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Archive for the ‘community engagement’ Category

In a discussion in the comments on a blog post this week, Dan Mitchell dismissed “reader engagement” as a “squishy phrase” with vague meaning and no true value. He called engagement an “overblown concept.”

I’m pretty sure I failed to convince Mitchell of the value of engagement. He has plenty of company in being dismissive of engagement as a buzzword without real value for news organizations. Many also confuse engagement with promotion (some of Mitchell’s points addressed web traffic).

But, as I’ve said for years, engagement is about doing better journalism:

Krystal Knapp, publisher and founding editor of Planet Princeton, provided an excellent example. NBC News had proclaimed that Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman was in a “voluntary quarantine” following her return from covering the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

Krystal reported that Snyderman, who lives in Princeton, had been seen out in public in the community. Jeff Edelstein, a columnist at the Trentonian, wrote about the situation and called it to my attention:

I praised Krystal for breaking that national story (the state of New Jersey made the quarantine mandatory today and NJ News Commons curated the story):

And she gave credit to her communty:

That’s why community engagement isn’t squishy and isn’t a buzzword. It’s an essential technique for getting and doing better stories.

Update: After I sent Krystal a link to this post, she added this in a Facebook message:

I agree 100% about community engagement. I measure success based on engagement. If I am not engaging readers in my community I am not doing my job, given that I am a community news site.

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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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Update: The Reporter-Herald in Loveland, Colo., wins the fall engagement contest with its Vietnam veterans project (which I’ve moved to the top of the listing below).

The Reporter-Herald took second in our Valentine’s Day engagement project, but will win a bigger box of candy this year. Second-place in fall engagement goes to the Berkshire Eagle for its scary photo both (moved to second in the listing below).

The Reporter-Herald won 105 votes (41 percent), well ahead of the Eagle at 88 votes and 34 percent. The Daily Freeman and Marin Independent Journal tied for third place with 21 votes each.

Congratulations to Jessica Benes and her colleagues. The candy will go out today.

Halloween is a good day to launch voting for the best fall engagement project at Digital First Media.

Early in October, I sought nominations. Now it’s your turn to vote for the best. Please read all the nominations, then come back up to vote.

Some of them have been edited slightly, mostly because they referred to events that were upcoming but have now passed. I have asked the nominators for updates where appropriate. I have included the updates I received, and will add others if I receive them. (And, if I’ve missed an entry, please let me know right away!)

I should make one point clear before you vote: The entries didn’t have to be specifically fall-themed (Halloween, leaves, elections, football, etc.). If you engaged your community this fall, your project is eligible. So go ahead and vote (and encourage your colleagues and community to vote). I will close the voting Monday night and announce the winner on Tuesday. I’ll send a Priority Mail box stuffed with Halloween candy to the winning newsroom.

The nominees are posted below, first those submitted in the comments on my first blog post, in the order I received them, then those submitted through a DFM Google group, then one submitted by email:

Reporter-Herald

Reporter Herald stories about Vietnam veterans

Jessica Benes’ nomination:

The Associated Veteran’s Club in Loveland is honoring Vietnam Vets this Veteran’s Day, welcoming them home since the Vietnam War was not a pleasant war to be part of. I am writing a weekly series on Vietnam vets, highlighting a few local ones, and inviting the community to call a Google Voice number and leave messages of thanks to Vietnam vets. Those calls will be posted online with photos and transcribed in the paper for a Veteran’s Day story.

This will be our Sunday package on Nov. 10. So the big story will be Nov. 10 rather than Nov. 11. Here are some links following. In addition, I’ve been adding a Storify slideshow of Tout videos and quotes to each story, adding to the Storify as I complete another vet story.

(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

Tout

Berkshire Eagle sports page (to show sports SocialWire)

Berkshire Eagle SocialWire

These links relate to Ivan’s presentations:

Flickr map

Statigram

Twitter Advanced Search

Google Images

TinEye

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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