Read & Respond – Week 11

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.

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17 Responses to Read & Respond – Week 11

  1. The Oregonian has a box on the left side of the website devoted to their Twitter. They have individual Twitter accounts for the separate sections of the paper. They also have a nice blogroll along the side.

    For individual stories, they have a bar across the top where readers can share the stories via Twitter, G+, Digg, Stumble Upon, etc. You can also recommend it through Facebook. I love this because I’m usually always logged into a social media network when I’m reading, so I can share a story easily without having to log in again. The stories I read have at least three outside links right in the text, which is unlike many newspaper websites that simply copy and paste the text, not making it very friendly for the web. Comments are available, and they provide AP content, as well.

    I, too, like the Eat Tweet contest. I’m really surprised, though, that they didn’t like to the individual Twitter users. Seems intuitive.

    When ESPN did the Gameday thing here, they did something similar with the tagging – they had a panoramic-type of photo and encouraged people to tag themselves. I know some students realy got into it.

    The first thing I noticed looking at the two pages is that the Oregonian has adapted the timeline feature, and OregonLive seems to be sticking to the fan page. Both get comments and shares, but it looks as though the Oregonian does better as far as getting many, many comments. The Oregonian seems to be more engaging, by posting moving quotes or things that people can really respond to rather than a generic question.

    For reporters that have region-specific beats – the Twitter handles don’t seem to reflect a specific person. It’s a generic term like Oregonian business, etc. That way the reporters can rotate through without having to change the Twitter handle each time a new person comes along. Smart!

  2. The Oregonian website and OregonLive incorporate social media, not only through their Facebook pages, but also by linking certain points to broader ideas and by adding graphics that help the reader visual the news. For example, let’s look at the March 15th article “NOAA reauthorizes killing of California sea lions at Benneville Dam” on OregonLive. Within this story that discusses how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is allowing up to 92 sea lions in the Benneville Dam to be killed because they are consuming so much of the salmon and steelhead. Of, course the Humane Society had to get involved because they saw an issue with the fact that fishermen were permitted to fish more salmon than what the sea lions were consuming. So, included in this story are links to the Humane Society website and to the statement made by the NOAA declaring the authorization of California sea lion removal. There’s also a photo of a California sea lion, so that readers know what animal the article is discussing. Additionally, a very simplified map has been created to show the location of the Bonneville Dam. As far as social media goes, you have the option to “Recommend” the article on Facebook (which I did!), you can Tweet the article on Twitter (which I did!), and you can publicly recommend it on Google, and, of course, there’s always the option to comment! I read through the comments and some of them were written by people who were knowledgeable about salmon and sea lions and other comments were made by people who think we should sell the sea lion meat to Japan. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention how Obama was blamed for this issue, because clearly, he was involved. So, there’s a lot more going on than just having a story posted to a website. This is pretty interactive, as are the other stories I read through.

    Also, I love the photodocumenting of the Portland Timbers game. So cool!!!

  3. Hello everyone. I’m very much looking forward to meeting with you all this week. I just wanted to comment here to say that this site is bomb! Your education is so different than the one I got 6 (That number is getting rather large. Scary.) years ago. You should feel lucky to have a professor who is integrating interactive journalism into the way he teaches — not the case at all the schools I’ve visited. Go Bob!

    See you Tuesday! If you have any questions you’d like me to specifically address or things you’d like me to bring you from Oregon feel free to contact me!

    Twitter: @AliManzano
    Facebook: facebook.com/ali.manzano
    Email: amanzano@oregonian.com

  4. Ben says:

    The Oregonian really incorporates a lot of social media into their stories. On the top of their stories readers have the option of sharing that particular story via sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. I particularly liked how much interaction there was between people producing content and the readers. I think getting readers involved is a great way to make your readers feel special and keeps them coming back. The “Tweet a Recipe” was a great way to get reader input. The chances of getting prizes also helps sweeten the deal. The photodocumented Timbers game was really neat too. Asking readers to find and tag themselves is a fun way to keep readers involved. Promoting and encouraging interaction via social media is something that seems to be catching on more and more. Often a new TV show will air with a hashtag entry somewhere in the corner, encouraging fans of the show to tweet and to discuss the show. Keeping up this interaction could easily be the key to doing well in the entertainment industry.

