Archive for the ‘community engagement’ Category

Update: The Front Range newsrooms are the runaway winner, with 121 votes for their holiday lights project. Lights projects ruled this contest, with the Daily Freeman taking second with 44 votes and the Denver Post third with 23, both for holiday lights projects.

I’ll be shipping candy out today to the Front Range newsrooms (yikes! I’ll have to mail to four locations). Congratulations! (And everyone else should read how they did the project and emulate them next holiday season.)

It’s time to vote for the best winter engagement project from Digital First Media newsrooms.

I have lightly edited some of the nominations, changing tenses, combining multiple messages, etc. Several of our entries are maps featuring local holiday light displays. I’ll group those together at the end of the post, following the non-light entries.

The nominations are presented with those made by comments on the blog first, then nominations in the engagement Google group, then emails to me, in the order I received them. We had one nomination for a project pegged to New Year’s Day, but it encountered problems and was withdrawn. If I’ve overlooked a project that was submitted, please alert me and I’ll add it. (more…)

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Martin Reynolds (in the doorway) shows off the News MoJo to Northern California Digital First colleagues.

Martin Reynolds (in the doorway) shows off the News MoJo to Northern California Digital First colleagues.

This week I led engagement workshops at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., and at the Santa Cruz Sentinel for Digital First Media newsrooms in Northern California.

I’m posting the links and slides here for the benefit of people attending the workshops.

Martin Reynolds led sessions on Oakland Voices (particularly discussing a post by Adimu Madyun) and on the forums and workshops he leads for the Bay Area News Group, including forums on asthma, Trayvon Martin and diversity in San Mateo and a workshop on public records. Martin also showed the News MoJo van and discussed how it can help in community engagement and news coverage.

Lanz Christian Bañes led a session on photo engagement (assisted by Chris Riley in the Vacaville workshop), discussing their Our Town and Generation Snaps projects. (Watch for more on those projects soon on the Inside Thunderdome blog.)

Here are Lanz’s slides: (more…)

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Winter holidays present ample engagement opportunities for newsrooms.

Let’s explore some of those opportunities in a contest.

For the next week or so, I’m going to collect nominations from Digital First newsrooms, explaining your engagement projects. Sometime after I gather all the nominations, I’ll post them here and voting will begin. The winning newsroom (or two) will receive a Priority Mail box stuffed with candy.

Your engagement project needs to be something that’s conducted at least in part between Veterans Day and New Year’s Day. It doesn’t have to be tied to a holiday, but obviously holidays present lots of opportunities: (more…)

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I spent last week visiting four Digital First newsrooms in New England.

On Tuesday, I collaborated with several colleagues on an engagement workshop for Digital First colleagues in New England and New York.

Here are the slides that Mandy Jenkins, Ivan Lajara and I used in the workshop.

Laura Lofgren used this presentation on engaging through Facebook.

Mandy used these links in her presentations:

New Haven Register live events

Scribble Market


Berkshire Eagle sports page (to show sports SocialWire)

Berkshire Eagle SocialWire

These links relate to Ivan’s presentations:

Flickr map


Twitter Advanced Search

Google Images


Karma Decay

Curation in journalism

Google Glass and journalism

Ivan’s Google Glass posts curated on RebelMouse

Google Glass photos

Reddit AMA on Google Glass

Ivan’s Glassplainer Touts

Storify bookmarklet

Using the RebelMouse bookmarklet

Kelly Fincham’s Updated guide to Storify for journalists

Storify best practices

RebelMouse How-tos

Getting started on RebelMouse

DFMchat on RebelMouse and Storify

Earlier posts on this blog relating to topics we discussed in the engagement workshop:

What does community engagement mean?

