Panel: Tips for digital newsrooms

By Amelia Kibbe

Saturday morning’s “How to Say No” panel discussion informed readers what to do — and what not to do — in the increasingly digitally driven newsroom.

Speakers Rob Miller (director of strategic marketing and business analytics at Times-Shamrock Communications), Burke Noel (sports manager at PennLive/The Patriot-News) and Kimberly Strong (content strategist at the York Daily Record/Sunday News) said a key to a successful newsroom and a loyal readership is understanding data analytics.

Below is a summary of tips from the panelists:

Make use of analytic tools

“[You want to] keep people coming back to you for what your strengths are,” Miller said. “[But be prepared] to hear from those who don’t conform to what the data says.”

Analyze charts to find trends of what topics today’s readers spend time reading.

Metrics show readers aren’t as interested in governmental processes.

“[Readers] don’t what to know everything that’s happening,” Strong said. “But they want to know where their money is going.”

Focus on finding news in places other than country/legislative meetings.

Make use of community Facebook pages and other local/area news sites and keep in contact with “movers and shakers” other than politicians in your coverage area.

Consider restructuring your newsroom.

The same beats that worked decades ago or in a largely print-focused newsroom may not work as well in a digital atmosphere.

“It’s the way you tell a story sometimes,” Strong said about success of categorized stories.

Change the way you cover sports

Limit traditional game/event coverage and focus on the individual athletes and teams instead of game recaps readers can get elsewhere.

“Social media has been our best option so far,” Noel said. “Athletes are active on Twitter.”
Understanding a home from print content

“We really are trying to balance,” Miller said about the cross paths of print versus digital format and content.

Don’t lose sight of digital shifts and goals but retain the ability to recognize a good print story.

Incorporate video content

“[We’ve] had tremendous success with video,” Noel said. “[Have reporters] do all three—story, photos and video.”

Keep videos short and simple and don’t incorporate video just for video’s sake.

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