothing by being kept private.

In praising this step, Matthew Ingram of GigaOm (Memo to Newspapers: Let Your Readers Inside the Wall) says the time for secrecy is over: "Either newspapers develop a more balanced relationship with the people formerly known as the audience, by allowing them to contribute to the process, or they will find their audience has gone elsewhere."

Value of Photos — From Your Archives, From the Police
In Conway, Ark., the Log Cabin Democrat has been scanning and publishing 5,000 photos a month. It organized them into what it calls the Conwaypedia. Another initiative from this Morris newspaper is Faulkner County Booked, which is attracting 300,000 pageviews a month.
These steps are part of the Morris drive to put digital first. A Morris exec, Derek May, posted this more detailed explanation of what the company is doing in an attempt to reverse a 40% drop in revenue and a 75% drop in profits over five years.
Digital first might have a familiar ring: Digital First, of course is the holding company for the JRC and MediaNews Group newspapers, from San Jose to New Haven.
It's also the rallying cry in papers from Seattle to Wichita:
In Seattle Times’ new digital-first newsroom, roles change to ‘creation, curation, community’ | Poynter. http://bit.ly/n0nzcE
Wichita Eagle: Testing a new organizational model for a digital-first newsroom | Knight Digital Media Center http://bit.ly/okhsUf
Making the most of every frame captured by staff photographers and your readers keeps readers engaged. When my hometown paper published a gallery showing the opening of a new fire station, our family was delighted to find this photo of my father: Photo Gallery: Canton's New Fire Station -  CantonRep.com http://bit.ly/nIKxE6  One tip: allow readers to add caption material.

Pumpkins, Unicef and Pet Costumes: Halloween Ideas
Who runs the pumpkin contest in your market? Size matters: 1,704-pound pumpkin earns CA farmer $10,224 in Pumpkin Weigh-off prize money: http://bit.ly/p7K0Ma

Unicef Halloween drive is a good peg for a prompt: Are you donating to Unicef this year?
UNICEF's Little Orange Box Goes Digital This Halloween http://on.mash.to/qlPEZc

Favorite pet costumes: MainStreet.com has a pet costume roundup: http://bit.ly/rqKgyO

Have you brainstormed your Halloween coverage plan? Have you been inspired by the Guardian to publish a list of stories your have in the works?

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Filed under Crowd sourcing, Current Affairs, Hyper-local, Social networking

Living Legends, Lessons From a Postal Stamp Prompt

Who in your area should be on a stamp?

What's the point of of questioning the audience? In your newsroom, when you ask a question across your site and social media platforms, do you have a metric for success? Is it 20 responses? 200? Somewhere in between? 

Do you know what brings more responses — time of day, wording of question, amplification by repeating across platforms? Is someone in charge of keeping track of what works and what doesn't and issuing guidance?

If you typically ask one question a day and generate 100 comments or responses a week, what can you do to increase that by a factor of 10? Who in the newsroom has suggestions for steps to take that might make that much of a difference?

Asking a question is not a resource issue — it takes two minutes to go to Facebook and ask "what should we cover today?" or "how are we doing?" 

It does take a few more minutes to monitor your activity and make adjustments so that week by week you engage more readers.

The Objective A highly engaged audience that is regularly creating content, a newsroom that initiates discussion, readers who react to news by spending time with your brand. 

Measures of Success Comments, likes, clicks, page views, new questions, discussion threads — and journalists who repurpose those discussions into articles or posts for a website or a print product.

Who's doing it well? Here's some evidence from a postal prompt about what works and what doesn't. If you have not asked a "who should be on a stamp" question, today is a good day. (Short url's included to ease sharing.)

The Indianapolis Star in one day had 17 Facebook likes and about 80 comments on a survey: who from Indiana should be on a stamp? Who will it be? Time for Indiana living legend on postage stamp | indystar.com http://bit.ly/nD5tYm Note the large photo of a favorite son.

