People have questions. Journalists have answers. So how can the two be connected up? The information might be available on local news websites, but people often don’t go digging around for it.
Block Club Chicago, a nonprofit news site, have been experimenting with ways to connect readers with the information they need, when they need it. They launched a free, bilingual coronavirus hotline where readers could call, email or text to have their questions answered by a core team of staffers, who would coordinate with reporters to get the right information.
When it comes to any kind of open communication with readers, resourcing can be a massive issue. But Block Club Chicago’s approach to helping local people find vital information is worth the effort (and the overwhelm), and there are some interesting lessons to learn about accessibility and relationship-building.
Best of all, these free services have led to a paid subscriber boost. “If you show up for your readers, your readers will show up to support you,” they conclude.
Subscriptions to Bloomberg Media grew by 34% in the first half of the year, reaching more than 325,000. The most interesting point of this for me was that the company’s pivot from live to virtual and hybrid events has led to a whopping 500% revenue increase year-over-year.
“We live in the age of skimming.” A key indicator of engagement and loyalty is whether a reader scrolled at all during the visit, or bounced after viewing only the first window of a page. Some interesting research here on how scrolling behaviours have changed over the last few years.
Writers of Colour is tackling pay disparity in the media by “polite-shaming” publications that don’t disclose pay rates. Young journalists of color are particularly susceptible to unfair pay practices, and pay transparency is one way to improve this by holding publications accountable, both by outside parties and internally.
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