News Leadership 3.0

June 02, 2009

Socia media projects reflect new outlooks

Aggregation, Facebook content, and personalizing reporting are part of social media inventory

I’ve been reading project proposals from 10 news organizations participating in KDMC’s class, “Using Social Media to Build Audience” which I am helping teach.

After a crash online course in social media, it’s exciting to see participants ready to adopt approaches that reflect a deepening understanding of how fundamentally the Web has changed the way people communicate and how news organizations can help them find and share information.

I’ll write more about specific projects as they take shape. For now a few themes are worth noting:

Aggregation. Editors see the potential value of becoming a guide to the local Internet, helping their users find blogs and online communities of interest off their sites, “creating a hub of networks that people might want to hook into,” as one editor put it. Coincidentally, one emerging model for this may be the Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow. Mark Potts explores this project in “The Future is Chicago Now.

Pushing content onto popular networks. News organizations have often been reluctant to do this, instead thinking they must lure users onto their own sites. But some users probably aren’t going to come. So reaching them with content on such mega-popular sites as Facebook and Twitter becomes more of an option. Many news organizations have adopted Twitter news feeds and Facebook groups or fan pages. But there’s more to come. One class participant, for example, will explore publishing a youth-oriented edition on Facebook, using a new application developed by NewsCloud.

Personalizing reporting.The conventional voice of your standard news story sometimes sits stiffly in the informal spaces of the Web. Letting go of that detached tone feels risky to the traditional journalist, as risky as actually letting go of the effort to be impartial. The increasing personalization of content online reflects the rise of the individual brand. A couple of news organizations will attempt to navigate this challenge with class projects that take users behind the scenes via blogs and other reports on how they got the story.

The formal work of the class is finished until the project teams meet at Knight Digital Media Center at USC/Annenberg in July. In the meantime, class participants are working on their projects with coaches with expertise in social media.


organizations have often been reluctant to do this, instead thinking they must lure users onto their own sites. But some users probably arenít going to come
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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

Get in touch with Michele at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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