The AP asked on Facebook and received 96 comments in the first day: http://on.fb.me/potHOi They amplified the request with a Twitter prompt that did two important things: directed people to Facebook and seeded the question with some possible answers from top names trending on Google search: Twitter / @AP: Interesting ideas of who belongs on a stamp — Wangari Maathai? Chuck Norris? — are on our Facebook page http://bit.ly/oBJFIAThe AP tweet to 500,000 followers had two dozen retweets: https://bitly.com/potHOi+

The Tennessean asked on its site and across social media feeds for local living legends worth featuring on a stamp. From the managing editor's Twitter feed @megdowney: I vote John Seigenthaler. @Tennessean. Which living TN legend would you want to see on a stamp? http://t.co/FQYiUpmI

Seeding the conversation with a few names seems to work. The Des Moines Register drew 50 comments on Facebook on the first day with this prompt:What living Iowan should be on a stamp? The U.S. Postal Service has changed the rules to allow living people to be honored on postage stamps. So — who would be your Iowa choice? (Around the newsroom, suggestions included Hayden Fry, Slipknot, Fred Hoiberg, Shawn Johnson and Captain James T. Kirk.)  http://on.fb.me/nrxUyi

A post on the Register's site had a bold call out asking readers to go to the Facebook page to answer: Who do you think should be first living Iowan on a stamp? | DesMoinesRegister.com http://bit.ly/pkeFDu

Lauren Wilbert List, a community producer for the Times-Picayune website, Nola.com, received more than 20 comments when she asked the question: Which living person would you like to see on a stamp?  http://bit.ly/oakFyw

The LA Times fashion writer set up a survey: Poll: Which living face of fashion belongs on a U.S. stamp? – latimes.com http://lat.ms/nMFfTf

There were 89 comments in a day and a half on this Florida news site, and note that the writer included an email address for readers who wanted to add a suggestion without leaving a comment. Does that mean there will be a followup? What living American would you like to see on a stamp? Let us know – St. Petersburg Times http://bit.ly/p4ll6k

How many news organizations will do more than just collect a few comments? The Postal Service is inviting official submissions. Here are the official stamp criteria from the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee http://bit.ly/nfjDx4

This is an opportunity to keep the conversation going, to solicit a list of names, to put out a poll, to narrow the list to the top five, to formally submit the names on behalf of your audience, and to report back the status of the request. The requests can be segmented by geography or topic area: who would be your metro area choice? your state choice? who would be your choice from among local sports stars? fashion stars? business stars? civic leaders? entertainers?

Each one of those points is an opportunity for deeper audience engagement. 

What is working for you? 

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Filed under Business models, Crowd sourcing, Social networking, User-generated content

Lessons From Reno: Time For A Disaster Drill

The Reno Gazette-Journal is a Gannett paper with a 54,000 Sunday circulation and a Facebook page that has 2,982 likes: RGJ.com – Reno | Facebook http://on.fb.me/oiqmNs

On a typical day, there would be four or five Facebook posts, including direct invitations to readers: Take our Reno casino history quizhttp://on.fb.me/rmNeU1.

When a plane crashed into the crowd at the Reno Air Race on Friday, the RGJ Facebook page and the @RGJ Twitter stream became essential parts of the information flow. One of the first posts was a call for reader photos or information. A community member who responded with a comment from the scene and made it clear that the toll was extensive: http://on.fb.me/q1CU1A

It was on Twitter, though, that @RGJ made more of a mark. Gazette-Journal reporters filed sentence-by-sentence updates on Twitter from the National Transportation Board briefings. Example below.

rgj RGJ.com NTSB: They found multiple memory cards at the accident site. Not sure if any of them are from the plane's video system. #renoairraces

rgj RGJ.com Rosekind: The memory card is the same kind you might have in your own video recorder. #renoairraces
rgj RGJ.com NTSB spokesman Mark Rosekind is the official conducting the press briefing. #renoairraces
Has your newsroom udpated your disaster plan to match readers' digital expectations? How will you use social media? Will your FB and Twitter feeds be linked? When disaster strikes, will you handle these platforms following the same processes you do now? What is an appropriate pace for Twitter and Facebook updates? Will there be a 12-hour hole in your updating schedule?

Andy Carvin of NPR was one of the first to tweet about the audience video of the crash. He also tweeted a note saying how he found it

@acarvin: For those who asked: I found eyewitness to #renocrash and the long video by searching for "OMG" & various expletives in Reno.

Is your newsroom ready to beat the national media use of Facebook and Twitter to report from your own backyard? This is a good week to raise these issues at a staff meeting.

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Filed under Crowd sourcing, Social networking