#RJInnovation (2012): What is engagement?

By RJI on April 23, 2012 0 Comments Ideas Experiments

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.?)

And…

Measuring success.

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.

Interested in more engagement ideas from Joy Mayer? Find them here.

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