This semester I’m working on the Community Outreach Team at the Columbia Missourian. Our goal is to make the news gather process more open and make it easier for readers to participate in the process.
A lot of the work we get to do is experimental. Here’s the short list of what we do.
- Try out new tools to better report and tell stories
- Use social media both to communicate and to listen
- Look at site analytics to see what content is resonating with people
- Brainstorm new ways that the Missourian can expand its reach and that we can bring the community into the newsroom (both literally and figuratively).
I’m only a few weeks into the process, so I’m still learning the scope of what we do. But last week was definitely my favorite yet—working in a breaking news situation to cover a snowstorm. On Wednesday, the day before the storm hit, the team was busy planning ways to cover the snow. Community Outreach director Joy Mayer has been talking about RebelMouse, an embeddable page that aggregates posts from social media. The page is customizable to include posts with certain hashtags, updates from select accounts or by manually entering posts the moderator selects. This page included posts from Missourian staff members and other photos or tips posted by social media accounts using the hashtag CoMoSnow. Continue reading