Externship Take-Aways & Notes

Sacramento Bee
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
Analytics & Metrics
  • Core tools used in the newsroom
    • Google Analytics (real time page views)
    • Newscurve by Neodata: reporter-centric analytics (and Nate’s most valued resource for tracking social engagement, internal stickiness, direct traffic, search terms and referral traffic)
      • real-time views
      • predictive modeling
      • KPI (Key Performance Indicator) – views
      • split-testing
      • creating a unique user experience
    • 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
    • Dashboards – Tableau
  • 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
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)
Research and Data Management

“Market Analysis” at the Sacramento Bee develops innovations in consumer segmentation, business models and predictive models. Core responsibilities and priorities include:

  1. Who are the customers?
  2. What do they want?
  3. How much are they willing to pay for what they want?

Tools and resources used:

  • Focus groups and surveys
  • Geofencing – puts a virtual fence around a business and delivers targeted ads to a customer’s phone as they walk through a store
  • Eye tracking
  • Sales trends, consumer demographics, preferences, needs, buying habits
  • Reader Panel (2000 subscribers in the Sacramento region)
    • Invited to participate via email
    • Gave prizes as incentives
    • Sent them ads and articles with 15 questions prompting local and national “norms”
    • Data used to inform local advertisers and change
  • Software
    • Nielsen ratings
    • MapInfo
    • ArcGIS
    • Simpify (retargeting cap)
    • SiteScout (real time bidding)
    • “Infinite Loop” for customer surveys
    • RAM – Research in Advertising and Marketing
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
  • Strategic changes:
    • Targeted sponsored content and boosts
    • Death of the 7-day printed paper by 2020
    • Core needs to remain original reporting
    • New journalists must understand the following:
      • analytics
      • Google News
      • social media engagement
      • get “beyond the tweet” in social engagement
      • video capture and editing skills
      • understand how to align advertising to content (or vice versa)
The Sacramento Bee Brand

Sacramento Bee Brand Pillars

1) Creates connections

2) Watches the powerful in the community

3) Be interesting

4) Saves time and money

The Bee’s “brand pillars” serve as the foundation for their priorities, tasks and decisions. Everything they do must find its way back to the pillars. With every leadership meeting, every story idea, every policy decision, they will ask how it relates to these brand attributes.

2014-15 Stanford Design School & McClatchy for “design thinking.” Outcomes and benefits for McClatchy:

  • Gave them a process and language for innovation
  • Helped them understand how advertisers and readers use news throughout their day
  • Helped inform style for print and digital
  • Rooted in research
  • Helped them understand how to ensure the preservation of quality and integrity of reporting through visual storytelling while empowering and supporting reporters in producing their own packages

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