Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More ideas for daily digital coverage

Here are a few more ideas for making sure and the new app have fresh content every day:

Run the police beat daily. It's great that the police blotter has its own tile on the app home page, but it needs to be updated more than the current once a week. At, I made the blotter a single file that was updated by pasting new entries at the top. A week's worth of reports can be repurposed for The Orion just by copying and pasting.

Feature a photo of the day. Something visual is scheduled almost every day on campus. How about assigning a daily photo that could become a featured piece of art on home page? The police scanner often spits out news on campus, another source of daily photos. The best of these (or other shots from the same events) could be repurposed and used as stand-alone photos in the print edition to help break up text-heavy pages. When I was at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, we featured a full page of color photos on the last page of the newspaper, which was terrifically popular with readers.

Have a briefs mentality. Sometimes I think the requirement that reporters produce one story a week is the reason the paper has so many of those 12-inch text-only stories that few people actually read. What if reporters were asked to write three or four three-inch stories a week instead? Maybe one of those would be reported more deeply to become a story on the front page of the print edition, but the stories that were worth only three inches could be repurposed onto a news briefs page (page A2 or A3?). Calls, emails and news releases that come into the office daily could be reported and rewritten into briefs immediately instead of waiting for a Monday deadline.

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