  5. greerhughes says:

    My favorite thing that The Oregonian and OregonLive have done with their social media is that they all have different voices. I am not a fan (personally) when brands and companies update their Facebook and Twitter profiles with the same content at the same time. It actually drives me BONKERS. Truthfully, if I follow you on Facebook and Twitter and your updates are the same, I’ll either quit following you or hide you from my news feed. We are already overloaded with so much information (at our own will, half the time) so nobody wants to see the same thing twice. Both platforms (Facebook and Twitter) can be used to deliver different content, so do it! You will reach a greater number of people and can offer more engage more with your audience (that will be bigger if you update your content differently).

    I LOVE how The Oregonian’s Twitter has a beat page. All of the beat writers have their own voices, the tweets are not directly linked to any news stories and are very informal. THAT gives an audience a good reason to follow you on all forms of social media. The Facebook side is different too! Both Facebook pages have found a way to link to their website (driving revenue) and engaging their audience by asking questions about the story.

    The Oregonian has a stronger presence of the two. It seems like it’s given a lot of attention from whomever maintains the page – it’s also not updated via RSS feed (giving it a personal voice) and even updated over the weekend. They engage with their audience. Their new fan page layout seems to suit them well.

    I feel like this strategy gives such a strong voice and a strong presence to both The Oregonian and OregonLive.

  6. Matt Murphy says:

    Alright, so to me, it’s easy to see that both The Oregonian and OregonLive are managed by the same company, due to the similar design of the webpages of each. It looks like The Oregonian’s parent has placed larger emphasis on the “OregonLive” side, since the actual Oregonian site is http://www.oregonlive.com/oregonian.

    Basically, OregonLive is The Oregonian, except in a real-time version (of course, this is a third-party view, so I know it’s vastly different within the company itself, but this is how it appears). I felt that the OregonLive website has more of the appearance of an actual newspaper website than that of The Oregonian. In addition, since the stories on OregonLive are more real-time, that automatically makes social media integration easier for OregonLive than The Oregonian. OregonLive also contains more content that asks or requests reader interaction, which is different than traditional news stories.

    However, as much as I’ve learned about social media’s role in journalism, I’m still a newspaper guy, and I still am kind of snobbish to the idea of social over traditional media (for better or worse). Anyway, the Facebook pages were interesting to me for this reason, because almost 3,000 more people “like” The Oregonian over OregonLive, which indicates to me that although OregonLive may have more interaction with readers, The Oregonian at least has more brand recognition, if not trustworthiness, with readers.

    The other obvious difference between the Facebook pages is that The Oregonian posts more “traditional” stories, that is, stories which appear to have gone through the full editing process in preparation for print. OregonLive posts more interactive, real-time items, which may or may not be seen as important or credible in the community (I don’t know the answer to that question).

    Yet, there is room for both. I’m not sure why OregonLive and The Oregonian are still separate entities (I’m thinking more philosophically, I know that it’s due to the way the holding company operates the outlets). In a way, I feel that OregonLive and The Oregonian should be the same entity, but at the same time, each serves different functions. I wonder if the two will merge together in the next few years…

  7. The idea behind the Oregonian’s social media presence is simple: connect with readers on readers’ terms. The target audience for the Oregonian is likely diverse, both in demographics and in media consumption preferences. Some readers may never visit the Oregonian’s website, preferring to read the print version of the paper and the print version only. At the same time, many Oregonian readers are likely avid internet users. They check Facebook and Twitter, and they look for news online before they look for in it print.

