Like a lot of people I’ve been fascinated by the opportunities that social media afford traditional media. Heck – two years ago I was pitching a social media platform for radio stations, that at the time neither the stations nor investors understood as necessary for their business.
I still believe there’s a good story there (and I’m dusting off my old plan) – but I’m more convinced than ever that social media is just a part of the solution – and unless traditional media links new services with its core business the value add of social media will be fleeting.
For newspapers the core value is its reporting. This leads and shapes discussion – by framing the information and issues to engage people. It’s in finding ways that allow people to make the stories their own that newspapers will gain the most benefit from social media.
For years the Kansas University Basketball team had sold out all of its season tickets to a small group of users who’d held them forever. A new athletic director comes in and changes the policy – no longer will you get tickets because you always have –you’re your chance to get tickets, and your seat options are based on your donation level to the university.
That’s a story, and it will get discussion going – but with a little bit of work – the type of work that’s unlikely occur spontaneously, but a good newmedia news director will drive, the discussion can be much richer – and story more powerful.
What Rob’s team did was to build a calculator so you could answer a few questions and figure out what seat you might be eligible for. They then sent a reporter to take a picture form every seat in the stadium so if the new seat wasn’t your usual seat you could click the court view from that seat. Suddenly it wasn’t abstract – you knew what you’d be seeing – and how you ended up there.
That’s the Bell Ringers Work – the newsrooms effort to to tell a story in a way that gets people talking – in person and online.