Monday, September 30, 2013

More Ideas From My Visit to The Bee

My visit to The Sacramento Bee inspired three more ideas for improving The Orion's online effort:
• While the sports staff is doing a great job of posting stories soon after games or matches have concluded, I'm not seeing sports updates on Twitter. I'm guessing that's because I'm not following any of the sports writers, as most readers aren't. @theorion_sports should be retweeting what the reporters are posting.
• It's been easier for the other sections to plan a week of stories in advance than it has been for news, which is still going days without posting stories to News doesn't happen on a schedule, of course, so that's part of the reason. But I also think the requirement that reporters write one story a week is another. Everyone seems to be writing for page one or, at least, writing a longer story to fulfill the requirement. I'd rather see three 100-word stories that keep the home page fresh than one 12-incher that just takes up space on page 3. Those fresher, shorter stories could be written off scanner traffic, previewing a campus event or even reworking a press release.
• Bee Executive Editor Joyce Terhaar suggested that keeping a visual running tally of page views for individual web stories would inspire reporters to focus on producing for the website and mobile app. Orion Managing Editor Quinn Western could pull up the analytics at the beginning of each day and list the top five or 10 stories on the office white board so everyone can see whose stories are reader favorites.

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