    The beauty of the Oregonian’s approach is that they are to engage their readers in many different ways. They understand how to publish a print newspaper that print fans want to read, and they understand how to leverage an online presence to engage readers online as well. The news articles are rich with media, an expectation among internet users, and the Twitter accounts provide a pleasant mix of hard journalism and personal flair from the reporters. There is likely an unofficial 80/20 mix at work here, but the presentation of their reporters as regular community folk must be doing great things for the brand, building trust and forging bonds.

    Looking forward to hearing more about the behind the scenes planning and gameplanning.

  8. Anan says:

    I think Oregonian really knows how to interact with their audiences via social media. It uses different ways to propaganda and attract more participants, and of course we know questions, competitions with awards and stuff that audiences care about attract more audiences. Interaction is the key to the social media, and feedbacks are important to news sties. In that way news sites no longer just spread news stories and information, but have real talks with readers and get suggestions and information from them. One thing I want to mention(although it has nothing to do with this topic) is that you can post 140 WORDs at most in one tweet in “Weibo”– the Chinese Twitter.

    The Facebook page of The Oregonian has almost 2800 more “like”s than OreganLive. And The Oregonian’s posts are more like the hard news or several sentences from their traditional news stories with the link to the website, while OregonLive posts more local information, real-time news and more questions and interactions with their audiences. Maybe it’s because most audiences of Oregonian prefer the print version than news from the Internet, I guess. I really wonder why they’re still separate… The list member pages on their Twitter are really good for followers to hear different voices and followers are able to follow and get further information from the writers whose stories attracted them by just reading the original tweets.

  9. thecoalfist says:

    The Oregonian makes an obvious attempt to connect to its readers via its website and Oregonlive.com.

    Each website allows for traditional commenting at the end of a story, and each site also presents sharing options at the top of each story (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email). The main difference is that Oregonlive.com focuses more heavily on real-time news and, in that way, acts as more of a “Twitter account” for the Oregonian. Saying that may be a little hasty and irresponsible (since the Oregonian does have several well maintained Twitter accounts), but that’s how I see Oregonlive’s role. Sue me.

    The Oregonian tends to end at typical news stories, and Oregonlive can pick up from there. An example you gave us, the Gigapans project demonstrates this. I don’t think you’d find a story like this in a typical news piece, so it was a perfect candidate for the Oregonlive website. It was fun, interactive, and it made full use of technology and reader engagement. Was it the most educational piece? No, but it was fun and engaging, and in an increasingly changing age of digital journalism, there is certainly something to be said for that.

    It is clear that the Oregonian and Oregonianlive are working together to get the best of both worlds in traditional journalism and modern digital journalism. Through their sites, I feel they are able to accomplish this goal. With numerous outlets for commenting and sharing, they are able to leave the door wide open for a continuing conversation, an essential element to any journalistic endeavor. In this way, I think the Oregonian is doing a fantastic job of being “traditionally progressive.”

  10. The Oregonian seems like one of a handful of newspapers in the country that recognize the fact that newspapers are generally heading more toward an online-based future, and you can definitely tell that from the way it handles social media.

    It knows that readers are online and is doing whatever it can to cater to that audience and get them the news that way.

    Like you have on your media blog and talked to us about earlier in the semester: the David Wu story that they did shows us a reason The Oregonian is very good. As you said earlier in the semester, when you read the print edition that morning, you didn’t know anything had happened. But when you went online and (I believe you said you) saw tweets about it with links to the story, you found out. They handle their breaking news great over there and it’s because they understand how to properly use their online presence, and social media is a part of that, to break news.

    They way they set up lists of all their staff members on their Twitter page is a really interesting idea. It gives people who enjoy the paper and want to see more from some of the writers they enjoy reading reading either in print or on the website. And, even though I admittedly just looked mainly through their sports writers’ accounts, they all use Twitter really well as a way of interacting with people, which is something I know I’ve really been trying to do and think I’m getting better at.

