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Posts Tagged ‘community engagement’

Jay Rosen

Jay Rosen

Jay Rosen, one of the leading thinkers in journalism and journalism education, is teaching a “digital thinking” class that I’d love to take and that I might sometime want to teach, stealing liberally from Jay.

But for now, he asked for my feedback. So I’m going to give the feedback here, because I want to spread the word about Jay’s thoughtful approach to digital thinking, as well as milk a blog post from my feedback to Jay. (Ask me a question that would result in a long email response, and I’m going to make it do double duty on the blog, unless it’s a private matter.)

In a Twitter direct message, Jay likened his class to my work on Project Unbolt during my last few months with Digital First Media. My initial reaction was that Project Unbolt was about action and Jay’s class is about thinking, but of course, the two go together. Digital thinking changes how you work and changing how you work changes how you think. One of my first blog posts for my DFM colleagues was about digital thinking.

Below are the main “currents and trends” Jay expects to cover in the class. He wants students in each case to learn “what it means, why it’s important, and where things are going with it.” I encourage reading Jay’s post, which has links to earlier posts he has done, as well as material from others.

What I do here is post Jay’s key points (in bold), followed by some of his explanation and my comments and any links to posts I’ve written that might be helpful. I recommend reading Jay’s blog to get all his comments and the links he shared, which elaborate well on his points. I’m ripping him off extensively here, but not totally. (more…)

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I’ll be discussing the business value of engagement today at ONACamp Phoenix.

I believe that deep engagement on three levels is essential to the success of news organizations in the digital marketplace:

  • Newsrooms and individual journalists need to engage our communities effectively to produce outstanding journalism.
  • News organizations need to engage communities in marketing our content.
  • Engagement provides excellent opportunities to make money serving business customers.

I’ve blogged already about some of these ideas and I hope to elaborate in coming weeks on others. But I’ll elaborate a bit on all three here:

News engagement

I’ve blogged considerably before about engagement techniques that elevate our journalism: (more…)

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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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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

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“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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Trentonian bracketLet’s have some fun with March engagement projects.

My Valentine’s engagement contest resulted in 10 great engagement ideas. I’d love to get enough ideas for March engagement to use some kind of bracket in the contest.

Tell me about your newsroom’s March engagement project. It can be something related to the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament (as the Trentonian did last year in its best-bar bracket, shown above). You can do something relating to the start of spring or to St. Patrick’s Day. Your project can involve engagement around the March religious holidays: Lent, Easter, Passover or another holiday that’s important in your community. Or maybe you’ll engage around something else such as a community event.

What you need to do is use this entry form to tell me about your project (including a link). The engagement project doesn’t need to be finished to join the contest, but you do need to have announced it. The deadline for entries is March 11. I will launch the contest with a blog post the following day (a week before the start of the NCAA tournament). The entry form invites your suggestions for how the contest will run. I’d like to involve a bracket in some way. And I’m open to a two-phase tournament, weeding the field to some finalists (and allowing the finalists to provide updates on how their projects are going) for a second phase of voting.

The Valentine’s contests this year and last were limited to my blog. But we’re running this contest on both my blog and Inside Thunderdome (where you can regularly find weekly live chats with leading journalists, spotlight features on Digital First Media journalism, our monthly DFMie winners and other news about our company).

My Valentine’s contests were open to Digital First Media newsrooms. But we’re interested in learning from successful engagement by other newsrooms, too, so I’m opening this contest to non-DFM newsrooms. Any journalistic venture can join this contest. (I may have separate brackets for DFM and non-DFM newsrooms. And be warned that DFM staffers might be disproportionately represented among readers of these blogs. So you’d better plan on some campaigning for your entry.)

I also welcome your suggestions for reasonable prizes for the winning newsrooms. My default prize is boxes of candy, a bigger one for the winning newsrooms and a smaller one for the runner up. The Saratogian (winner) and Reporter Herald newsrooms celebrated their Valentine’s victories:

A final point: That entry form was really easy to make using Google Forms. If you’re not using them as an engagement tool, you might consider how to use them in your engagement project. They’re simple to use. Go to Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), click “create” and choose “form” from the options. From there, the options are pretty self-explanatory. You click Send Form to get the link to share. Or you can just click “view live form” and send that link. You can view the responses by clicking “responses” (one of the options is to create a spreadsheet for your responses, which I did).

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Update: The runaway winner for the best Digital First Valentine’s engagement project is the Saratogian, with The Crazy Things We Do for Love. The Saratogian won 365 votes out of 750 votes cast, or 49 percent, a landslide in a 10-way race. A box of Valentine’s candy will be shipped out today to the new (and obviously successful engagement editor Aubree Cutkomp for the newsroom to share.

A second-place box will go out to the Reporter-Herald, which got 133 votes or 18 percent. Defending champion Smart magazine in York, Pa., got 78 votes, just over 10 percent. Thanks to all the newsrooms who participated, and congratulations on lots of successful engagement. Scroll down to read about the winning projects and the rest.

Here’s the original post: As lovers prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Digital First newsrooms are engaging their communities in romance and fun.

Last year, I sent off boxes of Valentine’s candy to the York Daily Record and the Morning  Sun to reward their Valentine’s engagement, voted the best by readers of my blog. I was probably going to let the holiday slide by without note here, but Jessica Benes of the Reporter-Herald in Loveland, Colo., asked if I was going to reprise the contest. So I asked my colleagues to send me their accounts of what they were doing. I’ll let them make their pitches here (in the order submitted, with light editing).

After you’ve read them, please scroll back up here to vote. Again, the winning newsroom gets a Priority Mail box stuffed with Valentine’s candy.

It’s too late for you to compete for the candy if you’re not listed here, but it’s probably not too late to steal one of these ideas (give credit, please, as Jennifer Connor did in the final entry here) for some Valentine’s fun this week.

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