Facebook news-feed changes mean newsrooms need new engagement strategies

Community fun drives Facebook engagement

‘Remember when?’ photos have great engagement potential

Don’t be selfish on Twitter; tweeting useful information is good business

Advice for building engagement through newsroom Twitter accounts

Links to all my #twutorial blog posts

Other workshops I did in the New England newsrooms related to these posts:

How a Digital First approach guides a journalist’s work

Make every word count

Strong from the start

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What is your newsroom doing to engage your community this month?

Fall offers a wide range of engagement opportunities:

  • Halloween is a time of fun for children and adults. You could invite people to submit photos or videos of costumes, then have community vote for the best costume (perhaps with awards in different categories: funny, scary, homemade, age groups, etc.). You could invite submissions for recipes for Halloween parties. You could map community haunted houses, Halloween events and lavishly decorated homes and yards.
  • Football provides engagement opportunities: seeking photos and videos from high school (or youth) games and/or from tailgate parties; fantasy leagues; predictions (high school, college and/or pro).
  • Maybe your local major league team is in the baseball post-season and you’re engaging around baseball. (more…)

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I’m going to be interested in watching the New Haven Register’s effort to engage the community in an always-running liveblog:

The blog is at asktheregister.com and the community can ask questions on the liveblog or on Twitter by using the hashtag #asktheregister.

Initial posts include the budget of stories the Register staff is working on today and an admission by Connecticut Editor Matt DeRienzo that the Register is weak today on planning to cover the local impact of the federal government shutdown.

The blog “will enable readers to provide feedback or ask questions about what or how we’re covering particular stories, or why we’re not covering something they deem important,” Matt said in a blog post announcing the blog.

I like the approach and hope it is successful in engaging the communities in and around New Haven in a discussion of local news and issues. Other newsrooms should watch as well and consider a similar liveblog if this is successful.

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I have been leading workshops this week at Digital First newsrooms in the Los Angeles area. The workshop varies in each newsroom, depending on questions and issues the journalists raise. Here are some links that supplement the discussions we’ve had:


Tips on liveblogging for journalists

Don’t be selfish on Twitter

Facebook news feed changes mean newsrooms need new engagement strategies

Using Google Voice for multimedia projects

Pottstown Mercury’s wanted-poster-style Pinboard is resulting in arrests


You can quote me on that: advice on attribution for journalists

Plagiarism and Fabrication Summit: Journalists need to use links to show our work

Linking and checklists could have prevented journalists from Manti Te’o ‘girlfriend’ hoax embarrassment

4 reasons why linking is good journalism; 2 reasons why linking is good business

A quiz to teach journalists about plagiarism and attribution

Social media

My #twutorial series of posts

Whether I use slides in the workshop depends on whether we’ve had projection available. And I’ve skipped around in the slides in the workshops, so different groups saw different slides. But these are the slides I used:

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I led an engagement workshop Wednesday for journalists in the Colorado/Utah cluster of Digital First Media.

Thanks to Dan Petty, Kim McDaniel, Aimee Heckel, Jessica Benes and Kelly Metz for leading different segments of the workshop.

Below are the slides used in the workshop. Aimee used Prezi presentations and links from her blog for presentations on interactive graphics and on using the iPad for reporting. You also might find slides and links from our March engagement workshop in West Chester, Pa., helpful. If you’d like, you can also replay the livestream.

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I led a workshop Tuesday at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa., for engagement editors in the Pennsylvania cluster of Digital First Media.

(The cluster actually includes the Trentonian and some weeklies in New Jersey, but the editor planning to come from the Trentonian had to cancel. And it includes the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, but they watched the livestream rather than making the long drive to join us in person.)

Thanks (again) to all the participants and to Mandy Jenkins, Ivan Lajara, Buffy Andrews, Diane Hoffman and Vince Carey, who helped me lead it.

If you participated in the workshop, I don’t recommend going through all this at once. I asked you in the workshop to choose one or two things to do this week. I’d read the links and/or re-watch the slides related to those one or two things. And then move on next week to the thing(s) you decided to try next week. I encourage digging into a single topic rather than trying to absorb everything at once.

