News Leadership 3.0

May 04, 2009

Social media class: Networked news

This week the KDMC/NewsU class looks at examples of news sites that enable social usage

If you’re following the online class “Using Social Media to Build Audience,” this week we focus on news sites that are using social media. Below are summaries of and links to different efforts by news organizations to engage users with social media tools and practices. Please select at least three to explore this week.

As you look at the sites, start by trying to experience them as a user. Then look at them from the perspective of your news organization. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
  * User questions: Is it obvious what’s going on when I first encounter this site? Is it easy to get around? Is it interesting and engaging? Why would I come back? Or would I come back?
  * News organization questions: How do people engage on this site? Are they interacting with news that we provide? With one another? What is the news staff presence? Would this strategy work for my organization? Does the site have or suggest revenue opportunities? What questions do I have for site developers and operators?


1. NEIGHBORSGO, The Dallas Morning News

This highly local arm of The Dallas Morning News lets residents post stories, photos and other items that then are eligible to be included in one of the news organization’s weekly community print newspapers.

(Bonus material: Here’s a blog post by Paul Gillin. It includes a link to a 2008 interview by Paul with NeighborsGo Managing Editor Oscar Martinez.)

2. THE DAILY ON FACEBOOK, The Minnesota Daily

This experiment puts the University of Minnesota’s student newspaper on Facebook and asks students to contribute and take action to earn points and prizes.

(Bonus material: Here’s a recent blog post about this experiment by Michele McLellan.)

3. THE LOCAL, The New York Times

The gray lady ventures in to highly local coverage with blogs centered in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and New Jersey.

(Bonus material: Here’s a take on the Times new venture from another local blogger.)

4. BLOCK TALK, The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette

Gazette Online’s new Block Talk allows users to contribute news that is mapped.

(Bonus material: Developer Serra Media’s site features additional examples.)

5. CHARLOTTE MOMS, Charlotte Observer

This is a good example of a social network that many news organizations have implemented with success—a place where mothers can share information about raising families and having a life.

(Bonus material: For an edgier version of a parent network, check out Wired’s Geek Dad blog.)


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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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Support is provided by:

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

USC Annenberg School for Communication

McCormick Foundation

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute


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