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Archive for February 7th, 2014

Morning Sun Facebook updateRick Mills, editor of the Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., shared an important Facebook lesson with me this afternoon (added links and updated a bit):

You always think it’s the big stuff, the breaking news… but I posted something today about a popular local restaurant closing. Since then we’ve got 70 new followers, it’s been seen by more than 15,000 people, 69 have commented.

Lesson: It’s not always about tragedy. It’s about community, about the people we cover and the things they do. But I guess we already knew that.

The Morning Sun, by the way, is one of our newsrooms that has a bigger audience on Facebook than in the morning newspaper. Weekday print circulation is about 7,000. Sunday is over 8,000. Facebook fans topped 10,300 today.

Note in the screengrab above that the post has been shared more than 200 times. “Likes” aren’t very high (probably because it’s bad news and Facebook hasn’t added a “dislike” option yet).

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Project Unbolt logoSince last week’s announcement of Project Unbolt, various news-industry blogs have taken note:

Sam Kirkland of Poynter interviewed me and noted how we’re hoping to change our approaches to various types of stories (I’ll be blogging more about this soon):

Newspapers have become comfortable publishing content online before it runs in print, but the nature of that content has been influenced by newspaper thinking throughout the planning, reporting, writing and editing process. So Project Unbolt is about going beyond publishing content first on digital; it’s about publishing content first on digital in a digital-native way.

Alastair Reid of Journalism.co.uk interviewed me and we discussed the same topic:

In terms of coverage, Buttry said DFM newsrooms “want to move to live coverage as a default setting” for diary or time-sensitive events, while newsworthy elements of longer, more time-intensive stories will be reported digitally before a comprehensive print publication.

“Does the first story plant the flag in the ground, start a conversation and do some crowdsourcing?” he asked. “And then it unfolds in digital formats with interactive databases and live chats and we might publish documents online, similar to what the Guardian did with the MPs expenses, and ask the readers to help find stories.”

“If we publish something online on a Wednesday, because it’s timely, then after a few days of discussion we’ll publish it in print on a Saturday. It doesn’t need to be online the day before if it is in print,” he said of how the digital and print processes may change. “These are the things we’ll be working on, and becoming more efficient at, in the print production from the digital content.”

Michael Depp of NetNewsCheck also addressed the changes in storytelling (I really need to address this soon):

But what do these kinds of workflow changes really come down to? Who at DFM is holding the machetes, hacking the first traces of a path into this purely digital future? And what should other media companies be looking for to steal for their own playbooks in terms of concrete practices with measurable results?

The early answers are surfacing among editors leading the project and the work of DFM’s more independent experimenters, some of whom are working at papers outside of the pilot. All of them are pointing to questions that, sooner or later, every journalist working in the digital age will have to squarely face. The biggest one: Is a story the final product of the reporting process?

Karen Fratti of 10,000 Words summarized the project well:

More than just refocusing attention to mobile reporting, engaging with audiences over social media or creating new ways to play with and use data, Project Unbolt is about actually changing how newsrooms think and act.

Muck Rack curated tweets from journalists about the project.

Maybe I’ve missed some other commentary or reporting on Project Unbolt. If you’ve seen something else, please share the links in the comments.

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