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  • 1. User Content: Andrew Chavez Associate Director / Digital Initiatives Texas Center for Community Journalism New Media for the News Media Workshop March 11 to 13, 2009 at the TCU Schieffer School of Journalism Meeting the user halfway
  • 2. Why do it? “ Nobody would tolerate if, at the end of ‘Meet the Press,’ a bunch of weirdos stormed the studio and started screaming weird racist stuff. They’d call the police.” — Ken Layne , editor of the Wonkette
  • 3. Types of user interaction
      • Commenting
      • Polls
      • Social networks
      • User content
      • E-mail newsletters
      • Author information/photos
  • 4. Commenting and User Feedback A good newspaper is “ a nation talking to itself.” — Arthur Miller
  • 5. Best practices for managing the “commentocracy”
      • Set enforceable standards
        • Differentiate between opinion and dangerous content
        • Make users part of the policing
      • Facilitate, don’t dictate the dialogue
      • Be ready for some criticism
  • 6. Inserting comment functions
      • Built-in functions
        • Scalable
        • Easier to manage/moderate
      • Free online tools
        • Manually inserted
        • Can’t always be retroactively managed
        • Rely on outside provider
  • 7. JS-Kit
      • Provides comments, ratings and polling functions for your site using Javascript
      • Only charged for high usage and special features
      • Can be styled to match the rest of your site
    $0 Price tag:
      • Must know how to embed code
      • Have access to your page’s HTML
    Skills needed
  • 8. Social Networks
  • 9. Who is using them Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press
  • 10. How you can use them
      • Crowd sourcing
        • Ask your readers for ideas
        • “ Friend” and “Follow” your sources, readers
      • Personify your staff
        • Post pictures from around the newsroom
      • Promote your site content (most important)
        • Use status updates and microblogs to link
        • Create “events” and “evites”
  • 11. User Content “ User-generated content is all the rage, but most of it totally sucks.” — Jonah Peretti , co-founder of the Huffington Post
  • 12. User content
      • Gives your readers ownership
      • Diverts traffic from other content-sharing sites
      • Gives you a “virtual staff”
        • You can’t be everywhere
        • Frees your staff to focus on what they’re best at
      • Is FREE
  • 13. How to do it
      • E-mail submissions
      • Linking
        • Users submit content to other sites and you link to them
        • Decreases bandwidth costs
      • Built-in system
        • Keeps users on your site
        • May be expensive to set up
        • Increases bandwidth costs and required technical skills
  • 14. A few examples
      • Pet photos
      • Halloween costume photos (with directions on how to make them)
      • Favorite recipes (as text or video)
      • Money-saving tips
      • Photo contests
      • Restaurant reviews
  • 15. The Huffington Post method: the “mullet strategy” from co-founder Jonah Peretti
      • BuzzFeed says it’s “business up front, party in the back”
      • “ The mullet strategy invites users to ‘argue and vent on the secondary pages, but professional editors keep the front page looking sharp.”
      • “ The mullet strategy is here to stay, because the best way for Web companies to increase traffic is to let users have control, but the best way to sell advertising is a slick, pretty front page where corporate sponsors can admire their brands.”