In anticipation of next week’s visit from Ali Manzano, social media and engagement coordinator for the Oregonian, I want you to read some of that publication’s forays into, well, social media and engagement. Start with the Oregonian website (don’t forget the ownership discussion we had in class today – there’s also OregonLive, which is primarily Oregonian content but is still a separate entity). Just do some general sifting here. How do you see online and social media incorporated, whether on the site itself or in individual stories? How does a typical story incorporate links, comments, aggregation, and so on? Get a picture of the publication as a whole before moving on.
After taking this overview, have a look at some more prominent examples of how the Oregonian does its job (these are from my sparsely maintained media blog, where you can find several posts on my time at the Oregonian in summer 2011):
- The Eat Tweet inspired recipe contest challenged readers to submit a full recipe in a single tweet (prizes were awarded for the best). I love the creativity this kind of “assignment” requires to meet the limitations of fitting a complex process into 140 characters (or less).
- This Gigapans project photodocumented the crowd at the Portland Timbers home opener, then invited attendees to find and tag themselves in the image. To me, this seems like an idea that appeals to the same place as cutting out a picture of yourself and hanging it on the newspaper, except the picture is massive and detailed and the newspaper is visible everywhere (okay, it’s not a perfect analogy).
- Many other projects weave elements like Tweets, location, and other kinds of reader feedback into seemingly traditional stories. Simple projects like weather mapping or responses to official proposals take on a different kind of life while being fundamentally recognizable to more traditional readers (and journalists) as well. It’s the same skills, but with a wealth of new tools.
Once that’s done, check out the Oregonian and OregonLive‘s (separate) Facebook pages. What kinds of things get posted on each? How do reader reactions (page & post likes, comments, etc.) differ, and why might this be? Over on Twitter, you can also have a look at the publication’s two lists of journalists: Oregonian staff members and Oregonian beats. Look through a few of these, especially the region-specific beats that are maintained by the rotating reporters that fill those beats – what’s the idea here?
We’ll push back the readings listed in the syllabus to account for the visit, so don’t worry about the Briggs chapter on visuals (for now). As usual, make your responses in a comment to this post by noon Monday, March 19. As NOT usual, come to class prepared to talk about what you’ve seen with Ali.