The panel included Tom Callinan, The Cincinnati Enquirer’s vp of content and audience development, Jennifer Carroll, Gannett’s vp of new media and Eva Parziale, Columbus, Ohio Bureau Chief for The Associated Press.
AP Expands Story Through Digital Tools: As a non-profit supplying newspapers with content, The AP is more focused on giving its newspaper clients multimedia content. This OJR story details how the AP’s multimedia strategy will extend its reach. The AP has established its crowd sourcing abilities through a partnership with World Now. This measured approach makes sense for their organization.
The Cincinnati Enquirer is one of Gannett’s biggest social media success stories with a percentage of local penetration that is second only to The Washington Post. Several social media elements of the Enquirer site help forge this strong, local connection.
GetPublished Yields Hyper-Local Coverage: GetPublished solicits user-submitted content at more than 230 neighborhood-centered "microsites." Much of this content is reverse published into neighborhood inserts distributed in the print edition.
Rather than call GetPublished’s more than 1,200 readers citizen journalists, Carroll considers it a crowd sourcing exercise. "Not everybody is treated as a reporter, but a lot of people have important things to say," she said.
CincyMoms Shows Word of Mouth Potency: Much of the conversation takes place on the Enquirer’s message boards and blogs. However since launching CincyMoms in January, it's quickly become one of its most popular destinations with about 1 million page views a month and around-the-clock discussion.
”We’ve brought in experts to chat with the audience and the Moms ignore the experts,” said Callinan. The Moms trust their own personal experiences more than an outside source.
Blogs “Distract Staff,” Incite Readers: Callinan notes the Sports blogs see the most traffic, but sees them as a distraction to his staff. He also noted that heated comments and misinformation on the news site lead the Enquirer to disable the comment capability previously attached to each news story on the site. The blogs still accept comments to posts.
It's natural that Callinan prefers the larger, self-running sandbox on his site. But I almost did a spit take when he said, “it remains to be seen if blogs will become the CB radio of our decade.” I suspect this was more of a wish on his part than a prediction.
This comment from a vp immersed in social media at a print daily resembles the paradox in Gannett’s USA Today strategy. It has a social network to engage its readers as it creates a glossy companion vehicle to generate more ad dollars. Can old business formulas capture a new audience?
If USA Today is merely responding to an expressed advertiser need, it underscores how marketers also need to change their approach to these mediums.
RELATED: Newspapers pin survival hopes on user content
UPDATE: Tom Callinan sent me this note as a follow-up to this post.
Hi Kevin. Your blog post popped up on my Google news alerts.
Good post, although I should clarify as I was not clear on the panel…
Great line about spit takes….I learned something.
I did say our sports blogs are our most popular…and there's no way I see them as a "distraction" for reporters….
When I referenced distraction I was questioning the value of some of our lower traffic blogs….some may get as few as 10 comments a month…..and are they worth the effort….
Also, my CB radio comment was meant as rhetorical.