What is innovation in local TV news? Andrew Heyward’s new mission is to find out

News flash: A lot of people still watch — and trust — the local TV news. TV is still the No. 1 source of news for Americans, ahead of the entire Internet. And of those TV watchers, nearly 3 in 4 are regular local TV news watchers. But the trendlines are moving in the wrong direction. In 2016, TV had a 19 percentage point lead over online as a frequent source of news for Americans (57 percent to 38 percent). A year later, that lead had been cut to 7 percentage points (50 percent to 43 percent). Cord-cutters and cord-nevers have moved from edge cases to mainstream; young people ages 18 to 24 have cut their TV viewing by abotu eight hours a week just in the past six years. It’s time for an update. Resources for innovation have, generally speaking, flowed more to local newspapers and digital-native publishers Continue reading "What is innovation in local TV news? Andrew Heyward’s new mission is to find out"

Local TV news gets a $2.6 million boost from the Knight Foundation

In the “future of news” conversations, television news — especially local — can sometimes be overlooked. But it’s still a vital source of journalism for communities across the United States. The Knight Foundation announced today that it is boosting local TV news with $2.6 million across five organizations that will help students of color gain experience in local TV markets, bring together broadcast journalists focused on digital innovation in conferences and workshops, and offer ethics, leadership, and data journalism training for newsrooms. (Disclosure: Nieman Lab also receives support from Knight.) Though digital sources are ever rising, local TV news still reaches a significant chunk of Americans. Last year, Pew Research Center found that 50 percent were often getting news from TV compared to 43 percent often getting it online, though local TV news use declined the most. Over the years, local TV news’ audience has steadily Continue reading "Local TV news gets a $2.6 million boost from the Knight Foundation"

ASU Students Learn Social Media on the Job for the NCAA Final Four

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a huge production. In Phoenix for the Final Four last month, the NCAA called on the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Students answered. The NCAA asked students to assist in content curation for the Final Four’s social channels. I took on the role of assistant publisher. I learned a lot along the way, including my Final Four Takeaways.

1. Teamwork Matters

The 25 students on the social media team were divided into teams to cover events, and then submitted content back to the social hub for review/editing before it was pushed out to social accounts. The students participated in a legitimate professional experience that generated quality social content for the NCAA and yielded impressive results: Our content reached 9.4 million on Facebook and Twitter combined, and yielded 1.2 million video views from March 27 to April 3. Senior Abby
Continue reading "ASU Students Learn Social Media on the Job for the NCAA Final Four"

DigitalEd: Beyond Pageviews: Optimizing Analytics

Title: Beyond Pageviews: Optimizing Analytics Instructor: Jessica Pucci, Ethics and Excellence Professor of Practice, Data Analysis and Audience Engagement, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Next-level analytics for bloggers, marketers and journalists
You’re pulling analytics, but do you know how to interpret them? Which analytics should you pay attention and which are less important? What programs are best for measuring analytics? How do analytics tie to your larger strategy? And how can they be used to ensure your great content gets seen, read and shared and helps you produce better content. Learn free and low-cost ways to optimize your content to better measure success and derive meaningful insights from your analytics without investing heavily in proprietary software. What you’ll learn from this training:
  1.    How to determine the metrics that matter most for your organization
  2.    How to measure and distill analytics
  3.    What free and low-cost tools and Continue reading "DigitalEd: Beyond Pageviews: Optimizing Analytics"

Brain food: Here are 15 smart people talking for 5 minutes each about journalism’s future

Newsgeist is “a gathering of 150 key practitioners and thinkers from the worlds of journalism, technology, and public policy who are re-imagining the future of the news,” usually (though not always) at Arizona State University. It’s sponsored by Google and the Knight Foundation (disclosure: a Nieman Lab funder), and it serves as a significant meeting of the minds; Google’s AMP was born out of brainstorming at one recent iteration of Newsgeist, for instance. I’ve been a happy attendee over the past few years. Most of Newsgeist is made up of unconference-y sessions that are off the record. But there is one part of the event that is recorded and rendered public: a series of Ignite sessions featuring some of the smartest people in digital media. Those have been posted to YouTube, but seeing as none of them have even 200 views at this writing, they could use Continue reading "Brain food: Here are 15 smart people talking for 5 minutes each about journalism’s future"

SeedSpeak: A geolocation app for better civic engagement

We’re all too familiar with terms like “community” and “engagement” when talking about online news. But what if we take it back to the root? Not Twitter followers, blog comments, or Quora questions, but instead a group of people trying to do something together?

SeedSpeak, a 2010 Knight News Challenge winner, is trying to figure out how to merge the the online and IRL concepts of community and engagement. And next month, they’ll have an iPhone app to put their civic-minded efforts into people’s pockets.

SeedSpeak’s app will allow people to target and tag ideas (“seeds”) to places in their community that they would like to see some action taken. Think of it like SeeClickFix, or the numerous “report a problem” apps municipalities are creating that allow residents to call attention to areas that need fixing. SeedSpeak goes further by trying to create a mechanism to draw attention to projects and generate the type of interest to turn an idea into reality.

But the first step is building the right app, which SeedSpeak plans to launch in February. The app would allow allow people to create seeds as well as post photos and locate other seeds and users. Retha Hil, SeedSpeak’s co-founder told me the app needs to be intuitive in a way that makes it easy and familiar for people to post their seeds.

“Once you are used to taking a picture or posting something, like a local restaurant in Yelp, we think people would be more inclined to say ‘Let me share this idea with my neighbors to improve our community,’” she said.

If geolocation seems like a good bet right now, it’s likely due to the success of games like Foursquare and Gowalla as well as services like Groupon and Yelp. The lesson from the location-based boom is that “user experience is very, very important. You don’t want it to be so complex that it turns people off,” Hill said.

But unlike the larger players in location-based apps, or even newspaper apps, SeedSpeak has to get their product right from the beginning or risk the possibility of not getting a large base of users, Hill said. Anyone with a smartphone can tell a story of an app they tried once and never used again, in that way the technology breeds loyalty through the ability to use an app repeatedly.

In rolling out SeedSpeak Hill and co-founder Cody Shotwell are focusing on the Phoenix metro area to start (though the site and app will allow you to plant seeds anywhere) and reaching out to specific groups, such as neighborhood associations, to test the app. From there they may try to find partners who could promote or integrate the service. Hill said news sites and blogs focusing on specific communities would be a natural fit. But as they grow Hill said she could see SeedSpeak being of use to nonprofits, advocacy groups or even politicians looking to gauge the viability of community projects.

“This is a way to try and get your neighbors excited about an idea and its important to give a path to make it happen,” Hill said.

SeedSpeak fits with the Knight Foundation’s goal of meeting the information needs of communities, but in another way what they are creating is a tool for citizen journalism with seeds taking the place of stories. [Disclosure: The Lab also receives funding from Knight.] When someone creates a seed calling for stoplights at a dangerous intersection it meets the same civic role of bringing awareness to problems in a community. It’s no different than a homeowner/neighborhood group pitching a story to a newspaper. (Which, if you think about it, could also potentially make SeedSpeak a tool to discover stories for local journalists.)

Hill said the goals are similar, put people in better position to change their community. “If you can show there are people behind an idea or momentum and show it to officials in power you can make a difference,” Hill said