PBS NewsHour and Social Media – How to Make the Most of Your Content

Have you ever wondered how hierarchical traditional media organizations are finding their place in the new media world? The Bivings Report got to find out just that about PBS’s iconic NewsHour – a program that has been on the air for more than thirty years and whose follows span many generations. This event was a meetup sponsored by DC Media Makers (DCMM) and featured NewsHour’s media coordinator Kate Gardiner.

During the course of the DCMM-sponsored discussion held at the NPR headquarters, a media-savvy audience and Gardiner talked about everything from Facebook fan pages to their preferences for comment management systems on blogs. NewsHour’s unique demographics do not lend themselves perfectly well to the internet age, since the average age of their viewer is over 55. However, this creates an opportunity for Gardiner and her team of online and broadcast journalists to focus on winning over and retaining younger viewers.  The NewsHour program is now posting a larger quantity of online-only content and story exclusives in order to continue engaging with their fan base.

Some interesting statistics about NewsHour’s online outreach:

  • Between all of the show and anchors’ Twitter accounts – a tweet is able to reach over 80,000 people
  • NewsHour’s Facebook fan base is 60% male, and 40% female (the mathematic opposite of Facebook’s actual gender beak down)
  • During the recent BP oil spill, the NewsHour website had more simultaneous viewers than the NewsHour  television broadcast
  • Only 31 percent of PBS’s news traffic comes from web referrals
  • The May 2010 NewsHour Gulf Leak Meter widget allowed users to estimate how much oil has been spilled into the Gulf Coast, and resulted in millions of page views to the NewsHour site

For Kate Gardiner’s own notes and discussions on the topic, see her blog post at –  http://posterous.kategardiner.com/a-summary-of-my-social-media-engagement-stati

Below is the video we took of various parts of the speech:

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