Ideas I’m chewing on

A few ideas.

  • NPR has kicked off a cool little feature where NPR journalists share what they’re reading with the hashtag ‪#‎NPRreads‬. I know that WGBH productions are trying similar experiments (we piloted #WGBHWednesdays to cross-post work from national productions, local and news), and this idea got me thinking about creating a ‪#‎WGBHWatches‬ hashtag. What if our 800 employees tweeted or posted the WGBH programs they’re tuning into, using the hashtag? Would audiences find that a valuable way to keep in touch with what’s new?
  • This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the viability of social media as a way for media and news organizations to achieve their goals, as opposed to acting as a referrer (wouldn’t it be nice to see a tweet or a post or a snap and learn something or be entertained, without being asked to click?). The idea of “social first,” or scrapping a website altogether, is the latest trend for organizations like NowThis. That’s why I was surprised to hear that Circa, which started as a news app, is launching a website. But after reading this piece from FastCompany about the move, I understand that the site is for “social discovery,” meaning they launched the site primarily to drive traffic and signups for their mobile app as well as giving a landing page for Reddit, Facebook and Twitter discussions to refer to.
  • National Journal social editor Alex Laughlin is using WhatsApp to host a newsletter: Genius! In her post on Medium, Laughlin opened my eyes to the extent media organizations outside of the US are using WhatsApp to drive traffic to their websites. (Shout out: I was a huge fan of the ProPublica/Frontline collaboration on Firestone and the Warlord.) Laughlin is using the platform to send a curated set of links to subscribers based on what they respond to and ask for. This is genius, and has inspired me to pilot a WhatsApp channel for The World (if you want to be included in the beta test for this newsletter let me know!)
  • GroundSource is using mobile/social for citizen journalism with its new GroundUp project. The reporting is based around SMS messaging (short code 44984 for their South Africa project). The World has used SMS messaging to get feedback and voices from communities (we have a SMS community for veterans and one for our “SafeMode” group on youth voices in international security) to great success. It’s going to be interesting to see how the SMS experience compares to the rising popularity of WhatsApp and WeChat.
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