Here are slides from Mandy, Ivan, Vince and me:


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Update: The March Engagement Madness winner is the Peeps contest of the Bay Area News Group. The Peeps defeated March Pet Madness, 540 to 329.

Boxes of candy will be heading to both newsrooms, the bigger one to the champions. (BANG covers several newsrooms, but the candy is headed for Walnut Creek, where Joan Morris, who spearheaded the project, works.

Read about the champion and the runner-up below:

Let the voting begin for March Engagement Madness championship: March Pet Madness vs. Peeps.

In the semifinals, the Morning Sun’s March Pet Madness, which has won the most votes in each of the first two rounds, came from behind to beat the York Daily Record’s Remember Series, 136-104. In the other semifinal, The Bay Area News Group’s Peeps contest beat the Loveland Herald’s Easter Egg Hunt, 83-38.

Vote for your favorite entry in the championship round. I’ll cut off the voting an declare a champion at 3 p.m. Friday. I’ll send a Priority Mail box stuffed with Easter candy to the winning newsroom.

Pets vs. Peeps

Peeps diorama contest

Source: mercurynews.com via Joan on Pinterest


“Peeps Blanket Babylon” by Dora Grinnell of San Jose, Calif.

Ann Tatko-Peterson explains:

Love them or hate them, Peeps are everywhere during the spring.

So as part of an annual contest, we ask readers to build dioramas using Peeps and submit photos of their creations. Three winning dioramas are featured in print; photos of the others make up an online slideshow.

All of the photos are posted in a Pinterest board. We also use Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to the contest.

Entries show each year how imaginative readers are — from a pirate ship and Dr. Frankenstein’s lab to a fire rescue and election-themed diorama.


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March Engagement Madness started a week ago with four first-round matchups.

The Morning Sun’s March Pet Madness had the strongest first-round performance, blowing away the Roving O’Herald project of the News-Herald, 74-34 in the Great Lakes Region. Roving O’Herald goes home with its head held high (note the deft use of sports clichés), though, winning more votes than two of our first-round winners.

Another first-round loser that outpolled two winners was the Los Angeles News Group’s Beer Bracket, which got a respectable 36 votes but still lost 44-36 in the West Region to the Bay Area News Group’s Peeps contest.

The closest contest was in the East Region, where both projects were entered by the York Daily Record. The Remember series beat another Peeps contest, 31-28.

In the Central Region, the Loveland Herald’s Easter Egg Hunt project beat the Pioneer Press’ Sexy Accountant project in a defensive struggle, 25-11.

In the next round, we have the East and Great Lakes winners facing off (a rematch of the top two entries in last year’s Valentine engagement contest) and the Central and West regions in a David-vs.-Goliath match between a small community daily and a regional engagement project:

Vote for your favorite entry in each semi-final. I originally planned to allow a week for voting in each round. But nearly all the votes come on the first day and we should wrap this up in March. So I’ll update Thursday with the championship matchup and will name the champion Friday afternoon.

Pets vs. Memories

 York Remember Series

Source: ydr.com via Matt on Pinterest


Buffy Andrews explains this project:

Our Remember series engages the community by asking readers to share memories of the past. Our topics have included everything from remembering World War II and S&H Greenstamps to Woodstock and TMI. We have done about 50 of these so far and our readers love it.

We ask readers to call a designated phone line and share their memory. We upload these audio files and share them with our readers online. Some of them are transcribed for print.

We then choose one person to interview for a story and shoot a video of that person to go along with the story. We also maintain a Remember series Pinterest board in which we pin an image from the story. The pin back links to the story online. Some readers have found the story via Pinterest. And we developed a Remember New Hive page.

We promote via all social media channels and find opportunities to get the stories back in front of our readers when it makes sense (ie. Remembering Blizzard of 1996 during a snowstorm, etc.)