    It’s important now that newspapers at least start to get a grasp of how much they need to have a presence online because, if they don’t, they’ll be gone soon. The Oregonian is definitely ahead of the pack when it comes to this, in my mind.

  11. Mary Power says:

    I’m super impressed with how well maintained the Oregonian’s social media is. The lists on twitter are helpful and smart- we are certainly a society that has become about ease when seeking information. And the website surprised me at first because I didn’t understand why there wasn’t a twitter feed but now that I see the sheer number of twitter accounts they have I get it. I did like the feed of most commented stories on the main page of OregonLive.

    With the constant onslaught of information we get from social media their use of different platforms in ways that play to their strengths is awesome. The Facebook pages clearly get a lot of interaction and bring the discussion to the community. The idea behind having Twitter accounts that can be transferred from reporter to reporter without losing followers is news to me.

    It’s amazing to me how something that didn’t exist on a large scale mere years ago has become an entire field that employs people and changes journalism in so many ways.

  12. Katie Sloane says:

    The Oregonian website and OregonLive both do an exceptional job with incorporating social media and engagement. Besides having links to Twitter and Facebook on both the Oregonian’s website and OregonLive, each publication uses various graphics and videos to further enhance their posts’ content. To sum up both of their uses of social media, I would say that their sole aim is to connect with and engage their readers. This not only fosters the relationship with their followers, but it strengthens their loyalty and provides miultiple avenues of reaching the Oregonian and OregonLive.

    After viewing the Oregonian website’s Facebook and comparing it to OregonLive’s I would say that the Oregonian website’s page definitely tries to stick to more traditional journalism. Furthermore, this does not just apply to their Facebook’s layout, but also the stories that flow throughout their wall. I think that the difference in “likes” speaks volumes of what their readers prefer because the website has 7,967 “likes” while OregonLive has 5,287. Overall, I think that both do an excellent job in interacting with and calling upon their readers by proposing questions to them. However, the language usage is more laid back, topics are more local and are real-time news, and interaction is more reader-focused on the OregonLive’s Facebook. In addition to this, I believe that the limelight is more focused on OregonLive because even the link to the Oregonian website is just a tab off of OregonLive (http://www.oregonlive.com/oregonian).

    Shifting over to Twitter, I absolutely love how the Oregonian has created a separate beat page. I think that this ingenious idea enables readers to follow certain writers and topics that they prefer. This is another example of how the publication is trying to reach out to its readers and really cater to their needs and wants. By having a beat page they are almost creating a filter to simplify their content for their readers. I believe that this attracts audiences who do not necessarily have the time or desire to flip through pages of print journalism just to find the one section that intrigues them. Perhaps other publications should consider taking the same route.

    On another note, I cannot wait to hear what Ali Manzano has to say about social media engagement in terms of numbers, facts and strategies that go into grasping their readers’ attention (i.e. what social media outlets has worked best)!

  13. Ali Young says:

    There is a great deal of online and social media incorporated on both websites, but especially the Oregonian website. For instance, there is subject matter all over the page with the latest news updates and several links that accompany a wide array of topics. I liked browsing around this site because it’s very detailed and doesn’t just have the same tabs you always see at the top of the page. It actually reminded me of the Wall Street Journal’s website because of all of the various news elements scattered around the page (organized of course). Also, I found it interesting to only see a link for Twitter on the left hand side (I guess Facebook is more outdated than I thought). This gives the reader the ability to see news content as soon as it’s delivered. I thought the Oregon Live website was a little harder to navigate around but still provided a lot of useful information.

    I think a typical story incorporates links because it provides greater detail than a shorter feature story can provide. It takes you back to the source where you can read all you want about a specific topic. Furthermore, comments are a great way to give feedback to the writer’s or publisher’s of the website. Having many voices rolled into one story gives a lot of insight and lets them know if what they’re writing about is working.

