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Senior Product Manager
The Bakersfield Californian
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Making the audience part of the conversation
How has media changed?
The line between reporter and reader is blurring.
– Reporters getting scooped by bloggers
– Collective blogs (citizen journalism), re-editing (slashdot)
Readers expect more of a conversation
– Point and counterpoint between reporters, bloggers, readers
– The term “readers” is tired. “Audience” the new buzz word.
And it’s not just happening with news!
– Social networking (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn) is emerging
as a major mass medium, especially with younger audiences
– Self-serve advertising is taking over, largely outside of our walls
Why is Participation Important?
As audiences fragment, community ties them together.
– Less time, more choices, and enabling technology cause people to
gravitate toward the 1 or 2 things they care most about.
– Successful community products serve niches.
– “One size fits all” only gets you so far.
Niche audiences expect interactivity.
– Reading and “consuming” media is only where it starts.
– People with specific interest, identity want to connect with others.
Impossible to serve every niche with staff alone
– Let the community help! Self-serve publishing, ads, everything.
– In the future, 30% of our editorial, ad staffs will evolve into thought
leaders and facilitators of publishing and conversations.
Bakotopia.com and “Bakomatic”
Created Bakotopia.com, niche participatory Web site
for young people in Bakersfield.
– Intentionally separate from newspaper.
– Underground flavor.
Created a generic, multi-brand community platform that
let us do the same for many audiences.
– One site is now 7 and growing!
– Content, both from us and from the community.
– Social tools that help people:
– Make friends, find dates
– Meet and converse with people with shared interests
– Find people with stuff to sell/recycle, or to buy my stuff
2006 EDGIE WINNER for Most
Innovative Visitor Participation!
First direct Craigslist competitor
created by a U.S. newspaper.
in world after Sydney!
Launched Jan. 2005. Craigslist
opened in Bakersfield next day.
Web site only – no print (yet).
Targeted at Bakersfield youth &
“young at heart” (18-35).
Bakotopia’s Value Proposition
Bands, events, socializing. No
news, but people post reviews.
People post things for sale,
musicians wanted ads.
Users create profiles, and bands
Grass-roots marketing, profiles,
social networking are drivers.
The users are the content!
Note that profiles and
“connecting” beat content in
traffic hands down!
Persona – it’s all about ME!
User profiles let people:
and their interests
Bands can showcase
Link to friends’ profiles
Rate each other
View Recent Profiles
Band Radio & Podcast
• Bands can upload
music to their profiles
• We approve new
tunes, but after that it’s
• Best stuff shows up
on home page, in
“Bakotunes” Podcast. Play Bakotunes
Interests: Find Your Vibe
(View Recent Interests)
How Interests Work
Find people who share your vibe in just a few clicks. (Try it here)
Nice circular traffic
Social Networking, continued
“Will you be my friend?” Let the users
market you by
Social Networking & Media
How does it relate to media?
Gives people a sense of ownership of something
connected with your brand.
– “My profile,” “My Space,” “My blog”
Persona and identity are central to civil conversations.
– If I know who you are and what you’re into, I can talk to you.
– People often find each other through shared interests. They do
it through news stories now. This makes it easier.
Great way to drive frequency
– I’ll go online to read guestbook posts on my profile long before
I will to read a news story.
– Social networking lets users market your site for you!
Why did we build our own?
Launched Northwest Voice on a vendor (iUpload).
Realized we needed an economical way to serve
many disparate audiences, and observe activity
across them all (total market reach).
The needs of Bakotopia, our “youth” brand, were
way out of the scope of “citizen journalism”.
Examples: free anonymous listings, bands & music,
user profiles, social networking.
We didn’t want something that was created to spec
for the lowest-common-denominator newspaper
Before Bakotopia, Northwest Voice
The first “participatory media” /
“citizen journalism” product created
by a U.S. newspaper.
People submit articles through the
Web site, or via e-mail.
– Kids’ accomplishments, recipes,
and sometimes controversial stuff
going on at the neighborhood level.
Best articles are queued for print
editions, using a content
Recently added comments, profiles
and other direct participation
(features from Bakotopia.com)
A weekly magazine and web
site targeted to English-
“Affirmational media” –
acknowledges something that’s
uniquely a part of you.
More of a magazine style.
Has strong traditional media
model, with a staff of 8!
Planning to enable user-
contributed stories URL: http://www.masbakersfield.com/.
Más – Affirmational Media
– Like Northwest Voice, but in southwest part of city
– Softer sell than getting new residents to read the paper.
– Weekly in nearby mountain town, owned by Californian.
– Very soon, we will inject persona and social networking into
the fabric of the flagship newspaper Web site.
– Due to launch in June!
Took over our
Unified metrics let
us look across
core and new
Profiles & more
What’s Our Role?
Readers / users have more control than ever, but media
professionals still have a significant role to fill
In a room of disparate voices, who ties it all together?
Who finds the story behind the story?
Who calls “bull” when people use their newfound
“citizen journalism” power to manipulate and deceive?
MY HOPE: We let people communicate more of the day
to day, human interest. That lets us focus more time,
energy and money on public service journalism.
The Money Question
Primary goal was to use community to build audiences.
Now we can allow ourselves to reap rewards.
Northwest Voice and Mas print revenue subsidizes Bakotopia
and technology development.
Bakomatic saves money -- cheaper (and better) than
Just launched some experimental sponsorship ads on
Bakotopia. Will add more to Voice and other sites.
Later this year: self-serve, community-based advertising.
Better for the advertiser, and the audience.