When I started this project several years ago, I wanted to capture local oral histories and create an online repository. I felt like so much was being lost as the older generation passed away — memories of World War II or what it was like during the Depression, for example. I think it’s up to us to capture their oral histories and memories and preserve them for generations to come.

I proud of this project and what we have accomplished. And I’m grateful to my staffers who shared my vision from the beginning and have worked hard to build this valuable resource. Now, when students go looking for local history, this is one place they can check.

I’m always amazed at what we discover. For example, in March’s Watergate remember story that came out Sunday, we discovered something that Nixon did that I’m sure few, if any, knew about. What? You’ll have to read the story.

March Pet Madness

Source: Uploaded by user via MorningSun on Pinterest.


Holly Mahaffey of the Morning Sun explains:

Our overall plan is to do a March Madness-style bracket where readers submit photos and information about their pets, and we hold voting on each round to narrow down the bracket. The idea is for it to be a cute pet vs. pet competition where readers will vote who should move on based on cuteness, pet skills, things like that. Voting will take place through our Facebook page.

Our goals are to engage our readers in something fun and lighthearted, to increase our Pinterest following, bring additional exposure to our other social media accounts and to drive traffic to the website.

We solicited photos through social media and email, and got 64 submissions to fill out the brackets. We also made a Pinterest board with baseball card-style profiles of each pet so we can get some more eyeballs on our Pinterest page.

When we near the end of the project we plan to do a feature story about the final two pets and their owners, written sports-style, to encourage more of a frenzy of voting for the final ‘game.’

Easter Eggs vs. Peeps

Easter Egg Hunt

Reporter-Herald photo
Reporter-Herald photo

Jessica Benes of the Reporter-Herald explains:

We don’t want to be cliche and use words like “egg-stravaganza” and “egg-straordinary,” but the Loveland Reporter-Herald is hosting an egg-stra cool hunt for the prettiest eggs in time for Easter.

Our project will be in a couple of stages. We’re crowdsourcing through Facebook, Twitter and our website for egg decorators willing to give us tutorials on how to decorate awesome eggs. We invited the community to submit their photos of best decorated eggs to us by March 24, which will be placed in an ongoing slideshow and album on Facebook and Pinterest.

We will put those photos in an online poll March 24-27 to find the reader’s choice. We will interview the owner of that reader’s choice photo as well as four other unique eggs to feature in an Easter Sunday story of best eggs in Loveland.

BANG Peeps

Source: mercurynews.com via Joan on Pinterest


“Peeps Blanket Babylon” by Dora Grinnell of San Jose, Calif.

Ann Tatko-Peterson explains (and yes, we do have the possibility of Peeps vs. Peeps for the championship):

Love them or hate them, Peeps are everywhere during the spring.

So as part of an annual contest, we ask readers to build dioramas using Peeps and submit photos of their creations. Three winning dioramas are featured in print; photos of the others make up an online slideshow.

All of the photos are posted in a Pinterest board. We also use Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to the contest.

Entries show each year how imaginative readers are — from a pirate ship and Dr. Frankenstein’s lab to a fire rescue and election-themed diorama.

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We have eight Digital First Media projects competing in March Engagement Madness.

I asked newsrooms to enter projects seeking community engagement around the NCAA basketball tournament, the start of spring, religious holidays or other promotions going on now. I wish we had 64 projects to play off in a full bracket, but we’ll play it out with eight. As with our Valentine’s engagement contests, the winning newsroom will be paid off in candy.

I edited some of the entries to change tenses because some entered before contests that have now started or even concluded. Each of the four contests has a poll. Vote for your favorite entry in each region. Next week, I’ll update with the four winners and the following week we’ll play off the top two.

East Region

We have two projects from the York Daily Record (winner of last year’s Valentine engagement contest). While I considered putting them in different brackets for a potential matchup for the championship, I want to keep as many newsrooms as possible engaged with the voting here as long as we can. Also, the eight entries group pretty well geographically. So Round One is York vs. York: (more…)

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