    In addition, I like to see others comments and opinions because they’re usually intuitive of what you’re about to read or have already read. It’s a continuous conversation that people can continue to build on. People’s reactions are always unpredictable so you might gain something from it or maybe you just find it entertaining. For instance, on the Oregonlive Facebook page, one user was complaining about the cap on the number of registered racers for the annual shamrock run. Someone else commented saying logistical reasons may be to blame. In addition, over 150 people liked the article. With that being said, both of these websites are serving as a type of two way communication for internet users.

  14. erinfitzi says:

    The Oregonian and OregonLive show connections to social media through their sites via a “sign-in with your Facebook account.” Which means the users can interact with other users over Facebook about Oregonian content. Throughout the Oregonian Facebook page, they are not only posting stories throughout the day, but they are asking opened-ended questions to readers, who will answer in the comments.
    The site is mostly devoid of the typical Facebook, Twitter and Google+ icons, however it is there, just buried in the middle of content. Individual stories use links to locations, such as the church from a story about a fire. On this story page, there are several links to social media, but also includes Stumbleupon, Reddit, Digg and Fark.
    Back to the Facebook page, they posted regularly and included picture thumbnails with each post. Looking at some of the likes, I noticed stories like a fat cat and an alcohol cart got much more likes than stories about commuting or taxes. The page also serves as a comment place, where many people have used as a way to rant or complain about subscription services. One post got no response from the Oregonian, but another, who was griping about having trouble contacting the correct people, got a response. The comment the Oregonian posted was basically an apology and then provided the correct information to contact services.
    I love the tweeting competition with the food. I think it’s not only engaging, but I also love stories about food. The tweets were simple recipes and of course within 140 characters, but they all seem delicious.
    The amount of specific Twitter accounts with the Oregonian and OregonLive are amazing. If you never had Twitter before, or if you wanted to know everything there is to know about Portland, following all these accounts would definitely give you a good idea.
    On another note, I love that OregonPhoto has a Tumblr. I would love to see more news organizations getting in on Tumblr. Although the community is somewhat fangirl and frivolous, there’s a potential for news there. I follow a few news organizations that do have Tumblrs, and I enjoy having it on my dashboard.

  15. Joey Simson says:

    The Oregonian appears to be on the proper track when intending to appeal to readers in a variety of ways. Its social media approach offers the perfect combination of concrete journalism and fluff facts to keep readers intrigued.

    The Oregonian does a great job of providing a Twitter that appeals to social media users that prefer to gain their news from such outlets. It also caters to individuals who would prefer to get their news from formal articles that they read from the web. As discussed in previous classes, the idea behind keeping the same twitter handle and rotating different reporters into the handle is an awesome idea. This allows continual access to twitter followers that never changes and stays constant.

    I am looking forward to hearing what Ali has to say this week.

  16. Autumn L. says:

    The Oregonian is definitely a website that automatically caught my attention. For a newspaper’s website it had a lot of attractive visuals that engaged their audience. I thought it was clever how they structured the page as well. From world-wide news, to local and late breaking, to sports and lifestyle interests (such as their “Living” section and “Business”).

    They editors and writers really know the art of interaction with their readers and initiating a engaging coversation. They accomplished this well with the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter. Writers used their names as their twitter I.D.’s and highlighted stories that referenced back to their main webpage on Facebook.

    All of these are great examples of two-way conversation, and as we learned in class, is vital when capturing your audience and attracting them back to your page for more than one brief visit.

  17. mwlfrd says:

    The Oregonian and OregonLive have a direct log-in for Facebook on their homepage. This allows readers to comment on stories or share them with their friends on Facebook, which can benefit the news organization by having the news spread. I also observed that they have apps for iOS, Blackberry, and Android to deliver their news to mobile viewers.

    When viewing a news story, there’s a comment section below the story and also a bar with icons to share the story via social networks such as Reddit, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

    The Facebook pages for OregonLive and the Oregonian post links to their stories and also such things as open-ended questions for Facebook readers to respond to and get involved in a discussion.

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