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Lessons to be Learned from TBD

Lessons to be gleaned from the Washington, D.C. news startup TBD - what worked and what did not - geared toward an audience of Russian journalists (English version).

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Lessons to be Learned from TBD

  1. 1. Building an Online Community Lessons from a Washington D.C. news startup Mandy Jenkins Zombiejournalism.com
  2. 2. What is TBD? <ul><li>A social media-driven local news website and cable TV station covering the Washington, D.C. area </li></ul><ul><li>Launched August 9, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Started by former Washington Post.com Editor Jim Brady </li></ul><ul><li>Owned by Allbritton Communications </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Setup <ul><li>14 reporters </li></ul><ul><li>4 editors </li></ul><ul><li>3 news aggregators </li></ul><ul><li>5 community engagement staff members </li></ul><ul><li>More than 200 local blogs </li></ul><ul><li>More than 5 million residents in the coverage area </li></ul>
  4. 4. Lesson #1: Do what you do best and link to the rest
  5. 5. Aggregation <ul><li>The news everyone else is reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Link off to other sites </li></ul><ul><li>Competitors and partners </li></ul><ul><li>Be a hub for all local news </li></ul>
  6. 6. Report original news <ul><li>Phone robberies on Metro </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth on a rash of homicides in January </li></ul><ul><li>Fact-checking politicians </li></ul><ul><li>Lists of the day </li></ul>
  7. 7. Lesson #2: Don’t go it alone
  8. 8. Blog Network <ul><li>222 blogs and more. Featuring: </li></ul><ul><li>News, features, sports </li></ul><ul><li>Neighborhood-level news </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth watchdog reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing readers both ways </li></ul>
  9. 9. Lesson #3: Capitalize on Social Media
  10. 10. How TBD used social media <ul><li>Broadcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking news on Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing news from others by re-tweeting </li></ul><ul><li>Live-tweeting events and press conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Watch Twitter feeds of other media and reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Watch local trends on Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Get tips from readers </li></ul><ul><li>Watch keywords for news </li></ul><ul><li>Search for info </li></ul><ul><li>Be responsive to followers </li></ul>
  11. 11. Reader tip network
  12. 12. Using tips <ul><li>Get further contact info </li></ul><ul><li>Ask follow-up questions </li></ul><ul><li>Verify the tip info with trusted sources </li></ul><ul><li>Thank and acknowledge public tipsters </li></ul>
  13. 13. Tips <ul><li>Fires </li></ul><ul><li>Crimes </li></ul><ul><li>Car accidents </li></ul><ul><li>Weather </li></ul><ul><li>Events </li></ul><ul><li>Why? Because they trust us & we respect them </li></ul>
  14. 14. Search tweets for news <ul><li>Search.Twitter.Com </li></ul><ul><li>Search by keywords, location, time </li></ul><ul><li>Find what happened, witnesses, photos </li></ul>
  15. 15. Lesson #4: Interact with readers
  16. 16. On social channels <ul><li>Respond to questions on Twitter and Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Address criticism from outside </li></ul><ul><li>Share good responses with everyone </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for help when you need it </li></ul><ul><li>Be open about corrections and mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>No arguing! </li></ul>
  17. 17. On the web <ul><li>Interact as a staff member in comments on your site and sites where TBD is discussed </li></ul><ul><li>Answer questions, criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Get ideas for follow-up stories </li></ul><ul><li>But stay out of the way of discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: No arguing! </li></ul>
  18. 18. In person <ul><li>Regular reader meetups at local bars </li></ul><ul><li>Regular meetups with blog network members </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters holding open office hours in public places </li></ul><ul><li>Newsroom café (Journal Register Co.) </li></ul><ul><li>Allows readers a way to meet staff and one another face-to-face </li></ul>
  19. 19. Lesson #5: Get readers involved in stories
  20. 20. Complete this story Asks readers for missing or more info in an ongoing story.
  21. 21. Reader-made map : Valentine’s Day Maps.google.com
  22. 22. Reader-made map : Metro problems Crowdmap.com
  23. 23. Suggestion box : Best hamburgers allourideas.org/
  24. 24. More projects <ul><li>New Metro station names – gathered on Twitter and mapped . </li></ul><ul><li>Placing readers’ tweets and photos into stories using Storify.com </li></ul><ul><li>Readers suggest stories to cover </li></ul>
  25. 25. What didn’t work
  26. 26. TBD pitfalls <ul><li>Not enough involvement with WJLA, partner TV station, led to unproductive relationship </li></ul><ul><li>TV advertising sales force couldn’ t sell online ads </li></ul><ul><li>Blog network advertising arrangement fell through </li></ul><ul><li>High costs for a startup </li></ul>
  27. 27. Questions?
  28. 28. Thank You! <ul><li>Mandy Jenkins </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: @mjenkins </li></ul><ul><li>http://zombiejournalism.com </li></ul>

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