Tag Archives: flow

4 thoughts: social media editorship and interactive journalism at Islington Now

A fortnight ago I wrote of my upcoming week-long social media editorship of Islington Now, which was followed by a week of working as an interactive journalist at the City University-run news organisation.

As my work there is now finished, it is time to reflect on a hectic yet educational fortnight.

1) Flow is more exciting than stock

My grandest plan as social media editor was to produce a series of articles called Going out in Islington”, the reasons behind which I outlined in my last post. This worked well, helping to engage our potential readership and to produce some community-driven content that ranked as some of the most popular content on the website.

But, despite the heavy promotion of and interest in the Going out in Islington series of articles, its popularity was as nothing compared with that of a BuzzFeed-style article on an Islington Now reporter’s experience of an erotic dancing event, which is the runaway article leader in terms of page views.

So it seems that content really does remain king, and the prurience of an Internet-based audience should not be underestimated.

2) Weekend readership is under-exploited

It is no surprise that readers have more spare time to consume news at the weekend, but this is usually when journalists themselves are not producing new content for them to consume.

This was the case with us, too. Comparing the analytics for my week as social media editor with those of the previous year, it can be seen that we failed to exploit the possibilities of the weekend to make a strong start, overtaking last year’s visits only at the end of the week. (Note: click the image to see a larger version.)

Islington Now analytics

3) interactive articles are interesting

Good news for those on my course is that, of the top five most visited articles over the past fortnight, four involved interactive / multimedia elements. This includes the twerking article, which used multiple GIFs, and my own data-based comparison of the Wenger and Ferguson eras of football management.

4) Check the limits of free technology

With the proliferation of free Internet tools, it is easy to slip into the attitude of using them without checking their limits.

One of my ideas for an article in the Going out in Islington series – an article on the best ways to get home from a night out – was to provide an interactive map outlining all the bus routes that go through Islington at night and their stops. I eagerly started plotting the six routes on Google Custom Maps but, after an afternoon’s work, I was confronted by the following message:

Google Custom Maps upgrade prompt

Disappointingly, I had to abandon the project, but I learnt a valuable lesson in the process. Click here to see my sadly incomplete map.

So, there are my 4 thoughts, an idea inspired by Joe Hall at Valley Talk Blog. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know in the box at the bottom of the page.

Below is a list of articles in the Going out in Islington series:

Below is a list of other articles I wrote for Islington Now:

Social media editorship at Islington Now

Over the course of this week, I’ll be social media editor at Islington Now, the news organization periodically run by students at City University.

In addition to the normal functions of a social media editor, which include publicising stories after they’ve been posted and sourcing material for stories from social media, I’ve come up with a project for the week: a series of articles called “Going out in Islington”.

Stock Content

The main thinking behind this was to create a good base of stock content for the site.

Stock content is that which is useful for weeks and even years after the usual news cycle. It is one of the multitude of innovations that writing for the web involves, in comparison to writing for print, when a newspaper would usually be thrown away a day or two after publication. An example of stock content is an explanatory article, such as the Interhacktives article on how to perform a reverse image search.

It creates a consistent stream of traffic to a site, in contrast to the sporadic peaks and troughs of traffic that accompany its opposite: flow content.

Community engagement

Another important part of the rationale was the desire to engage the Islington Now community.

Once the first article has been posted, people will be better able to comprehend the concept of the series, meaning they’ll be more likely to respond to attempts by us to use social media to crowd-source content. For instance, one of the articles we’ll be doing will be along the lines of “most hipster bars in Islington” and, by both publicising articles and requesting help for future articles, we’re hoping that we can inspire some strong engagement.

Follow-up content

I’ll also be attempting to follow up on content, where possible. For instance, to supplement the article on the best ways to get home, I’m planning to post a link to a map showing all of the night bus routes in and out of Islington. As far as I’m aware, such an Islington-specific map doesn’t currently exist anywhere on the Internet.

Look out for the posts on Twitter and Facebook throughout this week.