By David Earl
Quick Tips for Bringing Engagement to Your Newsroom: Tending the Fire You Started
Using the model from British newspaper The Guardian, a pioneer in engagement, Missourian Community Outreach Coordinator and 2010-2011 Reynolds Fellow Joy Mayer works to get news consumers involved pre-publication, and journalists engaged post-publication. Engagement happens through the following:
Identifying the audience.
Ask yourself, who would read this story? How would they read it? (i.e. on an iPad, on the website, in print, etc.?)
Try anything, but start with a clear idea of what success will look like to you. Visualize what your goal is, what you are trying to achieve through a particular form of engagement. Is it page views? Is it awareness? That decision is yours.
Ask your audience, “What do you think we should ask of our sources?”
- Let the readers know what you are covering before you publish. They can point reporters in the right direction, point out oversights, even act as sources.
- But, the best responses are given when something of substance is provided. Don’t just ask open questions. Tell the readers: “We’ll show you some of ours, now you show us some of yours.”
Be an online curator.
- Quiz your audience on certain topics as a way to get them into one of your stories on that particular topic.
- Traditional journalism always does reaction stories, why not track online reaction to a story? Online social media tool Storify can do this for any story. It’s an immediate snapshot of your online community.
Invite your readers to report errors.
- If you’re wrong, don’t you want to know?
The ultimate goal of engagement is efficiency. It’s an added layer that promotes more complete “coverage,” these tactics are easy to implement – the best methods don’t require a separate team, and engagement gets you attention.