ReportingOn: Launch, lessons learned, and progress on Phase 2


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As presented at BCNIPhilly in April 2009 by Ryan Sholin.

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ReportingOn: Launch, lessons learned, and progress on Phase 2

  1. 1. ReportingOn (This is a presentation I gave at BCNIPhilly on April 25, 2009.)
  2. 2. An introduction The Spartan Daily newsroom at San Jose State University circa May 2006. A student media organization operates in a bubble, rarely collaborating with other schools when it comes to content, except for sports photos of away games.
  3. 3. An introduction When I wrote this story, I communicated by phone and e-mail with a reporter at the Dallas Morning News who acted as a mentor of sorts, steering me in the right direction.
  4. 4. An introduction At the Santa Cruz Sentinel, I worked in a generally young newsroom with a lack of institutional memory, and at times, high staff turnover at times. It was hard for reporters new to a beat to add any context to their stories.
  5. 5. An introduction At GateHouse Media, I worked with hundreds of disconnected reporters and editors, each operating in a tiny newsroom bubble. They knew how to share content, and even ideas about craft on a regional scale, but had no channel for talking about the content of their stories, pre-publication.
  6. 6. An introduction Newsroom bubble.   High turnover.  Institutional memory. Can we help reporters pop the newsroom bubble and replace institutional memory with collective guidance?
  7. 7. Questions Context?   Connections?  Community? If only there was a way to add context to reporting while making connections with mentors and forming a community around those connections to better track and codify them...
  8. 8. Answer A backchannel for your beat. This tagline, defined:
  9. 9. Inspiration Twitter  Facebook  Digg  Low barriers to communication, connection, community.
  10. 10. Phase 1 Launched October 1, 2008, powered by Django, developed and designed solo.
  11. 11. Phase 1 1222  members  449 updates  50 daily visits Traffic started high and then tapered off with occasional bursts after fresh links from prominent blogs.
  12. 12. Challenges Biggest challenge: DIY has its limits.Trying to do it all by  myself.  What's my motivation?  Twitter is faster than me.  Translate this?  Public Relations Sharks.
  13. 13. Wait a minute. Did I just build a database of beat reporters that makes it really easy for PR practitioners to find and contact journalists, neatly tagged with the beat(s) they cover? For better ways to connect PR and journalists, see HARO and PitchEngine. Is that a problem?
  14. 14. Next Steps Hire developers! The ReportingOn development team?  Lion Burger.  Please phrase that in the form of a question.  Tie into Twitter, loosely.  Quick & dirty translation.  Tag those sharks.
  15. 15. Phase 2 This is a mockup. Ask a question, get an answer. Or six. Vote up the best questions and answers. Earn points, get badges, feed your ego. Hot topics bubble to the surface. Track your beats, other reporters, searches, and answers to your questions.
  16. 16. Phase 2 This is a mockup. See a good answer to a question on your beat? Find a journalist, check out what they follow. Answer their questions, or follow their answers. Make new connections, develop your beat’s community.
  17. 17. Open When it’s done, ReportingOn will be open-sourced, so you can carve your own question & answer tool out of it. Maybe you want a private version for your news organization, or you want to ask your readers questions....
  18. 18. More  Highly recommended:  Start thinking about a Knight Newsnow. Start crafting your Challenge proposal for  2010 pitch, talking about it, sharpen your ideas now.    