Week 1 Highlights

Sacramento Bee

MEETINGS, INTERVIEWS & ENGAGEMENT:

  • Scott Lebar, managing editor
  • Linda Gonzales, digital team/editor
  • Bev Griffin, administrative support
  • Nate Miller, digital team/analytics
  • Brian Blomster, digital team/metro editor
  • Andrew Seng, photographer/Instagram
  • Amy Chance, political reporter and senior editor
  • Ed Fletcher, city reporter
  • Loretta Kalb, education reporter
  • Tyler Stobbe and Kevin Rolf, developers/data project
  • All-employee meeting July 21
  • ONA Sacramento Meetup with Google News representative Stacie Chan July 23 with Nate Miller
  • Intern lunch with Pat Talamantes July 24, 2015

TAKE-AWAYS & NOTES

PR/Media Relations

  • Writing
    • Online newsrooms are often valuable – keep them updated and current with press releases, broadcast/print-quality images, story starters, contacts
    • Newly introduced to “top lines” and “high lines” providing value-add to online applications
    • Do your homework on your reporter – embody their style, have awareness about length
  • Relationships
    • Connect with reporters before you need them
    • Follow them on their social media and blogs – share, like, retweet, comment when appropriate
    • Be a resource – even when it has nothing to do with the organization you represent
    • Remember reporters are people too – be respectful, give and take, be mindful of how they like to communicate with you
    • Be a partner. Help them do their job better.
  • Behavior & Practice
    • Transparency is paramount
    • Pay attention to the reporter’s work. When you call – know the last three stories they wrote.
    • Read the publication with emphasis on the relevant section for your organization – know the types of stories covered and plan accordingly.
    • Be accessible – return calls even if you don’t have new information
    • Be responsive especially in times of crisis or scandal – even if you don’t have the answers
    • Provide unique access whenever possible – the first on a story, to people, to locations

Digital/Social Media

  • Sac Bee digital focus areas – mobile web, apps, video and social sharing
  • Highlighted recent updates:
    • Visibility of sharing buttons and that they “travel” with scroll
    • Responsive design
    • New video player  (hides length of video as to limit bounces)
    • Stories are more visible and scannable
    • Visible “high lines” showcasing stats, quotes, facts or numbers
    • Visible “top lines” summarizing top 2-3 highlights of each story
  • Facts
    • Facebook 2015 monthly views are double  from the same period in 2014
    • Twitter views are up 55% from the same period in 2014
    • In mobile five key sections are highlighted that increase depth of readership (Top Stories, Sports, Local News, Politics and Entertainment)

Analytics & Metrics

  • Core tools used in the newsroom
    • Google Analytics (real time page views)
    • Newscurve: reporter-centric analytics (and Nate’s most valued resource for tracking social engagement, internal stickiness, direct traffic, search terms and referral traffic)
    • Tweetdeck
    • Twitter insights/analytics
    • Facebook Insights
    • Content Studio (CMS)
    • Ominture (story traffic in local DMA and real time edits to headlines, story placement and leads based on readership)
    • Domain Insights within Facebook
  • Nate’s resource list to stay on top of trends and industry best practices:
    • Peer newspapers
    • Poynter
    • Niemen Labs
    • My Media Bistro
    • “circles” in Google or LinkedIn with other individuals around the country with similar job descriptions
    • Mashable

Branding

  • The Sacramento Bee focuses on four pillars.
    1. Creates connections
    2. Watches the powerful in the community
    3. Be interesting
    4. Saves time and money
      • All initiatives and goals should circle back and fit into one or more of these pillars.
      • For example – how does a feature story on popular Sacramento hot spots for 20-somethings create connections [new sources for ad revenue] or generate interest [results in shares, likes, comments]?
  • Series, stories and activities resonating the four pillars:
    • Arena construction, drought/water issues, culture of sports, photo series, river dangers, homeless (creating connections)
    • Vaccine debate, Capitol Bureau, nursing home ownership, “accountability reporting”, mayoral sexual harassment claims (powerful in the community)
    • Wrong-way freeway collisions, affordability in home ownership, El Nino, engaging visual storytelling such as drone racing quadacopters an d SF 49ers playing ping pong in the locker room (be interesting)
    • Subscription based email blasts (sports, weekend wrap ups), Wednesday’s edition, advertising integration into video and social media (saving time and money)

Advertising

  • AGI is reshaping the organizational structure of the advertising department
  • Updates coming for direct marketing now that Penny Saver is out of commission
  • New focus on digital and capitalizing on digital opportunities in web, apps, social media and video
  • Joint goals in development with Audience and News
  • New initiatives for holidays

News/Information Industry (Sacramento Bee-centric)

  • Priority areas: video integration and visual storytelling with added support in equipment and training, increasing advertising revenue, reorganization of newsroom to be “digital first”, capitalization on the modern print edition
  • Firsts: Sacramento Bee was the first in McClatchy family to do 2020 initiative – setting the tone and paving the way for North and South Carolina and others that follow
  • Advertising changes – audience restructuring, separation of local and non-local segments, new distributor model for long-term  service improvements

Curriculum Impacts (so far)

  • Restructuring emphasis on writing. Press releases matter but mostly in the context of organization newsrooms.
  • Teach them how to write “top lines” and “high lines” in addition to the emphasis on SEO-centric headlines and leads
  • Increase emphasis on value of story starter
  • Increase emphasis on the email pitch and what that looks like (with reiteration on first step of relationship building)
  • More discussion and assignments around reporter research and long-term following of social media and published work
  • Add in simulation of reporter engagement (mock scenarios played out live in classroom)
  • Introduce technologies used in the newsroom and their analytics and tracking
  • Introduce the concept of brand in the context of the news and information industry
  • Restructure SEO discussion based on insights from Google News – focus more on their four main criteria: originality, timeliness, relevance and authority
  • Bring Google News interface into curriculum in COMSTRAT 383

NEWSROOM TECHNOLOGY & TOOLS

  • Neodata out of Italy for database and audience
  • Newscurve: reporter-centric analytics, story trend tool with real-time views, predictive modeling and views based on key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Database project – focus on creating a unique user experience through analysis, split-testing and real-time assessments
  • CCI (Newsgate) – population of story content, headlines, top lines, high lines, SEO terms, photo, video
  • Videolicious for capture, narration, editing of stories (phone app)
  • Adobe Lightroom for streamlined photo editing

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